Nagios Core vs. Nagios XI: 4 Key Differences

It’s one of the most common questions we receive: Nagios Core vs. Nagios XI: What’s the Difference? System administrators often find themselves comparing the Nagios Core tool, our open-source infrastructure monitoring tool, to the Nagios XI product, our enterprise infrastructure monitoring tool built on top of the Nagios Core engine.

In this post, we give you background on both tools and compare Nagios Core vs. Nagios XI so you can make an informed decision for your organization.

The Story Behind Nagios Core

Ethan Galstad was working as a systems administrator for a large public university. One day, he left the office to have an offsite meeting with coworkers. Upon his return, he logged into the university’s system and saw that there was a critical error and numerous devices were down.

Frustrated that he had no way of knowing that things had gone awry while he was away from the office, Ethan decided to build a tool that allowed him to monitor the system remotely and receive alerts if anything went wrong. The tool eventually became known as Nagios Core, the popular, powerful open-source application that monitors systems, networks, and infrastructure, and Ethan Galstad became the founder and CEO of Nagios.

The Birth of Nagios XI

Since releasing Nagios Core in 1999, millions of people have used it and contributed to its open-source code by developing plugins to monitor everything from industry-specific devices to the temperature of beehives. Eventually, we heard from Nagios Core users that they needed a tool that could scale more efficiently with their organizations. In response to these needs, Nagios XI, an enterprise network monitoring software built on top of Nagios Core’s powerful technology, was developed.
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Nagios XI maintains the sought-after power of Nagios Core while offering enterprise features that set it apart. Here are four key differences between Nagios Core and Nagios XI:

1. Nagios Technical Requirements

Nagios Core requires advanced technical resources to manage the organization’s infrastructure monitoring setup, configuration, and day-to-day tasks. On the other hand, Nagios XI bypasses the need for users to understand command-line code with a user-friendly interface designed for non-technical users. This interface makes it significantly easier to train new employees in Nagios XI and enables system administrators to pass the reins to less technical users to manage daily tasks. When other employees cover daily tasks, the system administrator has more time to focus on complex projects that require his or her technical expertise.

Download this Nagios XI vs. Nagios Core comparison chart for a quick breakdown of the key differences.

The technical nature of Nagios Core not only costs more money (technical resources are more expensive than non-technical resources), but it’s also more time-consuming. Nagios XI enables users to quickly and efficiently update monitoring configurations, check statuses, and create and deliver business-level reports and dashboards.

2. Ease of Use

Nagios XI’s robust, intuitive web interface also makes it easier to use. Nagios XI was purpose-built for ease of use so that non-technical users can log in to the product to access the information they need. The product’s sophisticated user permissions with multi-tenant views allow an organization to choose what users see so that when they log in, they can quickly pinpoint the needed information, rather than having to sort through information that’s not relevant to them.

Nagios XI also has 70+ monitoring wizards for point-and-click setup of the most commonly monitored devices. Within minutes, Nagios XI users can start monitoring a new device. To monitor a new device in Nagios Core, the user not only needs to understand the Linux command line but must also be very familiar with the setup of the Nagios Core interface.

3. Support for Business Needs

Another critical difference between Nagios XI and Nagios Core is how each solution supports business needs. Nagios XI helps enterprise clients who routinely need to report data, present information, and justify the cost of additional resources (e.g., employees and hardware). Nagios Core is for technical output only. It simply answers the question, Is my monitored device up or down?

Nagios XI allows users to visualize and compare data with its built-in graphs, charts, and real-time customizable dashboards. It converts highly complex technical data into reports that are business-centric and can be shared cross-functionally. Nagios XI reports can drive business insights that influence significant business decisions. To get the same insights from Nagios Core, an organization would need a skilled data scientist (another expensive resource) to make sense of the data.

Given how critical effective infrastructure monitoring is to our clients’ businesses, the initial purchase of Nagios XI includes one year of access to the Nagios Support Team via the Support Center ticketing portal and Customer Support Forum. Optional phone support is also available.

4. Sophisticated Tools Available

Nagios XI has two editions: standard and enterprise. In addition to the features that come with a standard license, the enterprise edition has additional tools that set it apart from Nagios Core. These features include:

  • Capacity Planning: Predictive reports that estimate when devices will reach full capacity These reports are used to make the case for new hardware.
  • Bulk Modification: Allows a user to update thousands of devices all at once.
  • Scheduled Reports and Pages: Schedule reports and any other page in the interface for automatic delivery to key recipients.

If your organization needs any of these sophisticated features—either now or in the future—they should be considered as you compare Nagios XI and Nagios Core.

Download Your Nagios XI vs. Nagios Core Comparison Guide

Keep these four key differences in mind as you compare Nagios Core and Nagios XI. Both are powerful infrastructure monitoring tools. One was built to solve a critical need in the market, and the other was made to take organizations to the next level with infrastructure monitoring.

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