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Nagios vs Sensu: What are the differences?

Developers describe Nagios as "Complete monitoring and alerting for servers, switches, applications, and services". Nagios is a host/service/network monitoring program written in C and released under the GNU General Public License. On the other hand, Sensu is detailed as "Open source monitoring framework". A monitoring framework that aims to be simple, malleable, and scalable. Essentially, Sensu takes the results of “check” scripts run across many systems, and if certain conditions are met; passes their information to one or more “handlers”. Checks are used, for example, to determine if a service like Apache is up or down.

Nagios and Sensu belong to "Monitoring Tools" category of the tech stack.

Some of the features offered by Nagios are:

  • Monitor your entire IT infrastructure
  • Spot problems before they occur
  • Know immediately when problems arise

On the other hand, Sensu provides the following key features:

  • Execute service checks
  • Send notifications
  • Collect metrics

"It just works" is the primary reason why developers consider Nagios over the competitors, whereas "Support for almost anything" was stated as the key factor in picking Sensu.

Nagios and Sensu are both open source tools. It seems that Sensu with 2.96K GitHub stars and 388 forks on GitHub has more adoption than Nagios with 60 GitHub stars and 36 GitHub forks.

According to the StackShare community, Nagios has a broader approval, being mentioned in 176 company stacks & 39 developers stacks; compared to Sensu, which is listed in 30 company stacks and 7 developer stacks.

What is Nagios?

Nagios is a host/service/network monitoring program written in C and released under the GNU General Public License.

What is Sensu?

Sensu is the future-proof solution for multi-cloud monitoring at scale. The Sensu monitoring event pipeline empowers businesses to automate their monitoring workflows and gain deep visibility into their multi-cloud environments.
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    What are some alternatives to Nagios and Sensu?
    Zabbix is a mature and effortless enterprise-class open source monitoring solution for network monitoring and application monitoring of millions of metrics.
    Splunk Inc. provides the leading platform for Operational Intelligence. Customers use Splunk to search, monitor, analyze and visualize machine data.
    It monitors availability and performance, gives you simple access to relevant data and raises alerts to keep you in the loop. It was originally created as a fork of the Nagios system monitoring application.
    Developed by network and systems engineers who know what it takes to manage today's dynamic IT environments, SolarWinds has a deep connection to the IT community.
    AppDynamics develops application performance management (APM) solutions that deliver problem resolution for highly distributed applications through transaction flow monitoring and deep diagnostics.
    See all alternatives
    Decisions about Nagios and Sensu
    Conor Myhrvold
    Conor Myhrvold
    Tech Brand Mgr, Office of CTO at Uber · | 12 upvotes · 1.4M views
    atUber TechnologiesUber Technologies

    Why we spent several years building an open source, large-scale metrics alerting system, M3, built for Prometheus:

    By late 2014, all services, infrastructure, and servers at Uber emitted metrics to a Graphite stack that stored them using the Whisper file format in a sharded Carbon cluster. We used Grafana for dashboarding and Nagios for alerting, issuing Graphite threshold checks via source-controlled scripts. While this worked for a while, expanding the Carbon cluster required a manual resharding process and, due to lack of replication, any single node’s disk failure caused permanent loss of its associated metrics. In short, this solution was not able to meet our needs as the company continued to grow.

    To ensure the scalability of Uber’s metrics backend, we decided to build out a system that provided fault tolerant metrics ingestion, storage, and querying as a managed platform...

    (GitHub :

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    Interest over time
    Reviews of Nagios and Sensu
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    How developers use Nagios and Sensu
    Avatar of ShadowICT
    ShadowICT uses NagiosNagios

    We use Nagios to monitor our stack and alert us when problems arise. Nagios allows us to monitor every aspect of each of our servers such as running processes, CPU usage, disk usage, and more. This means that as soon as problems arise, we can detect them and call out an engineer to resolve the issues as soon as possible.

    Avatar of Analytical Informatics
    Analytical Informatics uses NagiosNagios

    We use Nagios to monitor customer instances of Bridge and proactively alert us about issues like queue sizes, downed services, errors in logs, etc.

    Avatar of OnlineCity
    OnlineCity uses NagiosNagios

    We use nagios based OpsView to monitor our server farm and keep everything running smoothly.

    Avatar of Peter Degen-Portnoy
    Peter Degen-Portnoy uses NagiosNagios

    Monitor web servers, databases, utility servers

    Avatar of Veggie Sailor
    Veggie Sailor uses NagiosNagios

    For the monitoring full stack of the platform.

    How much does Nagios cost?
    How much does Sensu cost?
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