Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


Review: Building a Monitoring Infrastructure with Nagios

Filed under: Fun Work,Geek Work,Linux,Review,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:47 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Well, since I bought it, I think I should review it.

So, I’ve been wrestling with the typically mediocre documentation which surrounds most OpenSource projects and, in an effort to ramp up my efforts, I bought Building a Monitoring Infrastructure with Nagios by David Josephsen. Now, keep in mind that I don’t normally read entire computer books very much any more, but rather read just the few chapters that seem most relevant to my current project and keep the book for future reference. Also, I was in a hurry when I bought this book and didn’t have time to look at it very closely before purchase.

Now, all that being said, this book wasn’t all that helpful to me. It probably would have been a great help if I’d gotten it right when I was starting to install Nagios, though. Sadly, I puzzled out most of what I needed to know about the system the hard way, via on-line help files, how-tos, and trial and error.
With a table of contents broken up into eight chapters, titled; Best Practices, Theory of Operations, Installing Nagios, Configuring Nagios, Bootstrapping the Configs, Watching, Visualization, and Nagios Even Broker Interface, you can see that this book is about installing the base system and monitoring the most basic of services. I got the book hoping to monitor an SQL database and, if possible, the completion status of backups. Sadly, that’s not covered in this book. I did manage to find more information on-line regarding the SQL database monitoring, but not about watching backups.

So, mostly, this book didn’t get done what I was after. However, since there are things wrong with my installation, I may save the configuration files, wipe the server and start over, following the principles laid out in this book. For instance, I can’t seem to get scheduled down-time set via the web interface on my installation, which should be possible by default. And, the visualization on my monitoring server leaves something to be desired, so, if I start over, I’ll reference the chapter on Visualization. Certainly, it would be nice to start from a clean slate and do it right, but I may not have time to do that. We’ll see.

In short, Building a Monitoring Infrastructure with Nagios was a bit of a disappointment for me, but not because it wasn’t a good book. Rather, by the time I bought this book, I was a little past implementing most of the strategies discussed. Again, though, if I end up starting over, which I may, I’ll definitely read more of this book to get it done the right way.


  1. This is why I love this blog…I just feel smarter after reading it 🙂 I’m lame I know!

    Comment by Jenn — 2/27/2008 @ 8:30 am

  2. Jenn, were you ever a Star Trek fan? Did you watch Star Trek: The Next Generation? There was this one where Enterprise encountered a group of chronic under-achievers called the Pakleds, who stole technology from more advanced races. They were always saying things like “You’re smart. We need you.” Most days, that’s what I feel like. I mainly just run around the Internet collecting shiny bits of information and gather them all in one spot.
    Seriously, I spend a lot of time researching lots and lots of crazy stuff, some of it more useful than others, and I just display the results, or the “best of the best”, here on the blog.

    But, thank you. I’m glad you like the tech stuff. I don’t have as much as I’d like lately, because I’m doing mostly really simple, boring stuff over and over and over, like an IT assembly line, only with one person. Still, I try to keep the tech flowing. Or something like that.

    Comment by the Network Geek — 2/27/2008 @ 8:58 am

  3. I was a fan as a kid of Star Trek…I remember getting my first Iron On T-Shirt at the boardwalk in Jersey with the cast in the transporter. Yep I was wicked cool! Later in life I was more a Deep Space Nine fan…Jadzia Dax was cool and symbiotic, lol.

    I appreciate your research. I usually talk to the IT guy at my company after reading one of your posts to learn even more. I just find it interesting. Keep up the good work!

    Comment by Jenn — 2/28/2008 @ 11:34 am

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