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Guide to Setting Up a Completely Free Sysadmin Dashboard

How to setup a full System Administrator Dashboard with Completely Free Tools

Many sysadmins aren’t just strapped for time in making sure all systems are up and running smoothly. Often times, it’s hard to even get resources to cover some basic necessities, such as amonitoring tool. Well no sysadmins should be left out in the cold without at least basic necessities that makes their lives in the office easier, smarter, and more efficient. A monitoring dashboard will be able to tell you exactly what is wrong and where to look so you can get it resolved as quickly as possible. So in this blog, we will cover the free tools you can use right through from the Operating System you install upon to the ticketing systems you can feed your monitoring alerts into. All free!

Operating system

There’s a variety of operating systems to use that can handle running large monitoring systems and environments. One of the most commonly used, extendable,and powerful are the free Linux Operating Systems. You can download our pre-built Virtual Machine, which includes Opsview installed onto Ubuntu or you can install Opsview onto one of our other supported free Operating systems using our install script:

  • Centos
  • Debian
  • Ubuntu

           

Monitoring

Theres a lot of different routes to take with building out your monitoring system. When building out a free dashboard, it’s pretty common to go towards an Open Source solution. However, this can pose as a pretty unsustainable approach. Instead, we’ll be looking at the most convenient and stable systems to start off on. This usually means “freemium” solutions. This often means that you get the full functions and features of an enterprise level system, up to a predetermined amount of devices.

Opsview Atom includes all the features of the Professional product which include features such as:

Dashboards – Quickly visualize the status of your monitored systems
Autodiscovery – Scan your network and quickly find all of the systems that need to monitored
Security Wallet – Keep your passwords and other sensitive data secure
Service Desk Integration – All of the service desk integrations are available in Atom, we will cover the free ones later.

You can find out more about Opsview Atom and download it here.

Other options you could try are:
OP5® Free – For monitoring up to 20 devices
PRTG® Freeware – Limited to 100 service checks

Notification Methods

Now let’s get started on the notification methods. We want to make sure to keep your environment air tight, but not give you a sense of paranoia. Here are some of the notification methods
and integrations you can set up out of the box with Opsview Atom.

One of the most common areas you’re probably trying to concentrate on is your help desk. Opsview Atom includes notification methods for the popular service desk tools OTRS and JIRA,
both of these tools are free. They are a brilliant way to get those alerts heading out of Opsview properly handled. If you are more of a traditionalist you can send out alerts by email or through
the Opsview app, more on that later.

Find out more about notification methods and setting up JIRA in “Connecting Opsview to your service desk”

Mobile Apps

Ok, operating system check, monitoring system check, what you want to be notified on check. We’re cooking with gas now! What about mobile support for when you’re away from your desk? We got you covered there if you’re looking at Opsview Atom.

With Opsview Atom and the Opsview App, you can send notifications straight to your mobile. It does more than just alerting, through the App you can also manage your alerts and view the status of your systems.

You can download the app here

Deployment

Puppet or Chef are the ever so popular open source tools for automating your system deployment. There are integrations with Opsview for both Puppet and Chef that will get your systems up and running in no time and make sure right from deployment they are always properly monitored.

What to Monitor

As well as being able to integrate with a wide range of free tools, Opsview can also monitor many of them. Opsview includes a massive range of pre-built and fully tested checks, many of these for commonly used free applications and tools:

MySQL – Record the number of connections to your server, how many keys are open etc..
Apache – See how many sessions are active and how much traffic is being generated
Linux – Measure CPU, Memory and Hard drive space
Solr – Check your Solr system resource usage
Elasticsearch – Like Solr you can monitor your Elasticsearch system resource usage
Microsoft Hyper-V - Monitor the CPU usage, guest storage errors, and network read/write for each virtual machine
Docker- monitor each container, with statistics including CPU, memory usage, and container size.

Example Setup

So now you know all the free options available, I am sure you are keen to get it set up! Here is a step by step guide to getting started with free monitoring and seeing the fruits of you labor on an amazing dashboard that you will be pleased to have up on your wall.

Step 1. Download and Install Opsview Atom

You can download Opsview Atom here.

To Install Opsview Atom, just follow this handy dandy video below:

 

Step 2. Pick something to monitor

There is loads of stuff available out the box in Opsview, but I have chosen my MySQL and Apache servers to monitor. Here is what I did:

a. Add a new host

b. Enter the hosts details and select the MySQL and Apache Host Templates


c. Reload and monitor. You can now see you MySQL or Apache system status.

d. Get Dashboarding. Now that you are collecting statuses and data you can start to create those visualizations that will impress your friends. There are loads of dashlets to choose from. Here are some of the best for the MySQL and Apache checks:

1. Performance Graphs

2. Performance Gauge

3. Business Services

Step 3: Put it all together in your own dashboard!

e. Now with your new dashboard you can put it up on the wall or a monitor for your entire team to see!

Get going with free monitoring

With such a range of free tools available to run alongside Opsview Atom, there is something to suit every Sysadmin! So why not get going with Opsview Atom and some of the other brilliant
free tools out there today. If Opsview Atom isn’t your thing, that’s fine too. We’re looking to make monitoring easy, so try out all of them, and see which one is the best for you and your
environment.

If you would like to know more about the different ways to get Opview Atom set up you can check out our guide on Three Easy Ways to Get/Install Opsview.

Now, go get monitoring!

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by Opsview Team,
Administrator
Opsview is passionately focused on monitoring that enables DevOps teams to deliver smarter business services, faster.

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