Pandora with SAKURA

Cherry blossoms (SAKURA) was fully bloomed in beginning of April in Tokyo.

Japanese member in front of SAKURA with new pandora t-shirts.

Pandora FMS now integrated with PagerDuty

Downtime hurts customer loyalty and impacts revenue so it is critical to resolve issues quickly. Since your systems need to be up 24/7/365, you need to know when there are issues whenever, wherever.

Today we launched our integration with PagerDuty to help you decrease your mean-time-to-resolution. If your systems are down at 2 AM, PagerDuty alerts will wake you up so you fix issues instantly.

Pandora FMS is an all purpose monitoring software for infrastructure monitoring that detects when something is wrong and performs actions under certain ciscumstances with the alerts’ system, among many other things.

PagerDuty is an incident management solution that aggregates alerts from any monitoring tool and routes them to the right person for the job via their personalized notification rules.

Thanks to this integration, the desired alerts from Pandora FMS are sent to PagerDuty, and PagerDuty routes voice, SMS, email and push notification alerts. If these alerts are missed by the primary on-call person they will be automatically re-routed to another team member until it is responded to. PagerDuty also has on-call scheduling capabilities so you can fairly rotate on-call responsibility without limits on users, location or device.

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The integration is so simple as a script executed by an alert in Pandora FMS. This script calls the web API of PagerDuty to create and close and incident:

  • Alert is triggered in Pandora FMS -> New Incident is created on PagerDuty (Status: Triggered)
  • Alert is recovered in Pandora FMS -> Incident of PagerDuty linked to this alert is closed (Status: Resolved)

With the Pandora FMS and PagerDuty integration, you can ensure Pandora FMS alerts will get to the right person so issues can be solved quickly.

You can check the official integration guide HERE.

S.M.A.R.T status plugin

Manuel Angel Fernandez published a new interesting plugin for Pandora FMS in his blog (spanish).

It’s an agent plugin to search the system attached drives and retrieve the S.M.A.R.T status. This parameter is a simple value that show if the drive is Failing or Not.

It uses smartctl command, so will be necessary have installed smartmontools. Manuel Angel advice us that is necessary a modern version of this package to support –scan parameter.

The process to use is so simple:

  • Create the plugin file on the agent’s plugins folder.
  • Add a line to the agent’s configuration file:

    module_plugin plugin_file_name

  • Restart the agent

A module for each found drive will be created with 0 if drive is OK and 1 if drive reports Fail. You can edit plugin easily to adapt it to your needs.

You can find this plugin in addition to manu other in our module library

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Thanks to Manuel Angel for the plugin. Here is his original POST.

If you have any plugin or something that you want to share, don’t be shy. Send it to us:

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5.1 is coming

Reviewing our Roadmap, we can see that version 5.1 is so close. May 2014 is the selected date for the release.


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The new feature’s list is available. This is a summary:

  • Official support on Windows.
  • IPAM (IP Address management)
  • Satellite Server
  • Network L2 topology detection (via SNMP)
  • Improved Enterprise network map
  • Cascade protection on module dependency
  • New extension for easy VM ware Plugin configuration
  • Combined graph as item in Visual Console (requested via Uservoice)
  • QR code generator for sharing public visual console links
  • Support on appliance for PerconaDB, replacing MySQL
  • Netflow support integrated by default in the appliance CD
  • Improvements on alert recovery
  • New radial networkmap topology view
  • SLA Report improvements
  • Dynamic bindings for SNMP traps
  • Global macros in agents (requested via Uservoice)

To know more about the new features for 5.1 version, check our ROADMAP page.

Be flexible, be geek

The flexibility in a visual map builder is a good quality to satisfy our technical needs, but at the same time it feeds our geek heart.

The following visual consoles are film or TV show’s parodies made using the visual map tool of Pandora FMS with real monitors. Each screenshot is followed by a link to the real map built in our online demo.

It’s only a funny way of show the possibilities of Visual Consoles, don’t take it so seriously.

Are they servers or aliens?

Who don’t remember the scene of the James Cameron’s film “Aliens” where the aliens were approaching more and more while the soldier is looking at that green screen with a movement sensor.

Aliens

LIVE VIEW

Panic on Plane

Imagine that the fear of the passangers of the plane on TV Show “Lost” were monitorizable. This would be the scenario: There is a problem on that engine. Claire is sitting on the window and she’s noticed about that. James and Sayid have noticed Claire’s nervousness and they start to suspect. The pilots are freaked out, of course.

Lost

LIVE VIEW

Are your servers Up?

A floating house attached by balloons in the film “Up” sounds crazy. But imagine that these balloons represent the status of our monitors and the worst of them define the status of the house. It could sounds crazy too, but not in Pandora FMS.

Up

LIVE VIEW

Mobile devices monitoring and monitoring using mobile devices

The presence of the mobile phones in our lives is unquestionable, and the monitoring systems have been forced to evolve with them.

There are two sides on this coin: Monitor the mobile devices and use these devices to monitor.

Anyway, Pandora FMS is ready for both.
How to monitor mobile devices with Pandora FMS?
There is a specific agent for these devices:

Pandroid

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Pandroid is a Pandora FMS’ agent for Android devices that allows you to monitor your tablets and smartphones, so you can get all information from mobile devices in your Pandora FMS server.

It’s so simple, you install it on your mobile device, configure it with your Pandora FMS URL and it will work in background mode sending data periodically to Pandora FMS as: Battery level, signal strength, GPS coordinates, Running apps, free memory, etc.

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How to use mobile devices for monitoring?
There are two different apps to monitor from your mobile or tablet.

Pandora FMS

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This app allows you to access to Pandora FMS using your smartphone or tablet. With this app you can operate and watch information from your agents, events, groups, alerts, modules and even network maps everywhere.

It’s a general purpouse app to control your systems.

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Pandora FMS Event Viewer 

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With Pandora FMS Event Viewer you can check your events everywhere. Read events from your Pandora FMS from your Android device. Validate, search and get realtime event notification.

This app have push up notifications to have real time warnings improving the control over your systems.

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Know more mobile apps of Artica ST:

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Pandora FMS t-shirts are finally here!

 

After so much effort and meticulous work of our designers team and our marketing staff we can officially announce that the new Pandora FMS t-shirts are already here. That’s a good new, isn’t it?

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All of this came out months ago through the contest “The phrase”, which was organized by Ártica ST with the goal of finding the perfect phrase for our slogan. We offered to those who were followers of the Pandora FMS blog, to participate in our contest to help us find out a slogan that would fit with our product perfectly and especially with our t-shirts.

Among all the slogan proposals that we received in a short period of time, the one we chose was “Monitor or Panic”. Since that moment we haven’t stop thinking, discussing, and working to create not 1 but 4 different t-shirt designs that would fit with the personal style of each of us and that would represent in a very attractive and original way the essence of Pandora FMS.

We are proud to say that we are all very happy with the result, and you?

muestra_camisetas_1muestra_camisetas_2

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How to monitor Apache Cassandra, lots of data under control

Monitor the storage of lots of data

In recent times with the arrival of social networking, appeared the need of storage and manage huge quantity of data. The classic database management systems have been, in some sense, deprecated due the low performance an scalability on this kind of systems.

The giants of social networks had noticed about that.

Facebook created Cassandra DB to power their Inbox Search feature in 2008, and Twitter announced to use Cassandra because it can be run on large server clusters and is capable of taking in very large amounts of data at a time in 2010. Nowadays, Cassandra is an Apache top level project, also knows as Apache Cassandra.

To manage lots of data increase the importance of monitor this part of the architecture. If you use Cassandra, you will want to know how to monitor it.

What is Apache Cassandra?

Apache Cassandra is an open source distributed database management system designed to handle large amounts of data across many commodity servers, providing high availability with no single point of failure. Cassandra offers robust support for clusters spanning multiple datacenters, with asynchronous masterless replication allowing low latency operations for all clients.

Key features and comparison with other NoSQL database enviroments

How to collect data

The Cassandra data extraction is done basically through the execution of commands in the Operative System. The CQLsh client is used to run CQL commands and the general log files of Cassandra are used to retrieve info too.

Parameters that we will retrieve from Cassandra are describe below:

  • Cassandra_Process: Displays information on the status of the cassandra process.

  • Cassandra_CPU_Usage: Displays the cpu use for the cassandra process in %.

  • Cassandra_Memory_Use: Displays the memory use for the cassandra process in %.

  • Cassandra_Error_Log_Messages: Displays the amount of error messages in the cassandra log.

  • Cassandra_Warning_Log_Messages: Displays the amount of warning messages in the cassandra log.

  • Cassandra_Network_Connections: Displays the amount of network connections by clients.

  • Cassandra_Thrift_Server_Status: Displays the status of the thrift server.

  • Cassandra_Cluster_Status : Displays the status of the main Cluster.

  • Cassandra_Key_Cache_Size: Displays the size of the key cache in kbs.

  • Cassandra_Active_Commands: Displays the amount of active commands or task being executed.

  • Cassandra_Pending_Commands: Displays the amount of pending commands.

  • Cassandra_Completed_Commands: Displays the amount of completed commands.

  • Cassandra_Active_Responses: Displays the amount of active responses to commands executed by cassandra.

  • Cassandra_Pending_Responses: Displays the amount of pending responses to commands.

  • Cassandra_Completed_Responses: Displays the amount of completed responses to commands.

  • Cassandra_Nodetool_Configuration: Detects if Nodetool is working properly.

Parameters that would influence badly the performance of Cassandra:

  • Cassandra_ReadStage_Pool_Pending_Tasks

  • Cassandra_RequestResponseStage_Pool_Pending_Tasks

  • Cassandra_MutationStage_Pool_Pending_Tasks

  • Cassandra_ReadRepairStage_Pool_Pending_Tasks

  • Cassandra_ReplicateOnWriteStage_Pool_Pending_Tasks

  • Cassandra_GossipStage_Pool_Pending_Tasks

  • Cassandra_AntiEntropy_Pool_Pending_Tasks

  • Cassandra_MigrationStage_Pool_Pending_Tasks

  • Cassandra_MemoryMeter_Pool_Pending_Tasks

  • Cassandra_MemtablePostFlusher_Pool_Pending_Tasks

  • Cassandra_FlushWriter_Pool_Pending_Tasks

  • Cassandra_MiscStage_Pool_Pending_Tasks

  • Cassandra_PendingRangeCalculator_Pool_Pending_Tasks

  • Cassandra_ReplicateOnWriteStage_Pool_Pending_Tasks

  • Cassandra_Comitlog_archiver_Pool_Pending_Tasks

  • Cassandra_InternalResponseStage_Pool_Pending_Tasks

  • Cassandra_HintedHandoff_Pool_Pending_Tasks

How to monitor Apache Cassandra

To monitor Cassandra, we are going to use Pandora FMS. You can download this software by clicking here.

If you need some help to install the software, there are some tutorials available in the website.

After installing Pandora FMS, you can download the Cassandra plugin.

This plugin monitoring is done basically getting data through the execution of commands in the Operative System, analyzing Cassandra’s log and executing nodetool (Command line utility included on Cassandra’s installation).

It execute the commands, parses all of the important values into software agent modules, XML formatted, ready to be sent to Pandora FMS Data Server.

Thus, we can download these prebuilt checks anytime, without having to develop them by ourselves. This is how the Cassandra plugin looks at Pandora FMS library:

Plugin on library

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We assume that you have Pandora FMS server installed (if not, try the preconfigured virtual machine with Pandora FMS to do a quick deploy/test). You need to install a Pandora FMS agent in the Cassandra server, and you also need to install (download) the Pandora FMS Cassandra plugin.

After downloading and upackaging the plugin (tar file), you will get a bash script (.sh) and the documentation for using the plugin (libreoffice .odt and .pdf). You can read step by step how to install Cassandra including the necessary requirements.

Copy the plugin file (cassandra.sh) in the agent plugin directory: /etc/pandora/plugins

Now, edit the default Pandora FMS agent configuration file: /etc/pandora/pandora_agent.conf
Use this line:

module_plugin /etc/pandora/plugins/cassandra.sh

Restart the pandora agent:

/etc/init.d/pandora_agent_daemon restart

Hold on for 5-10 seconds before searching for the information about Cassandra in the agent you just installed. It should look like this:


cassandra_modules
All the checks are now executed and all their results are stored in the data history of each module.

There are many things that we can do with all this information. One of them is to display the graphs for each of the modules.

cassandra_graph
 

With all this data in our Pandora FMS, a complete world of possiblities is open up to you:

  • Be warned by mail/sms when something goes wrong with using the alerts system.
  • A complete events list with customizable filter available from your internet browser and even from your mobile device using our mobile apps.
  • Generate on demand or receive periodically complete reports.

You just have to check Pandora FMS manual to explore all your possibilities!

Do you not use Apache Cassandra yet? Download it HERE

New ‘Top N’ Events widget

A nice way of show various kind of information in Pandora FMS in the same screen are the Dashboards. A customizable “drag & drop” panel where you can create widgets with: graphs, reports, events, embebbed URLs content, etc.

dashboard

More info about the Dashboard possibilities here.

Two new kind of widgets have been added for Pandora FMS 5 SP3:

  • Top N Events by agent: Ranking with top N agents with more events
  • Top N Events by module: Ranking with top N modules with more events

Top_n_widgets

 

These widgets can be configured with max hour old of the events, how many events will be shown and filtered by group.

For example: Top 10 agents with more events of the group “Android devices” in the last 8 hours.


Top_n_widgets_conf

This feature is suitable in Enterprise version.

Do you wanna try it out? Request a free trial

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New alert details view

The alert configuration in Pandora FMS can be a headache due the necessary complexity to satisfy all the needs.

You need to configure different components: the commands that will be executed in the alerts with certain parameters, the actions that will parametrize these commands, and the templates that will contain the conditions under the alert will be fired and default parameters for the associated actions. Then associate a template and desired actions to a module and wait that everything fits.

You must take into account a lot of configurations in different screens that will be synchronized each other but,  until now, wasn’t possible take a global view of all of this values.

With the new alert’s details screen, you can see everything that you need of an alert in the same screen:

  • General details as agent, module, template, last time fired or status of the alert.
  • Firing conditions as the main condition to be fired (i.e. when the module falls in critical status), the days of the week and hours of the day when the alert will be fired, the time threshold where the alert will be fired once or the number of times that the condition must be occurs to be fired.
  • Escalation of the associated actions: When each action will be executed.

    i.e. First three times that the alert is fired.

  • Firing and recovering parameterization: The value of the fields that the command will execute with each action being explained where are taken from.

    i.e. The template have a default subject to send an email, but the used action have another subject that override the template’s one.

  • Preview of the executed command:

    i.e. /scripts/smssend ‘alert fired in module MOD1′ ’555123456′

Example:

We’re created an alert on a simple ping to a host. When the ping fails, this monitor will fall into critical status and the alert will be fired.

The alert will be fired from Monday to Friday, from 8:00 to 18:00. And it will do it when the condition happen 1st time until 10th.

We’re associated 3 actions to the alert:

  • Write a Log: Only the first alert firing.
  • Send an email to the support department: From 2nd to 4th times that the alert is fired.
  • Send an email to the system’s chief: Every time from the 5th time that the alert is fired.

The main view of this alert is the following:

General View

Also selecting each action, its fields execution will be showed for the firing and recovering (if recover mode is enabled).

Firing fields:

The firing fields are showed in three columns: Template fields, Action fields and Executing fields. In this table we can see which fields are overriding other fields and which ones are actually being passed to the command to the execution when alert is fired.

Action2_firing

Recovering fields:

The recovering fields are showed in three columns: Firing fields (the third column of the previous view), Template fields (The recovery fields configured on template) and Executing fields. In this table we can see which fields are overriding other fields and which ones are actually being executing when alert is recovered.

Action2_recovering

Command preview:

Under the firing/recovering fields table, will be showed the preview of the execution of the command (When the executed command is not a internal command).

Command preview

 Useful, isn’t? So, it is available since Pandora FMS 5 SP3 :)

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