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Server monitoring tools

Posted on 2007-11-27
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2016-10-28
I need to monitor two locations, each location has about 10 servers each, almost all of them is windows 2003 server, the services i need to monitor is
Exchange server
Blackberry enterprise server
Print server
File server
Network connectivity.

Basically i would like my setup like this, one box on the home network, the box is connected both to internal network and to a backup external internet connection.  To email and sms various groups or individual users. Monitor all the servers on the internal network, check there disk space, memory , cpu usage, also check shared folders to make sure the file server is working and pole the printers on the print server periodically.  Check the above listed services and also send a message on any server shutdown and reboot.  Basically if someone looks at the server the wrong way i would like to be notified.

as far as the two network connections on this box i would like it to pole 5 websites on each connection to make sure it has internet connectivity , if one fails then it sends out a notification.  Now here is the final part, i would like to replicate the same thing in our data center and have both servers pole each other, if they cant contact one another they send an alert.

What would be the best monitoring software to use,  I have little to no scripting experience, it has to be something that is easy to work with out of the box but highly  customizable. I have to be able to set my own thressholds and have different stage alerts, IE ( i have one server that the os parition never grows in size and its only 15 gigs , i set the thresshold for the disk space alert to 500mb, but the log files for my exchange server drive is set to 50 gigs for the first stage alert, 20 gigs for second stage and 10 gigs for critical).

I already tried spiceworks, i need something that i can get support for and have someone walk me through if i need to, also i don't feel safe using it.  Big brother looked like a huge headache waiting to happen.

Please dont answer with just a link, please give me a little feedback on what ever product you recommend, also would a GFI monitor work for what i want.  It doesnt have to be one program it could be a collection that works well together.

Thank you for taking the time to read my question.
Question by:vannyx
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Expert Comment

ID: 20360220
You could take a look at IPCheck from Paessler.. http://www.paessler.com/ipcheck/features

Most of the monitors you want are available out of the box, but you would need to either write or ask someone to write the monitors for the CPU, DIsk and Memory.(http://www.paessler.com/ipcheck/features/#sensors)

I have used it previously to monitor websites and server succesfully but can't comment on the addtional monitors that you would have to script.

Expert Comment

ID: 20360789
I recommend checking out IPMonitor. it will provide you with the following:

1. It can generate mail notifications.(I recommend running an smtp engine on the server)
2. You can set thresholds on the alert triggers that is relative to the component that you are monitoring.(1 trigger for 15% free space left, 1 trigger for 7% and so on)
3. Very simple to deploy, less than an hour to setup, another hour to setup monitors for the servers.
4. One thing I like about it is it can do IIS web page data sampling, so you can monitor if any changes happened in the content of a page you are monitoring.
5. No clients need to be installed on the monitored servers. (well you have to enable SNMP if you want  get extended components to monitor, for me the built-in ones are fine, if you don't want to sacrifice security)
6. Dashboard view of all the monitors... you should see this on the demo... it's pretty cool projected in a big plasma or lcd.
6. Best thing about it... It's cheap! you can probably get the whole thing with support for 500 monitors for like 1500-2000.
7. And pre-sale and post-sale support is fantastic at least in my case.

so there you go. Let me know if you have any questions.



Expert Comment

ID: 20360803

Expert Comment

ID: 20368244
I've been using Servers Alive for the past year.  Works great!. I do a lot of the same checks you've listed on my servers.

One problem I had when doing my search for a product like this was.... How am I going?
to receive and email notification if my mail server is down?  

I ended up using Servers Alive with a Poppeeper email server. This setup allows me to send alerts
to any group of individuals via email and text message.



Accepted Solution

satyatech earned 750 total points
ID: 20386852
A mojor chunk of your monitoring can be done using Perfmon, yes the OS builtin Perfmon. :)
Almost all major applications add monitoring objects to Perfmon with various counters to monitor various aspects of the OS/application.

You can easily monitor application performance for the following services; they do have dedicated objects in Perfmon:
Exchange server
Network connectivity

You wont get dedicated object for Print and File sharing; but the base objects in Perfmon are sufficient to identify any issues with these too.

What we need to do is setup a remote perfmon to monitor all these machines from your home machine and set alerts on various counters to do things like email cellphone@serviceprovider.com.

I am not sure of Blackberry enterprise server; havent worked on it.

A few examples of monitoring Perfmon offers:
System\System Up Time Counter >>> Shows the time, in seconds, that the computer has been operational since it was last rebooted.

Process(n)\Elapsed Time Counter >>> Shows the time, in seconds, that the process has been active since it was last restarted

A word of caution - while we can poll the presence of a process we really cannot check if its functional.  Eg. We can check if spoolsv for Printing exists but cant check if spooler is fully operational or in a hung state.  This is why when you cluster a resource you have customer resource DLLs to pool the application with custom polling methods.

Logical Disk(n)\Free Megabytes Counter >>> The amount of unallocated space on the logical disk, reported in megabytes.

For things like shutdown or reboot while the event viewer surely logs these events you need to lockdown these things using group policy.  For who did it purpose you may consider enabling auditing on the system.

Group policy for your reference:
Computer Configuration | Windows Settings | Security Settings | Local Policies | User RIghts Assignment | Shutdown the system.

Please rephrase or elborate when you say - "i would like to replicate the same thing in our data center and have both servers pole each other, if they cant contact one another they send an alert."

I have been in Enterprise support for 4 years and its like an ICU of a hospital with constant cases for server down streaming in all the time; I would suggest you to be cautious before opting for monitoring tools - they have brought down the server by doing things like handle leak and starving the OS and application of pool resources.

The software you may consider licensing out would be Microsoft System Center - its more like a one stop shop: http://www.microsoft.com/systemcenter/
Best part is you can try before you decide to buy it and has robust support.

Hope this helps.

Author Comment

ID: 20457841
This seems to be a bigger challenge than i realized.

Expert Comment

ID: 20462689
You still have questions?

Author Comment

ID: 20568377
I do have more questions, but seeing as this was put on hold i will have to ask the question another time.

Expert Comment

ID: 23269656
i have about 20 websites all running .net and each have a sql server DB

I'm looking to see what sort of resources they are taking in the form of daily/weekly/month/ad hoc reports

the type of info i'm after is:

reports for IIS & SQL 2005:

CPU and memory usage report (possibly via app pool)

what sort of options are available to me?

Expert Comment

ID: 23269661
Please ignore the above, posted in wrong window
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