Big Nagios is watching you

If you have any responsibility for managing servers for your organisation, you should be using Nagios.

Nagi-what, I hear you ask. Nagios, I say. Nagios is a very rich, open source network and server monitoring utility which runs on Linux and is saving our arse big-time.

Several months ago, we shifted all our servers to a new host. At the time, we were assured they were equipped to monitor everything we wanted. Turns out, they can’t.

So, I’ve grabbed an old box (Celeron 700, 128Mb RAM, 20Gb HDD) here at work, installed Fedora Core 2, Nagios, WebMIN and NagMIN, slotted it into the rack on our floor and now I’m within a couple of days of having full, 24×7 monitoring of our development and production environments.

We’re monitoring pretty much everything you’d care to name in our development environment – CPU, disk space, processes, memory use, HTTP, ColdFusion, blahblahblahblahblah – we intend to do the same in production.

Configuring Nagios is something of a pain, even with its excellent doco, unless you’re really happy using vi (which I loathe). Thus the install of NagMIN. It’s a WebMIN module which allows you to store your config in a MySQL db and update on the fly. Very sweet (despite NagMIN’s ordinary doco).

I’m a little way off on the production machines – they’re physically in Sydney (I’m in Canberra), and through several firewalls which block everything. I think I’m going to have to install NRPE-NT to get more meaningful data from the remote, production boxen.

We have email and SMS notifications being generated off alerts, so we can be informed of problems 24×7 – and then escalate those issues to our Service Desk and management at appropriate times. Very sweet.

I’d appreciate any feedback from other Nagios users on way’s they’re using their installs, especially as far as things like host and service escalations are concerned.

9 Replies to “Big Nagios is watching you”

  1. Thanks for the tips, Trib. I’m definitely going to check out Nagios and the other tools you mentioned. Since making the switch to Linux-based ColdFusion-ing this is just what I was looking for.

  2. Hi,
    what version of NagMin did you install?
    Where did you get the install info?

    I installed it, following to the poor documentation, but NagMin is not able to login to the MySQL database.

    Any idea?

    Thanks.

  3. Yes, The NagMIN doco is WAY behind. I’ve made a couple of offers to update it to the boards at SourceForge, but I’ve had no reply. Disappointing.
    I’m using the latest NagMIN. I think the problem you’re having is almost certainly related to db access by your NagMIN user. Get that right and everything should be sweet.

  4. If you are able to use webmin to log directly into MySQL from the MySQL icon then your problem is that you must go into Webmin -> Servers -> Nagmin -> Module Config (this is a tab to be clicked on). Make the necessary change to the item login and Administration password. Save the change and you should be able to log into MySQL with any problems.

  5. Nathan, very late. But you’ve caught me early on a Saturday morning, so I’m in a good mood. ;)
    Sure, I’d love to help. I’ve noticed my stats lately seem to have a fair few visitors to this post, searching for “coldfusion nagios”, so it’s probably something I could write an article on. Email me offline (trib at stephencollins dot org) and we’ll see if we can’t get it happening.

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