Monitoring Your Servers for Free (Part 4)

It has certainly been a month of monitoring blog posts over here! I have been running a little behind schedule thanks to this chest cold I caught, however I’m on my way to recovery and with a little coffee and determination we’ll get back to it! This post will be the epic conclusion of our monitoring your servers for free series. For this demonstration we will use the Turn Key Linux virtual appliance for Observium built on top of Debian Wheezy. If you’d like to install Observium on your RHEL or CentOS server, instructions can be found at http://www.observium.org/wiki/RHEL_Installation

 

 

Download & Deploy TurnKey Linux Observium Virtual Appliance

To download the appliance visit http://www.turnkeylinux.org/observium. You will have several choices as to what format you want to download the appliance in. If you are using Hyper-V I would recommend using the ISO, however since I will be using VMware ESXi 5.5 we will download the OVA template. Once it’s downloaded to your local machine follow the steps below:

  1. Unzip the OVA template
  2. Open vSphere client and click File>Deploy OVF Template
  3. In the Deploy OVF Template wizard click Browse and point to the OVF template you unzipped
  4. Proceed through the remaining steps in the wizard customizing as appropriate for your environment
  5. Power on the Turnkey VM and open the console
  6. Proceed through the setup wizard for the virtual appliance

 

Prepare Windows Servers for Observium

Before we can begin reporting data to Observium, we must first ensure that we have enabled SNMP. This can either be done through server manager using the add roles/features wizard. In addition you will need to ensure that the hostname the servers you’re monitoring can be resolved Observium, this may require entries into your local DNS server if DNS entries do not already exist, or entries into the /etc/hosts on the Observium server.

  1. Install SNMP (see above)
  2. Restart the Server (the SNMP options needed aren’t active until after reboot)
  3. Open Services (run command: services.msc)
  4. Double click the SNMP service
  5. Click the Security Tab
  6. Add a community name (ie: Observe)
  7. Add the IP of the Observium server to the “Accept SNMP packets from these hosts” list
  8. Open a browser and navigate to your Observium server’s web page and login
  9. Under the devices menu choose add device
  10. Provide the hostname
  11. Choose SNMP v1
  12. Enter SNMP community name set in step 6 and click add device
  13. Wait a few minutes for Observium to begin collecting data on your new server

 

Monitoring Linux Servers and Cisco Equipment

While I typically use New Relic for Linux monitoring, Observium has published instructions for adding Linux servers. Additionally there are also instructions available for adding Cisco switches and firewalls. Again the gotcha here is that A records must exist in local DNS or entries must be created in /etc/hosts on the Observium server, as all devices are managed by hostname not by IP.

Linux: http://www.observium.org/wiki/NetSNMPd_Client_Configuration

Cisco: http://www.observium.org/wiki/Cisco_IOS_SNMP_Configuration

 

Video

Coming Soon!

Installing VMware vSphere Client on a DC

Despite the fact that installing the VMware vSphere client on a Domain Controller is not best practice, there are practical applications. Some IT admins that work with remote offices may have standalone ESXI hosts at those office that may not be managed by a vCenter server. Another scenario is that a DR site may have a separate vCenter server/cluster, where the host may only have a DC and a backup/replication server(s) running at any given time. In vSphere 5.5 VMware disabled the ability to install the vSphere client on Domain Controllers (see the error message below), however there is a method to get around this.

vSphereDCInstallError

Solution:

  1. Download the vSphere client on your DC
  2. open an elevated command prompt window
  3. cd to the directory containing the installer (ex: C:UsersAdministratorDownloads
  4. run the following command VMware-viclient-all-5.5.0-1618071.exe /VSKIP_OS_CHECKS=”1″ (note the name of your installer may vary based on the version/build you are installing)
  5. Go get yourself a cup of coffee and wait for vSphere to install (depending on the speed of your server and storage this can take up to 10 minutes).

 

Video: