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(you might intuitively think that this is a desktop type question, however I intend to use this network of clients effectively as monitoring agents for the servers, hence its relevancy to server administration)

One of my clients has 3 data centres, 3 developer teams, various user platforms winXP, Win7 and a couple of ubuntu/fedora/mac users and loads of intermittent network problems.

Day to day they use and rely on SSH, subversion SVN, and http services on the servers and they are therefore (among other things) dependent on local http Proxy, local DNS resolution, tcp port 80 connectivity to particular hosts, and it would be nice to know what they were seeing for results for pinging various targets, and obviously if they have no network at all.

Is there some tool that they can install that will generate a report of the results of a set of these tests that I pre-configure for them, and send the result to me, or display them for the user?

I guess the "would like" list would be;

  1. a zero-config install (i.e. I want to send the tests already configured in)
  2. try to be "clever" when there is a local proxy
  3. Support the main OS targets for local agents - win7 and bonus for the few XP, MacOS, linux targets
  4. send reports by some http POST, and test and use a local proxy, or failback sensibly.
  5. ... errr moon on stick? (sorry)

From some basic research I see some tools like PingPlotter, which is a good start, but but a bit limited; http://pingplotter.com/support.html

There looks to be a tool called sFlow, how it seems to want to use some high UDP to send reporting, so that is likely to be firewalled; http://blog.sflow.com/2010/10/installing-host-sflow-on-windows-server.html

The ganglia monitoring daemon has clients for windows, MacOS and linux, which is great, and is Uber configurable, but it looks to want to send reports to the server also on some high ports 8601, which is just going to get blocked at the firewall.

I have a nagios instance running, so it might be possible to come up with something to accept passive tests from remote clients on that, but I haven't looked into that one yet. So would be interested in what tools to adopt.

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As zabbix can do pie graphs which would display percentage of success of a test, you can use zabbix. In this way, you would need an agent running on a server doing those network tests...

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well if zabbix has an agent that will install on win7 boxes, and will send data via port 80, or use a local proxy it might do the trick. –  Tom H Mar 9 '12 at 12:54

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