Server Monitoring Tools You Should Know
Running a website means being acutely aware of server and network issues as soon as they occur. A monitoring tool can be used to check for problems caused by overloaded or crashed servers, network connections and other devices. Deciding which tool to measure response time, availability, CPU usage, memory usage, disk space and uptime all comes down to the size and complexity of your network. Application server monitoring is often included and helps track the processes of Apache, MySQL, Nginx, Postgres and others.
Great server monitoring services not only provide detailed information on the health of your servers, but they also include performance benchmarking, alerting capabilities, detailed reporting, data visualizations, etc. to keep your website and network running smoothly. With so many services available and countless different features, it can be difficult to decide which tool will work best for your website.
1. Happy Apps
Happy Apps delivers sophisticated uptime monitoring of both your apps and IT system, offering SSH- and Agent-based connectivity across private, public and hybrid clouds. You can monitor apps, databases, app servers and messaging queues with the ability to view overall and individual statuses and dependency maps between systems. Monitoring checks are executed on intervals of one to five, and Happy Apps can also execute custom queries. Setting up rules for alerts, delivered via SMS or email is simple, and the “mute” feature eliminates unnecessary alerts for false positives. Each check is saved and presented in easy-to-understand reports, with the ability to perform analysis on stored data, identify patterns, performance issues and outages. (Free — $499.95/month)
2. Performance Co-Pilot
Performance Co-Pilot is a system performance and analysis framework which can collect multiple metrics from a variety of operating systems in real-time or by using historical data. PCP supports Linux, Mac OS X, FreeBSDX IRIX, Solaris and Windows (32). Each host being monitored requires a Performance Metrics Domain Agent (PMDA), which is responsible for collecting performance measurements from that domain. You can export data from databases, log files, web servers, mail systems, cisco routers, search engines with monitoring tools which can display either arbitrary performance metrics or specific groups of metrics. Performance Co-Pilot uses a single API for accessing performance data, with integrated archive logging, and the PCP engine supports automated monitoring through rule-based language. The distributed system allows multiple clients to monitor the same host, meaning a single desktop PC can monitor remote systems with varying architectures and operating systems. (Free)
Nagios is an open-source monitoring system which allows you to identify and resolve infrastructure problems before they affect critical processes. It provides a centralized view of your entire IT infrastructure and detailed up-to-date status information. You can configure Nagios to monitor system metrics, network protocols, applications, services, servers and network infrastructure. Alerts of failures are delivered via email, SMS or custom scripts, and detailed reports of outages to help you stay on top of issues. Event handlers allow automatic restart of failed applications and services and the extendable architecture allows integration with in-house and third-party applications, with multiple APIs. The trending and capacity planning graphs and reports allow you to identify infrastructure upgrades before failures occur, and scheduled downtime prevents alerts during maintenance windows. (Free)
Icinga is an extensible server monitoring system that checks the availability of your infrastructure resources with notifications for outages. It was originally created as a fork of Nagios, adding a GUI, additional database connectors and a REST API to allow integration of extensions without complication modification of the application core. You can monitor network services such as SMTP, POP3, HTTP and others, along with host resources including CUP load, disk usage and server components (from switches, routers and temperature, to humidity sensors). It uses a rule-driven configuration format that is user-friendly and keeps configuration work to a minimum by defining templates to apply to configuration objects. Icinga offers three distinct command types, check, notification and event commands. Each can be given default values, custom attributes, runtime macros and conditional behaviors. The simple plug-in system allows you to easily develop service checks, with optional interfaces, reporting modules and template based reports. (Free)
Anturis offers a complete suite of tools to monitor servers, services, software, websites and networks, all from one dashboard. As it’s cloud based, there’s no need to install additional software or allocate extra hardware or resources. It provides total scalability, allowing you to add infrastructures and components as and when needed. You can track CPU usage, CPU load, RAM, disk space, disk usage and monitor key software including MySQL databases, Apache web servers, mail servers, Java virtual machines, Windows services, Active Directory and log files. It’s simple to monitor the uptime and performance, checking both network and application level problems with multiple monitoring locations worldwide. You can add as many infrastructures and components as you require, assigning them to different tasks, offices or clients. Compatible with any infrastructure type, Anturis can monitor a physical server, AWS, Microsoft Azure or Rackspace. ($9.50/month — $149/month)
6. Open NMS
OpenNMS is a network management application with automated and manual discovery options. It includes an event and notification system as well as a performance measurement tool. As it’s open source, there are no maintenance or upgrade costs and you can download, examine, modify and distribute the source code. Able to handle bursts of thousands of events per second, OpenNMS can serve as your central repository for your network; once important events have been identified, then they can generate notices and trouble tickets. All performance data can be graphed to easily identify problem areas within your network and servers. OpenNMS uses a configurable alarm management system, so when an event occurs the alarm is raised and a notification is sent across multiple groups of users until it’s acknowledged and addressed. One unique feature of OpenNMS is the remote poller which detects service outage from the client perspective and reports back to the central OpenNMS application. This can be used to ensure centrally-hosted applications are always available, and is installed by simply pointing a browser at the central application. (Free)
SeaLion is a Linux monitoring tool used to quickly diagnose issues with multiple Linux servers. It’s simple to use; just open a web browser and the output of standard commands becomes available in a tabbed interface. You can jump to a specific period of time, add your own set of commands and compare the output of different servers side by side to find out why one server is outperforming another. The impressive dashboard gives you a graphical overview of your server activity and allows you to view raw outputs for a more in-depth knowledge of performance. Server data is recorded for up to 45 days so you can go back in time to diagnose issues. In addition, instant email alerts tell you when your custom metrics cross their threshold. Its enterprise level monitors hundreds of servers and provides granular access controls to multiple users, making it easy for different teams to use. In SeaLion, all data is transferred over SSL connection and stored on secure Amazon servers, incorporating white-listing commands, and the ability to run privileged commands that require sudo permissions. (Free — $499 p/month)
PRTG offers network monitoring software which can be installed in just a few minutes, automatically discovering your network and providing 24/7 monitoring of LANs, WANs, servers, websites, applications and URLs. The point-and-click configuration and straightforward dashboard make it easy to use. You can collect data on almost anything of interest on your network. Monitoring includes more than 200 sensor types for all kinds of network services, such as bandwidth, application, virtual server, SLA, QoS, LAN, WAN and VPN. The flexible alerting system offers a variety of ways to receive and act on notifications and status, limit, threshold and escalation alerts. Using up to five nodes together you can create a failover tolerant monitoring system to ensure constant uptime, even in the face of emergencies. Remote probes can be used to monitor networks in different locations with live performance and status information. In-depth reporting can be run on an ad-hoc or scheduled basis. (Free — $47,250/year)
Monitis provides an all-in-one monitoring platform to track websites, servers and applications, anytime from anywhere. It measures uptime, page load, transactions and stress testing. Since it’s cloud based, you won’t need to install any software and could be up and running within minutes. With one unified dashboard you have access to all of the important metrics: network performance, server health and other customizable data. By setting custom triggers you get instant alerts via email, SMS or Twitter, with an easy-to-use API allowing integrations and plug-ins from other applications and services, such as MySQL, Java and Nginx. Monitis provides real-time views, interactive charts and reports on key data. You can also extract custom data, monitor intervals of just one minute and store performance history for up to two years. Support for multiple protocols is provided, such as HTTP, HTTPS, PING and DNS, with public IP checks, webpage content checks and URL monitoring based on CDN. Monitis has over 30 worldwide server locations. ($117/month — $1,123/year)
op5 provides monitoring for all kinds of servers, including physical, virtual, cloud and hybrid types of environments. It’s a flexible solution that can easily scale and handle large volumes of monitored devices and services. Key health and server performance metrics are presented in a centralized dashboard that has the uptime, usage stats and fast root cause identification and troubleshooting. Monitoring capabilities include real-time visibility of outages and a graphical display of bandwidth utilization and resource consumption. Reports of your overall network state are easy to understand and you have the option to view specific details on a single device. op5 is able to track the response time for how users experience your services, keeping you informed on what parts of your network are not performing to your standards. Load balancing allows the servers to share the workload to ensure no single server is under or over utilized. This helps to prevent failures when a system’s activity levels are continuously high. (Free — Enterprise (contact for quote))