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Zenoss ZenPacks plug-ins support hundreds of external resources

IT monitoring tools only monitor what they're built for. Zenoss fills in the inevitable gaps with ZenPacks to give admins exactly what they need -- without unnecessary extras.

If IT administrators cannot determine what is running in their organization's environment and how those systems, services and applications work, the environment quickly descends into unmanageable chaos. Zenoss is a popular open source tool that monitors the availability, configuration, performance and events within physical, virtual and cloud infrastructures.

Zenoss software is available in three deployment options. Zenoss Core is open source software and can support up to 1,000 devices, with limited event handling, reporting and scalability. Zenoss Service Dynamics provides a commercial version of the software, with full device support, scalability and features such as high availability, analytics, service impact assessment and support. Organizations that opt to deploy and maintain their own monitoring and management tool will select this option. Zenoss as a Service offers the same Zenoss functionality in a SaaS option.

Extending Zenoss with ZenPacks

All three Zenoss deployments support servers, storage, network and OS monitoring and management. Heterogeneity remains a challenge to software monitoring and management. A single tool able to discover and interoperate with a wide array of systems within the environment has been elusive.

Management plug-ins called Zenoss ZenPacks can provide support for non-native resources. Each plug-in provides the code base and instrumentation to work with specific systems or software products. Zenoss software can use a wide range of ZenPacks to tailor the tool for the specific infrastructure, with no unnecessary monitoring functions. For example, Zenoss offers extended Windows environment monitoring through WS-Management interfaces and Zenoss ZenPacks. Administrators can monitor devices over time and configure system alerts to help manage and respond to important events.

There are hundreds of commercial, open source and subscription-based Zenoss ZenPacks available. For example, one ZenPack monitors and manages Nutanix hyper-converged infrastructure products, while another ZenPack monitors AWS infrastructure. Yet another ZenPack handles A10 Networks' load balancers.

Admins can also create ZenPacks to handle custom devices, software and other products that do not yet offer a Zenoss plug-in. The Zenoss ZenPack software development kit, called zenpacklib, offers a Python library that can help developers create ZenPacks through YAML files to describe properties, classes, templates, component types, relationships, events, triggers and other attributes.

Zenoss use cases

Zenoss offers a versatile and comprehensive IT monitoring and management platform fit for a wide range of use cases. For example, in hybrid IT environments, Zenoss can monitor outside data centers and cloud resources. Zenoss can discover and assess relationships and determine resource utilization across the enterprise for fluid capacity management. Capacity planning can help to ensure that workloads run efficiently for application performance management and estimate how resource allocation and use affect application performance.

As other examples, Zenoss provides automation and orchestration capabilities, which enable IT professionals to automate many routine activities. The Zenoss ticketing system can provide a foundation for enterprise incident management, while its analytics and reporting features enhance incident management by sorting through thousands of events and alarms to isolate the most important or problematic issues.

This was last published in May 2018

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