A few years ago, I wanted to try out a free network and system monitoring package so I decided to download and try to setup Nagios. Since I’m no Linux guru, though working with Linux has started to change lately, it took me quite a while to get Nagios setup and configured. After doing so, I finally realized that I had to manually edit text files on the environment, Linux, to configure host monitoring. What a monumental pain! Learning to use VI, then realizing that nano is much easier to use, but still, it took over an hour for me to figure out how to setup monitoring of a single host. As I’ve been running VMware virtualization for years now, setting up and tearing down servers is almost part of my daily life. Configuring monitoring of these servers immediately became a burden I wasn’t willing to undertake.
Then I discovered Groundwork Open Source (GWOS). What a cool package! Not to mention, they have a virtual appliance already setup and configured for free (the community edition).
I downloaded and installed GWOS, which takes the text file editing out of configuring your servers. INCREDIBLE! 🙂 GWOS provides an auto-detect style utility for hosts on your network that can be configured to scan particular subnets. You can then edit the host information if necessary and save the info to the configuration files without having to touch the console. Within an hour or so, I was able to get the appliance converted from its VMware Server / Workstation image, into my ESX environment. Within about that same amount of time, I was able to get the system updated, and configured to monitor my network. Easy…
My network and specific services are now being monitored.
If you’re not aware of what Nagios is, the package that Groundwork Open Source shells, to give you a brief, it monitors hosts and devices in your environment. It can be configured to monitor things by ping, public services like DNS and websites, SNMP, and even WMI. It monitors Linux hosts, Windows hosts, and just about any device that uses SNMP, or can respond to a ping (which is the simplest of scenarios). It also has the ability to send out notifications. I’ve also got it monitoring my ESX environment. 😉
Nagios itself has a pretty small resource requirement, and GWOS doesn’t expand it much but is definitely worth the functionality. I’ve got the 5.2 version running and it is operating beautifully.
This is a full-fledged network monitoring package. If you’re thinking about monitoring your network and systems on it, before you decide to pay for a product, check out the open source community. You may save yourself a lot of money for the same or like functionality.
GWOS has released a version 6 preview, but I haven’t had the chance to play with it.