monitoring tools

Bill Nash billn at
Thu Nov 1 16:18:26 UTC 2007

On Wed, 31 Oct 2007, Bill Fenner wrote:

> On 10/30/07, Nesser, Phil <nesser at> wrote:
> > 2.  Open Source Tools that you use or would recommend (I know the obvious smokeping, mrtg, nagios).
> I don't see netdisco mentioned in this space very much, but I
> recommend it for the "what is plugged into what" question - both in an
> enterprise environment ("where is this misbehaving MAC address?") and
> a data center ("which port was that server plugged into on the
> switch?").

Anecdotal evidence of the usefulness of such tools:

The environment was a pair of cat6509s running multiple gigabit 
etherchannel crossconnects, with lots of gigabit and 100mbit servers on 
either side, talking back and forth to each other, or up the stick to the 
egress routers. I was building an inventory tool to help me track down 
mislabelled or unlabelled ports, to clean up and audit the device 
inventory. I notice one lonely 100 meg port bridging a large number of MAC 
addresses that were homed on the *other* 6509. I mentioned it as odd in 
passing to the network engineer, and was advised that my tool was probably 
broken. I took it under advisement and when on about my business.

A few hours later, I discovered that I could make the sysadmins and 
network engineers run around asking each other what was broken by scp'ing 
a huge file between two databases on opposite switches. When I stopped my 
transfer, they stopped running. Start it again, panic at the disco. Very 

I brought up the 100 meg port bridging all those addresses, and lo an 
behold, a misconfigured load balancer had somehow suborned the multi-gig 
etherchannel crossconnects and was bridging everything in the one big vlan 
that all the servers sat in. (That's a different story.)

- billn

More information about the NANOG mailing list