Bill Arlofski's blog

Monitoring Quantum Superloader Tape Libraries with Xymon

For the past several years Quantum's "Superloader3" tape libraries have been our device of choice when specifying a tape backup library solution for our clients.

The Superloaders are easy to set up and have proven to be one of the most reliable devices we have had the pleasure of working with - and when it comes to backups, reliability is key.

Regardless of the reliability of the tape library itself, there are other factors that can adversely affect your backups, including drives that require cleaning, bad or broken tapes or other miscellaneous issues.

When these issues occur it pays to be proctive by monitoring your tape library so that you may be made aware of these types of things as quickly as possible.

With Xymon being our preferred monitoring solution, naturally we would write a Xymon script to monitor our Superloader tape libraries. Our xymon_quantumsuperloader_check.sh script reports quite a bit of information about the Superloader including the library's time, autoloader & drive status and firmware versions.

In addition to this basic informational reporting, the script can also report the barcodes of the tapes in each slot of the Superloader's two removable magazines and can set an alert on any drive or tape errors reported.

The latest version of this script and instructions to install it on your Xymon server may be found HERE.

posted from my Nokia N900

Monitoring m0n0wall firewalls with Xymon

At Reverse Polarity, we have been installing, configuring, managing and supporting m0n0wall firewalls since we found the m0n0wall firewall project in 2005.

From the m0n0wall website: "m0n0wall is a project aimed at creating a complete, embedded firewall software package that, when used together with an embedded PC, provides all the important features of commercial firewall boxes (including ease of use) at a fraction of the price (free software)."

With so many of our managed m0n0wall firewalls installed it is only sensible to assume that we would know the status (including version, platform and uptime) of them. That would be a good assumption. :)

For quite some time now, we have been monitoring our clients' networks and servers with Xymon so it only makes sense that we would use Xymon to monitor our clients' firewalls as well.

We have recently posted our xymon_m0n0CFG.rb script which reports back to our Xymon server the version, platform, uptime, last config change, and notes fields of each of our managed m0n0wall firewalls. In addition to simply reporting back these informational fields, the script will also set a yellow alert if a firewall has been up for less than 24 hours, or if the configuration has been recently modified.

Instructions for installing the xymon_m0n0CFG.rb script, as well as the latest version of the script may be found HERE.

posted from my Nokia N900

Monitoring and Graphing Your UPS Data With NUT & Xymon

For several years now, we have been installing the open-source program NUT (Network UPS Tools) to monitor our UPSes and our clients UPSes to safely shut down servers during extended power outages.

With NUT we can rest assured that servers will not just have their power killed when their UPS's battery dies, but instead will be told to perform an orderly shutdown before the battery is exhausted which can prevent costly issues including file corruption.

The "N" in NUT stands for NETWORK which of course means that there is a networking aspect to it. Not only is NUT capable of monitoring UPSes via serial ports and USB ports but also via SNMP when a UPS supports it.

In addition, the networking capabilities of NUT include the ability for a NUT server to monitor a UPS and tell multiple client machines that also derive their power from the monitored UPS to shutdown prior to the NUT server itself being shut down.

Isn't this enough monitoring? Well, we always say, "...just like backups you can never have too much monitoring." So we have written several scripts for the Xymon Monitoring Server to monitor, graph and alert on the AC input voltage, AC output voltage, battery charge %, battery voltage & UPS load % of UPSes managed by a NUT server.

The scripts and the instructions on how to install and configure them with a Xymon server may be found HERE.

posted from my Nokia N900

Monitoring Your Bacula Backups With Xymon

In a recent post to the Bacula mailing list, someone had asked if there was a way to alert their Nagios network monitoring server when their Bacula backup server was waiting on an operator to change a tape.

At Reverse Polarity, we have been installing and supporting Xymon for years - as far back as when it began as plug-in to the Big Brother network monitoring server.

Xymon is an open-source network monitoring program with an easy to use web interface. Since someone was asking about a Nagios plugin to monitor their Bacula server it only seemed logical that someone might want a way to monitor Bacula with a Xymon server.

As it turns out, someone DID want a Xymon monitor for Bacula - Us!

As luck would have it we had already written a Xymon script to monitor our Bacula server and alert if a backup job had failed. All our script needed was some minor additional features and some finishing touches for it to be ready to be released for others to use.

I am excited to say that the script, which is available HERE was announced on the Bacula users mailing list and the Xymon users mailing list on June 4th, 2010 and within 10 minutes was being downloaded and implemented by others!

posted from my Nokia N900