Open source systems management tools: an informal directory

Operations is a commoditised domain now: people buy on price. Antivirus is a commodity. So is backup. So is much of the hardware. Watch what open source software does to systems and network management, media management and a bunch of other software types. CIOs want to spend their money on an ITIL project, ISO20000 certification, SOX compliance, COBIT audit, Project Management Office, CMDB, and a Balanced Scorecard Dashboard. Funds for IT Operations are limited: it is all about cutting costs now, or soon will be.

[Update: This directory is now maintained as part of Ops4Less This page will no longer be updated]

That is why I set up the Ops4Less website. I tell myself the total lack of interest in that site is due to it being ahead of its time :-D

Anyhow, I think open source systems management tools will soon become as mainstream as open source operating systems or web servers.

With that in mind, let us list some of them. Contributions welcomed.
(Remarkably Wikipedia doesn't seem to list these. Besides, a list here can be as biased and unreasonable as any other IT Skeptic page).

I'd like to focus on systems management: agent monitoring, console, event management, scheduling.

Cross-platform prefered: *NIX-only tools are not realistic (yet).

But I'm sure variations and subsets will slip into this list.

The ones I know about are

Comments on these, or additions, welcome.

P.S. Who thinks this page should be a wiki?


ZipTie for Network Configuration

You should add ZipTie ( Its a mature open source tool to gather network inventory, configuration backups, and to perform change automation on all your network devices. It is complimented by ZipForge ( which has adapters to let ZipTie connect to new types of devices and tools to view device details or perform common change automation tasks on your network.


At the moment I'm looking at the backbone of operations, the NSM, the framework, the consolidator, the service manager. ZipTie seems a bit point-focused on networks ??

I work full time on Puppet.

I love reading your candid thoughts, and I was excited to see what you had at ops4less.

But then I got there, and you won't let me read anything.

Not only do you make people register, but then they have to do a little dance:

Welcome to Ops4Less

This is a collaborative website. To read the full text of many entries, you need to become a member. To obtain a membership, simply register and log in (so you can be recognised) and then contribute some content. If the content is accepted for publication, you get a membership for a year, giving you full access to the site. So get thinking and then submit an idea.

I'm not pretending to understand your motivation, but I do think that presents a roadblock for many people who would otherwise benefit.

contribution before benefit

I'm exploring other business models. What's wrong with a collaborative site that requires contribution before benefit? (other than the fact that everybody is so used to a free ride on the internet that they - like you - don't buy it)


There is nothing wrong with exploring business models.

I work on a product that we give away for free.

Puppet has an ecosystem that never would have existed if Puppet started as a commercial product.

Does Puppet create more value than we capture? Probably. But with a healthy community driving adoption, we run a cash business adding value, supporting and consulting around Puppet.

Trying to force collaboration never works and you have created a chicken and egg problem for yourself. On one hand you lamented that no one seemed interested, on the other you want to force me to collaborate by submitting something before I have a basis for knowing what I am even contributing to.

Experiment all you want, but realize an experiment's value is in analyzing the data.


You are definitely missing Zabbix in the list ( - a good one, but often overlooked.

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