Differences Between Splunk vs Nagios
What is Splunk?
Splunk is a tool to analyze, search and visualize machine data. Today, with the increasing popularity of the internet, IoT devices, wearable devices and multi-fold increase in computation and processing power, the generation of machine data has increased exponentially. Such huge amount of machine data contains powerful insights which might have tremendous value. Many big data technologies and tools are being developed to extract benefit from such data, Splunk is one such tool.
Founded in 2003, Splunk offers its products across three primary categories, Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Light and Splunk Cloud.
The primary purpose of Splunk is to collect and analyze a high volume of machine data (big data) and identify data patterns, provide metrics, diagnose problems and provide intelligence for operation teams. A visual dashboard can also be created. Splunk provides API to directly connect with various types of systems and applications.
Splunk takes input data in multiple formats like CSV, Jason etc. it can be configured to set alerts and notifications, it can be scaled up to meet demand and knowledge objects can also be created here to take advantages from already saved searches, event types, reports, lookups etc. that augmentin operational intelligence. The biggest selling point of Splunk is that it works in real time.
Data Input Stage: In this stage, raw data is consumed by Splunk from a source system. A data stream is broken down in 64K blocks and each block is annotated with metadata keys.
Data Storage Stage: This stage consists of two parts- Parsing and Indexing. Parsing is used to extract important information from data by breaking the data stream into individual events. In the indexing phase, parsed events are written to disk index. Indexing helps during a searching stage.
Data Storage Stage: In this stage, Splunk provides search results based on user-created search criteria as mentioned above.
Splunk has an important feature called knowledge object. Data that comes reaches to indexer first, where it is indexed and then using searcher, one can search for the relevant keywords. After the searcher stage, a knowledge object can be set which makes the operation smarter and it brings intelligence to the system. These knowledge objects monitor events and give notifications when certain conditions occur. These results can be collected and visualized by creating reports and time-charts.
Knowledge objects are essentially user-defined and are used for extracting knowledge for existing or runtime data to enrich the data analysis process. There are three main types of knowledge objects in Splunk: Splunk time-charts, data models, and alerts.
Splunk can be configured to use IoT data. For example, it is possible that Splunk gets data from wearable devices using IoT technologies to monitor health parameters of patients and send notifications regarding critical changes in conditions to doctors as well as patients. Thus, it can report health conditions in real time, delve deeper into patient’s health records and analyze them and generate period or need-based alerts to concerned persons.
What is Nagios?
Nagios is a monitoring tool that continuously monitors system infrastructures like servers etc to ensure all critical components i.e. systems, applications, services and business processes are functioning properly.
Continuous monitoring is needed to ensure issues like low memory, unreachable server, connection errors etc. are identified on time and taken care of before it creates a negative impact on performance and productivity.
Nagios runs on a server as a daemon or service. It is built as a server/agent architecture. It runs on a host and Plugins are provided to interact with local or remote hosts which are to be monitored. The Plugins send information to the scheduler which displays it on a GUI for the user to view status and take actions.
An important component of Nagios is NRPE (Nagios remote plugin executor). It is designed to allow Nagios to execute its plugins on remote Linux/Unix machines. Its advantage is that it allows monitoring of local resources like CPU load, memory usages etc. from remote machines as well. As such resources are not exposed to external machines, an agent like NRPE must be installed to facilitates monitoring from remote systems.
There are other types of Nagios agent as well as NRDP, NSClient++, NCPA etc. A more advanced version of Nagios is Nagios XI. It offers major functionality enhancement over Nagios core e.g. extensive user interface, configuration editor, advanced reporting, monitoring wizards, an extensible front-end and back-end, etc.
Head to Head Comparison Between Splunk and Nagios (Infographics)
Below is the Top 7 comparison between Splunk and Nagios:
Why are we comparing?
Comparison of Splunk and Nagios makes sense as both Splunk and Nagios do the same/similar task up to an extent. While Splunk is used for log analysis Nagios is used for continuous monitoring. Both Splunk and Nagios are the tools to study the health of system infrastructure. While each has a distinct way of working and different architecture, there are some areas where they overlap. The comparison also makes sense as Nagios is open source while Splunk is propriety.
Key Differences Between Splunk and Nagios
Below are the lists of points, describe the key differences between Splunk and Nagios:
- Nagios has better alert mechanism then Splunk.
- Using Nagios, acknowledgment of alerts can be handled and also alerts be set at the desired time (i.e. send alert messages only between 9 am to 6 pm). Such functionality is not available with Splunk.
- Splunk is user-friendly as detailed documentation is available.
- Splunk is much better compared to Nagios when dashboard features are concerned.
- Nagios is free.
- Splunk and Nagios rather complement each other than compete against each other. However, there are a few areas of overlap.
- While mid and larger sized organization generally uses Splunk, Nagios is used by freelancers, small companies, start-ups etc.
- Both Nagios and Splunk comes with web-based interfaces for user interactions.
Splunk and Nagios Comparison Table
Following is the comparison table Between Splunk and Nagios.
|Alert functionality is standard||Alert functionality is advanced|
|Detailed documentation is available for user support||Lack of detailed documentation|
|Dashboard features are awesome||Basic dashboard is available|
|Comparatively less coding effort is required||Coding effort is relatively substantial|
|Production support is provided||It does not come up with any guarantee|
|Splunk is propriety and hence expensive||Nagios is open source and hence free|
|Best used for log analysis||Best used for continuous monitoring|
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