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TheOne Server Monitor
By: Anthony Sullivan
Few things are more infuriating to a developer or IT person than finding out a production server is down and has been for hours or days without you knowing it. But as annoying as that is, it really never occurred to me to run a monitor to check it until recently, when my Web server was down for a couple of days.
Now I’m on the hunt for a good monitor to keep me aware of my server status. Which brings me to TheOne. No, not Neo. TheOne Server Monitor.
You can download your own copy of TheOne Server Monitor from the TechRepublic Software Library.
Upon loading TheOne for the first time, we see this screen. We need to configure and add services to be monitored before it will be any use to us.
Did you notice the typo in the tab name? Sloppy.
There is nothing to mess with on this screen. I just wanted to point out the typo. You can change these settings but they should be fine for most users.
Alarm Msg Backup
Here are some more logging settings. This specifies where the app will store logs of the alarms it sends.
Alarming Options, SMS - SMPP
I’m impressed by the number of options for sending out alerts. This product is relatively inexpensive at $39.00 and seems to have pretty full-featured functionality.
Here we have the options for configuring an SMS message alert system. SMS can send up to 160 characters to a phone, Blackberry or other SMS-enabled device.
E-mail - SMTP
E-mail alerts are a no-brainer for this type of application. Via e-mail, you can get a more detailed description of the problem as well. Regardless of the alarm option you choose, you will probably use to receive e-mail alerts as well.
SMS by HTTP
Much like in the other SMS options screen, you can configure an SMS message to be sent via http.
I wasn’t able to test this, but I wonder if it works with all providers. This essentially spoofs an http post to a website.
You can post your messages to a central BSD Syslog server. This is handy if you already use a BSD Syslog server in your environment for distribution of other information.
SNMP is a protocol that allows the exchange of information between network devices.
Using this tool, you can report a server condition via SNMP to other devices on your network.
Pager - SNPP
Simple Network Paging Protocol or SNPP is used to send pages via the Internet rather than having to actually dial up.
This is very similar to SMS in that your message length is limited.
Set up New Service
After all that configuring, we can now set up a service to be monitored.
Since the monitors are service-based, you can be alerted when a particular service stops responding as well as when a server itself fails.
Click Next to continue.
Unless you are running hundreds of services on dozens of servers, the bandwidth required for this monitoring process is minimal. For that reason, you will probably want to poll by the minute rather than by the hour or daily.
Each of the options has additional options similar to those of the daily. In this case we choose how many minute intervals to wait between checks.
There are a lot of options to describe the service type you are going to monitor. You can change the service type from the drop-down menu at the top of this screen.
For this test, we’re going to do a simple ping. But first, let’s look at the most complex of server monitoring profiles, URL.
On the URL tab we can specify a Web site, port, post method, and time-outs. You can also add specific header fields to the post as needed.
Authentication and Proxy
On this tab, you can specify a proxy to use to connect to the URL. This is handy if you are in a locked-down, corporate environment.
These settings tell the monitor what to accept as response types.
Again, these settings probably aren’t changed often, but having them available for specific situations make this product more robust.
As you can see from the drop-down menu, you can monitor a number of types of services. To monitor services that aren’t listed, you can retrofit the telnet option to fit just about any TCP-IP service.
We are going to set up a simple ping monitor, so I’ll choose Ping from the list.
At the end of each setup, you are given the option to test the profile. I recommend doing this, to ensure you’ve set it up properly.
My profile tested with no problem.
What to do if it fails...
Finally, we have to tell the monitor what to do if the profile fails a check.
For some types of errors, such as a ping, you might not want to fail the profile until it has received a number of consecutive errors.
This is also where you configure what alerts TheOne will send out in case of a failure.
You can also configure the monitor to alert you when it has recovered from its error, i.e. a successful check.
Click Next and Finish to complete the setup.
TheOne Server Monitor
This is what it looks like when it is doing its work. It may not be very exciting, but it works like a charm.
I was very impressed with this product in most respects. It has a robust monitoring system and numerous alarming options.
For the price I’m not sure you can do better than TheOne. It is the one, after all.
TheOne Server Monitor is certainly the Right Tool for the job.