Infrastructure and Network Monitoring

At 3am in the morning my first reaction to text messages, emails and phone calls about problems with client servers or networking issues is rarely one of appreciation. But that changes when the ability to react to minor concerns early, prevents embarrassing and major compensation repercussions later. I cannot imagine my world without monitoring.

My first crush was with Nagios Core. (See the feature banner at the top of this post – a screenshot from Nagios back in 2009). Thank you good ol’ Wikipedia for succinctly putting it:

Nagios /ˈnɑːɡiːoʊs/ is an open source computer system monitoring, network monitoring and infrastructure monitoring software application. –

The key selling factors for me was that it was open source, incredibly well documented, boasted more plugins than I could count, it was easy to write my own plugins in whatever language I preferred, and there were fantastic addons such as NRPE, NSClient++, pnp4nagios and CoffeeSaint to name a few of my favourites.

My faith in Nagios Core was unwavering, but I became frustrated in some of the limitations it came with. Simple improvements like bulk actions, API and extensions to the configuration files – but nothing changed. Infact, efforts seem to be directed into their paid enterprise options whereas I was only interested in open source.

Icinga's web interface makes bulk options painless.

Icinga’s web interface makes bulk options painless.

But then something happened that changed everything for me in the scheme of monitoring. An ex-colleague and friend, suggested I take a look at “Icinga”.

Icinga is a fork of Nagios and is backward compatible. So, Nagios configurations, plugins and addons can all be used with Icinga. Though Icinga retains all the existing features of its predecessor, it builds on them to add many long awaited patches and features requested by the user community. –

The above paragraph from the front page of the Icinga website is when I started plans to install and evaluate. The usability experience is superior, native IPv6 support, IP-less host support, extended configuration options, fully documented API and most importantly a roadmap for future development!

Icinga Status Overview

The powerful and dynamic, open source infrastructure monitoring system I fell so in love with has been rejuvenated, boasts new features and plans on only getting better. If I’m asked what I use to monitor my servers – I now proudly tell people Icinga.

Icinga Network Monitoring ebook

New Icinga Network Monitoring e-book

Monitoring with Nagios and Icinga is something I have been intending to write about since 2009 but I’ve never been sure where to start. Which is why I was both delighted and honored to be asked by Packt Publishing to review a new book titled Icinga Network Monitoring. The book cover page has that stereotypical “Packt” type photograph and layout – completely unrelated to the book topic – but instantly recognisable as fantastic educational resources you see sitting around an office like mine. (I’ll ask them about the photographs and let you know.)

I’ve not read any books by the author Viranch Mehta before, but I can see his background in Linux, system administration and open source projects make him a notable authority on the topic of monitoring using Icinga.

I’ll be reviewing the Icinga Network Monitoring book this month and plan to release a review next month. If you can’t wait until then – you can download a free chapter (see “Sample Chapter”) and let me know your thoughts.

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