AW: OS, Hardware, Network - Logging, Monitoring, and Alerting

Tom Quilling tier1 at
Thu Jun 26 09:43:34 UTC 2008

hi jeffrey

I personally prefer hobbit over cacti and nagios

Thomas Quilling
Network, Consulting & Internet Services
Munich / Germany
tier1 at

-----Ursprungliche Nachricht-----
Von: Rev. Jeffrey Paul [mailto:sneak at] 
Gesendet: Donnerstag, 26. Juni 2008 11:22
An: nanog at
Betreff: OS, Hardware, Network - Logging, Monitoring, and Alerting

Hi.  I've a (theoretically) simple problem and I'm wondering how others
solve it.

I've recently deployed ~40 Linux instances on ~20 different Dell blades
and PowerEdges (we're big on virtualization), a few 7204s and 3560s, and
assorted switchable PDUs and whatnot.  

We need to monitor standard things like cpu, memory, disk usage on all
OSes.  This is straightforward with net-snmp.  It would also be cool if
I could monitor more esoteric things, like ntp synchronization status,
i/o statistics, etc.

Other stuff we really need to keep an eye on is hardware - redundant 
PSU status in our 7204s and Dells, temperatures and voltages (one of
our colos in New York peaked at over 40C a few weeks ago, for 
instance), and disk array status (I'd like to know of a failed disk 
in a hardware RAID5 before I get calls about performance issues).  Our
blade chassis have DRACs in them and I think they export this data via
SNMP (I'm trying to avoid the use of SNMP traps), but not all of our
other PowerEdges have the DRACs in them so some of this information may
need to be pulled via IPMI from within the host OS.  Presumably the
Cisco gear makes the temperature available via SNMP.

Finally, service checks - standard stuff (dns, http, https, ssh, smtp).

Now, to the questions.

1) Is SNMP the best way to do this?  Obviously some of the data (service
checks) will need to be collected other ways.

2) Is there any good solution that does both logging/trending of this
data and also notification/monitoring/alerting?  I've used both Nagios
and Cacti in the past, and, due to the number of individual things being
monitored (3-5 items per OS instance, 5-10 items per physical server,
10-50 things per network device), setting them both up independently
seems like a huge pain.  Also, I've never really liked Nagios that much.

I recently entertained the idea of writing a CGI that output all of this
information in a standard format (csv?), distributing and installing it,
collecting it periodically at a central location and doing all the
rrd/notification myself, but then realized that this problem must've
been solved a million times already.

There's got to be a better way.  What do you guys use?

(I'm not opposed to non-free solutions, provided they work better.)


 Rev. Jeffrey Paul    -datavibe-     sneak at
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            "Virtue is its own punishment."

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