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How To Build a Simple Open Source Server Monitoring Solution With Mobile Support 58

Posted by timothy
from the be-here-now-or-at-least-check-in dept.
reifman writes "Nothing sucks more than finding an 'Error establishing database connection' on your blog hours after the fact, but it's not easy to find inexpensive, simple monitoring solutions which support smartphone notifications. I wrote MonitorApp, a free, open source software applet which sends notifications to your iPhone (or Android) if anything goes wrong with your web site or services. This tutorial describes how to install and configure MonitorApp for your own purposes. The only cost is a $4.99 mobile application called Pushover — which links MonitorApp to your phone. Pushover also links with Nagios, a more complex open source option — but ironically, Nagios' website was down when I looked for it last month."
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How To Build a Simple Open Source Server Monitoring Solution With Mobile Support

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 08, 2013 @04:17PM (#44513395)

    Why reinvent the wheel (and charge for it!) if you can get a more mature and complete solution for free?
    http://www.zabbix.com/

    Mobile integration:
    http://www.zabbix.com/third_party_tools.php

    • by richlv (778496)

      to expand on this, zabbix has built-in email, gsm modem and jabber/xmpp support. of course, it can just run your script to do all kind of magic, too :)

      disclaimer - i'm working on zabbix for a few years now :)

      • by richlv (778496)

        oh, forgot, there's also built-in support for a commercial messaging provider in north america, eztexting

      • zabbix blows goats.

        I tried using zabbix (I do snmp/nms stuff for a living) and zabbix was so non-snmp based and non-snmp friendly, I gave up and didn't look back. no native snmp support or trap support and you have to use old contrib code (not supported) to patch the existing product to get it to be snmp-ready. even then it sucks badly.

        sorry to burst your bubble, but zabbix is just not worth much if you do any snmp-based monitoring. if your nms can't support snmp natively, something is horribly wrong in

        • It seems Zabbix isn't well suited for the use cases you care about. That's fine, but it should be noted that your preference for SNMP-based offerings is far from universal. I've dealt with environments where thousands of systems across several continents were constantly monitored without SNMP, and things worked very well.

          You seem quite interested in forcibly proclaiming your preference for certain modes of monitoring. Are you equally prepared to discuss the security implications [wikipedia.org] of those choices? Are all de

        • by richlv (778496)

          i'm wondering which version that must have been, as zabbix has natively supported snmp since... i might be off by a couple of years here, but 2001 or so.
          snmp trap support was improved with 2.0, which came out more than a year ago.

    • I'll support your suggestion too, I've been installing Zabbix for a lot of my customers, especially since version 2.0 came out it's a really strong product that does everything you could want from a monitoring solution.

      • They are cheap, they support content recognition, are globally disperse, and they have good notification.

        We wrote a simple page that does a DB query and returns "OK" if everything succeeds. Point SiteUptime to that sub-URL and monitor the content for "OK"

    • by lactose99 (71132)

      Seconded, Zabbix with the ZAX Android client works very well in my setup here (sometimes too well, I hate getting alerts at 3am).

    • by reifman (786887)
      Zabbix has a lot of complexity to its configuration process. You also seem to need a paid iOS app to do notifications. http://www.skinkers.com/2010/12/08/zabbix-push-notifications-for-iphone/ [skinkers.com]
      • by richlv (778496) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @07:22PM (#44515577)

        you absolutely do not need any paid component to do notifications. actually, one of the biggest things about zabbix is that it's true opensource - no "open core" or other bullshit, it's all open source. of course, anybody is free to put out some proprietary application, but anything zabbix team does is opensource.

        as for notifications, you can do email, sms, jabber/xmpp and eztexting using the built-in methods, and you can easily extend this without paying for any application

    • by reifman (786887)
      It's easy to find other solutions but most require some paid level of service that quickly escalate if you want notifications or multiple servers: ScoutApp, Pingdom, Copperegg ... Nagios & Zabbix are quite sophisticated but also have a lot of complexity. I built MonitorApp because it's quite simple to monitor any number of servers in an integrated with my iPhone. Compare the screenshots of MonitorApp in this tutorial to Zabbix - http://www.zabbix.com/screenshots.php [zabbix.com]
    • by jon3k (691256)
      Is zabbix really any good? What's the deal with the paid version, is it just support? I'd like some experience from actual users.

      I'm desperately looking for a new NMS. We're using What's Up Gold now and I can't stomach paying them another cent. We've fiddled with Zenoss and OpenNMS and pretty much anything else we can get our hands on.

      Looking for:
      Truly open source
      SNMP performance graphing
      TCP/UDP service monitoring
      ICMP polling
      Interface status monitoring (up/down)

      That's really pretty much all
  • The much cheaper and better option is to just have nagios send something to your phone. This can be done via email, email to sms gateway, jabber, or loads of other simple methods.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The much cheaper and better option is to just have nagios send something to your phone. This can be done via email, email to sms gateway, jabber, or loads of other simple methods.

      This. I am tempted to find out how this pushover app's author is connected to either slashdot or the original submitter, but I won't bother. Its a nice app if you find yourself managing a TON of diverse alerting sources, or if you are trapped in some sort of SMTP black hole, but if not (like this hypothetical case) just have it generate an email instead of taking the time to bother with "yet another app". SMTP is there for you, it's already on your phone, and it works really well (unlike push systems whi

    • or even hobbit (er, I mean xymon).

      xymon is not ultra complex to configure or change (its all simple C code underneath) and we've had good luck using xymon for alerting via email/sms.

      the display is mostly 'idiot lights' that change color, but for monitoring, it gets the job done even though its not sexy.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 08, 2013 @04:22PM (#44513441)

    I will be sure to drop $5 on this pushover app, since certainly "Nothing sucks more than finding an 'Error establishing database connection' on your blog hours after the fact". Yep, not breaking my arm, or getting a speeding ticket, or having to watch my son cry uncontrollably as he get his shots at the doctor. None of those things compares to the thought that my blog was inaccessible for all of its millions of nonexistent readers. Thanks again, SlashNOT.

  • Since last century had been using mobile alerts from nagios and other monitoring systems. How this is something new? And if it requires a running app in your phone, plenty of nagios clients had been available for free for years. If this is a marketing ploy to sell Pushover, is not the brightest one.
  • It's called Prowl. http://www.prowlapp.com/ [prowlapp.com] Simply send an e-mail to a special e-mail address and you'll get a notification on your iPhone. And it's even cheaper than 5 bucks. Topic can be closed.
    • "Simply send an e-mail to a special e-mail address and you'll get a notification on your iPhone."

      What about "simply send an e-mail to *your* e-mail address and you'll get a notification on your mail client, be it desktop, laptop, iPhone, Android or whatever"?

      • The reason for this, is a lot of us want a tiered response level. Email should be something that can wait until you're in the office again. Text and phone calls are for immediate attention 24x7. I've been doing this forever with nagios. You can use service and host escalations so that only critical and down alarms go to your pager address, whereas all notifications go to email.
        • "The reason for this, is a lot of us want a tiered response level."

          Me too.

          "Email should be something that can wait until you're in the office again. Text and phone calls are for immediate attention 24x7"

          Because?

          No, seriously, because?

          It can be argued that SMS/pager *when done properly* and, of course, on fully owned hardware, can be more resilient than email but other than that, it's stupid to say "email should be something that can wait till tomorrow, text is for immediate" action". Please, think a bit ab

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Your solution is not completely free and open if Pushover, which is a key component of the solution, is closed and commercial. Could you arrange an open and free component to replace Pushover?
  • OP should check http://www.nagios.org/ [nagios.org] now. It's up.
  • I have Unagi on my phone and it makes it simple. Yeah it's a bandwidth hog, but a simple and helpful interface.

    BTW the paid product placement is lame.

  • Icinga [icinga.org] is the community-oriented fork of nagios. My experience was: write a c patch for nagios core to fix an annoying behavior (re: alerting correctness), put it up on the nagios list, get no response, a week later get a mail from the icinga dev team saying that the patch is really great and would it be OK if they used it in icinga (not required by license, they were just being polite).

    After maintaining my own private branch of nagios for a while, now I get icinga from rpmforge with the patch already inte

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      It's pretty much the bog standard open source stereotype.

      You really should stop using saying that you utterly fail to understand the meaning of, it just makes you look ignorant.

      • You really should stop using saying that you utterly fail to understand the meaning of, it just makes you look ignorant.

        What ever are you talking about?

  • Seriously?

    How to build blah blah blah ...

    Down load the zabbix or nagios virtual machine, run it, done.

    Why do you have articles about shit that wasn't difficult or new when slashdot fucking started?

    Instead you're just posting stupid slashvertisements from people because you're too ignorant to know the difference between common knowledge and a challenge.

    You need to spend less time worrying about those stupid fucking pointless videos you do and more time understanding that technology is more than a way for you

    • by reifman (786887)
      You sound very frustrated. Seriously, write up the steps for installing Nagios with iOS/Android integration and let's compare solutions. If Nagios can't keep it's own site up, maybe it's not the best solution for people running a blog or just a few sites.
      • nagios and the rest of the so-called free NMS's fall down horribly in terms of features unless you buy the commercial version.

        I hate that!

        our company did an eval of most of the free NMS tools and avoided most of them since the freebie version was mostly just a way to get you to buy the paid-for version. the paid-for versions all look good but we did not want to have to buy stuff.

        we took xymon, added our own poller, trap receiver engine and some other goodies and it did not take too much effort to do that.

        • by reifman (786887)
          I'd much rather pay $5 for an iOS app then break out my C compiler ;)
        • by richlv (778496)

          nagios and the rest of the so-called free NMS's fall down horribly in terms of features unless you buy the commercial version.

          I hate that!

          oh, i'd hate as well... but to shamelessly plug zabbix again, it is true opensource - no closed components, plugins, enterprise versions, "pro" addons... what you get on sourceforge is what everybody else gets.

          not that zabbix wouldn't benefit from more built-in features, but at least it's not an attempt at the "first shot is free" business model :)

  • I think people missed my point partly - for people that only run a blog or a few web sites, Nagios is complete overkill and it would take a long time to set up, figure out how to use and the steps I've seen for iOS integration are not simple. Ditto for Zabbix. I think if you really write out the steps for installing and configuring these tools to meet this scenario, your solution is way more cumbersome than this one. MonitorApp is a pretty simple solution with an app that can be easily customized (it's PHP
    • Why would nagios or zabbix be overkill if your product still requires a 3rd party server to set stuff up? I'm sure you could find some service that would monitor your blog (or whatever publicly accessible service) and alert you if it's broken on the internet. Come to think of it, by sending you an ad in the alert message, you may even set up a business making this "free" for the user of the service. It's probably done already, if not, feel free to use the idea.
    • by Culture20 (968837)
      If you're just running a blog, a simple cron script polling your blog with ping and wget or curl would be cheaper. Notify yourself via SMS or email. No cost.
      • by reifman (786887)
        that's what this is - it's just more robust than a 5 line script ... and therefore allows you to monitor any number of pages and sites. and honestly - $5 = no cost to me. It's when you start talking about $18/mo fees for this that I start to say, what?
  • Why not just use nagios or other monitor program and set up SMS notifications? If you're already paying for texting, then no need for some silly $5 app. You can use nagios' features from your phone's browser after connecting to your VPN.

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