ESXi, SATA Disks, NO Raid: Disk monitoring

Berkson Wein
Berkson Wein used Ask the Experts™
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I'm working on an non-optimal rollout of ESXi 4.1.  No budget, Poweredge SC1425 servers, SATA drives via the onboard ports without RAID = multiple single points of failure.

With the SC1425 and ESXi, is there any FREE way to monitor disk status, fan speeds and general system health and automatically alert via email if there's a problem detected?  

If there's nothing free, what about commercial solutions that don't require a full vCenter Server?

Thanks
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zeshanazizSystem Administrator

Commented:
Veeam Monitor™ Free Edition is the free version of Veeam’s popular monitoring tool for VMware. With more than 35,000 installations worldwide, Veeam Monitor is the industry standard for VMware monitoring. It provides a comprehensive, performanceoriented view of your virtual infrastructure that you just can’t get with vCenter Server. And unlike some VMware monitors, Veeam Monitor doesn’t introduce its own monitoring framework, so it’s easy to deploy and maintain.

http://www.veeam.com/esxi-monitoring-free.html
Berkson WeinTech Freelancer

Author

Commented:
Thanks Zeshanaziz.  I've already researched Veeam.  The problem with the free monitoring is that it doesn't have alarms.  They need something automated, if a disk is looking bad, send an email.
Top Expert 2010
Commented:
Take a look at Nagios (http://www.nagios.org/) - it has Common Information Model (CIM) plugins that can be used with ESX/ESXi. Nagios is an open source system.

If you want to run the Nagios software on your ESXi host I believe they still offer an appliance download that would greatly simplify getting it up and going.

Good Luck
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I agree @bgoering Nagios is a great monitoring/notification application. I would also check out Zenoss as it goes another layer deep and does SNMP which you can configure to notify physical problem like drives in your RAID, Battery failure on you APC UPS devices, and etc.

You can find both Nagios and Zenoss on the appliance market place - http://www.vmware.com/appliances/. Or I use a paid service because they patch, secure, and upgrade the Linux distro and the application several times a year. True Open Source as a service - http://www.jumpbox.com/

Hope this helps!
Berkson WeinTech Freelancer

Author

Commented:
Thanks for the feedback.
If Nagios doesn't do SNMP (or does it?), would it be of any benefit if the main goal here is to monitor physical status of the hard drives?  ESXi has SNMP ability?
Zenoss doesn't appear to be free on their website, but the appliance is free?  The JumpBox service sadly isn't an option due to budget.
Nagios only monitors common ports out of the box, and can monitor more if you are brave enough to create custom configs.

If you have a tech who is comfortable with Linux, just make a Virtual Machine with Debian or Ubuntu or whatever flavor you like and install the Zenoss package and all its dependencies and run with it.

The Zenoss application and source is free. http://sourceforge.net/projects/zenoss/

You can freely download and run the package yourself. If you want traditional enterprise protection or help you can pay them for protection. We chose Jumpbox because they build a complete Open Source Solution and patch and update on a regular basis. And we utilize (very rarely) a local Linux vendor when we get stuck (10 to 40 hours per year $800 - $3200 per year).  These Jumpboxes have been so reliable, we are using him less and less. And I seem to be picking up more Linux skills the more YouTube I watch. :)

We have found 6+ Jumpbox applications and several more to be deployed this year that makes the case for the $49 per month. If you have not already looked, Enterprise network monitoring will not be this cheap even for small third party packages.





 
Berkson WeinTech Freelancer

Author

Commented:
Matt, I agree with your analysis of JumpBox.  It's just not in the non-exisitent budget....
The real question now I suppose is does ESX(i) (the free version, not full ESX) have the abilitiy to be monitored with SNMP?
ESXi and SNMP traps yes - http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/vmware_esxi_management_wp.pdf  - see page 9

I just downloaded the the Zenoss application from sourceforge and to my surprise it is a fully functional VMWare virtual appliance - http://sourceforge.net/projects/zenoss/ 

I used VMWares Standalone Converter to get it into my virtual environment and I am now browsing the Zenoss pdf's to get it running.

Here are the PDF's you might need:
1.) http://sourceforge.net/projects/zenoss/files/Documentation/zenoss-2.5.x-docs/Getting_Started_with_Zenoss_01-102009-2.5-v01.pdf/download

2.) http://sourceforge.net/projects/zenoss/files/Documentation/zenoss-2.5.x-docs/Zenoss_Administration_06-102009-2.5-v01.pdf/download

3.) http://sourceforge.net/projects/zenoss/files/Documentation/zenoss-2.5.x-docs/Zenoss_Core_Installation_04-102009-2.5-v01.pdf/download

hope this helps!!!
Berkson WeinTech Freelancer

Author

Commented:
All great news Matt.  Looking forward to hearing how you fare with zenoss's vm and monitoring an esxi server!
 
Its up!  Now I need to add devices, but its time to leave for the day.


zenoss.png
Berkson WeinTech Freelancer

Author

Commented:
Matt, just a FYI.  The url you gave for the vmware version is ver Zenoss 2.5.2.  Looks like the current version is 3.0.2    Available here: http://community.zenoss.org/docs/DOC-3240?noregister
 
 
Yes, and it looks like the only one packaged as a virtual appliance. Just trying to help you get up and running asap if you were interested.

I will probably download the Jumpbox version since it will get patched and upgraded. I know I have pushed the $600 per year Jumpbox subscription. We have 15 Linux servers running in our 30+ server environment and have saved the $600 in vendor time alone to justify the price.

The other reason we like Jumpbox, they build their own management portal so we really never need to drop into command line/SSH to do common tasks. If you wanted to see what the management portal looks like go to (http://www.jumpbox.com/overview) and click the "Reduce Headaches" tab in the left side navigation. The page that comes up will show the management portal.

I don't think I told you about the "Ramp Up" videos that Jumpbox produces to help you get up and running ASAP. Here is the one on Zenoss.  http://www.jumpbox.com/app/zenoss - scroll to the bottom of the page for the video.

Okay, I've beat this horse enough...I sure hope I've helped.

Berkson WeinTech Freelancer

Author

Commented:
You have helped.  Thanks.  Closing this thread out.
Oh, and 3.0.2 is packaged as a virtual appliance too.   http://community.zenoss.org/docs/DOC-3240?noregister
nice find thanks, i was not aware only old versions were on sourceforge. I will save this link for later.

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