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Pandora FMS Network Management Review

pandora fms

Pandora FMS is a fully featured Network Management system that gives you a bottom up view of your network infrastructure. It not only gives network administrators and engineers an informative dashboard for monitoring their application and db servers, but also gives you the ability to present critical information to managers in a graphical layout that is presented in an easy-to-read manner.

This software package is built to monitor every aspect of your infrastructure with its wide array of features, reporting tools and capabilities, it really edges out a lot of the competition in terms of functionality and multi-use feature set. On top of it all, Pandora FMS works in conjunction with not only Windows, but Linux operating systems as well, making it much more robust than other NMS systems we’ve reviewed in the past.

Main Features

Pandora comes with a wide feature set that gives you the flexibility to monitor servers, applications and network devices along with their resources with a range of protocols and built-in services. According to their website, there are 2 versions of Pandora – The Community (Open source) version and the Enterprise Version. The Enterprise version is dedicated to larger corporations that are looking for a fully-featured monitoring and management platform for their business, that has the ability to scale to monitor as many applications as you want, including Oracle, Microsoft Exchange, IIS, Microsoft SQL Server, MongoDB, DB2, Microsoft Active Directory, Apache Web Server and many more using custom plugins you can build and integrate into Pandora FMS.

For Administrator, Engineers and Technicians, the Tactical View window really gives a great interface for viewing and customizing as per your requirements and standards. You have the ability to really see what monitors, alerts and events are in play and see Real-time information as it happens, as seen in the image below:

tactical view

Scalability

Per their website, Pandora Enterprise can handle an unlimited amount of agents per server and the Open Source version can handle upwards to 1000 agents per server. Each agent can handle 25 modules while executing tasks every 5 mins. If needed, more management servers can be setup to scale further if you environment is larger than others.

Network and Server Monitoring

Pandora FMS has the flexibility to monitor bandwidth throughput within your network infrastructure not only using SNMP, but Netflow as well, giving you an in-depth look into the inbound/outbound packets of your network and more. On top of monitoring bandwidth usage and such, you have ability to poll routers, switches, modems and more for system resource levels, online/offline status, disk usage, memory usage and more.

As for managing and monitoring Servers, Pandora gives you the option to either use native SNMP polling or install their flexible and powerful Software agent on Windows, Linux/Unix or Android operating systems to monitoring any metrics and services you wish. Along with that, they have developed local plugins to interface and communicate with software packages including Oracle, Exchange Server, Tomcat, JMX, JBoss, SAP/R3 and many more enterprise software solutions.

Monitoring Checks include (via http://pandorafms.org/en/features/features/):

  • ICMP response and delay
  • SNMP Polling (v1, v2c, v3)
  • Standard TCP/IP services (HTTP, SMTP, etc)
  • Specified TCP/IP ports with regular expression matching
  • URL availability
  • CPU, Disk and Memory Usage
  • System overload
  • Nagios Plug-in Support (for both, availability and performance)

Another great feature Pandora comes with is the Remote Server management integration that can be accomplished with eHorus which allows you to have fully functional remote desktop and control of servers within the management console. Furthermore, this gives you the ability to copy files back and forth from the servers you are remotely managing, along with managing processes and services as needed directly from within the Pandora console.

pandora fms and ehorus remote desktop feature

Auto Discovery and Detection of new network components is integrated into the software as well, giving you a bottom up look at the network and ensuring that your network Topology is constantly being updated to reflect any addition/subtraction of network devices within your perimeter.

Using ICMP, SNMP and WMI, Pandora has the ability to recognize and inventory machines, along with their respective Operating Systems and any relationship with other nodes within your network using ARP and SNMP to correctly identify paths between nodes. This gives Pandora the ability to scan thousands of computers and network devices and properly map the topology of the network out within under an hour according to their website.

pandora fms network topology

Application Monitoring and Reporting

In terms of monitoring and managing business dependent applications, Pandora does not fall short by any means. Their flexibility (as the “F” in FMS implies) gives you the ability to monitor not only windows Specific applications, but Linux/Unix as well. Vendor compatibility gives them an edge over a lot of other NMS’s with the fact that they can really outshine others with the flexibility they provide.

Their Notification and Alerting/Reporting system can notify administrators of errors and system downtime using Syslog, SMS, Email and even online messaging services such as Jabber and Slack. You can also trigger and execute scripts and programs based on alerts and notifications of a certain type to ensure your critical applications stay online at all times ensuring SLA’s are met.

A neat feature that we really saw beneficial, as many admins are working while on the road or during the weekends (which inevitably happens to all of us), is “Light web console” for viewing on your mobile phones or tablets. As you can see in the image below, you can see crucial system data that shows charts and any pertinent information needed to understand whats going on in your network.

iphone nms viewing

Pandora FMS is truly a Fully Feature Network Management system – on top of all the features we’ve mentioned above, Reporting for Managerial staff can be created easily in mulitple formats, ranging from PDF’s, XML and HTML Reports. Graphs, Metrics, Event Log information and SLA’s can all be included in these reports that can span from 1 hour up to 6 Months in time-span. The ability to include crucial up-time and other parameters for SLA commitments gives you the necessary flexibility to keep all reporting within Pandora rather than utilizing an additional reporting system to interface with it.

To get a True feeling of what Pandora FMS can do, both Community and Enterprise versions, check out their Features Page here and grab a Free download below to test it out.

5.0

Overall