Project of the Month, March 2007

By admin

Zenoss Core Logo

Project leader:

Name: Erik DahlErik Dahl
Age: 39
Occupation or experience: USinternetworking, Meta4, Cornell University Medical College
Education: College of Wooster, Brooklyn College, Ecole Polytechnique Federale
Location: Annapolis, MD

Key developer(s)

Name: Jason StevensJason Stevens

Name: Drew BrayDrew Bray

Name: Mark HinkleMark Hinkle

Name: Eric NewtonEric Newton

Name: Ian McCrackenIan McCracken

Name: Duncan McGreggorDuncan McGreggor

Name: Marc IrlandezMarc Irlandez

Name: Bill KarpovichBill Karpovich

Name: Rusty WilsonRusty Wilson

Quote about has been a critical component of our success. Since our project’s inception on last February we have had more than 125,000 downloads and 1 million page views. In recent days we have been ranked in the top 20 projects. We attribute our success to the tools and community.

How has helped you? has given us a neutral site (not a company controlled site) with great tools to host and manage our project.

The number one benefit of using is:

The promotion and increased awareness of our project. Open source users know to look on for quality open source projects; our project has grown in large part due to the popularity of

Description of project

Zenoss is enterprise-ready, open source IT monitoring software. Zenoss Core is written in Python and uses the Zope application server and Twisted network library. Zenoss provides an integrated product for monitoring availability, performance, events, and configuration across all layers of an IT system.

Trove info

  • Operating System: 32-bit Microsoft Windows (NT/2000/XP), all BSD platforms (FreeBSD/NetBSD/OpenBSD/Apple Mac OS X), all POSIX (Linux/BSD/Unix-like OSes)
  • License: GNU General Public License (GPL)
  • Category: Enterprise, monitoring, system administration

What is the software’s intended audience?

We want to offer a more complete feature set than entry-level commercial monitoring software provides, and a cost-effective alternative solution for those using higher-end commercial suites.

How many people do you believe are using your software?

We have had close to 100,000 unique downloads in the last year. Our best guess is that we have thousands of users.

What are a couple of notable examples of how people are using your software?

Mercy Hospital chose Zenoss to monitor a whole hospital after getting a quote from one of the biggest commercial vendors that would have cost 15 times as much as the labor and support required to use Zenoss. chose Zenoss Core for its flexibility and wide feature set. Managed Web Services uses Zenoss to monitor its data center.

What gave you an indication that your project was becoming successful?

People stop me in the street and ask for autographs! Just joking — actually it’s the huge amount of end-user support, from downloads to blogs to participation in our forums and mailing lists.

What has been your biggest surprise?

How fast the project has developed. The open source project was only started a year ago. We went from total nobodies on to being ranked in the top 30.

What has been your biggest challenge?

We need to collect and process information from a wide variety of systems and devices, and it is amazing how many don’t implement standards like SNMP properly. This problem is just one of the ways that our community helps us. Community members provide a large number of systems against which Zenoss is tested and then help with debugging problems.

Why do you think your project has been so well received?

We try to make it easier to manage and monitor computer systems. Zenoss is relatively easy to install, and all configuration is through a Web interface, so that lessens the learning curve.

Where do you see your project going?

We will expand the features and the plugin infrastructure to make it easier to monitor more types of devices, and integrate data with other open source projects that manage network devices.

What’s on your project wish list?

Continuing to improve our user interface and expand our feature set to rival the large proprietary IT management vendors.

What are you most proud of?

We are proud to see the affirmations from our community and the quick growth of Zenoss Core.

If you could change something about the project, what would it be?

We wish we had gotten an earlier start. There seems to be a pent-up demand for open source management tools.

How do you coordinate the project?

We use a publicly accessible version of Trac to manage our roadmap and handle feature and bug requests. Most coordination of tasks is done via email.

Do you work on the project full-time, or do you have another job?

Erik Dahl and a team of core developers all work on Zenoss full-time.

What is your development environment like?

We develop on Mac OS and Ubuntu using a GNU development environment and Python.


    Release 1.1 – January 2007
  • Automated change tracking
  • Automatic remediation
  • Expanded reports
    Release 1.0 – October 2006
  • Remote monitoring
  • Sophisticated alerting
  • Automated update checking
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux support
    Release 0.23 – October 2006
  • Virtual appliance
    Release 0.22 – August 2006
  • Support for Nagios plugins
  • Alerting with escalations and schedules
    Release 0.21 – July 2006
  • SNMP trap collector
  • Process monitoring using SNMP
  • Release 0.20 – June 2006
  • New SNMP performance collector
    Release 0.19 – March 2006
  • Windows service monitoring
  • TCP port monitoring
    Release 0.18 – February 2006
  • First OSS release

How can others contribute?

We encourage people to become active in our forums and to send email. We are looking for contributors to help with our plugins to more effectively monitor more types of systems. Over the upcoming months we are going to work on documenting how to monitor more systems.

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