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Network Monitoring with Icinga
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Network Monitoring with Icinga


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Greg Parmer, Information Technology Specialist …

Greg Parmer, Information Technology Specialist
Jonas Bowersock, Information Technology Specialist

Alabama Cooperative Extension System
Auburn University

Published in: Education, Technology, Design
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  • We’ve got over 100 locations, each with VPN connections back to campus.
    We’ve got a few dozen servers…mostly virtual, some physical, some SAN equipment, and lots of services.

    We don’t like surprises.
  • When someone has a connectivity problem, we can usually determine the severity, and pretty much know when it is fixed.
    Coordination of repairs. While something is down, acknowledgments and comments let your team know the current status…and why.
    We have services that are so seldom used that it may be weeks before someone complains if it breaks.
    Good monitors help isolate problems. When you can say, “every connection from this ISP went down at 1am on Sunday” it helps everyone know where to look and reduces ISP’s tendency to blame our equipment.
    Know the MRI machine is down before a patient requires it.
    Ultimately, be able to spend time away, knowing that services are maintained. Jonas wouldn’t share his vacation pics!
  • We used “Big Brother” for years. Like so many other packages, it seemed to be going commercial. We considered buying it, but…how would we expand it? We needed something that could monitor our new Aruba devices/connections which don’t answer a ping (for us as configured by central IT). Google didn’t find a BB plugin.
  • Started as a simple “ping.” Grew into a real monitor. Over 8 million downloads. Nagios is so widely used, and so adaptable that someone had already written a plugin the check Aruba connections. Perfect, almost…
  • Open source communities tend to split when they feel taken advantage of by a commercial entity. A group of folks became very dissatisfied with the service/progress of the Nagios team and created their own project in May 2009.
  • Exact same config files.
    I liked the Icinga UI. Only thing I don’t like is not being able to say “ee-tskee-na”, a zulu word.

    aNag is one of several mobile device apps. See also iNag, Mobile Admin, NagMonDroid, and others. Notice: “Nagios/Luluwatch” is a Nagios install while “Production” is an Icinga install. 100% compatibility thus far.
  • Just about anything! Typical plugin is check_xxxxx.
  • Check_ping is one of the default plugins.
  • We used Notes and Actions used to tie in other databases. Each of those is unique.
    Server notes include a bunch of configuration information. Disk configs, exports, etc.
  • This makes it easy to find things like the office phone number and the ISP.
    We also keep a collections of notes, instructions, and photos for each site. Very useful when troubleshooting remotely via phone.
  • Based on your definitions, you can receive e-mail when something bad happens, or when someone starts working the problem. Here we’ve added Notes and Actions to the email template for ease of use.
  • …your connection is terrible. We fixed that in April! 
  • Transcript

    • 1. NETWORK MONITORING WITH ICINGA Greg Parmer, Information Technology Specialist Jonas Bowersock, Information Technology Specialist Alabama Cooperative Extension System Auburn University
    • 2. Why Monitor? Proactive Administration • Better service • Better coordination • Better inventory of services • To reduce finger pointing • To save lives! • More time for other things…like walks on the beach
    • 3. Others vs Nagios vs Icinga Big Brother • Years of good experiences • Recognized need for Aruba monitor in 2011 • Commercial “professional edition”? • What next? ( n_of_network_monitoring_systems)
    • 4. Others vs Nagios vs Icinga Nagios • 1996 – started by Ethan Galstad • 1999 - released open source project “NetSaint” • 2002 – trademark issues prompted rename to Nagios (“Nagios Ain't Gonna Insist On Sainthood”) • 2007 – Ethan founded Nagios Enterpises LLC • Most downloaded monitoring software • Large, active plug-in community
    • 5. Others vs Nagios vs Icinga Icinga • 2009 - Nagios fork • Open source community project • Many contributors from Nagios project ( show_bug.cgi?id=1054340) • Backward compatible – configs, plug-ins, add-ons • 2014 – Icinga v2 due
    • 6. Nagios & Icinga 2011 - Installed both Nagios and Icinga Ran both from same config files for months 2012 – Use Nagios to monitor Icinga Constant addition of service monitors since (Right: aNag screenshot on Android phone)
    • 7. What To Monitor? Connectivity (check_ping) Websites (check_http) Disk usage (check_disk) CPU usage (check_load) Memory usage (check_swap) Uptime (check_uptime) File size ( File age (check_file_age) File shares (check_file_size) Log files (check_log) Non-standard ports (check_port) Mail (check_smtp, check_mailq,more) DNS (check_dns) Certificate expirations (check_http) Backup software (check_proc) AV software (check_proc) Check on printer (check_snmp) Search: “Nagios plugins”
    • 8. Example Definitions define command{ command_name check-host-alive command_line $USER1$/check_ping -H $HOSTADDRESS$ -w 3000.0,80% -c 5000.0,100% -p 5 } define host{ name generic-switch ; The name of this host template use generic-host ; Inherit default values from the generic-host template check_period 24x7 ; By default, monitored round the clock check_interval 5 ; every 5 minutes retry_interval 2 ; Schedule host check retries at 2 minute intervals max_check_attempts 6 ; Check each switch 6 times (max) check_command check-host-alive ; check if routers are "alive“ (ping) notification_period workhours_sans_au_holidays notification_interval 160 ; Resend notifications notification_options d,f,r,u ; d=dwn,u=unreach,r=recov,f=flap,s=sch dwntm,n=none contact_groups helpdesk-plus register 0 ; DONT REGISTER THIS - ITS JUST A TEMPLATE }
    • 9. Example Definition define host{ use generic-switch ; Inherit default values from a template host_name 4hcenter ; The name we're giving to this switch hostgroups t1s ; Host groups this switch is associated with } define host{ use generic-switch ; Inherit default values from a template host_name chiltonrec ; The name we're giving to this switch hostgroups t1s ; Host groups this switch is associated with } Rinse and repeat…
    • 10. Example Hostgroup Overview Hostgroups
    • 11. Notes and Actions Example define host{ host_name AGITC use generic-arubarap hostgroups x-aruba parents Aruba-Concentrator notes_url action_url }
    • 12. Example Hostgroup Overview Note Action
    • 13. Notifications
    • 14. So you say…
    • 15. Our To Do List Monitoring all websites Monitoring all WordPress installs Monitoring web page load times Monitoring SQL server response times Monitoring bandwidth to remote sites (better ideas?) Monitoring the service which produces the next unexpected phone call
    • 16. Questions? Thoughts? Suggestions? Greg Parmer – parmega (at) Jonas Bowersock – bowerjb (at)