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

Adam Armstrong lists at memetic.org
Fri Jun 27 12:50:50 CDT 2008


Mike wrote:
> you can do most of this with Cacti out of the box.  you can also add
> the thold and monitoring plugins to get the additional things you
> need.  Cacti mainly uses SNMP but you can also use external scripts to
> gather information.  It does have future trending capabilities (that i
> am aware of) but can evaluate against baseline thresholds using the
> thold plugin.
>
> The Cacti community has created templates and add-ons for the most
> common network vendors and system types.
>   
Cacti does graphs, but it's really just not useful enough to me. Neither 
was Nagios (on top of being a nightmare to configure). I found similar 
issues with other similarish solutions such as OpenNMS and JFFNMS. I 
generally used Cricket with the config-generation tool for graphing 
devices and ports, Cacti was prettier, but IMO slightly more complex 
than necessary.

Observer is intended to be autodiscovering, with as little manually 
configured as possible. This has made a few things quite hard to do 
properly, like alerting. It was written firstly to discover the network, 
secondly to graph and log it, and thirdly to alert you when it breaks. 
Unfortunately it turns out that i can't get my head around the alerting 
bit, so it remains a little unfinished!

My personal opinion is that all of the FOSS NMS solutions are sorely 
disappointing, Observer included. It seems to be something that no one 
has quite gotten right yet!

Adam.

> On Fri, Jun 27, 2008 at 11:42 AM, Adam Armstrong <lists at memetic.org> wrote:
>   
>> Rev. Jeffrey Paul wrote:
>>     
>>> 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,
>>> then
>>> 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 wrote an NMS to do something along these lines. It's focussed more towards
>> graphing than alerting. It knows where to find Dell/Cisco temperature
>> monitors via SNMP and will keep track of  hardware and OS types/versions.
>> It's probably still not really ready for general consumption, but if you
>> think it would be useful to you, give me a shout and I'll see if I can help
>> you make it work properly for you.
>>
>> http://www.project-observer.org
>>
>> I wrote it mostly due to my own absolute hatred of Nagios and disappointment
>> at the other NMSes around (where are the asthetics?)! :)
>>
>> Thanks,
>> adam.
>>
>>
>>     





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