Nagios Core for N00bs Part 1 – What Why Where and How?

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Over the last few months I have been building a Nagios setup from the ground up, pulling information from all over the internet to build something that suited my company’s needs. To give you an idea of what was required going in, this is what was asked by the powers that be:

  • Free
  • Visibility of all networking equipment, servers and services running on those servers.
  • Monitoring of open sockets for proprietary applications we were running on said servers.
  • Email and SMS notifications when services dropped
  • Seeing all this, in one place at one time (Nice big 70″ TV)

As you can see requirements were pretty specific and the big caveat was not spending any money. Over a couple of days hitting up various sites, trialling a couple pieces of software I ended up at Nagios Core. The intro to the product pretty much says it all:

Achieve instant awareness of IT infrastructure problems, so downtime doesn’t adversely affect your business.

Nagios offers complete monitoring and alerting for servers, switches, applications, and services.

I had sufficient resources on our internal ESXi box to provision an Ubuntu server, 2 CPU’s and 4GB of RAM at the get go. Seemed like a valid starting point so why not?

So this is how it is going to go. Taking brain dump to heart I will be posting an ongoing series of articles on how to build a Nagios server from the ground up in nice bite size chunks.

I am not going to assume any prior Linux knowledge beyond you can install it in a VM (which is pretty much what I had going in).

If there is any particular areas of Nagios you would want covered please let me know! Next part will cover basic installation.

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  1. Abx August 20, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    Looking forward to the articles

  2. Jeff Newman August 21, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    Looking forward here too. Have downloaded a Icinga virtual appliance to play with. (Icinga is a fork of Nagios.)

    Have given up on Spiceworks for managing my environment.

  3. Shane Plunkett August 21, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    Hey Jeff, Spiceworks is good for end user machine monitoring. I still think their server monitoring capabilities leave a bit to be desired.

    I personally use both to get good coverage at all levels.

  4. Chris Barnes August 28, 2014 at 9:16 am

    I love love LOVE Nagios. I’ve been using it for ~8 years now and even though I don’t use it to it’s full capacity I can tell you it’s saved my butt MANY times just by alerting me that a ping isn’t replying or a service has stopped.

    My latest Nagios trek had me exploring parent/child relationships. For instance: if I’m monitoring a switch and I’m monitoring 5 servers connected to that switch and the switch goes down you get alerts for the switch and the 5 servers connected to it. With parent/child relationships you can identify the switch as the problem with “down” alerts and then the servers appear as “unreachable” instead of down.

    This reduces the email alert overload and helps you quicker identify what the problem really is.

    Enjoy Nagios and I look forward to reading about your adventure!

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