As the number of servers I maintain grows, so does the need for a decent monitoring solution. Enter the recently published book “Nagios Core Administration Cookbook” by Tom Ryder.
Nagios is the big tool for monitoring, letting you monitor (and control) the whole range from servers to services, record and log the states, and even spin out a few nice graphs. Ever wanted a good dashboard that shows you the current state of your dozen web servers? How about log the load of your mail server to see if there is something behind the reports of slow at 16:30? Get alerted by your medium of choice when services go down or start flapping? Nagios is the one, and Nagios Core Administration Cookbook is the definitive guide on how to do it.
Tom has written clear blocks instructing how to get the most out of Nagios, broken into chapters/articles that are a great reference on their own, as well as in a linear progression through the book from start to finish, to create a monitoring solution. To take the “Cookbook” title to a bad analogy, I get far more repeat use from referencing the recipes for the special sauce or icing. Picking up and opening this book is better than Google!
The book covers each step of the way to creating a fullblown monitoring and notification solution, from setting up Nagios Core itself, adding a few ping checks, adding more in-depth checks, setting up remote plugin execution, setting up notifications and beyond. Written in an operating system agnostic manner, the steps were easily reproducible on Arch Linux, Debian, Ubuntu and CentOS.
There are quite a few snippets of what I would like to call “enlightenment”, such as Tom’s insights on how to efficiently and easily use groups and templates, that were not easily found in the Nagios’ own documentation. For these insights alone, the book has earned a spot on the bookshelf next to the computer. Tom has a great understanding of best practices and applies them well to Nagios, in this case clear readable configuration and secure communication between services.
Rumour has it Tom even monitors his coffee urn with Nagios…