Popular Open Source Monitoring Tools For Workplaces

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 30 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Information technology engineers use open source monitoring tools to collect and analyse data from servers, containers and databases to track the health and performance of their company's IT infrastructure. These tools can detect problems quickly and alert designated engineers or managers who resolve them before the occurrence of critical damage or disruption to systems and services. If you work in IT infrastructure, knowing more about monitoring tools can help you procure the right tool that fits your requirements. In this article, we explain what open source monitoring tools are and what benefits they provide, and share information about some popular tools.

What are open source monitoring tools?

Open source monitoring tools are customisable tools that help in monitoring network traffic and performing maintenance operations on a live network. IT professionals can modify the source code of open source tools to suit their specific needs based on the size and complexity of their IT operations. Some problems affecting IT systems are power outages, security breaches, suspicious login activity, unauthorised configurations and threats and viruses.

Regular monitoring of a complete IT system eliminates ‌the risk of cyberattacks, prevents outages and reduces downtime. Without regular or continuous monitoring, a business can face financial risks, data breaches, loss of credibility and potential lawsuits from clients.

Related: How To Become A System Administrator: A Complete Guide

Who uses open source monitoring tools?

The two major functions of monitoring tools are data collection and analysis. The tools collect data from network devices like routers, switches, servers, firewalls, load balances and probes. It is the responsibility of network administrators to maintain the infrastructure and network and they typically use paid or open source tools for monitoring. Security administrators also use monitoring tools to track down potential threats to their devices. Most companies have a critical response or a first response team to address breakdowns, outages or security breaches. First responders are typically experts in operating a variety of these tools.

Related: Cyber Security Interview Questions And Answers

What are the important features of a monitoring tool?

An effective monitoring tool can automatically discover new devices that connect to a network. It allows IT managers to view both historical and live performance data of component devices, servers and front-end and back-end applications.

You can configure tools to send alerts in case of unusual activity, to multiple users including first respondents, network administrators, engineers and management staff. These tools can also create shareable reports and data visualisations that an IT team can use to analyse network activity and performance. If you want to invest in a monitoring tool, it is good practise to ensure that it has the following features:

  • real-time metrics on performance

  • 24/7 observation

  • automatic device discovery

  • multi-device compatibility

  • customisability

  • support and documentation

  • real-time intelligent alerts via phone, messaging or email

  • root cause analysis

  • diagnosis protocols

  • network mapping and visualisation for large networks

  • activity and performance dashboards

  • scalability

  • cloud migration

  • sharable reporting and data visualisation

Popular monitoring tools for IT professionals

If you want to invest in monitoring tools that are open source, you may consider these popular options:


Prometheus is an open source monitoring tool that can integrate with various systems through APIs and plugins. It is a standard tool for monitoring Kubernetes, an open source automated system for deploying, scaling and managing containerised applications. It gathers data and information and collects data pertaining to metrics that help administrators understand the performance of their IT infrastructure. Prometheus works on both online and offline devices. It is a time-series database and hence, it repeatedly collects data at regular intervals.

Prometheus provides users access to stored data and can convert it to visuals and charts. It works on a pull-based system and gives users centralised control. It can automatically discover targets and ranks high on scalability. You can add or remove devices as and when you expand or change your existing infrastructure. Prometheus is a free tool, and companies who provide it as a service may charge a monthly fee depending on the nature of work involved.


Zabbix is an enterprise-grade open source tool ideal for government agencies and for industries like healthcare, marketing, education, banking and finance. The Zabbix server monitors IT systems by installing a Zabbix agent on each client-server. It can work with multiple operating systems like Windows, macOS, Solaris, Linux and AIX. It can monitor Java application servers, VMWare, vCenter and vSphere. Zabbix has self-protection features for front-end servers from any form of brute force attack. It can monitor a large volume of metrics running into millions, as it automatically collects data from each IT infrastructure component in a network.

This tool has in-built alert notification features and advanced problem detection and remediation features. It can automatically discover devices and components that you add or remove from a system. It is easy to configure and set up. Its Graphical User Interface (GUI) supports visualisation even for large-scale configurations. Zabbix offers both free and paid versions along with a free trial.


Nagios monitors critical IT infrastructure components like network infrastructure and protocols, servers, operating systems, applications and services. It can also monitor database servers like SQL Server, Mysql and Postgres. It provides active deployment features and can run on all operating systems. Additionally, Nagios and many of its add-ons can monitor in-house and external applications, systems and services. It can identify potential problems in IT infrastructure in early stages and can track issues and stop them from recurring.

Like most open source tools, you can get support from an active community of contributors in Nagios. One of Nagios' unique features is that it can detect split-second failures and instantaneous breakdowns before they occur. Nagios eliminates periodic testing, reduces maintenance costs and provides timely alerts to first responders and management staff.

Related: What Does An IT Professional Do? Duties And Requirements


Checkmk offers distributed monitoring for fully scalable environments. You can choose from a free raw edition with basic features or a payable enterprise edition with advanced features. Using this tool, IT professionals can deploy a system within minutes as there is very little manual intervention required for configuration. Checkmk can integrate with 1900 agents that monitor metrics pertaining to events and activity logs. It offers high-level automation, making monitoring possible on a broader scale and giving IT employees time to focus on other work.


Icinga monitors network services using Icinga 2 plugins. It provides cross-platform monitoring support for multiple operating systems. You can customise it to send alerts to first responders and event handlers in case of network-related issues like outages and security and performance concerns. It can automatically discover new devices and deploy tracking tools to monitor on-site and cloud-based infrastructure. Icinga also offers templates for smaller businesses and less experienced network administrators. IT professionals may be able to use these templates and operate Icinga without formal training. Icinga also offers several ready-made templates for reporting and visualisation.


LibreNMS is a flexible monitoring tool that covers a wide range of operating systems and supports mobile devices. This allows IT teams to monitor the network remotely. Its alert system can notify you on several platforms like email, text and instant messaging. Auto-discovery, automatic updates, a mobile compatible Web UI, horizontal scaling and customisable dashboards are some of its important features. LibreNMS supports storing, managing, retrieving data and visualisation using an API.


Netdata is a monitoring tool that features powerful real-time monitoring of network health and performance and can auto-detect thousands of metrics. It can run on physical systems, containers and virtual machines. Netdata Agent is a component that collects high-resolution metrics from every component of an existing IT infrastructure. One of the biggest advantages of this tool is that it does not require configuration and it can run continuously on all devices and servers within the infrastructure.

You can set up alerts and notifications if the system detects performance issues like slowdowns or anomalies, and also create visuals to interpret report data. Netdata Cloud is a web application offering real-time visibility on every component of an infrastructure. It is ideal for performing root cause analysis in case of recurring problems. Netdata Cloud allows multiple teams to monitor metrics and data, often facilitating large-scale collaboration.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.

Explore more articles