main

DevelopmentFeaturesFuncionalidadesPandora FMSRelease

What’s New in Pandora FMS 7.0 NG 724

June 22, 2018 — by Irene Carrasco0

whatsnew-724-featured.jpg

whatsnew 724
This last update package of Pandora FMS 7.0 NG contains improvements as well as visual changes and includes the resolution of some problems. A list of the most important changes can be found below.

New features and improvements

New HA integrated system

From the NG/724 version, Pandora FMS incorporates a functionality that allows to manage a MySQL Active/Passive cluster completely from the console for its use with Pandora FMS. This way, it will not be necessary to use third-party solutions such as DRBD, Virtualization or other types of hardware solutions.

By means of a virtual IP, it will be possible to have two or more MySQL nodes synchronized so that, in case of failure of one of these, the rest of the nodes can compensate it. This system will also allow to balance the reading load and improve performance in large environments.

whatsnew 724

Time zones according to user

From now on, users of different Pandora FMS consoles can visualize the information using their corresponding time zone.

Each user can now customize their time zone, regardless of the one configured on the console or server.

timezone Pandora FMS release724

New plugin: Docker Swarm

We have a new addition to our plugin family. We have integrated Docker Swarm infrastructure monitoring, which complements the specific monitoring of the applications that run inside each container.

whatsnew 724

New graphics: faster, more aesthetically pleasing and much more useful

In twelve years we have refactored the code of the graphs at least six times, making them much faster and more detailed.

We have increased their resolution, which allows to see the graphs in a detailed way and on demand of each user (through the Zoom parameter). Similarly, their speed is much higher, as they are displayed with the optimal resolution for each range of data.

Through the PhantomJS library we have modified the way PDF reports include graphs to use the same graphs as the console.

New graphs Pandora FMS Release 724

IMPORTANT: If you are using PDF reports with graphs, you will need to install the new PhantomJS library as described in our documentation.

OTHER FEATURES AND IMPROVEMENTS

New plugin to control configuration changes of Cisco devices, via SSH.

The security of the API (general review of several functions) has been improved.

Remote inventory script arguments can now be customized with new fields built into the interface.

TROUBLESHOOTING

  • Improved relationship painting in Network Maps, especially in the case of manually defined interface relationships.
  • Corrected the bug in the redirection of links in the visual console of the Meta console.
  • Fixed ACL crashes in custom graphs and reports.
  • Patched the error that occurred when copying data from the history database using pandora_db.
  • Now it is possible to move agents with policies from the Meta Console.
  • CSV export problems have been fixed from the log viewer.
  • Group view uses caching and allows for a remarkable performance improvement.
  • The incorrect position of elements when exporting visual consoles has been corrected.
  • Solved problems with real-time graphs when module names contained non-ascii characters.
  • Detected and corrected the error when filtering by free search field in the event view.
  • We’ve fixed the problem by cloning report templates.
  • Fixed anomalous behavior by deleting groups within policies.
  • Identified and rewritten the coding issue that sometimes existed when creating local inventory modules.
  • The bug in the XEN plugin has been fixed.

Download Pandora FMS

The last updated version of Pandora FMS can be downloaded from the downloads section of our website:
https://pandorafms.org/en/features/free-download-monitoring-software/

IPAMMonitoringPandora FMS

How can I use php IPAM as an auxiliary tool in Pandora FMS?

June 7, 2018 — by Jimmy Olano0

phpIPAM-featured.png

smart city

php IPAM: Check IP addresses and all their changes

Php IPAM , as its compound name indicates , is the use and administration, through PHP, of Internet Protocol Address Management (IPAM) addresses, which makes the software very unique. In this article we will look at how we can use php IPAM as an auxiliary tool, although we will find that it has certain monitoring-based elements, let’s go!

php IPAM and Pandora FMS

php IPAM Open-source IP address management logo

In a previous article we explained what an IP calculator is and how it works when implemented in Pandora FMS. The truth is that since May 2014 (and formally released in version 5.1). Pandora FMS includes IPAM as a very useful extension for the management, the discovery, the existing agents associations, the registration of comments in each one of the IP addresses, also being able to establish exceptions from the monitoring point of view. The IP addresses can be detected through ping or through the IP addresses given to us by the agents previously registered: Pandora FMS will do the equivalences and correspondences for us.

Addresses view PHP IPAM

When the detections are controlled by the Pandora FMS agents, it is easy to know their operating systems, which are represented graphically in the IPAM extension. We can set alerts when an IP address changes, we can also see an overview with all the addresses or in a segmented way: the active devices, the managed devices, etc. and their possible combinations.
So, what is the advantage of using php IPAM?

php IPAM

There is a great variety of software available to work with IPAM and in this article we will look at php IPAM software in detail as an auxiliary tool but first we will look at the concepts that involve IP addresses: without this abstract concept the Internet and the monitoring would not exist at all.

Introduction

Today, in almost every business and home, there is a local area network. At the start of the Internet, the IP address system was planned in such a way that it was decided to set aside three types of network for private use on local area networks. These addresses are called private addresses. Each organization can use these private addresses to connect its devices and each device can also have one or more IP addresses. (For example, a laptop can be connected by Ethernet cable, by its integrated “wifi” antenna and also by a “wifi” antenna connected by USB port; generally web servers are redundant and have two Ethernet connections for data traffic and at least one Ethernet connection for monitoring).
The addresses are repeated in each organization, but there is no problem because they are not connected to each other and this is where the Internet comes in, the interconnection of private networks through the network address translation (NAT) because on the Internet each public IP address is unique and routers get a public IP address which is “shared” within each organization.

Numerical practice (IP calculators)

How many IP addresses do we need in our organization?
There are three types for private use:

  • Class A: 10.0.0.0 a 10.255.255.255 (8 network bits, 24 host bits).
  • Class B: 172.16.0.0 a 172.31.255.255 (16 network bits, 16 host bits)
  • Class C: 192.168.0.0 a 192.168.255.255 (24 network bits, 8 host bits)

In short, class A allows a single network with millions of IPv4 addresses, class B allows 16 networks, each one with thousands of IP addresses and class C allows hundreds of IPv4 addresses (exactly 253 because 0 and 255 have other uses that we will discuss later on). There are other kinds of networks that are not relevant for this article, such as Class D for multicasting and Class E for research and development.
For our minds, in reality, Class C networks are adapted to our needs at home and in small businesses. Keeping track of one or two dozen devices on the router that shares a public IP address for the entire private network is easy and convenient to use.

But in the other cases, thousands and even millions of IP addresses are a real nightmare, a very time-consuming undertaking. For these cases we have to follow exactly the same steps as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN): to assign each of the departments a subnetwork and to delegate the authority to the department heads. But writing down and recording everything easily exceeds the capabilities of a spreadsheet and that’s why the php IPAM software was developed.

Brief history of php IPAM

The first public version was 0.1 and by November 2014 php IPAM released its version 1.1 of Miha Petkovsek’s workmanship, in January 2016 version 1.2 and in July 2017 version 1.3 was released.

It is developed under the free software modality, GNU 3 license since June 2015 when the repositories were moved to GitHub and apparently its funding source is donations of both money and web hosting. In fact, the site is in a special virtual machine, provided by a webhosting company. This free software model has brought together a select community so it is difficult to find information about it.

Installation of php IPAM

Unlike the historical details, there are many tutorials about php IPAM on the internet, some of them are better than others; we tried it on Ubuntu 16 and then we got the images that you can see. The first thing we did at the end of the installation was to upload our own logo for evaluation purposes and fill in the data that identifies our test server including the sending of email which is very important to receive the alerts, although this is not so common due to the nature of the work.

Administration panel php IPAM

In short, you need a MySQL database server, an Apache web server, the proper firewall permissions when scanning your network or local area networks… and even the subnetworks, this leads us to the following point.

Subnetworks (or in other words: how php IPAM works)

Some of us do not work with hosting companies or Internet access providers, so the examples discussed here are based on private addresses. We can assure you that everything described here applies to the Internet and there are organizations “that make money” with the help of php IPAM, which in turn donates to the FreeBSD Foundation, so this is an endless cycle.
The tasks of php IPAM are the tracking and storage of information in a MySQL database of:

  • Our devices and their IP addresses.
  • Our computer cabinets or racks
  • Our circuits (with the help of Google Maps APIs)
  • It supports LDAP authentication which saves us a lot of work.
  • To keep track of virtual private networks.
  • The NATs we have created for our computers to connect to the external.
  • You can even make notes in a sort of micro Wikipedia! (although we do not recommend it for issue management, perhaps it could be done in chronological order of cause/effect/solution to avoid making the same mistakes twice).

And also the subnets that we have created.

In order to talk about subnetworks, which are a routine and difficult task to synchronize between computers, we first have to explain how they are managed and why they exist. In 1980, the devices that were in charge of connecting to Internet were very basic devices. Thus, the need to create work subnets arose, but the computers did not have the necessary technology. The solution was to create subnet masks as a way for the devices to quickly detect whether the message or datagram received belonged to the subnet they had been assigned to work on.
That is why the mask is used to distinguish the IP address between the part that identifies the network and the part that identifies the device, apart from the fact that it does so with binary numbers. The network masks have the same format as the IPv4 addresses but always with values for each byte always one by one, for example the network mask for a private class A network that we will create in php IPAM would be the following:

11111111.00000000.00000000.00000000

That is, in decimal notation, 255.0.0.0.0 since our private network can contain millions of IPv4 addresses (the multiplication of the last three bytes 255 x 255 x 255 = 16581375 approximately because the zero addresses identify the network and 255 is used for multicasting). Now let’s imagine that it is possible that we have at least one million devices in our organization. How would the devices maintain the transport and shipment of packages or datagrams with such a volume of users?
The practical solution of that time was to apply an AND operation (an AND operation is a simple multiplication) to each packet address and netmask, in order to determine if it was for the network or subnet. Let’s assume that a packet is routed to 10.0.7.23 on our Class A private network

0000000010.000000000000.0000000007.0001010111 <-package addressed to 10.0.7.23 11111111.000000000000.000000000000000000 <- net mask 255.0.0.0.0 00000010.000000000000.0000000000.0000000000 <-oper. AND results in 10.0.0.0.0 (multiplication)

Here is something that is implicit: our network mask, "the one we chose" is implicit because a class A network the first octet identifies the network, that is 8 characters so in a notation called CI DR (which implies the address of our network and the network mask together) is represented by the following simply as follows: 10.0.0.0/8

Creating a private subnet

Now imagine that in our private class A network we need a subnet where we will place the machines for our programming tests. For this purpose, 253 IPv4 addresses are more than enough, so by mutual agreement with our computer we are assigned 10.0.0.0.0/24 this means that in the private network class A 10.0.0.0.0 we are assigned a net mask 255.255.255.0 and going back to the last numerical example, but with our net mask:

0000000010.000000000000.00000111.0001010111 <-package addressed to 10.0.7.23 11111111.11111111.11111111.0000000000 <- net mask 255.255.255.255.0 00000010.000000000000.00000111.0000000000 <-oper. AND results in 10.0.7.0 (it is not our network, our network is identified as 10.0.0.0.0)

Public subnet

At the end of the last century we realized that IPv4 addresses were running out due to the exponential growth of the Internet, so ICANN realized that many Internet Providers ("Internet Service Providers" or ISP) were assigned very large blocks which caused idle IPv4 addresses. The decision was Solomonic: to allocate using network masks for each provider in order to fit the right size and believe it or not, their computers do these calculations millions of times a day: they compare addresses against network masks to see if they are in their subnet (today, in fact, there are other mechanisms implemented in the now existing modems, routers, hubs and repeaters but the basic concept remains the same). That's why we said that many organizations benefit from the use of php IPAM to register and plan assigned addresses.

Subnets with variable length mask

If you have understood up to this point what we have explained, some academics or professionals could be surprised. We can move on to the concept of variable length network masks: as simple as they are not limited to the values per byte (8, 16 and 24) but to any other value, such as 10.0.0.0.0/28 for our example (we will leave this one for you to practice with your IP calculator).

Creation of users and groups in php IPAM

After this conceptual basis, we recommend to start with the creation of groups and then users when working with php IPAM. Php IPAM includes by default two created groups: administrator group and guest group. This will simply allow us to group our users together when it comes to a search or visualization or to keep in mind some kind of order, i.e. it does not provide any other use of writing or inheritance rights.

Add user view php IPAM

In the user creation part we will have the complete overview: to create a user as a normal user or administrator and at the same time it will show us the groups that we have created ( remember that the description of the group with its user classification is not binding, a group that is described as "Remote Administrators" does not mean that its users have administrator rights). Simplicity is often welcome, by using the two groups that are created we can work unless the organization is extremely large.

When creating a user it will show us how our users will authenticate themselves and we will only see two options: by local database and by Apache which is an outdated and file-based method that we do not recommend. Our choice will be LDAP, however, we must first activate the php-ldap library on our Apache server and restart the service. In total there are seven possible forms of authentication:

  • Local.
  • Apache.
  • Active Directory (AD).
  • LDAP.
  • NetIQ.
  • Radius.
  • SAMLv2.

IP calculator

Once we have paved the way for work we can create our networks and sub-networks. The easiest way is to go to the integrated IP calculator, enter your assigned CIDR or the one you will create yourself in the case of private networks. php IPAM will calculate and display all values and will offer to create a network with that result and even its subnets.

Important note: if some subnetworks or phpIPAM subnetworks overlap, this will be indicated in a red letter warning.

IPv4v6 calculator php IPAM view

Once the CIDR values have been set correctly, we can assign the user groups the corresponding rights over that network or sub-network (note that the rights are given here as an option). Here we would like to highlight once again the peculiar way of managing read and write rights in php IPAM!

Edit Section view php IPAM

Exploration of devices in php IPAM

To facilitate the tasks of adding php IPAM, it has the utility of using the ping program to contact the devices to our network or subnetwork previously created, but the interesting thing is that there are two more ways, one for the devices that we already have and the other one for the new devices:

  • Through agents: this is similar to Pandora FMS, that is, a software installed in each machine and suitable to the current operating system. In Windows environment the Active Directory will allow us to massify this task and in GNU/Linux by SSH and well designed scripts we will be able to manage hundreds or even thousands of machines as desired.
  • Here's what's new and very useful:
    • When installing new devices we can configure them with the name of the network or sub-network.
    • With its respective script it connects to the API of php IPAM.
    • Check the last free IP address in that range.
    • Self-assigning this value.
    • It confirms to php IPAM and is registered in the MySQL database.
    • This way php IPAM becomes a kind of DHCP with the difference that it is only used once: when the virtual machine or device is installed (it can also be real, it is the same but it is obvious that a human being is in charge of the process, this would happen when mounting the server farm racks, which in turn contain the virtual machines).
    • Currently there are virtual machines that can even be built by our own clients as they wish on our server farms ( each one chooses his or her operating system for the hypervisor we have configured with php IPAM.
    • Of course it also includes deletion routines, in case the virtual devices are deleted or the real devices are moved or deactivated.

php IPAM: auxiliary tool

php IPAM can also register our DNS servers , monitoring idle IP addresses and devices, with a simple ping , fping or pear ping.

Ping check result - IP address details php IPAM

It uses agents, registers and manages NATs as well as basic monitoring with SNMP, but first we must configure our Apache server with the php-snmp module . Then we can configure the devices to monitor . It will even allow us to create SNMP traps , which are useful for the creation of event alerts . For a better compression we have a complete article on the basic aspects to consult through SNMP.

php IPAM SNMP management view

php IPAM: exporting and importing data

To finish, php IPAM has the option to import or export data in spreadsheet format of the sections we might need or we will be able to export (but not import) the complete database in SQL format or in a large spreadsheet!

Select sections and subnets fields to export view php IPAM

In the case of importing data we must follow a detailed protocol, in order to have an exact compatibility of the data:

Select IP addresses file and fields to import php IPAM

Automation in data export

Although the option spreadsheet is available, We suggest to develop through the API few scripts that allow extracting updated data and whether there have been changes in the network and what those changes are, if we have added or removed devices, ourselves or our clients to whom we have delegated the creation of virtual machines and thus we will be able to monitor with Pandora FMS the complete infrastructure.

If we want to go one step further, we could also create a plugin for Pandora FMS that consults directly in the database looking for changes but it is an advanced topic, it would not be a normal plugin (obviously with read-only rights, always from php IPAM to Pandora FMS).

Conclusion

We predict a great future if with php IPAM, which is created in free software and to which we have access to its source code, we can obtain data on what devices we should monitor in an almost completely automated way, keeping the infrastructure planning and development computers completely isolated from the monitoring and maintenance ones. We see then, an excellent symbiotic relationship between both software products!

Please leave us your comments or opinions and we will be happy to answer all of them.

Redactor técnico. Comenzó a estudiar ingeniería en 1987 y a programar con software privativo. Ahora tiene un blog en el que difunde el conocimiento del software libre.

DevelopmentFeaturesMonitoringPandora FMSRelease

What’s New in Pandora FMS 7.0 NG 723

June 1, 2018 — by Irene Carrasco0

whatsnew-723-featured.png

whatsnew 723
This last update package of Pandora FMS 7.0 NG contains improvements as well as visual changes and includes the resolution of some problems. A list of the most important changes can be found below.

New features and improvements

Real-time graphics of SNMP modules

They allow to see, at the user’s request, the real time data of an SNMP interface or any other module that can be sounded in real time from the Pandora FMS console:

whatsnew pandorafms 723

Rebranding

It allows you to make an OEM with your Pandora FMS installation, changing the name of both the product and the developer or manufacturer in all the sections of the console, and also in the main console screens of the server. It is possible to replace all logos, icons and references throughout the application.

whatsnew pandorafms 723

External Tentacle server configuration file

From this version on, the behaviour of the Tentacle server is much more flexible and easy to configure from the outside, thanks to the new external configuration file (optional).

Events in “progress”

It is now easier to use this intermediate status of events directly from Training and Event Management. Especially useful when working in multi-person operation teams in different shifts.

whatsnew pandorafms 723

whatsnew pandorafms 723

New GIS maps to work locally

With this new version it is possible to add a new data source for GIS maps. From version 7.0 Build 723 it is possible to add connections to WMS (Web Map Service) servers, such as GeoServer, which allows you to have GIS information in your own installation, without depending on external connections.

whatsnew pandorafms 723

Other small improvements

  • The export of events to CSV format has been improved, adding among other fields the internal (and unique) ID of the event.
  • Pandora’s internal audit log, which allows a total traceability, by user and operation, can now be exported to CSV format.
  • Improvements in the visualization of the graphs (tick separators, scale and zoom with detail in the graphs).
  • Improvements in the Oracle plugin, which now allows (optionally) to generate an agent for each database instance instead of grouping them all in the same agent.
  • Small visual improvements in the visualization of logs.

Troubleshooting

  • Three security vulnerabilities that affected previous versions have been fixed (CVE-2018-11221, CVE-2018-11222 and CVE-2018-11223).
  • Reported problems in group synchronization between nodes and meta console have been fixed.
  • Fixed a problem in the RSS view that prevented it from working.
  • Fixed a serious bug in the Tree view that sometimes did not show the information to the user.
  • Fixed problems in the network module editor in policies.
  • Fixed a minor problem with network maps for network masks /32
  • Fixed a problem in the visualization of SLA’s in dashboards.
  • Fixed a problem that prevented the correct editing of custom graphics in the visual console.
  • Fixed a bug when importing policies.
  • In the custom graphs the percentile graphs were not displayed correctly, it has already been fixed.

Download Pandora FMS

The last updated version of Pandora FMS can be downloaded from the downloads section of our website:
https://pandorafms.org/en/features/free-download-monitoring-software/

DevelopmentFeaturesFuncionalidadesPandora FMS

‘If you want different results, then do not do the same things’ Develop software in a different way!

May 31, 2018 — by Jimmy Olano3

rolling-release-software-featured-960x493.png

Rolling Release Software

Rolling Release Software: Learn all about it here

Rolling Release software” is a model that has been extended in recent years due to the rise of the Internet and the technological development of its users. In Pandora FMS we announced in March 2017 the release of the version 7.0, therefore we started the Rolling Release software, but what does this mean? What are the advantages? Let’s take a look!

Rolling Release Software

Redactor técnico. Comenzó a estudiar ingeniería en 1987 y a programar con software privativo. Ahora tiene un blog en el que difunde el conocimiento del software libre.

DevelopmentFeaturesFuncionalidadesMonitoringMonitorizaciónPandora FMSPluginsRelease

What’s New in Pandora FMS 7.0 NG 722

May 4, 2018 — by Irene Carrasco1

whatsnew-722-featured.png

whatsnew 722

This last update package of Pandora FMS 7.0 NG contains improvements as well as visual changes and includes the resolution of some problems. A list of the most important changes can be found below.

New features and improvements

  • Implementation of SMNP v3 in Satellite Server and Network Server Enterprise. Allows to apply the incredible polling speed of Pandora FMS that it had for versions 1 and 2c also to the SNMP v3 devices.
  • Improvements in GIS views, extending the information shown by each node. In the next update, we’ll have more GIS feature enhancements!

whatsnew 722

  • Massive operations when editing modules of a policy. It allows us to modify common parameters of dozens of components of an existing policy, to implement massive policy changes. Many users had asked us for this functionality.

whatsnew 722

  • New Events extension for Chrome. We had not updated more than a year the Chrome extension that allows us to view Pandora FMS events in real time. It’s already uploaded to the official extensions store.

whatsnew 722

whatsnew 722

whatsnew 722

  • Visual Consoles. The status inheritance system has been expanded to take weights into account.

whatsnew 722

  • Plugin VMWare. The new version allows to monitor the standard networks, grouping virtual switches, indicating traffic and number of connected virtual machines, grouped by VLAN. Added extra counters for VM, user configurable, vcpuAllocation, memoryMBAllocation and guestOS modules. It has also been added the possibility of encrypting the datacenter passwords, combos to the configuration form, as well as the correction of some errors in the graphs.

whatsnew 722

  • Calculation of SLAs and prioritization of states. Unification of colors and criteria in some reports that visualized it in different ways. Planned stops will now be displayed in purple.

whatsnew 722

  • Improved cluster monitoring, adding alerts from the wizard itself, improving API/CLI calls and simplifying the interface.

whatsnew 722

Troubleshooting

  • When deleting a parent group that contains child groups, the children are hooked to the root group to avoid “invisible” groups that are independent.
  • Fixed a problem in the advanced use of LDAP authentication, in user autocreation, and now it is allowed to use the “=” character as part of the data.
  • Fixed a bug that affected the processing of Inventory XMLs in some very specific circumstances.
  • The performance of some Dashboards in Firefox browsers has been improved.
  • Some problems in the interface and the way to paint relationships between nodes of the Network Maps have been solved.

whatsnew 722

  • Fixed some issues with the Event View pagination.
  • Fixed SQL errors when there was an access login for users without a profile assigned.
  • Small problem solved in the use of the filter by group of the Monitor View.
  • Fixed a problem in the Metaconsole Services interface.
  • Improved the status update of the elements that compose the Visual Consoles in Metaconsole.
  • Graph Container ACLs bugs fixed.
  • Fixed a problem with exporting events to CSV.

Download Pandora FMS

The last updated version of Pandora FMS can be downloaded from the downloads section of our website:
https://pandorafms.org/en/features/free-download-monitoring-software/

ExtensionsFeaturesMonitoringPandora FMSRelease

What’s New Pandora FMS 7.0 NG 721

April 12, 2018 — by Irene Carrasco0

whatsnew-721-featured.png

whatsnew 721
This last update package of Pandora FMS 7.0 NG contains improvements as well as visual changes and includes the resolution of some problems. A list of the most important changes can be found below.

Visual enhancements

  • Changes in the audit log.
  • Tree view for non-initiated agents or modules.

whatsnew 721

  • Digital clocks.
  • Graph values.
  • Elements of each of the specific profiles.
  • SQL graphics of custom reports.
  • Network Map Relationships.

whatsnew 721

  • Dashboards in Firefox.
  • Description of the MIBs in the SNMP queries from the Pandora FMS console.
  • Full scale reports of network interface type in the metaconsole.
  • Non-initiated agents in the tree view of the metaconsole.

New features

  • It is now possible to apply templates to an agent using API/CLI.
  • Assigning tags to events once they have been created is now possible.
  • Implementation of secondary groups.
  • Agent migration from the metaconsole via API/CLI.

Improvements in Cluster display

whatsnew 721

  • A group filter with recursion has been added.
  • An agent search engine has been incorporated.
  • ACL permissions have been optimized in both the cluster view and the creator.

Additional improvements

  • Permission management in the scheduled tasks.
  • Agent’s Help.
  • Login with SAML.
  • Event pagination after applying filters.
  • SNMP modules with communities with entities.
  • Exporting logs to CSV on Windows computers.
  • Tree view policy section.
  • The access to file collections.
  • Alert validation.

Solved problems

  • The problem with monitoring the Windows log security has been solved.
  • The bug in policies that do not adopt modules has been fixed.
  • The remote server configuration log problem for NMS licenses has been fixed.
  • The bug in editing parameters in VMware plugin has been fixed.
  • The SLA report error has been fixed.
  • The problem with special characters in the passwords to access Pandora FMS has been solved.
  • The SQL bug in the report view by those created through the wizard has been fixed.
  • The problem with creating modules with CLI has been solved.

Download Pandora FMS

The last updated version of Pandora FMS can be downloaded from the downloads section of our website:
https://pandorafms.org/en/features/free-download-monitoring-software/

DevelopmentFrikiGeek

10 valuable abilities to be a great programmer

March 15, 2018 — by Javier García0

programming-skills-featured.png

programming skills

Programming skills: 10 useful skills to improve your ability.

Are you a programmer or are you thinking about learning how to code? You might already know that is not an easy task. Can anyone be a programmer? We could say that, with enough effort, yes. But knowing how to code and to be a great programmer are two different things.

Many studies estimate that the number of professional developers in the world lies between 16 to 18 million. Do you think this is a great figure? It’s quite likely that this number continues to increase in the following years. Although surely you don’t want to be just one more, you want to be one of the best.

To stand out at any job is not an easy business. It demands effort and certain abilities that not everybody has (at least at the beginning). Do you want to know how to be a great programmer? In this article, we’re going to look at some of the traits that programmers themselves consider to be fundamental to excel at their job. Let’s get started!

Be eager to learn

IT is a science which is constantly evolving. New programming languages, new versions of already existing ones, new knowledge to acquire… As a job, it is very difficult to reach the top if you’re not constantly updating yourself. And to be updated, the interest for learning new things is a must. If you like and enjoy learning, you’ve chosen the right job. Your curiosity will be your best attribute. If you never stop reading and digging knowledge, you’ll be better at your job and you’ll enjoy it more doing it.

Develop a competent analytic capability

If you are a professional programmer you already know about this one. To a great extent, programming is to know how to fix problems. Because of it, being able to understand the problems and divide them into smaller problems easier to handle is quite useful in this profession. Moreover, if you have skills to think in a logic manner, you’ll be a step ahead and your work will be better.

Be creative

In addition to being analytical, to develop and to be able to solve problems, you’ll find quite handy to have a creative mind. If you take programming as a monotonous task, you’ll probably struggle; you’ll find it more difficult to keep going, and overall you’ll get bored quite a lot. If you stimulate your creative side, not only your work will be better, but you’ll have fun doing it.

Be mentally strong

Is one of the main reasons why people don’t even think about programming as a career path. To be a great programmer you’ll need a significant amount of mental strength. You’ll have to gather a wide range of knowledge and, not only that but also you’ll require enough dexterity to manage them wisely. Also, you’ll need to be able to manage stress efficiently. Nobody said it was going to be easy!

Be patient

Programming is the kind of job in which results aren’t expected in a short-term, but it’s rather more about mid to long-term achievements. Because of this, you’ll frequently need strong doses of patience. Usually, you’ll find yourself facing problems difficult to solve which will test your poise once and again. If you’re capable to handle these situations with a stiff upper lip, it’ll be more likely to succeed at your job.

Grow a detail-oriented mindset

As it is said: ‘the devil is in the detail’. To be a great programmer, you’ll need to be meticulous in your job. Your code will be of a better quality and you’ll avoid problems and save a lot of time by not having to look for the reason why something is not working.

Know how to communicate and work with others.

The image of someone who works all day locked in the garage with a computer doesn’t resemble the truth of how great programmers look like. It is common for programmers to work with other people, being other developers or another kind of professionals, as executives or clients. This is why the ability to communicate and work effectively with others will be a key factor in your work.
Likewise, keep in mind that unless you work only for other programmers, you’ll find quite handy to have some good notions of other fields of knowledge, like economics or the ins and outs of a business, among many others.

Awareness of your own limitations

You know what they say: don’t spread yourself too thin. To succeed as a programmer you need to be mindful of your know limitations. Accept that, huge quantities of work or coding for those who are not skilled enough (being the reason of this because of a lack of knowledge, experience, or any other reason) can cause serious problems. Therefore, to be aware of one’s own strengths and acting accordingly will also be something to keep in mind.

Be flexible

Besides having a positive outlook towards learning new things, you’ll need to be flexible at your job as well. In the ever-changing world we live in, a dynamic profession as programming will require of you to adapt yourself to new situations. Along with this, solving problems involve to develop an open mind and not to dwell on paths which don’t lead anywhere. And, of courses, will need the flexibility to work with others in different fields and people with no technical knowledge.

Be passionate

To finish with, here’s the most important one. We could say that to be passionate is a quality needed in any job, but to reach the top in such a demanding world as coding is, it’s a must. If you have no passion for your job, you’ll find enormously difficult to reach far. To keep the flame of passion alive, never stop learning and looking for new challenges.

These are some of the traits that developers themselves find to be essential for a programmer to have if he or she wants to be successful at his or her job. But don’t get discouraged, some of these traits can be nurtured or improved with practice, providing you have the required passion. Are you a programmer already? Surely you have found other indispensable traits. Would you like to share them with us and give us your opinion on how to be a great programmer? You can do it in the comment box down below. Thank you so much!

MonitoringPandora FMSRelease

What’s new in Pandora FMS 7.0 NG 719

February 22, 2018 — by Irene Carrasco0

whatsnew-719-featured.png

whatsnew 719

New Cluster Monitoring View

Cluster Monitoring

  • Monitoring an active/active or active/passive cluster of applications such as Oracle, WebLogic, SQL Server or Exchange is now as easy as completing a five-step wizard. It includes its own preconfigured and automatic views.

whatsnew 719

WEB User Experience (WUX)

  • Improvements in WUX server performance and graphical visualization in statistics.

whatsnew 719

Network Maps improvements

  • For a much clearer and more ordered display, the representation of the nodes has been improved.

whatsnew 719

Clocks in visual consoles

  • Clocks have been added with the different time zones in the visual consoles of Pandora FMS.

whatsnew 719

Improved graphs

  • For a better organization and representation of the data.

whatsnew 719

Metaconsole improvements

  • The update of agents through massive operations has been improved thanks to its immediate synchronization.

whatsnew 719

  • Performance optimization and visualization of the visual consoles and incorporation of full-scale graphics by default.
  • Review of the reports of the automatic combined graphs (with and without full-scale graphs).
  • Optimized background preview.

Improvements in events and alerts

  • Improved functioning of the alert view and tags and the visualization of module instructions in events.
  • Exception control optimization.
  • Incorporation of changes in the filtering of events with parent and child groups.
  • Visual changes in the Chrome extension of events.
  • New macro for the an event name.
  • Changes in the formatting of fields in email sending actions.

whatsnew 719

Improvements in graphs and reports

  • New functionality that allows setting a default name for custom graphics and PDF reports.
  • Changes in the visual appearance of horizontal graphs.

whatsnew 719

  • Greater precision in graph values.
  • Advanced functionality for header and footer formats in PDF reports .
  • Optimization of the presentation of simple module dynamic graphs. Changes in the presentation of decimal places in static graphs for a better visualization of the values.
  • Improved display of graphs combined with small intervals.

Installation process improvements

  • New commands in the installation ISO for better operation.
  • Optimization of agent installation in Windows with the possibility of starting and stopping the service, as well as editing Pandora FMS configuration from the shortcuts in the start menu, for users that do not have administrator permission.

Improvements in user management

  • Improved user search and passwords in the database with LDAP.
  • Console ACL cache system optimization.

Internal improvements

  • New default parameters have been added in the Pandora FMS server configuration file concerning the sync server, dynamic thresholds and SNMP forwarding for a better server configuration after the ISO installation.
  • Increase in the number of threads for syncserver servers.
  • Updating the content of the online help and its format.
  • Optimization of the system audit tool with respect to information on changes.
  • The QR functionality from mobile QR has added the option to redirect to the normal view if the mobile browser is in “see as computer” mode, otherwise it redirects to the the mobile version view of Pandora FMS.

whatsnew 719

  • Design improvements in pop ups.
  • Possibility of changing the links in the login screen to redirect to the spaces that the user decides, such as their own wiki or incident management tool.
  • Improved CSV export from the log collector.
  • We have optimized the calculation of SLAs when times are unknown.
  • Alphabetical sorting of agent groups has been included in agent creation and editing views.

Troubleshooting

  • Fixed error notification when creating a service.
  • Fixed problem with public URLs in the mobile view.
  • Fixed error in the recursiveness of groups in massive operations.
  • Fixed API bug when enabling alerts.
  • Fixed bug with graphs in module alert emails.
  • Fixed bug with the module filter disabled.
  • Troubleshooting problem in the event view with a user with tags.
  • Resolved incident with the restart of Pandora FMS sessions bypressing F5.
  • Fixed SQL error in agent view.
  • Improved CSV export from the log collector.
  • Optimized SLA calculation when times are unknown.
  • Alphabetical sorting of agent groups has been included in agent creation and editing views.

Download Pandora FMS

You can download the last updated version of Pandora FMS from the downloads section of our website:
https://pandorafms.org/en/features/free-download-monitoring-software/

Pandora FMSRelease

What’s new in Pandora FMS 7.0 NG 718

January 26, 2018 — by Irene Carrasco0

whatsnew-718-featured.png

whats new
This last update package of Pandora FMS 7.0 NG contains several improvements and visual changes and includes the resolution of some problems. A list of the most important changes can be found below.

Improvements

  • Built-in alert functionality for modules in unknown status.
  • Update in the eHorus client.

novedades 718

  • Added the posibility to configure the timeout of mainframe server FTP connections.
  • Module editing has been optimized through massive operations.
  • Improved user access to custom graphics depending on permissions.
  • Added the possibility of selecting the “auto disable” mode in massive agent operations.
  • Improved reporting of module events in metaconsole report templates.
  • Improved the form for editing web analysis modules (wux).
  • Improved agent searches in the console tree view and meta console.
  • Favourite visual console functionality has been improved.

novedades 718

  • Optimization of SNMP traps log filtering.
  • Improvements in the syslogserver, with the possibility of searching the agent reference via IP.
  • Including new macros: use the extra ID of an event externally and get the agent name.
  • Improved the synchronization of metaconsole users to a node by using profiles assigned to existing groups in the node.
  • Including all possible event macros in the event responses.
  • Deployment of metaconsole synchronization functions using API.
  • Improved tip graphs in console and metaconsole: including real data options (TIP) and OnlyAVG in “customgraphs” of a graph container, and “show percentile ” in combined graphs.

novedades 718

  • In order not to allow its deletion, now there’s a feature to have unlocked subgroups when there is only one group in the console that is blocked.
  • The start of the mobile view and its filtering agent view has been improved.

novedades 718

  • A number of strings have been translated.

Visual enhancements

  • The visual aspect of the meta console has been renewed.
  • Changes have been made for a better visualization of the agent status graphs when interactive graphs are deactivated.
  • Improvements when drawing network maps

novedades 718

  • Optimization in the nomenclature of image files of personalized logos.
  • We have optimized the presentation of media data in visual styles.
  • Incorporated a new visual effect in the login screen to Pandora FMS.
  • Improved visual aspect of plugin editor fields.
  • The visual appearance of the SLA Wizard has been improved.
  • Changes in the visualization of dates in the 24h graphs of the agents.

novedades 718

  • Improved visualization of interface graphs in agent view.
  • The visualization of the container graphics overview has been optimized.

novedades 718

Fixed problems

  • Solved execution problem of advanced cron type options with synthetic modules.
  • Fixed bugs in scheduled tasks.
  • Fixed bug when changing the report template information in the metaconsole.
  • Fixed bug in the cloning of items in the visual console.
  • Fixed problem with interface names display on network maps.
  • Fixed bug when creating remote configuration files in agents with empty agent name.
  • Fixed error in passwords with SNMP v3 when created via modules or policy instead of using SNMP Wizard interfaces.
  • Fixed bug with threads in the export server.
  • Solved vulnerability of access to Pandora FMS server.
  • Fixed bug in VMware extension.
  • Fixed bug in the recursiveness of groups in massive operations.

Download Pandora FMS

The last updated version of Pandora FMS can be downloaded from the downloads section of our website:
https://pandorafms.org/en/features/free-download-monitoring-software/

InterviewsPandora FMS

Interview with our CEO, Sancho Lerena, in the supplement of La Razón

January 15, 2018 — by Irene Carrasco1

articala-razon-featured.jpg

artica la razon

Good news!

As our readers already know, our company Ártica ST, manufacturer of Pandora FMS among other solutions, is one of the few Spanish companies that develops its own software. In addition, in recent years, we have experienced a remarkable growth, which in this case has come to attract the attention of some mass media.
Last Sunday, the newspaper La Razón published an interview with our founder and CEO of Ártica ST, Sancho Lerena. Below you can find a transcript of the complete interview:

Seven times cheaper

Sancho Lerena produces and sells very specific software that the great technologic companies already had in their catalogues. But he, who knows the sector very well, has been able to give them his stamp, adapt them to the needs of customers and sell them seven times cheaper than the others do. Their three star products – Pandora, Integria and eHorus – are present in 33 countries, although none of them have a branch. It does so through technical “partners” who are able to explain, market,”customize”, implement and support them,”as well as asking for our assistance when they need it”. Its advantages over major competitors are twofold. One, the technical strength, which in the case of these major competitors it’s diluted outside their countries of origin. And, two, innovation. Soon, it will provide SMEs with a pay-per-use technology solution for monitoring the different technological resources and managing them remotely.

The profile

Having worked under the protection of a large Spanish multinational, there was a time when he felt his talent was going to waste and thought he could give much more of himself. He offered to design and develop his own software to monitor and optimize all the company’s technological systems. The disenchantment with the negative response turned into a decision to set up his own company. Thus, Ártica ST was born in 2005. Its founder, Sancho Lerena is a computer engineer very demanding with himself, who always wants to know more and who attracts attention for his ability to plan and his strategic vision.

When he was immersed in the process of creating Artica ST, he realized that there were gaps in his training in business management. So, he started looking for an MBA that matched his needs. And he also realized that he was missing certain social skills. And so, as bold as brass, he enrolled in a modern theatre course that “served me well”. “I always need to go beyond, to learn something new – of technology or other matter. I can’t stay still,” he says.

–Technologist or entrepreneur?
–I suppose I am a technologist who would like to be an entrepreneur when I grow up.

–Why did you leave BBVA and venture to set up a company in this sector?
–Because I knew that I could give a lot more of myself and not only they wouldn’t let me, but I convinced myself that they would never let me. I was impatient – I am still impatient, albeit a bit less – but these large corporations require to do things too discerningly and a certain type of ambition – that of power – which I do not have….

–How much does it cost to be an entrepreneur?
–Life. You have to risk everything from your private sphere to your patrimony.

–What barriers or regulations complicate the work of entrepreneurs?
–Curiously for large public administrations, the businessman exists, but not the entrepreneur, who is a nuisance. A poor man who has to break his back to survive and move in a hostile environment. When I started, the Government of Madrid had a training program for young entrepreneurs. It helped me a lot because I met an experienced businessman with enough empathy to make us see that we would fail a thousand times.

–Why did you bet on designing, developing and commercializing software like Pandora to monitor technological resources and optimize them?
–I was fortunate that my last work allowed me to detect a common problem: the big technological environments are very fragmented, and there were hardly any tools that could withstand them. And the few who were there, were foreigners, and in Spain there was no one who knew how to handle them. I saw it could be done and it wasn’t complicated, and I jumped in the pool.

– Similar products from giant companies already existed. What prompted you to stand up against several “Goliaths”?
– The “Goliaths” are usually very large in their countries. When they emerge from them their technical strength is diluted, although they maintain the commercial and financial. Precisely there, at the local level, David can compete if he has a good and precise slingshot, and knows the weaknesses of a Goliath who comes from far away. Now, we are also going to their places of origin to try to fight them. We have always been excellent in both technical assistance and production.

– What are Pandora’s differential values with respect to competitors?
– Since we started, our “modus operandi” has two legs: really listening to the client and, from a technical point of view, trying to give them what they want without spoiling the product.

– Is the technology used well in our country?
– There is room for improvement, but it’s not bad. The technology of our health services is not seen in many nearby countries. Now, I’m afraid of getting obsolete. Administrations are increasingly thinking about the short term rather than the long term. Technological efficiency can only be achieved if it is planned over time.

– Sometimes it seems that in Spain we are very focused on domestic technology and do not know how to apply it in business.
– The SME has not been able to take advantage of it. Big ones do because they have money to invest. You have to realize that technology is just what they need to position themselves better and be more competitive. One thing small and medium-sized enterprises can do is to encourage their employees to develop projects. An SME has a lot of agility, its direction and vision are unique, and the rotation of managers is practically zero.

–Innovation is essential in Ártica. Do you have any news ready?
–Yes, soon we will release a product called OPGuardian that combines the power of Pandora and eHorus. These were designed for large companies and, now, we are going to offer these remote monitoring and control capabilities as a pay-per-use service without the need for installations, licenses, equipment… Until now we weren’t able to provide an adequate service to SMEs, but that will change soon. Also, at the end of the year, we expect to launch, an artificial intelligence system applied to support processes via telematics.

–The Spanish market is not enough. What is your internationalization strategy?
–We are already present in 33 countries. Ártica’s strength lies in the fact that all commercials are technical. We’re talking to our clients on the same level. We always know very well what we’re selling. Our strategy is to have technical partners in the countries where we have the business the most- the United States, Mexico and France. In Japan, we have as a partner a company that knows how to explain, install and deploy the product for the Japanese clients. We are not going to open branches, we want to work with local teams.

And up to here the whole interview, which is also available at La Razón. We remind our readers that they can solve their doubts by leaving the comments they want below, or by consulting some of the articles of our blog about Pandora FMS. If you want more information about Ártica ST, you can visit our website at the following link https://www.artica.es/en

Pandora FMSRelease

What’s new in Pandora FMS 7.0 NG 717

December 20, 2017 — by Irene Carrasco0

whatsnew-717-featured.png

what's new 717
This last Pandora FMS 7.0 NG update package contains several improvements and visual changes and includes the resolution of some problems. Here is a list of the most important changes:

Improvements

  • Loading and operation time has been improved both in the event view when there are a large number of groups and in the metaconsole overview.
  • Dynamic maps have been included in the VMware view.

whats new 717

  • Optimized LDAP authentication in multiuser environments and search for parameters within your servers.
  • Possibility of including macros in IPs comments in IPAM so that they can be used in alerts and events.
  • Improved export to CSV in IPAM.
  • A checkbox has been included in the reports so that you can choose whether or not to display empty data.
  • It is now possible to view a password change audit from the console.
  • Improvements in the log viewer, both in searches and with information from different sources.
  • Improved user experience thanks to a series of changes in the UX plugin.
  • Improvements in the functionality and visualization of network maps.

whats new 717

  • New search fields by group have been included in the console and metaconsole tree view, in the text module data viewer, and in the custom agent fields and SNMP filters.

whats new 717

  • The database check tool has been optimized.
  • Possibility of creating or uploading files to collections with AW permissions.
  • Optimized Pandora FMS server thread monitoring.
  • We have optimized XML processing.
  • Improvements in server self-monitoring and automatic restart script in Windows.
  • Optimization of user sorting in the user management section of the metaconsole.
  • Improvements have been made in access to remote nodes with sessions activated using autologin.
  • We have improved the restart of agents that contain file collections.

Visual improvements

  • Improvements in line display on visual consoles when full screen mode is selected.
  • Optimized visualization of dynamic radial maps.
  • We have made improvements to the VMware view.
  • Improvements in the visualization of critical state agents and the filtering of GIS maps.

whats new 717

  • Event visualization in the sound console has been optimized.

whats new 717

  • Possibility of sorting the elements that are added to custom graphics.
  • Within the custom graphics (customgraphs) you can see the units of the module values.
  • Optimized visualization of keepalive and boolean modules in static graphs.

whats new 717

  • The display of the “None” option in the selection boxes has been improved.
  • Improvements in the visualization of agent options in the massive operations of the Satellite Server.
  • Optimized visualization of thresholds in agent and policy modules.
  • We have included two new series within the combined graphs: product of the sum of all the graphs and/or the average of all of them.

novedades 717

Troubleshooting

  • Fixed bug with public links of images in the visual consoles
  • Fixed API error when disabling alerts.
  • Unified criteria for plugins in the normal and silent installation types of Windows agents.
  • Fixed autorefresh bug in the dashboard.
  • Fixed update error of the alarm counter triggered when deleting an alert.
  • Fixed bug in SNMPv3 modules creation from snmpwalk when user or passwords contain special characters.
  • Fixed bug in the synchronization of disabled agents of the meta console.

Download Pandora FMS

You can download the last updated version of Pandora FMS from the downloads section of our website:

https://pandorafms.org/en/features/free-download-monitoring-software/

MonitoringMonitorización de SistemasPandora FMS

PRTG Network Monitor vs. Pandora FMS

December 4, 2017 — by Irene Carrasco0

PRTG-alternative-featured.png

PRTG alternative

Pandora FMS as a good PRTG alternative and why

Introduction to PRTG Network Monitor

Previously in this blog we have published comparative articles about monitoring software such as Nagios or Zabbix, as well as about backup supervision and its definition, planning and implementation with software like Bacula and Veritas (monitored with Pandora FMS, of course), among many other topics. On this occasion we will talk about “PRTG Network Monitor” or simply PRTG as the company “Paessler AG” calls it on its official website. The company is based in Germany, in Nuremberg and they have been working since 1997. It is member of the “Cisco Solution Partner” program and the “VMware Technology Alliance Partner”, so we are talking about real heavyweights in the world of software and hardware (and their monitoring).

PRTG Features

PRTG alternative

Installation and induction to PRTG

Although they do not express it explicitly, they have a strong dependence on the Microsoft software because it only works under that operating system (they recommend “Windows Server 2012 R2”; for other editions, install the package “. NET framework 4.5” with its updated security patches). There are even those who say that it can be installed in virtualized environments and we respect that view.
It is not necessary to remember that the source code is completely proprietary (unlike Pandora FMS which is open source) and where they mention the use of open source code is just given the case one is willing to use the “PRTG Application Programming Interface (API)”: to do this, we must publish the script in GitHub -with open source code license- the add-on or supplement that we do and then register it to “Paessler AG” in the “PRTG Script World” and after the approval of the technical staff we will be allowed to publish an article explaining the use of the programmed entity. As you can see it is part of the program’s security and up to today’s date there are 208 scripts or sensors available.
The previous paragraph was completely necessary to introduce the term “sensors“, something very important in PRTG , as important as the money we are going to pay for such software. Let’s see the sensor definition:

We define a sensor as an aspect that is monitored in a device. Therefore, a sensor monitors, for example, a specific URL, the traffic of a network connection, a switch port or the CPU load on a machine.

They have 200 predefined sensors and they estimate that each client uses between 5 and 10 sensors per device and, in turn, they introduce another new concept: the channels that depend on a sensor. Each channel corresponds to each of the characteristics of a sensor, for example if we have a hard disk free space sensor, the free space value in each of the hard disks present in a device counts as a channel. As a final consideration, there are sensors that have limits on the number of channels, such as the advanced Python, which has a maximum value of 53. From PRTG version 12 onwards, new sensors have been programmed and published:

  • Host Vmware Status Sensor.
  • WMI SharePoint Process Sensor.
  • WMI Application IIS Sensor.
  • SNMP Connections VPN Cisco ASA Sensor.
  • SNMP Traffic VPN Cisco ASA Sensor.
  • Interface WAN Fritz! box Sensor.
  • Options Ping SIP Sensor.
  • Google Analytics Sensor.
  • WMI Ping Remote Sensor.
  • Xen Host Sensor.

In the basic sensors there is coincidence: both Pandora FMS and PRTG have tools to monitor databases, applications, ping, ports, servers, etc. But with Pandora FMS we don’t have to worry about sensors or channels, nor be doing mathematical operations, we only add the number of devices (plus their agents, if necessary) that we must and/or want to monitor, and that’s it, fast and easy. Since Pandora FMS launched its first version in 2004 (being a new project that started from scratch), it responds to the needs for which there was no solution in a single software tool. Its evolution is based on the experience of both the Open Source community and the manufacturer’s customers: their requirements and demands have made Pandora FMS to adapt and grow, covering a wide range of needs for a wide range of users and always under official updates.

Data storage in PRTG

In Pandora FMS the collected data is stored in a MySQL database like Zabbix (and in the case of Nagios with the help of NDOUtils) but PRTG manages its own database, claiming that it is faster and represents less load for the system that runs the data collector. They ensure that the information is always available to export to different formats (PDF, XML and JSON) but it does not match the simple creation of a user with read-only rights in a database: That’s transparency in the information given the case an audit firm is hired to measure the total performance of any company’s computer network, you can extract data in real time from the data engine instead of waiting for a report to be generated and then process the results again!

User interface or “Front end”

Another additional difference PRTG has, is that it makes use of its own user interface program, which makes sense, given its strong dependence on Windows : only one compilation needs to be done for this operating system. It even has another application that launches the web console and in this case it does follow the same path chosen by Pandora FMS: it is much better to use the web browsers since every modern device always has one installed (or more). PRTG requires Google Chrome 49, Mozilla Firefox 45 or Internet Explorer 11 (or their latest versions). Also in the induction section we explain how to create our own API-based interface, thanks to other open source components.

Data collection and analysis engine

PRTG is programmed in “Microsoft Visual Studio ” and accepts the Python language for other components; Pandora FMS is written in Perl and PHP, its Linux agent also written in Perl, Windows Agent in C++ and Android Agent in Java. Pandora FMS also has an extensive plugin library aimed at fulfilling much more complex missions, mainly designed for the total monitoring of applications, both locally and remotely to the most important parameters of the most used applications in both the proprietary and open source software fields.

License types available in PRTG

There are four types of licenses available and they are mutually exclusive (which means that sensors don’t “add” to each other):

  • “Freeware” up to a maximum of 100 sensors.
  • “Trial Edition”: 30-day trial version with unlimited sensors; at the end of the trial period you can either purchase the following two licenses or opt for the “Freeware” and its limitation to 100 sensors.
  • Special Edition
  • Commercial Edition

In any case, the license value will always depend on the number of sensors, not the number of devices.
In Pandora FMS we have the “Open” version without any monetary cost so the software community can collaborate and even fork the source code to create their own special solutions. From all these improvements -and those specially developed by the Pandora FMS development team- some are chosen, debugged and thoroughly tested to publish the Pandora FMS “Enterprise” version. In fact, when you buy the “Enterprise” version you have direct communication with our team of professionals, ready to develop new solutions, as we always work with long-term commitments.

Agents in PRTG and Pandora FMS

In the section “Installation and induction to PRTG ” we mentioned briefly the Agents: both programs use them, but what is an Agent?
An Agent is software specifically compiled for the operating system of the device that we need or want to monitor (later we will see how to monitor the devices that use firmware instead of an operating system) that gathers and extracts information and then sends it when requested or when it has a scheduled agenda (event on request or chronological event). Both programs offer Twitter alerts for the latter case.

PRTG monitoring in Microsoft Windows

Windows offers “Windows Management Instrumentation” (WMI) (or Windows Management Interface) which is a set of extensions for the “Windows Driver Model” and which makes available a whole series of data and events recorded by the operating system kernel. However this method represents a cost both in the short and long term. In the long term, WMI queries generate a certain workload on the performance of the computer to be monitored, which we must always bear in mind.

In the short term, the installation cost is: if we have an “Active Directory” and a previously configured Domain, we will be able to perform the massive installation of said Agent in each one of the machines in an automated way (in Pandora FMS we have the integration with “Active Directory” from version 6). But if we are not keen,on this configuration, we will have to help in the creation of scripts in PowerShell so that from a repository we talk about it can be installed. Finally, if there are few computers, we can connect via Remote Desktop or in a very safe and low cost way with our eHorus software (we recommend the isolated execution version, since it does not require an installation routine as such) and from any web browser can perform this task.

What in Pandora FMS we call Agent in PRTG is called Remote Probe and we need a Local Probe -which is installed automatically when we install the Central Server– and both programs will maintain permanent communication even if they are located in different local area networks (LAN) or even geographically dispersed. As a PRTG alternative, for Pandora FMS this does not represent any complication and when centralizing all operations is necessary, we can enable it with the metaconsole, the Central Server and its Satellite Servers.

PRTG alternative
One thing that we observe with concern in the case of PRTG is that the more sensors we need, the less options we have to group them in clusters : when reaching 5 thousand the problem gets complicated as they even confess on their website. For Pandora FMS the amount does not represent any hurdle!
In the following figure we can see the function of the Local Probe and its intermediation to communicate to the Central Server and the Remote Probes in PRTG :

PRTG alternative
In both programs, Agents or Remote Probes must be duly authorized by means of credentials and lists authorized by IPv4 or IPv6 addresses. In this link we have an example about how Pandora FMS can extract the CPU temperature information from a Windows device through WMI.

PRTG monitoring in Linux GNU

PRTG alternative
In this section, both programs work in the same way: by means of SSH, that is, a secure and encrypted tunnel to prevent interception and/or modification by third parties. But since not everything in the garden is rosy, we must also consider which Linux distribution we are using, in order to guarantee the programs that are installed are able to return the values we want to collect. Today, due to the computing power of modern computers and hard disk capacity, most of them will be pre-installed and generally we shouldn’t have any problems in this regard.

Monitoring with SNMP

SNMP is the abbreviation for “Simple Network Management Protocol” (for a detailed description see our dedicated article). This protocol allows the standardization of information – that is, data in a predefined form – thus allowing us, for example, to perform an automatic discovery of devices in the local area network that support this feature (network detection).

PRTG alternative
It is necessary to point out that for both Windows and GNU/Linux we will have to install the SNMP service or “daemon” – allowing us to offer the public values generally with the V2c standard, since the V3 standard offers the benefit of communication encryption but requires additional work to configure it as well as a load added to the machine that’s going to be monitored. Again, we emphasize: if we have “Active Directory” and a Domain installed, we will use “Group Policies” or GPO to install this service in an easy and practical way.

Special Windows dimensioning: PRTG requires that when installing the SNMP service also be installed the “WMI Provider SNMP” which will allow scripts or scripts to be made through WMI, which as we have already explained have an operational cost on the performance of the computer. Finally, Microsoft has always been known for introducing its own closed and proprietary standards to open standards.

PRTG alternative
At this point, since we will already have configured the credentials in our Central Server, we will access the computers and establish the extraordinary events that we want to be informed about, this is known as “SNMP trap alerts”: it will simply not be necessary to ask the device “how it is”, it will warn us itself in the case of it “not feeling well”.

Monitoring of “Active Directory”

This is the point in which PRTG stands out over Pandora FMS. Which is the Active Directory replication error sensor and they strongly recommend monitoring the “high performance impact of your monitoring system”. This is because you perform the following tasks:

  • Prevention of error replication.
  • Identification of inactive and disconnected users.
  • Number of consecutive synchronization errors.
  • If the source has been deleted.
  • If the programmed synchronization has been disabled.
  • Time of last attempt at synchronization.
  • Result of the last synchronization.
  • The last time a successful synchronization was performed.
  • Number of aligned synchronization sequences.
  • Number of pending replication operations.

All this is possible through the “. NET framework 4.5” which is the programming environment of “Visual Studio” and allows programming on “Active Directory” in a relatively easy and fast way.

Conclusions

While the control and management of Microsoft Windows Active Directory by PRTG offers a slight advantage, it does not compare in any way to the fact that Pandora FMS runs in GNU/Linux environment with Perl language, thus enjoying the multiple advantages of open source code. If we also add that Pandora FMS hosts its data in MySQL, without anything to hide, and with the possibility of replicating said databases for backup purposes and possible audits, we conclude that Pandora FMS offers the best option against the so-called “Manolo V1.0” but at an enterprise level: a company should not rely solely and exclusively on another company to monitor its computer resources, it should have the alternative of being able to solve the problem.

“Paessler”, “Paessler The Monitoring Company”, “PRTG”, “IPCheck”, “Site Inspector” y “PhotoMeister” son marcas registrada de “Paessler AG”. Otras marcas registradas son marcas de sus respectivos propietarios. Esta información legal está publicada en el siguiente enlace web:
https://www.paessler.com/company/contact#imprint

All the images used here have been captured and/or modified under our authorship and are under license. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International

Pandora FMSRelease

What’s new in Pandora FMS 7.0 NG 716

November 28, 2017 — by Irene Carrasco0

whatsnew-716-featured.png

whatsnew 716

This last Pandora FMS 7.0 NG update package contains several improvements and visual changes and includes the resolution of some problems. Here is a list of the most important changes:

Improvements

  • It is now possible to create empty network maps manually and not automatically calculate relationships.
  • New feature that allows multiple visual consoles within the same dashboard to look like individual dashboards in slide mode.

what's new 716

  • Macros have been added to the visual console tags so that when the consoles are generated through the CLI, all the necessary tags can be added automatically.
  • Added advanced feature in the visual consoles, which allows having access control to the visualization of contents in the consoles. In this way, it is possible to present different contents in the same visual console depending on the group/profile to which the user belongs.
  • The limit of characters allowed in the email addresses for scheduled tasks has been increased.
  • Network map management flow has been improved for better operation.

what's new 716

  • ISO kernel optimization.
  • New feature to specify thresholds when displaying the status of a parent visual console associated with a static image.
  • Added to the CLI all new fields of visual consoles for the creation and editing of visual consoles.
  • New feature that allows selecting (via token) whether or not to save the password to the database when using LDAP authentication.
  • A new tag view has been added so that users with tag permission restrictions have a reliable view where the information is reflected correctly.
  • Improved text search in visual consoles.

Visual Improvements

  • Improved visual aspect of the SNMP interface Wizard.
  • Improvements in the visualization of network maps.
  • Added the ability to choose the level of objects in the Visual Console, allowing an object to always be one layer above the others and so it can’t be hidden by another element that overlaps.

what's new 716

  • The positioning of the elements in the visual consoles of the meta console has been optimized.

what's new 716

  • Changes made to the event view for better performance in event viewing.
  • A feature has been included to save the positioning and zoom that we want to establish in a network map.
  • Optimized mobile APP configuration for event viewer.

Troubleshooting

  • Fixed problem with the advanced cron options in modules.
  • Fixed bug in public links of dashboard elements.
  • Fixed bug with HTML entities when events are created with Pandora FMS server.
  • Fixed errors in scheduled tasks due to SSL validation failure.
  • Fixed bug in SNMP monitoring.
  • Fixed problem when moving an element in an agent.
  • Fixed meta console bug when changing permissions in Active Directory.
  • Fixed bug in dashboard cells.

Download Pandora FMS

You can download the latest updated version of Pandora FMS from the download section of our website:
https://pandorafms.org/en/features/free-download-monitoring-software/

Pandora FMSRelease

What’s new in Pandora FMS 7.0 NG 715

November 15, 2017 — by Carla Andres2

whatsnew-715-featured.png

whats new 715

The latest Pandora FMS 7.0 NG update package contains numerous improvements and visual changes as well as some problem-solving. Here we have a list of the most important changes.

Visual improvements

  • The metaconsole now allows displaying the description in HTML view just like it appears in PDF view.
  • New options in the Visual Console label editor have been included.
  • Customization of icons to identify agents on GIS maps has been included.

whats new 715

  • The inclusion of HTML images in visual consoles has been improved.
  • Loading of the metaconsole tree view and nodes has been optimized.
  • Alphabetical sorting of modules when creating a new element in the Visual Console included.
  • PDF reports present a visual improvement in the labels of the graphics.
  • Visual appearance of histograms on the dashboard has been improved.
  • Dynamic radial maps usability increased.

whats new 715

  • The dashboard has been optimized with the creation of a single initial widget and improved full-screen mode. .
  • Improvements in the combined graphs view within agent.
  • Visual consoles incorporate new types of graphics:”Serialized foot graphs”, “serialized bar charts” and “Circular progress bar”.

whats new 715

  • Visualization of serialized pie charts with different backgrounds has been improved.

whats new 715

  • Improved visualization of gauge graphs with thresholds lower than 1.

whats new 715

Other improvements

  • In environments with many elements, the agent/module view and dashboard have been improved.
  • Incorporated a new macro for alerts that the server returns to which an agent is associated.
  • Security enhancements to prevent potential vulnerabilities.
  • We have included the possibility to make recursive enumeration of groups in the agent/module view.
  • Improvements on Network maps linked to dummy nodes.

whats new 715

  • SNMPv3 modules can now include special characters in passwords.
  • The module_logevent monitoring of Windows has been improved thanks to new features.
  • Improvements to circular-type maps from a recon task.
  • Multiple agent and module selection improved.
  • Optimized report creation and export in CSV format.
  • Network server performance increased through a series of configuration improvements..
  • Changes made to the reports, including new maximum, minimum and average options that allow you to define time periods within a period to display the information more accurately.

whats new 715

  • Included new field to set the auto-refresh time of the elements.
  • It is now possible to edit the OID in SNMP modules from mass operations.
  • We have created a new type of report to show the total increase/decrease of a numerical module over a period of time.
  • Optimized agent data queries.
  • Improvements in sending reports by email.
  • Massive report deletions are now possible .

whats new 715

  • Improvements in the operation of scheduled tasks.

Problems solved

  • Fixed bug in the inventory tables.
  • Fixed error with the names of SNMP interfaces in policies.
  • Fixed visual bug in dashboards with widgets containing a visual console with “AutoSLAGraph” elements.
  • Fixed the erroneous recognition of OS X operating system in Pandora FMS agents.
  • Fixed bugs in Windows process watchdogs.
  • Fixed inconsistency in ACL parameters.
  • Fixed bug with advanced cron-type options in synthetic modules.
  • Fixed error in the search and sorting of agents in agent management.
  • Fixed bug of event storm protection when there are more than two servers in the same instance (master/slave).

Download Pandora FMS

You can download the latest updated version of Pandora FMS from the download section of our website:
https://pandorafms.org/en/features/free-download-monitoring-software/

Pandora FMSRelease

What’s new in Pandora FMS 7.0 NG 714

October 26, 2017 — by Carla Andres2

whatsnew-714-featured.png

whats new 714

This last Pandora FMS 7.0 NG update package contains numerous improvements and visual changes and includes the resolution of some problems. Below is a list of the most important changes.

Visual improvements

  • Improved visualization of graphs of different sizes in PDF reports.
  • Optimized performance in metaconsole tree view.
  • Improved the visual aspect of Pandora FMS installation wizard.

whats new 714

  • Enhanced visualization of full scale graphs in Prediction modules.
  • Improved reporting of log reports with a lot of content.
  • Improved visual console status display inside another visual console.
  • Optimized visualization of agent relationships on network maps.

whats new 714

Other improvements

  • An advanced LDAP authentication method similar to Active Directory has been implemented.
  • It has been added in the CSV file when IPAM data is exported, the names of the agents when they are created in Pandora FMS and the comments of the agents/IPs.
  • The behavior of recognition tasks has been improved when the server is restarted. Manual tasks do not restart automatically, whereas non-manual tasks do.
  • Added HTTPS support in the API configuration inside Pandora FMS server.
  • Mail server settings have been optimized for Cron Jobs (scheduled tasks).
  • Added the option to have “alias as name” selectable by default in the setup when new agents are created in the console.
  • Optimized CSV generation when exporting custom graphics in a graph container as well as module graphics.

whats new 714

  • Improved default full-scale chart settings improved.
  • Improved the “logevent” module of Windows agents.
  • Improved graphing and historical database in metaconsole environments.

whats new 714

  • Included “all modules” option in massive operations to prevent unwanted operations from being performed on all modules when “Any by mistake” option is selected.
  • Pandora FMS diagnostic sections optimized.
  • Added a filter on visual consoles to optimize usability in very large environments with a multitude of visual consoles.

whats new 714

  • It has been included the possibility of showing timesticks in days-hours-minutes-seconds format in the satellite modules in the agent view, in the metaconsole tree view and in the data history (both in console and metaconsole).
  • Added an exception control to avoid accumulating excessive connections when a Tentacle server without password receives a request from an agent with a login password.
  • A new braa.exe has been created for satellite server and server on Windows.

Problems solved

  • Fixed problem with deadlocks in the database when Pandora FMS runs on a Percona cluster.
  • Fixed bug in LDAP and Active Directory remote authentication methods.
  • Fixed bug with “diffview” option of inventory modules.

whats new 714

  • Fixed bug with service watchdogs in Windows agents.
  • Fixed problem of password update between Pandora FMS and LDAP.
  • Solved remote configuration problem in 32-bit systems.
  • Fixed bug when changing the time range in the graphs of an agent for standard users.
  • Fixed bug when creating SQL report elements in the report templates in Metaconsole.
  • Fixed bug in the Android application in the SNMP alert event viewer.

whats new 714

  • Fixed problem with wrong agent name in events generated by inventory change .

Download Pandora FMS

The latest updated version of Pandora FMS can be downloaded from the Downloads section of our website:
https://pandorafms.org/en/features/free-download-monitoring-software/

Pandora FMSRelease

What’s new in Pandora FMS 7.0 NG 713

October 4, 2017 — by Carla Andres0

whatsnew-713-featured.png

whats new 713

The latest Pandora FMS update package is already available, featuring important improvements and visual changes. Some of the most important changes are listed below:

Visual improvements

  • Performing multiple operations with visual console element is now possible.
  • A visual indicator to know when an agent is included in planned shutdown has been added.
  • Visual improvements have been made in the events that show the last 24 hours of an agent.

whats new 713

  • Revised and improved the CSS style (Cascading Style Sheets) of help pages.
  • An option has been added inside the group icon that generates a summary of the group elements in the visual console.

whats new 713

  • The appearance of the agent management wizard in the metaconsole has been optimized.
  • Selecting logos in. png format (and not only in. jpg) in Pandora FMS reports is now possible.
  • A checkbox has been included in the node and metaconsole report elements to create TIP graphics reports (of actual data) in the “Module Graphic” element.

whats new 713

  • Improved translations in the shortened data field.
  • The visual aspect of Pandora FMS help has been improved when selecting the “blacktheme”.

whats new 713

Other improvements

  • The functionality of creating, editing and deleting visual consoles from command line is now included.
  • We have made permission improvements based on the user profile in the report submission “cron jobs”.
  • Organization of events in Pandora FMS mobile application now improved.
  • Improvements have been made in policy development based on existing components.
  • Added TIP option in the interface graphs to visualize the actual data at full scale.

whats new 713

  • We have improved the performance of macros in the combined graphs of the report templates.
  • Having blacklists of networks to receive SNMP, WMI, ICMP or exec type checks on the satellite servers is now possible.
  • From now on, the agent will not fail when a drive does not exist in a module_freedisk_percent type module.
  • Improvements made to the last activity panel when using the database interface.

whats new 713

  • Improvements made in the graphics of “customgraph” modules.
  • Improvements made in policy macros.

Problems solved

  • Fixed bug in the creation of programmed stops.
  • Fixed problem in agent name sorting in the “detail monitor” view.
  • Fixed the problem of linking an added agent by reconnecting the satellite server with another device from network maps.

whats new 713

  • Fixed the error in the calculation that is done to determine if there are fallen Pandora FMS servers.
  • Fixed error in the formatting of the information coming from the string type data modules that appears in the data table.
  • Fixed bug when displaying the image with the graphic when configuring a PDF report to be mailed.

whats new 713

  • Fixed visual bug with “AutoSLAGraph” type elements in the visual consoles.
  • Fixed bug in the remote configuration of Unix/Linux agents in local mode.

Download Pandora FMS

The latest updated version of Pandora FMS can be downloaded from the Downloads section of our website:
https://pandorafms.org/en/features/free-download-monitoring-software/

Pandora FMS

Help us become Sourceforge’s November Project of the Month

September 26, 2017 — by Carla Andres2

sourceforge-EN.png

sourceforge

Hey, listen! Have you heard the news? Pandora FMS is among the nominees to the SourceForge “Community Choice” Project of the Month for November!

If you’re anything like most software developers, or you have a great interest on open-source software projects, you must already know about SourceForge. This web-based service founded in 1993 is well known among programmers, since it works as a meeting point for all those who want to find a certain free and open-source software to use, and all the creators that develop and publish their own project there for others to use.

What makes a project up for being nominated? Well, candidates are selected among projects that have recently been voted Project of the Week, which means they also have a high number of downloads in the previous month, and have received positive user feedback.

Being elected as Community Choice Project of the Month means being featured on SourceForge homepage for the whole month of November, right there, for everyone to see, which is a great way to spread the word about our project, bearing in mind the humongous amount of registered users that SourceForge has. Should Pandora FMS be elected, we will also have the opportunity to be featured in an interview on SourceForge’s blog.

But for that to become a reality, we need to actually be the community’s choice, which means your vote is needed! Pandora FMS is listed among other great open-source projects, such as Ditto, SCons or Hibernate, so we need your help to win; you can vote for us right here:

https://sourceforge.net/p/potm/discussion/vote/thread/22b0f0fd/

To vote you must have a SourceForge account and go to the forum post above, so just by clicking on the link, you can add a comment on the thread with: VOTE: pandora to show your support from now until October 15th.

Our team would also like to thank SourceForge and everyone who takes the time to vote for Pandora FMS in this month’s “Community Choice” Project of the Month. Thanks for your support!

FeaturesPandora FMSRelease

What’s new in Pandora FMS 7.0 NG 712

September 8, 2017 — by Carla Andres0

whatsnew-712-featured.png

whats new 712

The latest Pandora FMS update package is already available, featuring important improvements and visual changes. Some of the most important changes are listed below:

  • New Web User Experience server (WUX) with the ability to automate transactional web browsing tests, making it easy to perform automatic tests, check website stability, detect bottlenecks, and the loading speed, showing screenshots of faults and detailed statistics of each transaction.

whats new 712

  • New _id_module macro with the identifying id information for each module has been added.
  • Date and time text macros in the visual console have been added.
  • The use of the UNION statement is allowed in the SQL queries of the reports.
  • Database update on cascade protection has been improved.
  • Optimized access in the mobile version.
  • The tasks of cron Jobs are limited depending on the user profile. If the user has access to the creation of reports , he will be able to enter the cron Jobs, but won’t be able to execute personalized actions (which can only be executed by administrators)
  • Thanks to the integration with Elastic we have drastically improved the system of storage and visualization of logs, which allows us to increase the scalability and the speed of the presentation of the information. Now we can collect hundreds of lines per second of logs of Unix and Windows systems and communication systems. The folder-based storage system stops working in version 712, you must follow the ElasticSearch deployment guide if you want to continue using this feature.

whats new 712

  • It is now possible to use network or satellite servers to launch event responses, SNMP / WMI wizards, and SNMP browser in places where the console does not have access to.

whats new 712

  • The following improvements have been made when creating events through the command line: you can add instructions to events, add the event creator user and add a function to automatically create an agent in case that the one that appears in the event does not exist.
  • The Pandora FMS database maintenance tool for very large databases has been optimized.
  • Improvements in the performance of GIS Maps in very strict permission configurations.

Visual improvements

  • Visual appearance of fonts in PDF reports in Japanese has been improved.
  • Title Changes in Threshold Columns in Agent View.
  • Error message format when sending PDF reports to cron Jobs has been improved.
  • Visual appearance on login screen in console and meta-console has been improved.

whats new 712

  • Deactivated modules are no longer displayed in the general module search from the console header.
  • It incorporates the possibility of attaching alert graphs with thresholds.
  • Visual enhancement of full scale graphs of boolean modules in a client.
  • Link to the icons in the “remote config” column of the agents view has been added.

whats new 712

  • The appearance of the license activation pop-up when the black theme is set up in the console has been improved.
  • The presentation of long agent names in the circular graphs of the tactical view has been improved.

whats new 712

  • The display of element names in service maps to avoid overlaps has been improved.
  • Negative data is now displayed in module, custom, report graphics, visual consoles, and APIs.

Problems solved

  • Timeout error in the SNMP wizard on devices with many interfaces has been fixed.
  • Problem in scanning QR codes in Pandora FMS agents has been fixed.
  • Network map access bug linked to fake nodes has been fixed.

whats new 712

  • Bug with updates via online Update Manager has been fixed.
  • Problem of loss of information in agents when inserting data has been solved.
  • Improvements in autorefresh in network maps.
  • Bug in event view of disappearance of selected filter when switching pages has been fixed.
  • Failure when deleting unknown or uninitialized modules when performing bulk operations using the “any” option in the filter has been fixed.

whats new 712

Download Pandora FMS

Download the latest, fully updated version of Pandora FMS from the download section of our website:
https://pandorafms.org/en/features/free-download-monitoring-software/

FeaturesPandora FMSRelease

What’s new in Pandora FMS 7.0 NG 711

August 23, 2017 — by Alberto Dominguez0

whatsnew-711-featured.png

novedades 711

The latest Pandora FMS update package is already available to download, featuring some visual changes and bug fixes.

Some of the most important changes are listed below:

  • Export of the user’s personalized graph to CSV. Only the data from the first graph used to be shown, now all series are shown.
  • Creation of SNMP v2c modules through the CLI (Command Line Interface).
  • Creation and editing of report templates in Metaconsole, which used to be there since the 709 package.
  • Renewal of license when expired, due to the problems originated when this was not done through the Admin User.
  • Elements placed in Visual Console, some text labels had lost the format in patch 709. In addition, a text label that appeared below the graphic has been removed.
  • Migration script from version 6 to the current one. A small problem in the backup procedure, when loading through the source command, has been fixed.
  • In the “Label” field, macros in the report templates of the metaconsole were not working.
  • SQL error when viewing log4x type data in detailed mode.
  • When launching a graph from the event viewer, if the module contained spaces in the name, a white screen appeared.

FeaturesMonitoringPandora FMSRelease

What’s new in Pandora FMS 7.0 NG 710

August 11, 2017 — by Irene Carrasco0

whats-new-710.png

novedades 710

The latest Pandora FMS update package is already available, featuring important improvements and visual changes. Some of the most important changes are listed below:

Visual improvements

  • Better navigation between different Dashboards.

novedades 710

  • Better message visualization and translation on reports.
  • Description box added in the HTML view of Metaconsole reports.

novedades 710

  • A button to go to the current day within the calendar in which the planned stops are determined added.
  • Various improvements in the visual console and Metaconsole.
  • Better visuals on dynamic and combined charts.

Other improvements

  • Service manipulation using API is now possible.
  • Queries in the Pandora FMS server optimized
  • Agent name in GIS maps now included.

novedades 710

  • Better password reset process.
  • SNMP recognition features in Satellite server improved.
  • A chart with all the events in the last 24 hours of each module added in the console.

novedades 710

  • Web server cookies optimized.
  • Improvements in group ACLs.
  • Time rank change option in module charts for non-admin users deactivated.

Problems solved

 

  • Recognition tasks of new agents debugged.
  • Problems with PDF reports with Chrome now solved.
  • Post-process failure in massive operations on modules fixed.
  • Fixed issue when setting the units of measure of the modules in advanced console settings, instead of in the module configuration.
  • Bug in GIS maps with Google maps now fixed.

novedades 710

  • Time rank adjustment in module charts for non-admin users debugged.

novedades 710

  • Problem with secondary servers in slave mode in Metaconsole environments which could not access it due to belonging to a different network is now fixed.
  • Time rank in SNMP interface chart in the Metaconsole for non-admin users is now debugged.
  • Error messages in local modules fixed.

 

Download Pandora FMS

Download the latest, fully updated version of Pandora FMS from the download section of our website:
https://pandorafms.org/en/features/free-download-monitoring-software/

FeaturesMonitoringPandora FMSRelease

What’s new in Pandora FMS 7.0 NG 708

July 31, 2017 — by Carla Andres0

whats-new-pandorafms-708.png

Pandora FMS 7.0 NG, package 708, contains numerous functional improvements and visual upgrades. Here’s a selection of some of the most important changes on the latest version:

Visual improvements

  • Incorporation of the reporting option in the dashboards and the transactional maps of the location.
  • The possibility of choosing the color of the graphics in the widgets has been added.

  • The size of the module’s names can be increased on the Export server.
  • Improvements of the Visual console visualization and representation.
  • Inclusion of the percentil configuration token for the calculations in the visual options of the Metaconsole.

  • Improved string-style module information visualization in the data tables.

 

Other improvements

  • Now, the type of agent (network , software, or satellite) can be recognized from the Console.
  • Changes have been made in ACLs to optimize the user´s Access to the menus.
  • Improved SNMP console by introducing active filter indications similar to event ones.

  • It is already possible to assign politics to entire groups of agents.
  • It includes the help of the macros from different IPs.
  • It has been added the possibility of creating modules or network components from the SNMP browser.

  • Improvements have been made in the Management of each user’s refresh pages.
  • Some improvements as well in the GIS maps from Pandora FMS in the agent of Android (Pandroid).

 

Problems solved

  • On the visual console, problems regarding refreshing, poor fit, and the creation of module graphics for non-administrative users have been solved.
  • Fixed bugs in the alert view with the name of the representative and the SNMP alerts.

  • Solved LDAP configuration problem when saving selected groups.
  • Fixed uninstall failures of DEBIAN and Tarball from the Pandora FMS agent.
  • Database and database history problems solved in state checking, data copying and query log4x type modules.
  • Fixed problems in policies for module macros and data visualization of data server modules.
  • Graphical problems have been solved in the automatic graphical macros of the report templates, and in the visualization of the modules in the Metaconsole.

  • Debug agents mode problem solved.
  • Fixed bug with sending data to secondary server.

Download Pandora FMS

Download the latest, fully updated version of Pandora FMS from the download section of our website:
https://pandorafms.org/en/features/free-download-monitoring-software/

FeaturesMonitoringPandora FMS

Monitoring isolated networks: Sync server

June 26, 2017 — by steve0

sync-server.png

sync server

One of globalization’s many effects has been the creation of IT outsourcing, and the rise of countries such as India as global players in IT services. Extending networks out into cyberspace has given rise to the need and the possibility for machines to be remotely controlled, whether you’re speaking about domotics (remotely controlling the temperature or lighting of your home while you’re away, for example), or fixing a bug on a machine on another continent.

Companies now have their resources, IT and otherwise, geographically distributed; in different branches or offices, subcontracted in the Cloud, and using local or global support services. Pandora FMS is right there, in this global mix of interconnected, and isolated networks, contributing technological solutions to global business/tech issues with new features and functions, including the sync server on the latest version of the flexible monitoring tool Pandora FMS version 7 “Next Generation”.

The sync server has been designed in response to demands for monitoring secure isolated environments without outgoing connections. These restrictions mean that communication must be initiated from an external network. This is an important distinction as a bidirectional open network can employ a satellite server or a proxy without any problem.

Definition

The sync server system consists of deploying the monitoring park to isolated networks that are unable to communicate for themselves with the main Pandora FMS server or the MySQL database.

This function allows software agents to be deployed and to carry out network checks against remote networks that are isolated from the Pandora FMS central server. Install a connection point for the Pandora FMS central server to collect the information from the isolated network. This will be the only via of communication. The rest of the network will remain secure and isolated and won’t need to initiate communications to the outside.

sync server

Imagine you have two datacenters in two different countries, one in Europe, the other in Asia. Both are secured, and communications are impossible from the Asian office, due to the danger of cyber attack communications are impossible from the Asian office to the Pandora FMS server in Europe. Since the server monitor has access to sensitive material, we’ll use this function so that all communications are initiated from the Pandora FMS server in Europe.

Another possibility is to maintain a DMZ under monitoring to make sure that no connections are made between this network and your internal network. Doing this will increase security, avoiding man in the middle and network poisoning attacks.

This extension of monitoring practice, irrespective of localization and achieving security offers a new and powerful possibility for scaling your monitoring.

Monitoring isolated networks can be performed in combination with a satellite server and proxy and broker modes with Pandora FMS agents thanks to the sync server’s potential to combine with other functions.

sync server

The above outline shows an example of distributed environment that could be monitored combining various Pandora FMS functions. The possibilities are endless when it comes to adapting to different topologies.

Operational overview

On the remote network a tentacle server is installed as a communication point, which will also receive the information from software agents installed on your network devices. You can install a satellite server at the same node to execute remote checks against any network device.

All data can be transferred to the Pandora FMS central server via this communication point as soon as it initiates a connection and recovers the information collected since the last time the connection was made.

The particularity of the sync server’s operational modus operandi, as distinct from the satellite server or a Tentacle proxy, is that communications are always initiated from the Pandora FMS server, and neither outgoing communications or the sending of packets from the remote network is permitted.

Configuration

Before getting on to configuration, make sure that both the Pandora FMS server and the Tentacle server installed on the network are updated to version 7 of Pandora FMS.

On the Pandora FMS server modify the pandora_server.conf file with the following parameters:

syncserver 1
sync_address
sync_port

And in the remote Tentacle server start up script add only the two parameters “-I –o”:

TENTACLE_EXT:OPTS="-i.*\.conf:conf;.*\.md5:md5;.*\.zip:collections -I -o"

The sync server environment also supports secure SSL communications; in order to configure this, add some additional parameters to the previously mentioned files.

In pandora_server.conf:

sync_ca /home/cacert.pem
sync_cert /home/tentaclecert.pem
sync_key /home/tentaclekey.pem

In the Tentacle startup script tentacle_serverd (on one line):

TENTACLE_EXT_OPTS="-i.*\.conf:conf;.*\.md5:md5;.*\.zip:collections -e /home/tentaclecert.pem -k /home/tentaclekey.pem -f /home/cacert.pem"

FeaturesPandora FMSRelease

WHAT’S NEW IN PANDORA FMS 7.0 NG 704

June 8, 2017 — by steve0

whats-new-704.png

novedades 704

This package of improvements, while not incorporating big functions, includes over 70 small changes and patches. The most relevant ones we’ve listed below.

Functional improvements

  • Elements from the database history can now be included in reports, extending their functions and the capacity of any report element (in previous versions, they were limited to graphics).
  • CSV file fields are now customizable. Go to general setup to select this option.
  • New dashboard widget displays UX monitoring:

whats new 704

  • “Module templates” with blank spaces can no longer be created. This improves editing and facilitates policy maintenance.
  • New macro: _alert_unknown_instructions_ displays instructions for alerts triggered by unknown status, joining those triggered by critical and warning status.
  • The metaconsole sync button now forces license changes to the node.
  • MapQuest maps (Open alternative to GoogleMaps) has been updated.
  • ACL predefined profiles (Standard user and Pandora Administrator) were unable to modify policy thresholds. This is now fixed.
  • You can reset forgotten passwords from the console. The system will send a link to the user to change their password. The console now has a specific configuration to manage mails sent from the console, which affects both planned PDF reports and the new password recovery system:

whats new 704

  • Administrators can now modify the default login page for all users.
  • A new config token has been implemented on agents that enables them to get an alias by the system command: agent_alias_cmd
  • The Export Server now returns all module configuration parameters including thresholds, units, tags, etc..
  • Decimal places on module thresholds graphs can now be shown, if there are any.
  • When launching a Dashboard slideshow a paging list appears to simplify Dashboard selection.

whats new 704

  • Graphics containers: “Containers” can now be defined that allow combined or module graphics to be ordered and prioritized, adding optional dynamic rules that allow certain graphics to be incorporated automatically:
  • New macros included to allow use of additional agent IPs. 1) _all_address_ that displays all the agent’s IPs, and 2) _address_n_ where n represents the IP position you want to show.
  • It’s now possible to incorporate a predetermined filter in events view. Users can define the filter at the user detail editor page:

whats new 704

Visual improvements

  • Error popups during installation fixed:

 

  • Dashboard general view now includes paging.
  • Better menu display with strict ACL mode active.
  • The yellow traps console icon was invisible, so we changed the color.
  • Pandora FMS mobile login issue (special characters) fixed. Reported via GitHub.
  • Service Maps view on Dashboard now fits to screen.
  • Graph legends now take up less space, and display the information more compactly.

whats new 704

  • ”Parent elements” on visual consoles had an issue with some map elements and text labels. This is now fixed.
  • Dashboards and visual consoles adjust better to fullscreen mode, avoiding showing scroll bars.

whats new 704

Bugs fixed

  • Agent/alias labeling confusion in duplicate agent configuration section fixed (previously the name of the agent appeared in the alias field).
  • On the SNMP traps console the internal agent name was displayed, instead of its alias.
  • Group dashboard assignation on user start screen fixed.
  • When unlinking from policy-applied modules the internal agent name appeared in the list of unlinked modules in policies. This is now fixed.
  • On the Open version the version being used wasn’t displayed at the foot of the page. Now fixed.
  • Logs viewer was displaying real agent name instead of alias. Fixed.
  • Fields on the export server related to massive operations now fixed.
  • php5 packets for Debian no longer have to be dependent.
  • Small filtering issues with generating dynamic reports from templates now fixed:

whats new 704

  • AIX agent startup fixed.
  • Problems with agent broker mode containing asynchronous modules on a Windows agent.

How to download Pandora FMS

You can download the latest version of Pandora FMS from Download section of our website:
https://pandorafms.org/en/features/free-download-monitoring-software/

FeaturesMonitoringPandora FMS

Packet Loss: Problems, causes and solutions

May 3, 2017 — by steve2

packet-loss-featured.png

One of the most important metrics related to network performance, packet loss is a monitoring fundamental. So what’s it all about?

packet loss featured

The Oxford English dictionary probably defines ‘loss’ as a feeling of lack, missing something that was once in one’s possession. Basically, loss has mainly negative connotations, except weight loss if you’re on a diet. Packet is a container used for sending contents. If you lose the packet you also lose the contents.

At upper network layers, data travels in the form of packets, which deliver the information in a way that the receiver can order and use. Packet loss is when this information doesn’t arrive correctly.

Packet loss issues

  • Out-of-date information. Especially noticeable in real time situations, such as streaming services or online videogames. A few microseconds of delay can be the difference between capturing the flag in Counterstrike or being the ignominious recipient of a well-timed headshot; or, live-streaming the final of a sporting event and getting the result through your Twitter feed before witnessing it “live and direct”.
  • Slow loading times. Why is the webpage taking so long to load? Did I wake up this morning in 2005? Probably not, you’re just another silent victim of packet loss.
  • Loading interruptions. Wait, wait…still loading. Look, the progress bar has almost reached its destination at the top right of the screen. Just…two…more…seconds. If you add up all the time the Internet has cost humanity, waiting for pages to load, it adds up to over 25,000 years. Enough time for simple organisms to evolve new limbs or complex human civilizations to appear, peak and bottom out. Also, your email may not arrive.
  • Closed connections. Remote servers for websites, file downloads, online videos, and so on, may end up closing their connections if the channel is open for too long without a clean, uninterrupted connection. This is usually a security measure, if that makes it any better.
  • Missing information = websites that resemble a 90s Geocities page.

Why packets go missing

  • Damaged hardware. Take your pick: damaged network card; deteriorated ports or connections, a bad router, or bad wiring in your office or building.
  • Hardware capacity and bottlenecks. Sometimes, even though navigation speed is OK, and data is transiting smoothly through the network you still might find yourself dealing with hardware limitations. Imagine you contracted a higher velocity Internet connection, from 1GB to 10GB. However, your monitoring reports informs you that one of your devices is operating at 100% capacity for prolonged periods. If a node such as a switch doesn’t have the capacity to correctly manage the volume of traffic it receives you’re going to see a bottleneck.

perdida de paquetes cuello botella

  • Network congestion. Information travels through multiple devices and links. If any of those points is maxed out a queue is going to form and the information pass through more slowly, and even get discarded if a certain amount of time has passed. Unlike bottlenecks, this kind of issue isn’t restricted to a single node, but is a generalized problem.
  • Wi-Fi. It’s pretty normal for packets to be lost on Wi-Fi networks, as wireless networks are open to some unpredictable and/or uncontrollable elements, such as interference from other wireless networks, distance, thick medieval walls around Starbucks in Kraków, etc.
  • Bugs in network devices. The software on your network devices may be corrupted, or buggy, so update it when necessary.

 

Monitoring packet loss

If you suffer any of these situations, you should be monitoring for packet loss. Using Pandora FMS and the packet_loss.sh plugin should give you the feedback you need to identify when and where your packets are bleeding out.

It works by pinging a remote component or element, such as an IP address, hostname or website, and checks whether there has been any packet loss.

When you deploy packet loss monitoring, you’ll see a single module on the Pandora FMS console that contains all the information the plugin has collected, and allowing you to see at what time any packet loss occurred.

The graph below shows a loss of packets from an office’s Wi-Fi Access point. Everything is fine but for one moment when the network experiences a severe loss of data packets. Using this information you can analyze the potential cause:

packet loss
Looking at the graph representing packet loss on the Internet side informs us that there is constant packet loss, but that the values are low, indicating that there probably isn’t another kind of problem implicated:

packet loss

Once we’ve established that there is a loss of data, we can start to comb through the feedback, eliminating improbables and unlikelies, until we find a coherent solution.

In order to be able to contrast data, it’s a good idea to monitor packet loss and latency times in parallel to find out if there’s any correlation between slow latency times, and loss of data.

The following graphs show the correlation between latency in seconds (graph 1) and packet loss (graph 2):

packet loss
packet loss

All this information can be presented in reports that combine graphs with data obtained through monitoring:

packet loss

 

Packet loss remedies

There is no universal solution to this problem yet, as the causes of packet loss are varied. Here are some of the basic checks you can run in order to find out what is and isn’t wrong.

  • Check connections. Check that there are no cables or ports badly installed, or deteriorated.
  • Restart routers and other hardware. A classic IT trouble-shooting technique.
  • Use a cable connection. When in doubt, plug it in.
  • Keep network device software up-to-date. In case of possible bugs in your OS or on your network devices keep all software updated. It’s important to mention that if you’ve diagnosed packet losses from different pieces of hardware just updating your OS probably won’t help as the problem is probably not on your hardware
  • Replace defective and inefficient hardware. If you’ve run diagnostics on your network and it’s still leaking packets you may just have to bite the bullet and head on down to the old computer store and upgrade your equipment.

FeaturesMonitoringPandora FMSRelease

What’s new for Pandora FMS 7.0 Next Generation

March 29, 2017 — by steve1

pandora-fms-7-0.jpg

pandora fms ng 7 featured

Twenty four hectic months after Pandora FMS 6.0’s launch, we are proud to present the latest version of our proprietary monitoring software: Pandora FMS 7.0 Next Generation. It comes stacked with new functions and debugs, destined to simplify your day-to-day monitoring tasks.

Added functions

New interactive network maps

All previous types of maps have been consolidated, and their functions integrated into automatic network topology detection. It also allow users to link to L2 manuals.

 

Business transaction monitoring

Distributed business transaction monitoring provides oversight and feedback on each phase of any level of business transaction (online sales, security certification systems).

pandora ng release notes

Visual console upgrades

We’ve worked on improving current functions, fine-tuning here and there, and improving the look of the final product. New icons, true type fonts and a considerable overhaul of the editor in terms of usability.

pandora ng release notes

Console now includes event history.

Being able to store events on the database means long-term events-reporting.

Dashboard upgrades

New Dashboard widgets: histogram module, agent/module status grid with improved filters, module data (icon, value), SLA percentages with histogram and data charts. Share your dashboard with other users who don’t have access to the console (public link).

pandora ng release notes

All services at a glance

New global vision lets you see all current services and their status.

pandora ng release notes

Rename agents and matching names.

Agents are free to be relabelled, and will subsequently count as aliases. This allows host names to be duplicated on a single installation.

Rolling Release

From the current release (Pandora FMS NG: Next Generation) onward, patches and improvements will be applied incrementally, directly from the console, without the need for migrations or updates.

UX Monitoring

UX monitoring for complete transactions, start to finish, including flash, java and complex actions. Test heavyweight desktop applications remotely, through various transaction phases, checking each is successfully completed, and timings related to each phase.

pandora ng release notes

Dynamic monitoring: automatic threshold calculation

An intelligent and predictive system that allows different module thresholds to be automatically established, based on data collected during a specific timeframe.

Visual help to select thresholds

Dynamic graphs displaying approximate representations of established module thresholds, helping the user to more correctly establish the thresholds required.

pandora ng release notes

Mobile version for Metaconsole.

pandora ng release notes

Update Manager Online on Metaconsole

If you’re online it’s now possible to update the Metaconsole without having to manually download packets.

New: Pandora FMS Sync-Server

Extend your monitoring to isolated and/or restricted networks. Communication is initiated by the Pandora FMS server, instead of from the remote network to the server.

pandora ng release notes

Satellite server upgrades

– The satellite server allows block SSH checks, reutilizing a single remote connection to carry out different checks against remote machines.
– Credentials safe storage allows passwords (wmi, SSH) to be securely saved, via encryption, and reemployed on different devices, with no need to define them for each host.
– L2+L3 network recognition, adopting the ReconServer model.
– Includes disabled networks for Satellite checks, for faster and more efficient scanning.

New ISO installation based on CentOS7

The OS used on the official ISO is now updated, from CentOS 6 to CentOS 7, as well as containing the latest version of Pandora FMS.

Major and minor upgrades

  • Agent IP searches now also allow for secondary IPs.
  • Improved SLA algorithm.
  • New report types: weekly and monthly SLA.
  • New checkbox added for massive agent deletion. Allows user to select only disabled agents.
  • Real time report execution has been limited. If a report is too dense a warning will show with an option to send the report by email.
  • Now possible to change dashboard groups.
  • Custom reports can now be even more fine-tuned.
  • Upgrades on mobile console.
  • Added: a list of any agents in collections.
  • Programmed tasks improvements. New task added to ‘Create reports from template and send by email’.
  • Fixed: a problem with agent installer permissions on tar.gz. packets.
  • Warning added to explain that perl-Sys-Syslog dependencies are necessary.
  • Updated: pandora_agent.conf for FreeBSD.
  • Fixed: errors in exporting event reports to PDF and CSV.
  • Public Dashboards link.
  • Improvements in Active Directory integration and authentication.
  • Fixed: problems when importing policies that included plugin server modules.
  • Added: customizable percentiles on graphs.
  • Order IPAM lists according to IP, network, interval or latest update.
  • New programmed tasks extension on the Metaconsole.
  • Fixed: a problem with the zoom on the service maps.

Do you want to download Pandora FMS 7.0 Next Generation?
Click on the link below, and in the download area of the Pandora FMS website select 7.0 package.
https://pandorafms.org/en/downloads/

MonitoringNetworkNetwork MonitoringPandora FMS

Network monitor: all you need to know

March 6, 2017 — by Javier0

network-monitor-featured.png

network monitor featured

Network monitor with Pandora FMS

In this article we’re going to take a look at the main characteristics that a network monitor should have, their pros and cons, and how to know if it’s time to install one to oversee your company’s network. Plus, we’ll talk about the specific network monitor, Pandora FMS, a network monitor operating since October 2004 (first public release).

Pandora FMS offers both an open source version and an Enterprise version, which can be expanded with many other features according to a company’s needs.

Network MonitoringPandora FMSServer Monitoring

Server monitoring: a small guide with the best practices you need to know

March 2, 2017 — by Javier5

server-monitoring-best-practices-1.png

Small guide of best practices for server monitoring

The best practices for server monitoring begin much before the moment at which we choose or deploy a tool. It’s not about fixed guidelines, rather a way of working and understanding how to use a monitoring software. All this can be applied to any software, be that Tivoli, OpenView, Spectrum, Zabbix, Nagios, Pandora FMS or ZenOSS.

Some monitoring tools will be more flexible and allow the process to be easier to apply and others will force us to do things their way, stopping them from adapting to our philosophy. Throughout our many years of experience with different types of companies working with different applications, we’ve created a small guide for good server monitoring practices, an idea we hope will help you in your daily work.

server monitoring

Phase 1. Identifying issues when they happen

Identify your assets
This includes all that which can be monitored. You should establish a hierarchy since there are relations between different items. For example, the relation between key items such as databases and the systems they feed. A failure in the DB will affect everything else, and it’s just one of the things you should bear in mind.

Identify what needs to be monitored and what doesn’t
How is this done? by establishing priorities. Add to that list a new column that is labeled ‘priority’. This will help you start since there is a chance that hundreds of items that need monitoring will come up. You should begin by what’s really critical or high priority.

If you have a security policy, you can “cannibalize” that list since on it you’ll find things as important as business databases, backups and critical infrastructure systems. All these items should be the first to be monitored.

Classify your assets
Once you have the list and a priority field for each item, focus on critically importan items and those related to them. For example, a critical database will depend on a base system, that will at the same time have memory, hard drives and a CPU. All these items can be considered critical because of their “direct relation” with the main item.

You can create an item hierarchy that will allow you to further understand how they are related amongst themselves, for example:

server monitoring best practices

Translated into something purely technical, this could be written as:

● Accessible service verification (TCP port or WEB transaction).
● Application process that is active, RAM/CPU resources.
● CPU resource consumption from the base OS, amount of available RAM on the base OS and available disk space on the base OS.
● General device status: load average, network traffic…
● Basic device connectivity (ping)

This should be grouped into a single item so that a “simple glance” will allow you to easily view the necessary information. There are many ways to group this information: according to service, technology or origin (node/agent), everything will depend on whether the service is more or less complex and forms part of cluster or not. In any case, each application has different ways to do this. On Pandora FMS it can be done using services, groups or tags.

Define what to do when there is a problem.
This point usually passes by unnoticed and it’s essential to having the best server monitoring practices. What good is it if we detect problems, even before they occur, if we don’t notify them efficiently? Monitoring for a complex environment can be a very long process, even using an exception-based management system (event-based management) we suffer the risk of not identifying urgent issues quick and efficiently.

We already have a list of high priority services, and the items they include, the next step in our best practices for monitoring is that of identifying a responsible person that can act quickly when a problem occurs. Here we can choose the notification method (email, SMS, emerging window in the app) and the degree of scaling, based on the item affected in the service, or how recurrent the alert is. In summary, we’ll notify an operator when the service’s base system CPU is overloading, and in case that person doesn’t reply we’ll send an SMS alert to the person responsible for the service.

Categorize alerts
It’s very important to define which alerts we want to unveil and their category, with the goal to avoid alerting users unnecessarily, and so our support team knows what priority to apply to each type of alert. At first we could classify our alerts into the following groups: Critical, Warning and Message.

At this point we’ve already gone over three key ideas: numbering the assets, classifying services and priorities and defining who will be responsible and their communication methods. All this is done using a simple spreadsheet so, up until now, all these good practices for monitoring are actually useful for any monitoring tool. Dedicating time to doing this before applying the monitoring process will ensure the following: 

  1. It’ll avoid overseeing the monitoring of relevant items on our systems. This means that when there’s any issues we can be sure that nothing really bad can happen without us being aware of it. This is one of the most important things, since it’ll allow us to “trust” our own monitoring. There is nothing worse than something bad happening and realizing that it was our fault for not monitoring it.
  2. When something bad happens, we’ll have data pertaining to the issue that is accessible and easy to interpret  because we decided to retrieve information from the entire service and not do it in an isolated manner. This will help determine the cause of the problem (root cause analysis) in a natural way, defined by ourselves, independent from the supposed magic some developers offer.
  3. When a problem occurs, the involved parties will already be implicated and informed. We won’t waste time informing about the issue, rather we’ll work directly on a solution.
  4. Offer only the necessary information. This is especially important considering that if we have an entire screen filled with red icons, mixing irrelevant alerts with critical alerts, it’ll take us a long time to determine the origin of the problem and our answer will not be as quick or efficient. Excessive information can be even more harming than the lack of it.

Once a work method has been defined, this method can be applied to deconstruct the main issue (the entire organization’s monitoring) into parts, like any competent engineer would do: we can do this by services, priority, technology, departments, geographic locations, etc.

phase 2. Identifying problems before they happen.

Once we have the basic idea down–identifying without a shadow of a doubt when something wrong happens–in a second phase we can face something much more difficult: determining when a problem is near. This feature, along with the one meant to detect the cause of an issue automatically and the one meant to configure monitoring tools automatically (smart thresholds, dynamic monitoring, event correlations, big data monitoring, etc.) are some of the most sought out features on any monitoring software product.

In our search for having the best server monitoring practices we must be very wary of false positives or negatives, which will start to come up when we allow the system to interpret the data. These results can lead us to misinterpreting a complex situation and take the wrong decisions in turn. All operators develop a basic instinct with time, based on their knowledge of whats normal and what’s not, they cannot say that something is wrong, but they can have the intuition that something is not right.

With this we want to insist on the fact that no one yet has achieved total automation and we always recommend our users and customers to think calmly before making a decision, and not to gamble to heavily on extreme automation, which can lead to different mistakes that will only come out when we have a problem in our installations and it may be too late to fix it by then.

Monitoring by intuition is a term that hasn’t been heard yet, not even from Gartner analysts, but it’ll all come around.

What does intuitive monitoring consist of?

There are two ways of going along with it: the pseudo automated way or the purely visual way. In the first one, we’ll define small alerts that advise us when something leaves the “normal” operational thresholds. This doesn’t mean that they enter into “harmful” or error thresholds, simply they go into values that are different to what is contemplated as “normal”. For this we must create an alert category, as we mentioned in the first phase, that leaves no margin for misunderstanding that these abnormalities are not an issue, rather just something suspicious, erasing the concept of “criticality” in them. This is meant so in case there are many events of all types, these can be hidden from the general view with ease if necessary.

The other way is to create dashboards or displays (each tool has its own way to label it) that have to serve the purpose of putting up a group of real time graphs on a really big screen, in order for all people to have the same information. An operator that is always looking at the same displays, in the same order, with time develops the ability to tell when something isn’t right.

The necessary tools

Without getting into specific applications, what will be discussed here are features that are essential at the time of applying any useful monitoring processes for an organization that takes the operation seriously.

Some indispensable items for any software that claims to give value are:

Alerts. They must allow for scaling, include item groups (correlation) and allow users to define complex tasks (apart from sending an email or SMS notification). Now that many organizations work with collaborative tools (such as Slack or Mattermost), the ability to insert an event into a group, including a graph and a description of the issue, along with a direct link to the monitoring scheme, allows for a much quicker response than a simple SMS alert would.
Graphs. Graphs should be a tool, not something static. This means that they have to be able to be filtered, pressed, they must be able to be combined dynamically with other data series, show the detailed evolution throughout large periods of time which can be compared to values in similar intervals from prior months, etc. Graphs are the main source of numerical analysis we have available. A graph provides a lot of information in a very easy to interpret way. A system with static graphs can be very aesthetically pleasing, but it’s not useful.
Logs. The following step when approaching an issue or suspected problem is to analyze raw information. This can simply be done through data charts or raw data that’s being introduced to the system (log registries). In case this data is missing, we are then limited to graphs and events.
Direct access to the source. This exceeds what the monitoring system does in general but, if we have precise information (alerts), data strings that help us understand the behaviour (graphs) and precise data that helps narrow down our analysis (logs), the next logical step is to directly access the system that generates all that information. The fact that a monitoring tool allows us to access that system easily simply closes the cycle.

We hope this article on good server monitoring practices has given you more of an idea on how to carry out a good monitoring process. For any doubts, comments or suggestions, don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll be delighted to reply to your questions. 

MonitoringPandora FMS

Dashboard tv: How to create a Pandora FMS dashboard on a TV using a Raspberry

February 10, 2017 — by Carla Andres0

cuadro-de-mando-television-2.png

Dashboard tv

Dashboard tv

When implanting a monitoring system in business environments it’s very common to have a team of operators or agents in charge of tracking any problems that may come up, and to take the necessary action in case of a warning. In this kind of situation it is normal to want to present the information quickly, via graphs which are easy to read. In order to do this many teams opt for installing screens or monitors which display TV control panels, with viewers showing active problems on the system, tracking of recent events, service states, etc.

Dashboard tv

In the screenshot above you can see an example of a control panel in our office, where the ongoing integration processes in development cycles may be seen.

Dashboard tv

Dashboard tv

Dashboard tv

Example of a combined TV control panel:
Pandora FMS has been designed, among other things, to be flexible, and powerful, when it comes to displaying data, making it perfect for the topic of this tutorial. So, what’s the next step? To present all this data on a TV screen. To do that we’re going to make use of a Raspberry Pi and a dumb TV with an HDMI connection.

 

Installing the Raspberry

cuadro de mando televisionAs you probably know, a Raspberry is basically a micro-computer with a fully-functional, though minimal, circuit board that includes most of the necessary ports (USB, HDMI…), and can be bought for less than 40€ on Amazon.

dashboard tv

Step by step guide to preparing your Raspberry: On one side there is a slot for a microSD card which will be used for installing the OS Raspbian. If the microSD card has a NOOBS image, the OS can be installed directly from the card. If not, download it from the official website and prepare the card yourself.

To carry out the initial installation insert the card and connecta monitor, keyboard and a mouse to dashboard tvthe Raspberry. When the Raspberry starts up with the microSD card a wizard will guide you through the installation and the filling out of the required information (passwords, WiFi connection, etc.) and in a few minutes the OS and the device are ready to get to work.

cuadro de mando television

Now your server, your Pandora FMS console and the Raspberry OS are all installed and working perfectly (fingers crossed). If possible, place the Raspberry in the same sub-network as the Pandora console so they can see each other, since, if you want to use architectures from different networks it’s necessary to configure the paths and accesses through possible firewalls (only for users with advanced networks knowledge).

dashboard tv

Check that you can access the Pandora console from the Raspberry via a URL in the browser, in our case: https://192.168.50.40/pandora

dashboard tv

Once access is established, ensure that you can always access your Raspberry in case it needs to be intervened at any time.

dashboard tv

Remote access to the Raspberry

Given the probability that you’ll need to access the Raspberry at some point to make changes, you should have a system that allows you to remotely control the device, since removing it and connecting it to another monitor, keyboard and mouse can be somewhat tedious.

 

Option 1: wireless remote controller

Given that the Raspberry pi 3 comes with inbuilt bluetooth this is a quick option if you have a bluetooth keyboard. Execute the following command:

bluetoothctl

And enter the bluetooth control console, and executer:

# agent on
# default-agent
# scan on

If your keyboard is visible to other bluetooth devices its name will appear along with a series of alphanumeric characters. Copy them and execute the following on the bluetooth console:

# pair 6F:DE:CE:45:5D:7F

Substitute the chain 6F:DE:CE:45:5D:7F for the alphanumeric code displayed next to the name of your wireless keyboard when executing the scan in the previous step. Now you can use the Raspberry with your bluetooth keyboard.

In the following photo you can see a wireless bluetooth controller used in our development department.

dashboard tv

 

Option 2: eHorus

eHorus gives you real-time access to your Raspberry device at any time, in order to:

  • Access a command line.
  • Remote desktop.
  • Control of services.
  • Control of processes.
  • File-sharing.

dashboard tv

To get started, create an eHorus user account here, and once you’re in download the official Raspbian packets, and install and execute with the following command:

# tar -zxvf ehorus_agent_installer-raspbian-arm7-0.9.1.tgz

# cd ehorus_agent/

# ./ehorus_agent_installer –install

Then edit the /etc/ehorus/ehorus_agent.conf file file to establish your user. You can do it executing the following command:

sed –i ‘#eh_user./c\eh_user youruser’ /etc/ehorus/ehorus_agent.conf

Then start up the eHorus agent executing:

/etc/init.d/ehorus_agent_daemon start

If everything works, you can access your Raspberry via eHorus with your user and password.

Raspberry – TV connection

Now you have remote control of the Raspberry, place it close enough to the TV to connect via HDMI. A wired connection isn’t needed as the Raspberry connects via WiFi.

cuadro de mando television

Once it’s connected, turn on the TV and find the HDMI port, where the Raspberry desktop can be seen once it’s turned on:

dashboard tv

Using the control system you’ve selected access the Pandora FMS console and the dashboard section. Everything you do via remote control is visualized in real time on the Raspberry-connected TV, until you leave the dashboard operating on full-screen and rotation mode:

dashboard tv

As you can see after following the tutorial, it’s not a complicated task to set up your devices and view information on various screens. Now that you are here, your imagination and objectives are the only limits. In our offices we have various screens up displaying relevant departmental information/objectives/tasks, etc.

dashboard tv

Creating dashboards and visual consoles with Pandora FMS

A couple of the options Pandora FMS provides for presenting data visually are:

Visual consoles
These allow you to edit and add elements freely, as well as change the background wallpaper, or load images and logos. These can all be subsequently used on the dashboard as well.

Visual console with real-time metrics on the status of websites, access, SLAs:

dashboard tv

dashboard tv

Visual console with eHorus metrics:

dashboard tv

The information is updated at all times on the visual consoles, refreshing automatically and displaying the latest data received. Apart from the many editing options you have on the visual console it’s possible to get a public URL to access the console without having to log on as a user:

dashboard tv

Dashboard
This allows you to create custom control panels to display any kind of information and present it as a rotating slideshow. Dashboards function via a system of cells, which can be added and removed as needed and also their position and size can be altered:

dashboard tv

Dashboard elements:

dashboard tv

dashboard tv

In the next example you can see the content of an external URL, giving an idea of how the information Pandora FMS is capable of displaying can be extended. It’s also possible to show a URL from a specific section of Pandora FMS:

dashboard tv

dashboard tv

Full dashboard:

dashboard tv

On the upper right there is a series of helpful options to show the dashboard in fullscreen or slideshow mode, allowing you to rotate among the different dashboards you have, and establish the timing of each display:

dashboard tv

The dashboards refresh automatically so you always have the most up-to-date information, making it an ideal option to display on a TV as described in the article. You can also get a public access URL using the dashboard, making it unnecessary to log on through Pandora FMS:

dashboard tv

dashboard tv

MonitoringPandora FMSPlugins

Create remote plugin with Pandora FMS

February 6, 2017 — by Carla Andres0

create-remote-plugin-featured.png

Create remote plugin

Create remote plugin

create remote plugin

Plugins are small programs, or scripts, which carry out specific tasks that can’t be performed by simply executing a command. They combine various actions which can be executed simultaneously. On Pandora FMS there are two types of plugins: agent, or local execution plugins, and server, or remote execution plugins.
The present article concerns itself with how remote plugins work when used with Pandora FMS along with their characteristics and utilities. It goes on to talk about some key points for developing your own plugins and ensuring they work correctly, are optimized and perform to the full extent of their possibilities. The points are: development, registry and execution.

Description

Remote plugins, or server plugins, are always executed by the Pandora FMS server and are generally oriented toward receiving data remotely from a component or element on your network, making it imperative that there is connectivity between Pandora FMS and the device in question. The device can be anything from a server to a webpage (or any element with an IP address).
A server plugin will always return a single parameter value, which is then collected by the module on the Pandora console; this can be a value of any type, provided that it is supported by Pandora’s module; numeric, alphanumeric, Boolean and so on. This is the most important aspect to keep in mind when creating a plugin as, if the output were any more complicated, Pandora would be unable to interpret the data and the plugin would not be able to start running.

Some examples of plugins with simple output values:

Create remote plugin

Create remote plugin

Create remote plugin

Development

We’ll take as an example a plugin to monitor SSl certificates. Firstly, you want to avoid a bad execution of your plugin so that it doesn’t return error messages that could cause problems on your Pandora FMS server.
Let’s fix some control parameters:

if (($# != 1));
then
echo “0”
else

Since this plugin only needs a single parameter, we can establish a control, which will return a value of 0 in case the plugin returns a value of more than one, or zero. This will indicate to us that there is a problem. Then include the main execution block. Basically the plugin will execute checks and save the information in variables, allowing you to sift through the data and get a clean output with a single useful value.

In this case the action we want to perform is to recover the expiry date of a website’s SSL certificate. Choose the website and set it as the first (and only) parameter when executing the plugin. Set the date using the following format; dd/MMM/yyyy:

Creacion plugin remoto

else
# Obtain day, month and year of certificate expiration
expiration_date=`echo | openssl s_client -connect $1:443 2>/dev/null | openssl x509 -noout -enddate | cut -d= -f2- | awk ‘{print $2″-“$1”-“$4}’`

Create remote plugin

The data is now stored on the variable expiration_date, which we’re going to use presently. The next step is to convert the expiry date to epoch format, at the same time as getting the current date and converting it into the same format. After that, the plugin compares both dates and converts them into days to find out how many days are left on the certificate:

Create remote plugin

# Get certificate expiration date in epoch format
cert_epoch=`date –date=”$expiration_date” +%s`

# Get current date in epoch format
curr_epoch=`date +%s`

# Get the difference and convert to days
difference=`expr $(( (cert_epoch – $curr_epoch) / 86400))`

Lastly, the information is presented as a single parameter value that represents days. You can also establish that when you get negative values, in the case of the certificate having expired, the module will always show value 0.

if [ “$difference” -le 0 ]; then
# Print 0 in case of invalid certificate
echo “0”
else
# Days untill expiration
echo “$difference”
fi
fi

The complete code for the plugin looks like this:

#!/bin/bash

if (($# != 1));
then
echo “0”
else
# Obtain day, month and year of certificate expiration
expiration_date=`echo | openssl s_client -connect $1:443 2>/dev/null | openssl x509 -noout -enddate | cut -d= -f2- | awk ‘{print $2″-“$1”-“$4}’`

# Get certificate expiration date in epoch format
cert_epoch=`date –date=”$expiration_date” +%s`

# Get current date in epoch format
curr_epoch=`date +%s`

# Get the difference and convert to days
difference=`expr $(( (cert_epoch – $curr_epoch) / 86400))`

if [ “$difference” -le 0 ]; then
# Print 0 in case of invalid certificate
echo “0”
else
# Days untill expiration
echo “$difference”
fi
fi

Registry

Now that your plugin is finished, register it on the Pandora FMS console. It should be installed on the server itself, on an accessible path, so it’s recommendable to use the standard server plugins directory:

/usr/share/pandora_server/util/plugin

In order to do this, use the WinSCP utility, if you’re using Windows, or the scp command to transfer the plugin from a Linux system to the Pandora server.

Create remote plugin

Once it’s deployed on the server, register it on the console by going to the corresponding section and clicking Create:

Creacion plugin remoto

Create remote plugin

Create remote plugin

Create remote plugin

Fill out the form with the plugin’s information. The most important fields are:
– Plug-in type: Standard by default.
– Max. timeout: establish a time limit before the server interrupts the execution of the plugin. Imperative if you want to avoid problems of stalled executions.
– Plug-in command: plugin execution, with the absolute path.
– Plug-in parameters: parameters that will be passed to the plugin. If they are variables (defined by the user and different in every case), use the _fieldX_ macros. These will be replaced later with the values indicated when creating the module.

The other fields are descriptive, so complete them in the way that most benefits the usability of the tool.

Create remote plugin

 

Execution

Once the plugin is registered on the console, create the module which will perform the checks. Find an agent and create a new plug-in server -style module:

Create remote plugin

Now you just have to fill out the fields from the previous step, in this case the web address with the SSL certificate which we want to check. Again, it’s imperative to choose the right kind of module in function of the value returned by the plugin; the options are:

– Generic boolean: (1 o 0).
– Generic numeric
– Generic numeric incremental
– Generic numeric incremental (absolute
– Generic string: alphanumeric data

Create remote plugin

Create remote plugin

The key fields are: Type and Plugin, where you indicate the kind of data and plugin to use among all the ones registered on the console. The fields that will be deployed will be in function of the selected plugin. You can also define here the warning and critical thresholds for the different states of the module. Once it’s initialized and receiving data it will be displayed on the console on the agent like any other module:

Create remote plugin

FeaturesPandora FMS

Certificate expiry: how to monitor the expiration of SSL certificates with Pandora FMS

January 29, 2017 — by Carla Andres1

certificate-expiry-EN-1.png

Certificate expiry

certificate expiry

Certificate expiry

Certificate expiry

Background

One of the main requirements and concerns of online platform administrators is the expiration of SSL certificates. In this article we’re going to look at how to monitor the validity of any website’s certificate using Pandora FMS and avoid being taken by surprise by expiry dates.

First things first; you’ll need a Pandora FMS server with Internet access, or at least with access to the specific web pages whose SSL certificates you want to monitor. The plugin we’re going to use will be executed by the Pandora FMS server and can be launched on any website, so the server’s location is important.

Deployment

Download ssl_plugin.sh from the official Pandora FMS plugin library, here.

Deploy the plugin in your Pandora FMS server’s directory, at:  /usr/share/pandora_server/util/plugin/

To deploy the plugin more easily you can make use of the WinSCP utility, which allows you to swap files between Windows (local PC) and Linux (Pandora FMS server) systems. If Linux is your habitual system, you can copy the plugin into your Pandora FMS server with this simple command:

scp /ssl_plugin.sh [email protected]:/allowed_path

In the above example, substitute <path> for the local path where the plugin is, for example /home/Antonio/Downloads, substituting username for a valid user of the Pandora FMS server, e.g. root, 192.168.50.1 for the IP address of the server in question, and /allowed/path for the path where you want to store the plugin on the Pandora FMS server. Remember that the user in username must have writing permissions over this path. A valid command would be:

scp/home/Antonio/Downloads/ssl_plugin.sh [email protected]:/etc/pandora/plugins

RegistrY

Once the plugin is deployed on the Pandora FMS server register it on the console in order to access the plugins section of the menu.

certificate expiry

Define the plugin by filling out the fields as in the following screenshot:

certificate-expiry-2

The most important fields are Plug-in command, which has to be completed with the absolute path where the plugin is saved and Plug-in parameters, which should contain macro_field_1. It’s also important to establish the Max. parameter as a low value (a few seconds) so the server can finish the process in case of problems executing the plugin, and avoid leaving processes or threads open.

Certificate expiry

The other fields are descriptive and may be filled out according to your needs.

Execution

Once the plugin is registered on the console you can create a module to check the validity of the website’s SSL certificate and know at any time how much time is left on it. Create a new plugin module:

certificate expiry

Creating the module is as easy as filling out some of the fields from the following form. Indicate a name to allow you to identify it, select the plugin you registered (in this case SSL certificate check, and a website to check (in this case pandorafms.org, and click Create:

Certificate expiry

certificate expiry

Once it’s created, and providing there are no connectivity problems between server and website, the certificate’s validity will be displayed:

certificate expiry

Thresholds (warning, critical) must be specified manually when creating modules, or editing them afterward, as they are not defined automatically by the plugin, and will not warn you of a certificate’s expiration by default. In the previous example the modules go to warning status starting from 100 days, and critical from 60 days.

Extension

Apart from the basic monitoring which the plugin offers, it’s easy to extend its logic as openssl has different options for finding out all kinds of information about the SSL certificate, such as date of issue, issuing entity, addressee, etc.

Certificate expiry

If you want to extend the plugin’s logic you need to modify it to include any of these additional checks. It’s also possible to make changes to the plugin to enable its execution from a software agent in order to perform checks from different locations, particularly useful if the Pandora FMS server has no Internet connection to the webs you want to monitor.

MonitoringNetwork MonitoringPandora FMS

Top 16 best network monitoring tools for 2016

January 2, 2017 — by steve60

network-monitoring-tools.png

network-monitoring-tools

Towards the end of 2016 we made a short introduction to network monitoring and we told you about the main characteristics to keep in mind when selecting a network monitoring tool. This was meant for users whose installation couldn’t conform with standard syslog monitoring or standard bandwidths.

To see what characteristics we talked about in order for you to make a smart choice, you can refer to that article about network monitoring. In addition, read this article to get more understanding of a network monitor.

MonitoringPandora FMS

KPIs in Logistics

December 1, 2016 — by Javier0

kpi-logistics-1024x680.jpg

Processes related with logistic enterprises are known to be some of the most difficult to monitor due to the number of elements that must be watched, their geographic movements and the different statuses or stages the different elements go through.

With Pandora FMS we’ve faced monitoring various logistic processes and have acquired a large amount of experience on necessary KPIs which are really useful in logistics. We’re conscious of the fact that each logistic process has its own characteristics and must apply different particularities for its monitoring. But, we also know that some processes don’t even have basic KPIs under monitoring. For this reason, through this brief article, we want to give the main hues so you can know the main KPIs to measure in your logistics process.

EnterpriseMonitoringNetwork MonitoringPandora FMSSystem Monitoring

Is it worth installing a monitoring system: a cost analysis

October 26, 2016 — by Javier3

worth_installing.png

worth_installing

For some companies it can be difficult to put a monetary value on a monitoring service, especially if that company has never experienced a serious network or system failure. In the balance between cold, hard cash and a bunch of hypothetical variables which it’s your sysadmin’s job to sort out, you might be tempted to think it’s not an essential investment. On the other hand, if you’ve ever had a server go down due to monitorable elements misbehaving (overloaded data drives, security breaches), or experienced a non-functioning application slowing down your procurement process, you know how much business can be lost before the problem is diagnosed and your network is up and running again.

We’re going to attempt to formulate an equation to calculate the benefits of having a monitoring system in place. Not just any monitoring system, but our own multi-tasking monitoring application, Pandora FMS; equally at home monitoring HW and infrastructure, applications, servers and business processes, among its bag of tricks. The more of your network Pandora FMS is monitoring, the greater the benefits will be, but for now let’s just focus on network monitoring.

Before we begin let’s just take a quick look at what we mean by a network monitoring system, and how a business or organization could be affected by a network outage.

What is a network monitoring system?

Briefly put, it’s a system, or software tool, capable of observing all the different components of a network, both software and hardware, and reporting on their status and activity with the objective of avoiding incidents before they happen, or, if something does happen, to provide a solution.

So, for example, Pandora FMS can take highly abstract information, like the activity inside a network, and represent it graphically, giving you a clearer view of what’s happening. This information can be further segmented and grouped to give information about the different OSs installed, or the bandwidth they’re occupying, about the availability of your website, or the status of your servers, all delivered through a configurable dashboard. Most importantly, the system generates alerts, according to the parameters established by the user, which warn us of any changes in the elements or components being monitored.

Now we know a little more about what a monitoring system can do, let’s take a look at the different areas of our organization which could be affected by not having a monitoring system installed, and try to put a cash value on them.

Areas affected by not having a monitoring system

Human Resources and Financial Resources

Employees are often said to be the most valuable asset of any company, but that manpower comes at a cost.

System Administration team

How big is it? How many workers do we have checking on our network, and solving incidents? How much is our system administration costing us? A quick look at the payroll should give us our answer. Are the employees working around the clock to keep an eye on the network? Are they working with an outdated legacy system, requiring specialist knowledge of the idiosyncrasies of that system? Wouldn’t it be cheaper to automate that service, or to export to a homogenous, integrated system, and have it maintained by an onsite technician with remote backup support?

Incident resolution time

Another function of a network monitoring system is to assist the people in charge of maintaining the system to detect and solve problems as quickly as possible, which, thanks to their mapping and analytical capabilities, monitoring systems are very efficient at doing.

Call Centers

If a company operates a call center, monitoring the availability of our network is imperative, since a lack of availability is going to seriously affect the quality of the service. A monitoring system capable of detecting and resolving possible availability issues is going to be able to maintain, or increase, the traffic at that center.

Other employees

If your email server is down, plenty of employees are going to be affected, productivity is going to decrease and business is going to be lost. And that’s just email. Imagine the number of applications any organization is running and you have an idea of what it costs for those applications to be down.

Advantages for businesses

There’s a direct relationship between the correct functioning of our network and our balance sheet; depending on the kind and size of company the impact of an outage will be greater or lesser, for example:

  • Online sales: obviously a business that relies on an internet connection is going to be affected by a network outage, not only financially but also their reputation is going to be affected as well, seeing as they were unable to provide a satisfactory customer experience.
  • Companies using internal software tools: Any company with a BackOffice system and employees working in incident resolution, orders, purchasing, customer attention and so on, is going to be at risk of some seriously costly downtime if there is an outage. Monitoring those internal software elements is going to save a lot of money, and our reputation, in the case of an incident.
  • Network-based client services: Telemarketers, telecommunications companies, multimedia services, and so on, rely completely on access to a network to provide those services.

Intangible values

These are values which are difficult to calculate, or put a cash value on, for example brand reputation. It isn’t easy to evaluate the value of a brand, but we know it decreases if it’s associated with any of the situations described above.

Associated costs of monitoring software

We’ve seen how a network outage can adversely affect a company’s or business’s bottom line, either through loss of sales, downtime or damage to the brand reputation. Now it’s time to look at the costs of acquiring a network monitoring tool. Even an open source tool, such as Pandora FMS, has some costs associated with its installation and configuration which will form part of the equation we’re trying to work out. The chief costs are:

  • Licensing costs, in the case of Enterprise versions
  • Maintenance costs, and the cost of the internal support team. These costs will be higher if the software isn’t backed up by an external support team, who can give valuable help with the initial installation, and any subsequent upgrade installations, new releases and new functions, incident resolution, etc.
  • HW and SW storage for the monitoring tool.
  • Training in the use of the tool.
  • Consultation and/or post-sales services.

Calculating the ROI

One of the principal functions of a monitoring system is to detect problems in the network, and launch alerts to avoid any collapse or loss of availability.

Different manufacturers have different ways to calculate cost-savings based on having their monitoring systems installed, but there are so many variables and hypotheticals involved that a really accurate calculation is almost impossible to make.

The simplest evaluation to calculate is to look at the impact on employees of a network outage using the following parameters:

NT = Number of times there has been an outage in the past year

AD = The average duration of the outage

EA= Employees affected

CE = Cost of maintaining an idle employee

TOTAL LOSS = (NT * AD) * EA * CE

In the hypothetical case of a medium-size company of 100 employees

If the company experiences six outages a year, with an average duration of three hours each, affecting a third of the employees (33) and costing $25/hour we get the following result:

(6 * 30) * 33 * 25 = $148,500/year in losses due to outages, without taking into account any loss of sales or damage to the brand.

Does my organization need a monitoring system?

We’ve seen how it’s possible to get a rough estimate of the cost on our business of network non-availability and the usefulness of consulting with potential suppliers the viability and benefits of monitoring systems.

What to keep in mind when deciding which network monitoring tool is the right one for our needs

Installing a network monitoring tool is vital if we want to avoid losses related to network issues, and dedicate our employees’ time to more productive tasks. However, not every system is going to be the right one; the right tool for the job should be our motto, so keep in mind:

  • You should be able to deploy and configure your chosen tool rapidly and easily
  • It should be simple to maintain
  • It shouldn’t have any hidden costs

Keep in mind that as your business grows your monitoring system should be able to grow with it. It’s what we mean when we talk about scalability; the ability to incorporate new functions and new elements to monitor without implying an increase in the licensing fee.

Hidden costs can be taken to mean using an open source version rather than an Enterprise package. With open source there are no license fees, but there’s a higher cost in terms of the expert manpower needed to oversee the system. Keeping a high-level systems engineer on the payroll is always going to be more costly than having an integrated and supported package requiring only a systems administrator to keep an eye on things.

Hopefully, some readers will now have a better idea of the cost-saving potential of network monitoring, which, if we factor in other levels of monitoring, such as server, application or process monitoring, can only result in even more time and money saved.

EnterpriseGeekMonitoringPandora FMS

Alternatives to HP Open View

October 20, 2016 — by Carla Andres0

alternatives_hp_open_view.png

alternatives_hp_open_view

HP OpenView overview

HP OpenView is not one product but a range of over 50 software products dedicated to administrative problem-solving in IT departments. It isn’t a single piece of software but a whole suite of different tools to handle the administration of system-performance and availability. The suite has been assembled piecemeal over the decades by HP buying up different pieces of software and consolidating them under the OpenView (now rebranded as HP-OM) umbrella.

Open View’s 1980’s interface design seems to suggest it was created according to the Unix philosophy of the time. Anyone who’s ever seen an X-based management interface knows what that means:

alternatives to hp openview

Network Node Manager (NNM) was the first product from the suite to be launched, in the mid-80’s. The autodiscovery algorithm it used was quickly sold to Tivoli (IBM’s competitor at the time).

HP Operations Center was the next to arrive, at the end of the 80’s, as an add-on intended to provide server and application monitoring and management, and adding the possibility of accessing systems via RPC, rather than solely via SNMP.

In 1995, Operations Center and NNM were the next to be integrated due to the popularity of the former. The first integrated version was ITO v3.x, which became the foundation of what we could come to know as OpenView. These days the number of products under the OpenView umbrella has grown to over 50.

Since then Hewlett Packard has bought up a plethora of smaller companies, integrating their software into OpenView, which, in 2007, was rebranded as HP Operations Manager.

HP Openview competitors

Patrol, Tivoli and Spectrum have traditionally been considered as OpenView’s competitors, due to their being all of a similar size. However, there are other, and smaller, alternatives which can apport better solutions at a lower price, and which are more agile when it comes to installation and adapting to dynamic environments.

So far we’ve drawn a few comparisons between different monitoring applications but on this occasion a purely technical comparison would be too in-depth, so let’s limit ourselves to a comparing and contrasting of architecture.

alternatives to hp openview

Alternative to HP Openview: Pandora FMS

A single piece of software with only one license as opposed to the agglomeration of multiple, separately-licensed pieces which HP OpenView represents.

If we’re talking about monitoring, Pandora FMS unifies a set of functions in one tool which OpenView, on the other hand, needs the following list of elements (all licensed separately) to perform:

• HP OpenView Network Node Manager (OV NNM) – Network monitoring.
• HP Operations Manager (OM) – Systems and applications monitoring via agents.
• HP OpenView Performance Agent (OVPA) – Agent.
• HP OpenView Performance Insight (OVPI) – Agent.
• HP OpenView Performance Manager (OVPM) – Agent.
• HP OpenView Reporter (OVR) – WEB reporting system.
• HP OpenView GlancePlus – Diagnostics and data-collection tool.
• HP Software Business Availability Center (BAC) – Made up of 13 different products, includes BAM, user experience and more.
• HP Software SiteScope (SiS) – Agentless application-performance monitoring.
• HP Service Information Portal (SIP) – End-user tool, offers WEB views of data generated by OpenView. Customizable views for each user (client) built from data collected by different HP applications: OVO, OVSN, NNM, OVIS, OVPM, OVPI, Reporter.
• HP OpenView Internet Services (OVIS) – A simple interface for internet-related services. Includes a WEB dashboard for operators.

Any SPI we want to integrate into the HP suite has to be bought, licensed and integrated separately: Oracle, Sybase, DB2, SQL, AD, Exchange, Citrix, VMware, WebSphere, PeopleSoft, WebLogic, etc. On the contrary, Pandora FMS includes all these functions as plugins which are included in the license.

On the other hand, OpenView includes some elements which Pandora FMS doesn’t:

– Data Center Automation
– Storage management
– Configuration management
– Universal CMDB
– Service Desk
– Transaction analysis

These last go beyond the scope of monitoring and enter into the sphere of administration and infrastructure management, where HP excels, composed as it is of hundreds of distinct subproducts (whereas Pandora FMS is a strictly monitoring tool).

The size and complexity of HP’s suite is beyond dispute, although this makes it difficult to implement, and also extremely costly. For high-complexity eco-systems where NNM, OM, OVPA, OVPI, OVR, BAC, SIP, OVIS, SiteScope, are all requirements HP’s suite is there to ensure that all are integrated. On the downside, this requires a lot of consultation and is a challenge for any team in charge of managing this unwieldy behemoth.

Lower cost, the same functions and better scaled; enough reason to try Pandora FMS?

It’s possible to achieve the same results with Pandora FMS as with HP, but at a fraction of the cost, both in terms of licensing and complexity. Designed in 2005 and in constant evolution ever since, Pandora FMS hails from a time when both Linux and the internet had established themselves, as had other concepts such as virtualization, or heterogeneous and decentralized environments which today represent the norm. All this makes it much more streamlined and better-integrated than HP’s suite.

Pandora FMS has successfully replaced HP in various large-scale, high-complexity environments thanks to its simple premise: the same functionality, lower cost and less complexity. These success stories speak to Pandora FMS’s viability as an alternative to HP OpenView.

EnterpriseMonitoringPandora FMS

9 reasons not to install Nagios in your company

October 11, 2016 — by steve10

nagios_img-1.jpg

Everyone’s heard of Nagios, or at least they should have. A network monitoring tool with thousands of worldwide users, who’ve been using it for the last 15 years? What’s the problem?

We’re not saying Nagios doesn’t have its uses, but, given that it’s in such widespread use, sometimes it’s assumed that it’s the tool for any and every business, without stopping to ask if that’s really the case. Maybe we should be asking ourselves “What does my business need?” before reaching for a default solution.

With over ten years of experience in servers, networks and security to back us up, we boldly set out our ten reasons why it might not always be a good idea to install Nagios to manage a business monitoring service, in the case that you’d like your business to be an ongoing concern.

nagios

Technical aspects

1. Firstly, Nagios isn’t a product, it’s a project. Every time Nagios gets installed in a company it’s a bespoke installation, meaning that no two installations are the same. Ditto for deployment. In the long term this bespoke installation can turn problematic, if we would like to create an industry standard, with all the time-and-resource savings that implies. As things stand, systems techs in different companies will be writing different scripts to solve basically the same problem in the same environment. Obviously, this proliferation of solutions means no standardized troubleshoots are coming out of the Nagios open source community.

2. “Out-of-the=box” Nagios is pretty limited and has to be supplemented with various plugins, addons and third-party extensions, which end up turning any installation into a kind of software salad, without any kind of global vision or homogeneity

3. Being a made-to-measure project, Nagios depends on a limited team, some of whom may not even be present when you have a problem, and might not be able to help in any case. It’s hard to know where the buck stops with so many modifications to the core installation.

4. Nagios, with its static configuration, was never designed for dynamic environments, and is difficult to integrate into automatic provisioning processes. Scalability has never been Nagios’s strong point.

Business aspects

5. As monitoring gets more important for a company’s growth, you can find yourself depending on, not to say hostage to, a bunch of gurus, rather than a software manufacturer, with all the support that a standarized solution can offer.

6. Any problem that can’t be solved by your tech team will remain unsolved, especially if the setup has become increasingly idiosyncratic. Basically, nobody external to your company will have a clue. Only the people who’ve worked with your system will know all its ins and outs; what’s been changed, what’s been patched, and so on. In large companies system audits are mandatory, and these audits are usually carried out by the manufacturer of the software.

7. As an open source piece of software, Nagios might seem like a money-saving option (no annual licensing fees, right?), but, like any open source solution, it lacks a roadmap for the future of your business. Right now, it might seem like a good idea, but a couple of years down the line?

8. If your installation was done by a small team, and they decide to move on, you’re left with a canoe and no paddle; no support, no training, no documentation will be able to make up for the loss of the departed guru. Back to the drawing board.

9. It’s more costly to keep your Nagios guru employed, and doing a task which doesn’t provide any profits in itself, than to pay for a license, a training course and a technician.

It might seem like we’re blowing our own trumpet here, but the real aim of this article is to point out the many other monitoring solutions available besides Nagios itself. Keep in mind that there are dozens of software applications on the market, with licenses, support and training courses to provide the back-up you need, including Nagios XI, the licensed version of Nagios open source (just to show you we’re all about objectivity). You might not even need all the power of Pandora FMS Enterprise, and could easily get by with PRTG or WhatsUp Gold. We would only recommend Pandora FMS to those organizatons which really need that level of performance.

Further reading:

http://blogs.gartner.com/jonah-kowall/2013/02/22/got-nagios-get-rid-of-it/

https://kartar.net/2013/01/monitoring-sucks—a-rant/

http://es.slideshare.net/superdupersheep/stop-using-nagios-so-it-can-die-peacefully/37

http://blogs.gartner.com/jonah-kowall/2014/02/06/monitoring-software-sucks-so-i-use-nagios-whats-a-better-approach/

 

EnterpriseNetwork MonitoringPandora FMSServer Monitoring

13 Reasons why Pandora FMS Enterprise is the Best Bet for your Company

October 3, 2016 — by Javier2

the_best_bet.png

the_best_bet

We believe we have one of the most powerful open source monitoring software on the market. For this reason, there are more and more users are installing and using our free, open source version. Here we will show you the main differences between Pandora fms community vs enterprise.
If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you’re curious and are asking yourself what else Pandora FMS can do for you and your business. Let’s list the virtues of Pandora to help you decide whether you need the Enterprise version or you can continue with the Community open source version. Next some key differences between Pandora FMS Community vs Enterprise will be showed.

Event Intelligence

So, your Pandora FMS starts to generate events and you want to be able to interpret them and act accordingly. Has it ever occurred to you that you can trigger certain actions based on specific events? This is called event intelligence. Pandora FMS Enterprise lets you take action based on multiple correlated events.

The most basic implementation of this is to define an alert for a type of problem, whether it takes place in a single agent or a group of a thousand. Imagine having a single alert for a thousand cases. How much time would you save? How much more simple would managing the system be?

Another case is the famous “root cause”. With correlation rules Pandora itself will tell you what’s going on, for example, if an application is not responding, but shows connectivity, the machine it’s running on is working, and also the database, then we can infer that the application must be restarted. Just one example among many.

Professional Reports

Would you like to automatically deliver Pandora FMS reports to your customers with customized covers, your logo, and according to a specific schedule? Would you like to do it through a system of templates that can do all of the above and save you even more time?

The Enterprise version is designed to make the most of your time.

Widget-Oriented Modular Dashboard

Do you think your Pandora FMS console is stuck in a rut? Would you like to customize it, incorporating the most important widgets or components and be able to see your monitorization status at a glance?

We know that many of our users not only monitor hundreds of machines but take advantage of Pandora FMS’s flexibility to monitor applications and business processes. This usually means there are more eyes on your Pandora FMS checking up on the status of the installation, applications and business processes. Would you like to configure the dashboard according to each user profile to show what each profile should see on your dashboard ?

Agentless monitoring, without limits

Have you discovered the power of agentless monitoring and want to apply it to as many agents as possible?
In the Enterprise version there are no limits when it comes to monitoring agentless nodes and you can deploy your monitor more efficiently. With the Enterprise version you can monitor all nodes that do not allow the installation of agents, deploying the satellite server that allows even more flexible remote monitoring. In addition, Enterprise network servers have up to 100 times more speed and capacity.

Virtualization infrastructure monitoring

The proliferation of virtual machines has driven us to include in monitoring all these machines. Your Pandora FMS Open is only able to monitor the virtual machines in your infrastructure, but, do you think this is enough to be sure that everything is going well? We have 300 virtual machines in perfect condition, but what if our infrastructure virtualization, which supports these 300 machines, starts to have problems?
With Pandora FMS Enterprise you can not only monitor each of your virtual machines, but you can monitor your infrastructure virtualization: VMware, EC2, HyperV, XEN, RHEV among others.

Commercially-proven plugin technology at work in production environments

One of the greatest strengths of Pandora FMS is that you can create your own plugins and monitor anything you can think of . But have you thought about how long it takes to develop all the plugins you need? Wouldn’t you like to save all this time and dedicate it to more important tasks?
With the Enterprise version you have access to all existing plugin technology for complex and specialized production:
JD Edwards, DB2, Informix, SAP, AS400, Z-OS, Oracle, Edi, SQL Server, WebLogic, Exchange, Websphere, IBM MQ, Notes, Sybase …

Centralization and automation

Are you tired of having to run manual scripts to deploy plugins and settings across your network? With Pandora FMS Enterprise you can save time and ensure 100% deployment with its console plugins distribution and configurations. With a single click you can display anything you want using hundreds of servers through policy management.

Transactional monitoring (web applications and desktop)

With the open version of Pandora FMS you can monitor virtually everything you want to at infrastructure, server and application level. But wouldn’t you like to be able to monitor the transactionality of your company from the point of view of your customer?
We have over twelve years of experience in monitoring, and we know that the closer we can monitor our client the sooner we can detect the problem and find a solution with the least possible impact.
Pandora FMS Enterprise lets you simulate a transaction, whether through corporate web portals, web client applications, intranets or heavy desktop applications.
With this functionality you can be more confident that your systems not only work, but your customer experience is right.

Complex business processes

We are confident that with your Open Pandora FMS version you have been able to monitor many elements of your infrastructure. But things are often not as simple as monitoring if a disk is full, or if an application works or if the server is up. In the real world, in companies like yours, there are complex processes that require that several steps be carried out over long periods of time, sometimes in parallel, with different execution times.
With Pandora FMS Enterprise you can monitor any process of your organization and show its status in your custom process views. Procurement, insurance or mortgage processes, product purchases, logistics distributions (EDI) and many more can be monitored in your Pandora.
Thanks to this feature of Pandora FMS Enterprise you will know if there are bottlenecks and slowdowns in your processes, and be able to take steps to streamline and optimize them; and many more advantages.

Cloud Monitoring

Migrating services to the cloud substantially reduces operating costs and many companies are opting for this type of solution.

Are you in the cloud? Are you thinking about moving your infrastructure to the cloud?

Your open version Pandora FMS can add to your monitor solely information from machines within the cloud infrastructure. However, with the Enterprise version you can manage the data of the cloud infrastructure and integrate it into a single centralized monitoring, and, furthermore, validate the level of your service provider.

Infinite horizontal scaling

Is your open Pandora FMS running at the limits of its capabilities? Would you like better performance? Do you face challenges where you prefer to trust to the proven ability of a commercial product rather than constantly having to “hack” open source software?
The Enterprise version can scale up to tens of thousands of devices, and performance in some environments can be improved 1000%. Not to mention, that with that level of commitment, professional support will avoid many upsets.

Patch updates and 100% secure upgrades

Good monitoring can prevent complicated situations before they arise. Service downs can be prevented, but if a monitoring system goes down? You’re driving blind. The Enterprise updates, unlike the community ones, must pass rigorous quality testing. These consist of several stages, including a testing operation performed manually. We offer direct support and support our customers when they update. What if I have a problem with a community update? Patches of the OpenSource version are automatically generated each week, although obviously, those tests are not equivalent to those of the Enterprise version.

Support and consulting

Did you know that with the Enterprise version you have direct access to developers and the Pandora FMS sales team? Our team will not only help to resolve any questions you have and help you take the best decision, but they can also perform consulting improvements your monitor and perform the best kind of monitoring for your business. We don’t offer support or advice to the community version, because we are always working with long-term commitments.

We hope that after reading this article you may have a clearer idea of whether or not your business needs the Enterprise version. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to discuss it in the post and we will happily respond.