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Zenoss (Zenoss Core) is an open source network monitoring and systems management platform released under the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2. Zenoss Core provides an AJAX-enabled web interface that allows system administrators to monitor availability, inventory/configuration, performance, and events.


Erik Dahl began Zenoss development in 2002 and later founded Zenoss Inc. with Bill Kaprovich. Zenoss Inc. provide corporate backing for the development of Zenoss Core, which is freely available to anyone to download and use without cost. The company offers paid support and training services to generate revenue.

Zenoss is a founding member of the Open Management Consortium. Other founding members include Ayamon, Emu Software, Qlusters, Symbiot, and Webmin. The Open Management Consortium promotes the development and adoption of open source monitoring software.

Technology Overview

Zenoss Core is an all inclusive, open source monitoring technology, which includes a user interface, data storage, and collection processes in one application.

Zenoss Core implements a configuration management database (CMDB) to model IT assets. In a Computer Business Review Online article, Matthew Aslett says, "According to ITIL best-practice recommendations, the CMDB should provide accurate information on the configuration of IT assets and their documentation in a way that will support all the other service management processes of incident, problem, and change management."

Zenoss Core Capabilities:

  • Monitoring availability network devices using SNMP
  • Monitoring of network services (HTTP,POP3,NNTP,SNMP,FTP,)
  • Monitoring of host resources (processor, disk usage) on most network operating systems.
  • Time-series performance monitoring of devices
  • Extended Microsoft Windows monitoring via Windows Management Instrumentation using SAMBA and Zenoss open source extensions
  • Event management tools to annotate system alerts
  • Automatically discover network resources and changes in network configuration
  • Alerting system provides notifications based on rule sets and on-call calendars
  • Supports Nagios plug-in format

The commercial version of Zenoss Core is Zenoss Enterprise. The enterprise edition builds on the core version by providing commercial support and additional features. "In the enterprise edition," writes Sean Michael Kerner, "Zenoss is adding something it calls end-user experience monitoring which is intended to more accurately simulate end-user application activity." Kerner continues, "Enterprise users also get certified application monitors specifically geared for Microsoft SQL and Exchange."

Zenoss Enterprise extends functionality via Zenpacks, its plugin framework. Mark Hinkle, Zenoss VP of Business and Community Development, writes in a Zenoss blog entry that anyone can write a Zenpack, and authors are free to choose how they license their individual Zenpacks. Zenoss Inc. chooses to release the Zenpacks included with Zenoss Enterprise as shared source, which means users can modify the code but not distribute the changes.

Zenoss Enterprise introduces the following features:

  • End-user experience monitoring at the application and end-user levels.
  • Certification application monitors (Zenpacks).
  • Global dashboard to aggregate individual Zenoss installations.
  • WSIWYG environment for creating synthetic web transactions.

Zenoss incorporates several open source technologies:

  • Zope Application server: An object-oriented web server written in Python.
  • Python: Extensible programming language.
  • NetSNMP: Monitoring protocol that collection systems status information.
  • RRDtool: Graph and log time series data.
  • MySQL: A popular open source database.


Zenoss Inc. reports that Zenoss Core runs on the following unix systems:

  • Enterprise Linux 4
  • Enterprise Linux 5
  • Fedora Core 6
  • SuSE
  • Ubuntu
  • FreeBSD
  • Solaris 10
  • Mac OS X
  • rPath VMWare Appliance

A web-based portal provides operating system agnostic access to configuration and administration functions. Both Firefox and Internet Explorer are supported.

External links