Network Monitoring with Nagios by Taylor Dondich

Nagios is a network monitor. I use it, and I like it better than others that I’ve tried — BigSister and some nasty Zope-based thing. By “using it,” I mean installing the BSD port and editing the config files in Emacs so that I would get an email when Apache fell over. I figure that there is probably more to Nagios.

Today’s audience poll:
50% use Nagios
10% are C programers
40% use other scripting languages

The presenter is the author of the O’Reilly Nagios book, and also wrote the Groundwork Fruity configuration plugin.

So, Nagios is about state monitoring: What’s about to break? What’s broke?

Can monitor network services (SMTP, POP, HTTP) and host resources (CPU load, disk/memory usage). It also does notification, escalation, has event handlers, and has a web interface.

10% of the audience monitor 100+ hosts; 5% monitor 300+ hosts. I monitor five servers. Apparently, the web UI falls down around several hundred hosts.

The presenter made a point of listing Nagios’ weak points, and said the he wished that other presenters would point out weak points, too. I agree — we seem to focus on features when we talk about open source. The Nagios weak points:

  • initial config
  • scalability
  • web interface
  • notifications/escalations

80% of users in the audience configured Nagios by hand, like me. This is hard! There are better ways:

  • Monarch (Perl)
  • Fruity
  • Nagat

And some recommended viewer plugins:

  • Nagcon (console based)
  • Nagios Checker (Firefox ext)
  • Groundwork Solutions (wrapped)

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