Monday, October 5, 2015

Server monitoring recipe with SNMP: Observium + Nagios


Everyone having at least couple of servers, even a single server, would want to monitor it eventually. Some time ago I used MRTG for all that, but as the needs expanded I could do less and less with it and in the end it even became too complicated to use. MRTG is powerful, yet vulnerable to simple server restarts - you have to remap your pins.


Will jump to it right away: the best option currently is Observium + Nagios. Will tell about the first one in a separate paragraph, it might suffer from an early death some day, but currently its a good tool for the job. I ended up using two tools because Nagios has a very good alerting system, but lacks interfaces and as you probably guessed already Observium has interfaces, but lacks alerting system.


The peckers behind this tool are pretty questionable. Some time ago they had a fundraising campaign to collect some doe and implement an alerting system. After funds were raised - they removed the promised functionality from the Community release and made it part of their paid version. Money is money, but hey, Internet knows everything. Further more I tried to communicate with them on Facebook - all my page messages and comments where removed and all PM's ignored.
Nevermind the folks, their tool is good for one thing - drawing nice charts:


Where Observium fails - Nagios can help. Its an open source project, no need to tell more. It lacks interfaces and historical information (excluding payed plugins and extensions), but it has a powerful alerting system. Just setup a couple of users with emails and you are done:


Nagios allows you to receive an email in the middle of the forest when your backup drive hits a warning limit while Observium helps you analyze and plan you infrastructure, workloads and record historical events. I can now see that admin still hasnt added memory to our webserver and I asked for that a week ago.

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