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Monitoring your network

May 26, 2013 , 11:44 pm


    Monitoring automatically your web server allows you to be alerted anytime the server “goes down” or when there are some serious performance issues with it. This is crucial especially when you run a commercial business online and your business depends on the ability of your web visitors to access your content without hindrance.

A Web Host has to actively monitor all the services running on each of its Internet Servers. Customers assume that the services advertised by the host are available 24/7, and hence Internet servers monitoring takes a high priority in the Web Hosting business world. A Web Host can be sure that all promises are being kept through an effective server monitoring system.

What kind of monitoring is to be done

1.  Website Uptime Monitoring : Ensure your websites and servers are up and running well across the world.

2.  Monitor web applications : Keep track of the performance of multi-step web applications or business transactions.

3.  Monitor DNS servers : Ensure your DNS server is up and running and resolving domain names correctly.

4.  Server monitoring : Monitor uptime and performance of servers and desktops running critical applications.

5.  Receive instant alerts : Be the first to know if there are problems. React quickly before your users are affected.

6.  Mail server monitoring : Check the performance of your email servers and calculate email round-trip time.

7.  Website monitoring reports : Gain useful insight into website and server performance and observe possible trends.

 

There are a bunch monitoring tools available. Online monitoring tools as well as software’s that can be installed on servers . A software installed on one server which can remotely monitor your Internet servers becomes the best solution. There are Commercial and Free options. Lets take a look at few of them

Online monitoring tools

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Softwares that can be installed on servers for monitoring

1.  Zabbix

  Zabbix is the ultimate open source availability and performance monitoring solution. Zabbix offers advanced monitoring, alerting, and visualization features today which are missing in other monitoring systems, even some of the best commercial ones.

features available in Zabbix:

 auto-discovery of servers and network devices

low-level discovery

distributed monitoring with centralized web administration

support for both polling and trapping mechanisms

server software for Linux, Solaris, HP-UX, AIX, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, OS X

native high performance agents (client software for Linux, Solaris, HP-UX, AIX, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, OS X, Tru64/OSF1, Windows NT4.0, Windows 2000, Windows 2003, Windows XP, Windows Vista)

agent-less monitoring

secure user authentication

flexible user permissions

web-based interface

flexible e-mail notification of predefined events

high-level (business) view of monitored resources

audit log

Hardware and software requirements

The ZABBIX Server requires the following system resources:

Resource Minimum Recommended
Disk space 10 MB 100 MB
RAM 64 MB 256 MB
CPU Pentium Pentium IV or equivalent

Supported platforms

 

ZABBIX software runs on:

Platform ZABBIX Server ZABBIX Agent
AIX Supported Supported
FreeBSD Supported Supported
HP-UX Supported Supported
Linux Supported Supported
Mac OS X Supported Supported
Novell Netware Supported
Open BSD Supported Supported
SCO Open Server Supported Supported
Solaris Supported Supported
Tru64/OSF Supported Supported
Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows 2003, Windows XP, Windows Vista Supported

ZABBIX Agent is not required for monitoring of external network services such as FTP, SSH, HTTP, DNS, LDAP, etc.

2.  Nagios

  Nagios is an efficient tool for network and system monitoring. However, first install and configuration is pretty intricate since it requires to understand a major part of the official documentation (250 pages). This tutorial is for ones who want to quickly build a working configuration so as to monitor simple networks including NFSv4 clients and servers. This guide goes through installation and basic configuration of Nagios.

With Nagios you can:

Monitor your entire IT infrastructure

Monitoring of host resources

Monitoring of anything else like probes (temperature, alarms…) which have the ability to send collected data via a network to specifically written plugins

Monitoring via remotely-run scripts via Nagios Remote Plugin Executor

Remote monitoring supported through SSH or SSL encrypted tunnels.

Spot problems before they occur

Know immediately when problems arise

Share availability data with stakeholders

Detect security breaches

Plan and budget for IT upgrades

Reduce downtime and business losses

An optional web-interface for viewing current network status, notifications, problem history, log files, etc

Data storage via text files rather than database

System Requirements

The only requirement of running Nagios Core is a machine running Linux (or UNIX variant) that has network access and a C compiler installed (if installing from source code). You are not required to use the CGIs included with Nagios Core. However, if you do decide to use them, you will need to have the following software installed…

1.   A web server (preferrably Apache)

2.   Thomas Boutell’s gd library version 1.6.3 or higher (required by the statusmap and trends CGIs)

Supported Platforms

Nagios packages are bundled with and available for several operating system distributions and security packages, including the ones below.

Platform Nagios XI Nagios Core
Ubuntu Supported Supported
Fedora Supported Supported
Suse Supported Supported
Debian Supported Supported
Mandriva Supported Supported
Dragon Fly BSD Supported Supported
Free BSD Supported Supported
Net BSD Supported Supported
Open BSD Supported Supported
Alt linux Supported Supported
Gentoo Supported Supported
Skolinux Supported Supported
Network Security tool kit Supported Supported
PLD Linux Supported Supported
Univention Supported Supported
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