Zabbix vs Prometheus: Network Monitoring Tools Comparison

Zabbix vs Prometheus: Network Monitoring Tools Comparison

If you work in the IT industry, it’s likely that you have come across Prometheus or Zabbix at some point in your career. These are monitoring tools and are very commonly used by network administrators to monitor hardware and software systems on their network. If you’re looking for some help in deciding which of these tools to use, then this blog will give you the information you need to help make that decision. Keep reading to learn more about how these tools compare in terms of their usability, performance, security, as well as scalability, and much more!

Before you begin

It’s time to compare two popular network monitoring tools, Zabbix and Prometheus. One of the first things that stands out when comparing these two is the learning curve. Prometheus requires a high level of command line proficiency, whereas Zabbix is much easier to set up for non-technical users. This may be an issue for some small organizations or businesses that want to install their own monitoring system but don’t have in-house staff to set it up, configure it, and maintain it.

What is Prometheus?

Prometheus is a powerful open-source system that monitors time series data and alerts on deviations from expected behavior. It was created by SoundCloud in 2012 to meet their performance monitoring needs, but the project quickly became popular for other reasons. Instead of choosing one metric to track (e.g., server uptime) like many traditional monitoring tools, Prometheus gathers insights about all aspects of its deployment with a wide variety of measurements and generates an overview called a graph. This lets users drill down into what’s going on in as much detail as they need without having to define the metrics ahead of time or worry about missing something important.

How do I install it?

The Zabbix installation process is straightforward. All you need to do is download the ISO file from the website, and then burn it to a CD or mount it as a virtual CD using your preferred software. After doing that, you need to start your PC from the mounted disc and choose Install Zabbix at the Boot Menu. It will ask you where to install, then if you want an automated installation; press ENTER and let it do its thing. There are only two prompts in total during this process. For most users, this would be all they would need to install Zabbix successfully on their own without any help from anyone else (provided they have access).

Testing its basic functionality

The testing was simple enough and both products have the same features to monitor network services, disks, hosts,s and containers. The installation procedure for Zabbix is straightforward. There is no wizard to help but just a file with the manual process in steps.

I installed Zabbix on Ubuntu Server 18.04 LTS distribution because it was listed as a requirement and has a web server by default with PHP 5 installed automatically as well. For Prometheus, there is not much configuration before running it because all of its dependencies are managed by service packages which can be installed using this guide on GitHub or with Docker container instructions.

Conclusion, pros, and cons of both products

After looking at the overviews and contrasting, it is a hard choice to make as both products offer some of the same features. Zabbix has a lower upfront cost but lacks some enterprise-level management and monitoring capabilities. In contrast, Prometheus has a higher total cost of ownership with more advanced alerting. For our purposes, we believe Zabbix offers greater value because the company is focusing on the areas most enterprises care about and doesn’t have features that are irrelevant to us now or in the future. We can’t be sure that Prometheus will not eventually add these high-level features for enterprise users, and if they do then it may change how we feel about them right now.

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