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I have a few servers with the common services running (apache, imap, pop, smtp, ftp, ssh, svn, etc...) and would like to monitor their availability.

In particular, I would like to be alerted (email and/or SMS) if one of the important services dies, and if possible to get some basic stats about each services (number of connections, number of email processed, spam ratio, etc..).

This tool would be used both by us to get real-time status and alerts, and by our savy customers that want to get an overview of what is going on.

I could build myself a simple webapp that does that ("pinging" the services to see if they're alive), or I could also use a full-fledged monitoring tool (nagios for instance, but a bit overkill no?), but I'm sure there exists something in between that would fit my needs.

Any recommendation ? If possible, the ideal solution would be free, easy to install on a remote server (not even in the same subnet) and if possible have an eye-candy interface ;).

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Many many options here… - simple answer here – Kara Marfia Oct 3 '10 at 15:04
You have used the nagios tag and nagios is the generally accepted way of doing this, so why aren't you using nagios, which satisfies all your requirements? – John Gardeniers Oct 3 '10 at 20:38
I used the nagios tag because I wanted people interested in nagios to find this question. I also wanted to see if they had a simpler alternative, nagios being known for its not so short installation. – Wookai Oct 4 '10 at 16:09
up vote 2 down vote accepted

munin is really simple to install and use. It provides monitoring info through a webserver.

see here.

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Munin can also alert on failure using email, or a paging service. You also get graphical history which can be useful for planning and problem analysis. – BillThor Oct 3 '10 at 23:57

I use nagios and zenoss (community edition). Also I have used centreon. All are great for monitoring services, availability, process count, process memory usage and statistics.

Another great tool for monitoring is mon.

Edit: all of these can send email alerts.

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They all look great, but a bit too complete for my use. My primary focus is availability and basic stats, I don't really need to monitor the performance of my servers. – Wookai Oct 3 '10 at 14:44
Zenoss is really simple to install and use, you only need snmp service on the monitored server. You can monitor services with it. – Paul Oct 3 '10 at 15:08

Sounds like Nagios is what you need. It may seem a bit overkill, but I have used it with very small networks with good successes. I have a old box running Nagios in a very small office keeping track of 10 workstations and 1 server. The staff like looking at the webpanel, seeing all green and knowing all is well.

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There are those tools, with nice features etc, but if you want full control, you could use some PHP code on an external server and run the script via cron.

Personally, I would recommend those tools, however, I did end up using the system I've just mentioned twice, which I think is worth to know about.

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Maybe it is easier to use a 3rd party monitoring service like Gomez, Keynote Systems or AlertFox? I know that at least AlertFox has a free option, which is more than sufficient for your basic requirements.

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Im using munin to watch 5 machines including my dns. It works perfectly, but i have an issue in dns. Instead of internal names, it takes the rndc values. I really dunno if is a kind ob bug or something but at this moment i dont have the needed time to look of it. Besides is on test environment :)

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