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Network Monitoring Alerts

Posted on 2010-09-13
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What are people using in business or enterprise networks to send out-of-band alerts? We are using Orion NMS to monitor many servers, switches, routers and other devices. The software sends alerts to a paging service via a modem. We are finding that the paging service coverage is poor and often times we don't get coverage. I don't want a solution that sends email via the network that I am monitoring because we are monitoring the Internet connection and the email servers etc. I need to get notified if those things are down. Is everyone still using pagers for this or something else?
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Question by:kingmanson
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by:rfc1180
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>Is everyone still using pagers for this or something else?
I think the majority you will find is not using pagers any more.

>I don't want a solution that sends email via the network that I am monitoring because we are monitoring the Internet connection and the email servers etc. I need to get notified if those things are down

If this is really important to you, you will find that dual WAN connections are best suitable in what you are trying to accomplish.

Using pagers is so 90ish :)

Billy
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by:madunix
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i send sms to my cell phone by using sendsmstools ...for this issue i use Nagios http://nagios.org/  running on linux server to monitor my environment...and send sms/mail notification via qmail/sendmail and smstoools....you can find also other tools check  Zabbix Munin and OpenNMS all are open source
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by:kingmanson
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Thank you, madunix I will check out sendsmstools.

@rfc1180(Billy) - agreed pagers are so 90ish but no one has a truly "out of band" replacement. We have dual Internet connections and a clustered Exchange server, however, there is always a possibilty that my email service will go down and if it does I need to be able to get a notification. I am starting to look at a GSM "modem" to replace the telephone modem to send SMS messages directly to cell phones.

Everyone else - still looking for solutions.

What I really want is a service that I can dial into with an analog modem and transmit alerts reliably to a cell phone.


Thanks All
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by:rfc1180
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>We have dual Internet connections and a clustered Exchange server, however, there is always a possibilty that my email service

Sure, of course, it sounds like you have Internet redundancy and there is a chance for exchange to go down, but this is what MX priorities are for, if you have a MX priority of 10 for the exchange servers, then setup a second for a second one. Additionally, you should NOT be using your own exchange servers to send out emails (especially if you do not have confidence in them [That is the whole point of a redundant network and services right]). If you have dual WAN connections from 2 different ISPs, then you can use their SMTP servers to send out emails too. I am sure that 90 percent of the enterprises that are monitoring their networks are using email for notifications.

Billy
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by:kingmanson
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BTW: This does not have to be a free solution. I know that many people here come up with some great solutions that are based on open source products, but I can spend some money on this.  I don't want to replace or add another NMS but Orion uses third party communications tools to send the message so there is some flexibility there. We are using NetPagerPro on the Orion server to interact with the modem.
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by:kingmanson
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@rfc1180(Billy) - Point taken regarding email and using another server. I guess, I am back to staying with my paging service. I have the capability to configure my paging account to forward pages to an email address so, as I do now, I will continue to forward pages to my cellphone via SMS. This does give me a truly out of band solution with no dependency on my network, email server, Internet connection, etc. I just have to convince my manager that this is an acceptable solution. At the moment, the pager itself is the only approved device to receive the messages on, therefore I have to carry it, even though I often don't get coverage. I don't get service in my own house except occasionally on the 2nd floor. Other members of the team have similar experiences.
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rfc1180 earned 25 total points
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>I don't get service in my own house except occasionally on the 2nd floor
understood, and if you have only one network (meaning one pop, with no redundant rings) then I can totally understand using OOB for the alerts. As your coverage is less than perfect and in some cases lacking coverage, your next best option is GSM, which is much more reliable than the Pager service. A paging services coverage is not as important anymore as cell phones due rule the communications technology. I am not too familiar with Solarwinds and do not know what they offer, but I did find this:

http://www.serverscheck.com/monitoring_software/frontend_sms.asp

Billy
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by:kingmanson
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Thanks. I planned to check into GSM modems. I think the dialing software we are using can be configured to use a GSM modem and I will have to be sure that I can get reliable coverage in our Lower Level 2 data center or have a remote antenna. I guess using the paging service to forward email does add an additonal step of sending the email to my mobile carrier where a GSM modem would be a direct SMS connection.
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by:madunix
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as said before, i use
http://smstools.meinemullemaus.de/
The SMS Server Tools send and receive short messages through GSM modems or mobile phones.
You can send short messages by simply storing text files into a special spool directory. The program monitors this directory and sends new files automatically. It also stores received short messages into
another directory as text files.

The program can run other external programs or scripts after events like reception of a new message, successful sending and also when a problem has been detected. These external programs can inspect the related text files and perform automatic actions, for example storing information into a database, sending an automatic reply, forwarding messages via eMail, ... and whatever you like.

This software runs on Windows and any Unix. It does not depend on any operating system specific feature and it does not depend on any library (except the standard C library). This makes the program highly compatible to embedded systems.

This SMS Server Tools support almost all GSM modem or mobile phone that is GSM 07.05 compatible, which can AT command set for modems to control GSM functions. i.e Any modem that is compatible to GSM 07.05 We are using used the following device:
2N EasyGate is a NEW type of Analog GSM Gateway (Fixed Cellular Terminal) from 2N's portfolio. Because of its features it is suitable for small companies, which use it for saving costs of calls to GSM, SMS sending and GPRS Internet connection.
For medium size companies we recommend 2N OMIKRON Multichannel Analog GSM Gateway .

http://www.2n.cz/products/gsm_gateways/analog_gsm_gateway/easygate_analog_gsm_gateway.html


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by:madunix
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this document from linux journal written by eric pearce will help you, i used it to setup my sms server
http://www.linuxjournal.com/files/linuxjournal.com/ufiles/LJ191_UsingSMSforNagios.pdf
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by:kingmanson
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Thanks for the info madunix.

Unless I hear of some other solution, I will stay with the paging service for now and have pages forwarded to SMS. Plus I will check out the options with using a GSM modem.

I think I can change paging services to another for about $5 per month per account that allows me to forward pages to two different email addresses at the same time. There will be no actually pager device, just the forwarding service.
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by:kingmanson
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I guess I was really just asking how other folks do this. I would have liked to get a larger response but that is maybe because no one else had a different solution and most are using this type of a solution.
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