[nycbug-talk] Nagios or...?

Charles Sprickman spork at bway.net
Tue Jun 24 02:08:48 EDT 2008

Talking to myself yet again (I told all this to the dog, but he showed  
a distinct lack of interest in the subject) in a top-post, I'll share  
a bit more info since I just cut over to Nagios 3.0.2 tonight.

Moving the configs was actually quite simple.  Looking at what was new  
and cleaning up the old configs to make everything clearer and to  
split config items into more appropriately-named object files was time- 
consuming, but well worth the work since the setup is much easier for  
me or anyone else looking at it to follow.  The embedded perl  
interpreter and some of my plugins still don't get along, but I can  
live with that.

ZenOSS is still in the jail, but I have not touched it in weeks.

One unexpected bonus that ZenOSS motivated me to find was a graphing  
add-on.  I like the idea of finding some service failing and being  
able to jump right to a number of graphs for that host - load, service  
response times, etc.  When troubleshooting it's nice to have as much  
data as possible.  After digging around a bit and even trying  
nagiosgraph for a bit, I installed "PNP4Nagios".  It is amazing, works  
as promised, and getting all the basics going is very easy compared to  
the other graphing add-ons I found.  I highly recommend anyone running  
Nagios 2.x or 3.x have a look at it.  The one big hint is to replace  
"check_ping" with "check_icmp" in your commands.cfg.  The latter gives  
performance data output which is necessary for pnp4nagios.

Here's the PNP4Nagios site:  http://www.pnp4nagios.org/pnp/start

Now it's time to evaluate some of my other plugins and see what's new  
and exciting at nagiosexchange...


On Jun 2, 2008, at 11:04 PM, Charles Sprickman wrote:

> I shall top-post my reply to myself...
> Short story:
> -ZenOSS looks interesting, I may keep it around and slowly populate  
> it with more devices and services and see if it grows on me.
> -Nagios 3 seems like it will be much quicker to setup and I don't  
> have to fiddle with any custom plugins I've created (temperature  
> sensors for the $35 sensor kits, UPS status, various snmp-y router  
> things).  I can re-use more of the existing config than I thought.
> Long story:
> I'm always a little bit leery about any open source projects that  
> have both a free/"community" edition as well as a paid/"enterprise"  
> edition.  I understand people have to eat and all, but I'm just not  
> comfortable with it unless the project is really well-established.   
> ZenOSS does look good and it's more advanced than Nagios.  The web- 
> driven config might drive me batty, but I'm not sure that's the only  
> way to configure it - the manual is huge and I've only been hunting  
> through there briefly.
> ZenOSS is also terribly Linux-biased; just installing it on FreeBSD  
> is more of a pain in the ass than is necessary.  They bundle in  
> their own dependencies (Python, mysql libs, graphics libs, rrdtool,  
> the whole mess) and build those.  To build on FreeBSD (and likely  
> other things non-linux) you have to let the lengthy build process  
> bomb and then google for errors and find really old posts from other  
> *BSD users pointing out bad linker flags, including the wrong  
> headers, etc. - these answers are generally in their own forums, but  
> some of the answers sit there for release after release and only get  
> integrated into FAQs but not fixed in the actual software.  The  
> monitoring also omits all *BSDs but does of course include Windows  
> and even Solaris hosts (ie: presets for various snmp items, power  
> management stuff, etc.).
> As I said, I will continue to fiddle with it and see what I come up  
> with - it will take a long time to replicate what I should be able  
> to do with nagios with an hour here or there.
> Nagios 3 still looks very much like Nagios 1.  Same web interface,  
> but it seems like the config model has gotten better and even easier  
> to script. There still seems to be talk of replacing the cgi's with  
> php at some point in the future.  I like that not because I'm a huge  
> fan of php, but because I know enough of it to be able to hack it up  
> - something I can't do with cgi's written in C.  No graphing built- 
> in, but I'm just starting to figure out which of the add-on packages  
> is most apropos.  The only thing I'm currently after with graphing  
> is to have something to refer to after some event - being able to  
> look at trends is always very helpful when troubleshooting.  Of  
> course ZenOSS does have very nice graphing out of the box.
> That's about it...  One other thing I'd like to share is how I setup  
> a test environment for this stuff.  Everything I monitor is pretty  
> well locked-down with host-based firewalls.  I did not want to put  
> ZenOSS nor a newer Nagios on the same host that's currently  
> monitoring everything - cleaning up dependencies that were installed  
> for testing, trying to get two different versions of Nagios working  
> side-by-side, and the general confusion that could ensue was not  
> something I wanted to deal with.  I also didn't want to start  
> changing cisco access-lists and firewall rules on a bunch of hosts  
> to allow another host in for monitoring.  Solution (yo, Ike!): Jails!
> I put a jail on my monitoring host and installed both new packages  
> there. That solved all the above problems.  The jail is NAT'd, so  
> requests from the jail appear to come from the utility box.  The  
> jail environment is clean so I can keep track of what exactly has  
> been installed and there's no conflicts with existing software.   
> Here's just a few snippets of the pf rules to make the NAT magic  
> happen:
> # is the jail IP
> # test jail nat
> nat on $ext_if inet proto { tcp, udp, icmp } from to  
> any -> x.x.x.x # ext. IP
> # two redirects to get to ZenOSS and Nagios web interfaces
> rdr on $ext_if proto tcp from any to x.x.x.x port 8080 ->  
> port 8080
> rdr on $ext_if proto tcp from any to x.x.x.x port 8090 ->  
> port 80
> # rules to allow the redirected traffic
> pass in quick on $ext_if proto tcp from <admin> to any port 8080  
> flags S/SA keep state
> pass in quick on $ext_if proto tcp from <admin> to any port 8090  
> flags S/SA keep state
> Quick and dirty, but it works.
> Thanks again for all the input!
> Charles
> On Wed, 28 May 2008, Charles Sprickman wrote:
>> Hi all,
>> I've still got some old (1.x) Nagios installs that basically work,  
>> but
>> have become a bit quirky.  I started looking for info on upgrading  
>> and it
>> seems like the easiest path they've got is to start from scratch on  
>> the
>> new version.  Since even that is a fair bit of work, I'm wondering  
>> what
>> else is out there that's comparable.
>> Quite some time ago I installed Zabbix and it was a good example of  
>> what I
>> do not want.  It was pretty much web-only config which was an  
>> extremely
>> inefficient way to enter more than a handful of devices.
>> Something that would integrate graphing of some monitored items,  
>> ability
>> to export usage stats on some monitored services to billing, and some
>> pre-made/clonable templates for common devices/services would be my
>> pie in the sky solution. :)
>> Thanks,
>> Charles
>> ___
>> Charles Sprickman
>> NetEng/SysAdmin
>> Bway.net - New York's Best Internet - www.bway.net
>> spork at bway.net - 212.655.9344
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