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I'm currently using New Relic's performance monitoring service. Works great so far, except that I'd like some things automated. I basically just get an email notification when performance is bad or my site is down. If the site is down, I'd like to try restarting the application server (killing the process if necessary, which it is sometimes). If that doesn't work after a period of time, try rebooting the whole machine... I even paid for PagerDuty, which can parse New Relic email notifications and call or SMS me with an escalation procedure for notifications. But it can't run scripts...

Seems like this would be a popular feature of any website monitoring tool... anything good out there?

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4 Answers 4

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If a hosted solution is ok, AlertFox can run scripts ("macros") on error. These macros could, for example, log into your web host's configuration panel and trigger a reboot.

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The problem with hosted monitoring services, such as New Relic, running user-provided scripts is the security issues -- unless it's very well sandboxed, the script could do adverse things to the monitoring service's systems.

The only way they can really do it securely is to have a very limited set of possible reactions that can be made safe. The most common one would be something like HTTP callbacks, where the monitoring service makes a POST to a URL of your choice, containing data on what's happened, which you can react to and do whatever you need. The downside to that, of course, is that you've got to have yet another service running in your infrastructure that takes these events and takes action.

I can't find anything in a quick Google search for New Relic that would cover this sort of thing; it's entirely possible that they don't handle it, and e-mail/SMS notifications are the best you're going to get without going with another monitoring service.

It's for these sorts of reasons that I prefer to run my own monitoring infrastructure -- setups like New Relic might be useful for the specialist expertise they can offer in monitoring, say, Rails application performance, but for managing the infrastructure itself, I keep it in-house.

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Well, Nagios scripts are usually only reporting status back to Nagios, but nothing would prevent them from doing more when they have to report a WARNING or FAIL.

Edit: Technically, this is working and easy to do but might have unforeseen consequences. A better solution is to configure Nagios to do something about the problem with the event handler infrastructure.

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Don't make nagios check plugins do any remediation work; that way lies madness. Instead, use the event handler infrastructure, it's what it's designed for. –  womble Jul 17 '11 at 11:56
@Womble: Yes, you are right. In fact, this was nagging at me while writing an answer to another question. –  SvW Jul 17 '11 at 12:05

If you want a lightweight solution, you can use monit.

Moreover it can be integrated with nagios later on if you want.

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And how, prey tell, would New Relic integrate with monit? –  womble Jul 17 '11 at 11:58

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