Splunk, Nagios partner on open-source tools

Log file search and indexing software vendor Splunk announced Tuesday that it will soon add systems management host, network and service monitoring capabilities to its software through a partnership with the Nagios open-source project.

The new capabilities, which will be added to Splunk's log file search and indexing applications over the next six months, will give systems administrators even more information to monitor and repair their networks, said Patrick J. McGovern III, chief community Splunker at San Francisco-based Splunk. Splunk has seen more than 25,000 downloads of its software since its 1.0 release came out in November, he said, while Nagios delivers about 20,000 downloads a month of its open-source network and service monitoring application.

"The two working together is going to be a big win for both communities," McGovern said.

McGovern is the son of Patrick J. McGovern, the founder and chairman of International Data Group, which publishes Computerworld.

Splunk's free Splunk Server application runs on Linux, Solaris or BSD operating systems but is limited to searching and indexing 500MB of system log files each day. The full version, Splunk Professional Server, starts at US$2,500 and goes up to US$37,500 for an unlimited capacity. Both products search and index in real time the log files of mail servers, Web servers, J2EE servers, configuration files, message queues and database transactions from any system, application or device. Splunk uses algorithms to automatically organize any type of IT data into events without source-specific parsing or mapping. After the events are classified and any relationships between them discovered, the data is indexed by time, terms and relationships.

The integration of the Splunk applications and the Nagios features will take place in phases over the next six months, McGovern said.

The Nagios software allows monitoring of network services, including SMTP, POP3, HTTP, NNTP and PING, as well as monitoring of processor load, disk and memory usage, and running processes. Users can also monitor environmental factors in data centers such as temperature and humidity.

Other log file monitoring and management applications are available from competitors including Opalis Software and Prism Microsystems.

Dana Gardner, an analyst at Interarbor Solutions in Gilford, N.H., said Splunk's log file search capabilities bring a novel approach to IT management. "Certainly on the theory basis, on the vision basis, it makes a lot of sense," Gardner said. "Search can be a really useful tool" to help systems administrators figure out a vexing problem amid a huge quantity of data.

"It certainly gets at the heart of what keeps IT administrators up at night, managing complexity and chaos," Gardner said

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