Open Source Monitoring: Zenoss Community and Zenoss Unique Selling Proposition, an interview with Mark Hinkle

Zenoss, the provider of open source network, systems and applications management software, with its Zenoss Masters program – aimed at recognizing the contributions of outstanding members of the Zenoss Community – this week awarded Jane Curry of Skills 1st.

While at the Open Source Think Tank I met again Mark Hinkle, VP Community at Zenoss, and I asked him to tell me more about the Zenoss community days and about Zenoss unique selling points.

The first Zenoss community day was held in Los Angeles just the day before the Southern California Linux Expo.

What can you tell about it, Mark?

The idea was to provide free training tour to Zenoss community members and other people willing to use Zenoss Core. We sponsored a full-day training session, covering all that is relevant to Core, engaging the same trainers who run the commercial training. We gathered 40-50 people during the day. Participants gave the overall impression of Zenoss the best score (100%), and quality of program a score of 92%.

Which are Zenoss unique selling points, compared to other open source monitoring platforms?

We do a lot of things, ranging from availability monitoring and performance monitoring, to configuration and event management.  Our approach is to develop a model of the network so we can understand all the interdependencies of applications, operating systems, hardware etc.  as we monitor these items data can be correlated so that you can see  the relationships between them.  As your infrastructure changes we track those changes so you always have a tool that is aware of the intricacies of your environment.

The way open source vendors produce code, is important. While the majority of open source vendors seem to run the same open source business model, there are many different ways to approach open core, yet many to actually build the value proposition.

Zenoss Core is developed by Zenoss, with the classical corporate production model but welcoming third parties contributions (zenpacks). In force of this choice, they have been able to create a unified data model, yet using few open source components.

In the network monitoring space, others like GroundWork adopted an hybrid production model, relying more heavily on existing open source projects and also contribute directly to them.

Different choices, different business models. Different are their configuration of activities and so are their core capabilities. And, at the end of the day, different are their customers.