NIMA: The Network Information & Monitoring Appliance

What is NIMA ??

The Network Information & Monitoring Appliance is a "Virtual Machine" that you can use on a computer running a Microsoft Windows or a GNU/Linux Operating System. The only requirement is that you install VMWare's Player which can be downloaded from their website.

NIMA gives you the tools to Monitor your network, as well as provide tools to gather information about your network.

NIMA in Action
NIMA in Action - running Etherape, Netwatch and using Driftnet/Webcollage to capture Images being viewed on the local network for the Desktop Background

NIMA's History

NIMA was conceived after a conversation with the Principal of a local High School, where he was having concerns on how to best make use and monitor the Internet connection to the school. They were experiencing problems where rogue applications and viruses were using a huge chunck of bandwidth, and they had no idea what computers were the "culprits".

The very first prototypes of NIMA were based on Linux from Scratch, and they showed promise of exactly what could be done using a Virtual Machine. Subsequent versions were built using Gentoo Linux to allow for an easy way to keep the Virtual Machine up to date. Once the switch was made, many new features were added.

Not only was NIMA successful at locating all of the bandwidth grabbing programs and viruses, but it was also successful in finding weaknesses in the filtering software the school was using, which have since been fixed.

Network Information & Monitoring Appliance version 2

19 May 08 - Announcing NIMA version 2 - based on Suse Linux Enterprise 10.

After months of testing SLE10 SP2 Beta, I have released an updated version of the NIMA virtual machine. After recieving many requests on asking how to install the applicance on physical machine, creating a XEN based version, etc. I have decided to change the base operating system to Suse Linux Enterprise 10.

This switch has allowed me to easily provide packages that can easily be installed on any Suse Linux Enterprise 10 (Server or Desktop) machine. This alleviates the need for anyone to try to figure out how to convert a virtual machine into a physical machine.

Download NIMA version 2

Here is a (short) list of mirrors that have NIMA v2: (If you are able to setup a mirror and host any of the NIMA versions let me know so I can add your mirror to this list)

Note: The username used is "nima" and all passwords are "p@ssw0rd"
32bit VMWare Image - md5sum: 3a67be205c6d880f4b0859730fdadc49

Bittorrent Downloads (please try to use and Seed these torrents) -
VMWare NIMA ver.2 Image (32bit)

SLED10 Addon CD

For those of you who wish to install the NIMA packages onto an existing Suse Linux Enterprise Desktop machine, download my SLED10-SP2 Addon CD, which includes all of the packages I built for NIMA as well as hundreds more packages (including multimedia support).

Updates from version 1

  • All previous tools available on version 1 were updated for version 2
  • NIMA can now be used as a filtering proxy server to share Internet connections
  • NIMA can also be used as a caching DNS server
  • You can now scan remote Windows Shares for viruses (command line tools)
  • Numerous command line utilities have been added
  • Remote access to NIMA using VNC

Personal Note: NIMA version 2 is very useful as an interface for any computer acting as a Firewall/Router for a small network. For more information on setting up a Suse Linux Enterprise Server as a Firewall/Router, check out this chapter from my Deploying Suse Linux Enterprise Server book. Just be aware that some admins consider it a "Risk" to run XWindows on a Firewall machine.

Archived Version - NIMA Virtual Machine version 1 (Gentoo Version)

Download from VMWare's Site (using bittorrent) - this torrent is very well seeded so Downloads are extremely fast.

Download the source code for all the apps included at

NIMA User's Guide

HTML Version - under development

I forgot the ntop password :-0 I updated the manual with instructions on how to reset it. (Thanks Paul).

Thanks to all who are using NIMA.

So far the response is pretty impressive, thanks for all the praise. Also thanks to all who are giving me suggestions.

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