Open-Source Network Engineer Toolbox

Elisa Jasinska, Bob McCouch and I were scheduled to record a NetOps podcast with a major vendor, but unfortunately their technical director cancelled at the last minute. Like good network engineers, we immediately found plan B and focused on Elisa’s specialty: open-source tools.

It took Elisa about 10 milliseconds to sort those tools into various categories and we were ready to start the podcast. We covered:

  • SNMP tools (MRTG, Cacti, Grafana);
  • Alerting tools (Nagios);
  • Flow-processing tools (Pmacct and Kibana/ELK)
  • Configuration backup (Rancid and Oxidized)
  • Configuration management tools (Ansible and Tail-F)
  • IPAM (6connect and Dyn).

To learn more about them, listen to Episode 36 of Software Gone Wild.


  1. 6connect is not opensource :/
  2. Link to the Dyn IPAM? Is it a open source solution
  3. Sorry, no, just rambled out a few IPAMs I could think of - not open source.
  4. Great podcast I really enjoyed it.

    As additional information I am aware of 2 open sorurce IPAM projects:
    phpIPAM and NIPAP. Both supports IPv6.

    For the SNMP tool / alerting category I can highly recommand OMD the open monitoring distribution project with the Check_MK web frontend. It basically combines the 2 category into one solution. You have about ~ 15 tools included in OMD wich all can be installed with one packet. That makes it really easy to start with OMD and Check_MK, I have manged to monitor a network with a few hundred notes with Check_mk in a few hours.
    I added a quick link how to get started with OMD from my blog:

  5. Nice one Ivan - opened my eyes to a whole world I was missing around graphite and inflowdb!
    As for the IPAMs, like Dominik already suggested, try NIPAP and phpIPAM! I personally think NIPAP is for the bigger networks while phpIPAM is more suited for the smaller enterprise.

  6. I know the topic is open source network monitoring tools, but since a few commercial ones were mentioned in the podcast, I thought I would mention PRTG.
    They offer the 100 sensor version for free, which makes it easy to get started and I think would be enough monitoring points for most small businesses. It's very easy to install and get going.
    Great podcast btw, I've heard of some of the tools but not others, so now I have some new things to check out.

  7. I know I'm a bit late to the party here but thought that it would be worth mentioning Observium or LibreNMS for the graphing category.
    Observium / LibreNMS are pretty quick to get going and easy to use for small businesses SNMP based graphing of all the things (including handy things like interface errors); the best thing for small teams is that it automatically discovers and graphs all interfaces and often CPU, Memory and Storage as well so adding new devices is very quick and easy. /

    There is also some basic alerting functionality as well but you have to remember that it is based on the 5 minute polling cycle data so it is not immediate.
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