set up servers to "phone home" to detect network outages

I'm looking for a free/open-source tool to run on several windows servers that will "phone home" to a shared linux host (dreamhost) to report, at very least, network outages.

For example, a php script on the linux host that will email me if it does NOT hear from the windows daemon in a specified window of time.

I am interested in more comprehensive monitoring & reporting, but I am looking for something that alerts me to network outages without a comprehensive software installation and configuration.
Who is Participating?

[Product update] Infrastructure Analysis Tool is now available with Business Accounts.Learn More

I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

Todd GerbertIT ConsultantCommented:
Been a while since I worked with Linux, and not particularly familiar with scripting (PHP or otherwise) on Linux, but I suspect it wouldn't be too terribly difficult to just have the Linux script ping whatever hosts you're interested in, and if enough ping's fail you can use sendmail to send yourself an e-mail.

If you're interested in an all-Windows solution, have a look at SpiceWorks:
I'm a fan of Xymon ( for host/service monitoring.  It's designed to run on a unix/linux host, and while it can certainly be used for farily comprehensive monitoring, alerting and reporting, a quick install with a "bb-hosts" file populated with your Windows server IP address and names would help accomplish your goals.

However, for a quick-and-dirty solution that doesn't require installing and setting up Xymon, you might try running fping out of cron.
fping (, available packaged for various Linux distributions) can specify multiple ping targets, and report just the unreachable ones:

fping -u < mylistofserverIPs.txt

Set up a cronjob to run this as frequently as you like, and the output will generate emails to you -- but no email if all are online.
SonicVoomAuthor Commented:
The reason I want the servers to "phone home" to the monitoring script is because they are behind firewalls and I can't ping them.
Installing Xymon may be reasonable.  It's free, not heavy-weight, and already has the machinery to send you emails when machines stop reporting.
The Windows client is called BBwin.exe (  The clients would be communicating with port 1984 on the server.

If you think this might work for you, I'd be happy to share some tips for the setup.

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Network Management

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.