Nagios Solidifies Role in IBM i Monitoring
December 4, 2019 Alex Woodie
IBM i shops that are looking for monitoring solutions would do well to add Nagios to their short list. The open source software has been embraced by IBM i shops, and thanks to a new SQL connector added by IBM with the latest technology refreshes and plans for monitoring the HMC, Nagios connectivity to IBM i is on the upswing.
Nagios Core is a free, open source software project that’s been adopted by thousands of customers around the world to monitor servers, storage, software, services, networking gear, and anything else that can be connected to the network. The software is supported by a large community that develops open source plug-ins that move data from source devices into Nagios Core, which runs on Linux.
In 2017, IBM shipped a beta of Nagios Plug-Ins for IBM i, which provides a way to monitor IBM i metrics from either Nagios Core or Nagios XI, the enterprise version of Nagios that’s developed and sold by a St. Paul, Minnesota company named Nagios Enterprises. The plug-in lets users monitor a range of IBM i server metrics, including things like CPU utilization per job, temporary storage usage, and total number of active jobs.
The Nagios plug-in from IBM monitored 15 metrics distinct metrics, which customers could consume from a command line interface if using Nagios Core, or a fancier GUI interface if using Nagios XI.
In October, IBM announced two specific improvements to Nagios monitoring with IBM i 7.3 TR7 and IBM i 7.4 TR1. The first enhancement is the addition of a new wizard for monitoring multiple systems or LPARs within a Nagios environment. The second was a new wizard for creating custom Nagios plug-ins on IBM i using SQL.
The new wizard for creating SQL Nagios plug-ins is a game changer for IBM i customers, according to Aaron Cieslicki, a lead integrations specialist who works on IBM i with Nagios Enterprises.
“The SQL-based monitoring is really the key to the kingdom,” Cieslicki tells IT Jungle via email. “Pretty much every data point and state can be known via a SQL query, so it’s a Swiss-army knife of monitoring. With one simple interface you can monitor almost anything on the IBM i. Plus, there’s nothing to install on the IBM i, so the ramp-up effort for end users is minimal.”
Both of the new plug-ins – including the LPAR support and SQL creation wizard — shipped last month with the delivery of IBM i 7.3 TR7 and 7.4 TR1 bits. According to Cieslicki, there is more good stuff on the way.
“There is a lot of demand out there for Hardware Management Console monitoring, and IBM developers are currently at work on the HMC Nagios plugin. I hope to see the initial code soon,” he writes. “After the HMC, I’m not sure what we’ll work on next, but all of us at Nagios are excited to continue to work with IBM on IBM i monitoring.”
The IBM plug-ins work with either the free Nagios Core or Nagios XL. Nagios XL Standard Edition, which provides features like a GUI configuration, custom dashboards, custom user views, and an executive summary report, starts at $1,995. Users looking for more functionality can find it in Nagios XI Standard Edition, which starts at $3,495 and includes additional features like support for capacity planning, scheduled reports, audit logging, and access to the server through a Web console.
The affordability of Nagios is “the icing on the cake,” Cieslicki says. “I had a meeting with a prospective client, and I got asked if our pricing was missing a couple of zeroes on the end,” he writes. “Compared to other monitoring solutions, it is a fantastic deal.”