SysAdmin to SysAdmin: Service monitoring with Nagios

    Date15 Sep 2004
    3522
    Posted ByAnthony Pell
    Nagios calls itself an "open source host, service and network monitoring program". In reality, though, it's more of a monitoring framework, in that it allows an administrator to quickly fold the one-liners they use to gather information right into the configuration. . . . Nagios calls itself an "open source host, service and network monitoring program". In reality, though, it's more of a monitoring framework, in that it allows an administrator to quickly fold the one-liners they use to gather information right into the configuration. Add to this the numerous plugins available, and you can easily integrate Nagios with monitoring tools you already use, like RRDTool or MRTG.

    First, though, you need to get your head around the way Nagios approaches configuration in general,
    so we'll start there with a relatively simple configuration. To get anything useful out of Nagios, there are four things, at a minimum, that need to be configured. They are hosts, hostgroups, contacts, and services. I'm going to assume that, as administrators, you're as capable of reading the README and INSTALL files that come with Nagios as I am, so I'm not covering installation, and I'm also making the assumption that, once installed, the configuration directory is /etc/nagios. In this directory, there should be sample configuration files to give you an idea of how things work. If not, no worries -- we'll create them.

    The logic behind configuring Nagios is very (almost too) simple. You have hosts, on which presumably run services. Hosts providing the same services can be grouped together into hostgroups for easy summarization in the web front end. Likewise, your organization probably has contacts for the different services. If there's more than one contact for a particular service, you can put these contacts together under an alias or contactgroup. If a machine Nagios monitors goes down or loses a service it's been running, Nagios can be configured to notify the proper contact or group for that host or service.

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