Monitoring systems with Icinga (Nagios)

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Icinga is a popular, open source, enterprise IT infrastructure monitoring system that can monitor almost everything. It is able to notify the user and generate reports.

By the way the weird name comes from the Zulu language, it means to look forbrowseexamine.

Icinga is a Nagios fork, here is the difference: link. (The features the community did not like have been improved.) Due to its nature as a fork the Nagios configuration files, add-ons and plugins work properly, you can easily migrate. The fork includes patches and new features requested by the community that are missing from Nagios.

It’s job is to check preset services, quantify them and compare the results to predetermined limits, to get the current status of the service. If the result exceeds the preset limit, it performs a set of tasks: e.g.: send a notification to the responsible person or run a program. Icinga can send emails, SMS text messages or even a custom notification method is possible.

You can monitor network services (SMTP, HTTP, HTTPS, PING, etc.), host resources (CPU load, disk usage, etc.) and other components that are available through the network (for instance via SNMP).

The new web interface

The new web interface

Icinga comes with tons of plugins by default. In case you can’t find the one you are looking for, you can easily write your own, that suits your needs. You will need a webserver to access the software. This can be Apache (of course 🙂 ), Lighttpd, Nginx, etc.

The classic (old) web interface

The classic (old) web interface

If you wish to monitor hosts resources remotely, NRPE (Nagios Remote Plugin Executor) is a good choice. You can create a tree of Icinga servers: first the lower level servers do the actual checks on their internal networks (or subnets which can’t communicate), then the results are sent to the higher level server, which finally accepts those offline check results. Doing so you only have to take a look at one server and have a full overview. (Not to mention load balancing.)

A tree network

A tree network

As a summary if you have an infrastructure that has no frequent changes I would highly recommend using Icinga (or Nagios).

You can try the classic web interface here or the new one here.

References:

  • https://www.icinga.org/
  • http://www.nagios.org/
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nagios
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Icinga

Author

Ujvary Patrick

Former sysadmin in a high school. Student of a technical university. ujvary.patrick@gmail.com

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1 Comment

  1. James July 9, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    Really appreciate your different screen shots. Thanks for this informative write up.

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