Installing Zenoss

8 min read

Installing Zenoss

Our first step is to choose one of the three installation methods: virtual appliance, binary installer, or source. The virtual appliance makes a good choice, if we want to evaluate or demonstrate Zenoss. The virtual appliance runs a functional Zenoss system using VMware Player or VMware Server out-of-the-box and needs no Linux knowledge. When run from VMware, the Zenoss virtual appliance may be used to monitor networks with relatively few devices.

The binary installer makes a good choice if we want to avoid building Zenoss from source, and we run a supported distribution. The Supported Operating Systems section in this tutorial includes a list of distributions that have binary installation support.

We can build from source on a variety of Unix-based environments, like Ubuntu and Mac OS X. A source installation gives us the ability to install Zenoss in the environment of our choice but requires more work. Of the three installation methods, a source install requires the most familiarity with your operating system and presents more points of failure.

As we move beyond installing Zenoss to set up, we focus on firewall policies and Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) for Linux and Windows systems. Even though Zenoss can use other methods to monitor devices, SNMP is the default monitoring protocol. We are free to change how we monitor and collect information at any time.

During the installation and the set up, we work from the command line because it’s fast and it’s consistent from one distribution to the next. If an error does occur, we can see the error immediately printed to the terminal window.

When working from the command line, we assume knowledge of two basic tasks: opening the terminal window and navigating the file structure. For all other tasks, the book provides the exact command to type.

After installation and set up, we spend most of our time working with Zenoss through the web interface. Let’s get this installation out of the way so we can discover Zenoss.

Server Specifications

Actual server specifications may vary depending on the amount and frequency of the data you collect. Zenoss Inc. recommends the following hardware specifications as a starting point based on feedback from the community:

  1. Network with up to 250 devices:
    • 4 GB RAM
    • Core 2 Duo E6300 1.86/1066 RTL
    • 75 GB disk storage
  2. Network with more than 250 devices :
    • 8 GB RAM
    • XEON 5120 DC 1.86/1066/4MB
    • Four 75 GB drives in two RAID-1 pairs

Supported Operating Systems

Zenoss requires a Unix-based platform and installs on systems capable of running a GNU build environment. However, Zenoss supports only a few distributions with binary installers. The following table shows the available installation options.

Installation Type




Virtual Appliance





Binary Installer

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5

Fedora Core 6






Solaris 10

Mac 0S X

Other Linux environments


As more binary installers become available, Zenoss posts them to

Zenoss Dependencies

Virtual appliance users do not need to install any dependencies because they are included in the image. For all other installations, you need to install the following software packages prior to installing Zenoss:

  • MySQL 5.0.22 or higher
  • MySQL development environment
  • Python 2.3.5 or 2.4
  • Python development environment

If you plan to build a Zenoss installation from source code, you need to install the following:

  • SWIG
  • Autoconf
  • GNU build environment

Dependent software packages are available via your distribution’s normal software package manager. However, the package names and installation commands vary based on distribution. Consult your distribution’s documentation for more information.

Quick Start with Virtual Appliance

If we know how to download and install software in our host environment, we can get a working Zenoss system with the virtual appliance. The Zenoss virtual appliance packages a working Zenoss Core installation inside a Linux guest that can be booted from a host system, including Windows, using VMware’s Player, Server, or Workstation programs.

The virtual appliance is great for:

  • Users with little or no Linux knowledge
  • Demonstrations and Evaluations
  • Monitoring small networks with a few devices

Install Virtual Appliance

We will finish the installation as fast as we can download files and install the VMware Player. Let’s begin:

  1. Download the VMware Player from is required to complete the download.
  2. Install VMware Player according to VMware’s installation instructions for your operating system.
  3. Download the Zenoss virtual appliance from
  4. Unzip the Zenoss virtual appliance download file to a working directory in your system.
  5. Open VMware Player:
    • On Windows, select Start > Programs > VMware Player.
    • On Linux, select VMplayer from the application menu, or type the command: vmware
  6. VMwarePlayer prompts us to load the virtual machine configuration file we previously unzipped, as shown in the following screenshot:
  7. Zenoss Core Network and System Monitoring

  8. Open the Zenoss virtual appliance we unzipped in step 4.

The Zenoss virtual appliance takes a few minutes to load depending on the performance of your system. When the appliance boots, a welcome window opens and displays the IP address of the Zenoss management console and the standard Linux login prompt, as shown in the following screenshot:




Zenoss Core Network and System Monitoring



When we connect to Zenoss through our web browser, we use the IP address of the Zenoss management console that displays on the welcome screen (e.g. We cannot access our virtualized Zenoss installation by navigating to localhost, which is the host name of the Zenoss virtual appliance. If the IP address of the Zenoss console does not display, we can obtain the IP address using the ifconfig command, as described in the next section: Working with The Virtual Appliance.

Zenoss is ready to monitor. Our next step is to set up the servers on our network to be monitored. If you can’t wait to see Zenoss in action, feel free to skip the server setup section for now and check out Tutorial 4 for an introduction to web interface. You can come back and set up your servers later.     

If this is the first time you are working with VMware or Linux, take a few minutes to get acquainted with the environment.


Working with The Virtual Appliance

The Zenoss virtual appliance is a streamlined but functional Linux system, which means we can log in and have access to the underlying Linux environment. Let’s cover a few basic tasks.     

In order to type inside the virtual appliance window, use the keyboard shortcut:

Ctrl + G


To return the cursor to the host desktop, use the keyboard shortcut:

Ctrl + Alt


By default, the root login does not have a password assigned. To log in to the virtual appliance, enter the following user name at the login prompt:



To set a password for the root user, enter the command:     


The passwd command prompts us to enter a new password. Assigning a password to the root user makes the system more secure and allows us to connect to the virtual appliance as root via SSH.     

The IP address of the Zenoss virtual appliance is displayed at the top of the terminal window when the appliance loads. The most confusing part about using the Zenoss virtual appliance may be picking the correct IP address and port number. We connect to Zenoss on port 8080. So if our virtual appliance has an IP address of, then we use open the Zenoss login screen. If we use port 8003, we access the rPath management console, which is the underlying system used to build the Zenoss virtual appliance.

After login, we can find additional IP configuration as shown in the following screenshot, with the command:



Zenoss Core Network and System Monitoring


To shut down the virtual appliance, select Player > Exit from the VMware Player. We may also use the the command:

shutdown -h now

If we shut down the virtual appliance, Zenoss no longer monitors the network and the web interface is not accessible.We may now jump ahead to the Server Setup section of this tutorial for help in configuring the servers we wish to monitor.

Binary Installation

Zenoss provides a binary installer in RPM format for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, which covers CentOS and Fedora Core. Binaries for additional distributions are added by Zenoss as the market demands and as time allows.

To install Zenoss and its dependencies on Red Hat:

  1. Download the latest RPM for Red Hat Enterprise Linux from
  2. Open a terminal window and become the root user: su –
  3. If you have not yet installed the Zenoss dependencies, run:
  4. yum -y install mysql mysql-server net-snmp net-snmp-utils / 
    python python-dev
  5. Install the Zenoss RPM by running the following command from the download directory where x.x-x equals the latest version number:
    rpm -ivh zenoss-2.x.x-x.el5.i386.rpm
  6. Start SNMP:
    service snmp start
  7. Start MySQL:
    service mysqld start
  8. Start Zenoss:
    /etc/init.d/zenoss start

Let’s test our installation. Open a browser and enter the URL of the Zenoss server, which listens on port 8080 (for example http://192.168.115:8080/ ). A screen appears as shown in the following screenshot.


Zenoss Core Network and System Monitoring


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