[Disclosures at the end, as usual. Also, since this post was begun, NetBeez has announced discontinuation of their free tier of service. There is still a 30-day trial, though, so if you’re looking at deploying a paid option, you can still try it out first.]
At Cisco Live last year, I won a NetBeez monitoring agent (in the form of a Raspberry Pi 2 model B). It took a couple months, but I finally got it plugged in and running. NetBeez were kind enough to offer me an expanded license for a couple of devices, so I could run them from my home, my workshop, and possibly even a mobile rig.
I’ll admit that I wasn’t completely sure what I would do with the agent, but once I got it going, I found a lot of utility in the offering.
If you want an utterly painless way to get started, win a pre-built monitoring agent at an event. The second closest option to that would be buying a preloaded agent from NetBeez.
However, for most of my readers, loading an OS onto a device you’ve had sitting in a pile in the corner of your lab or spare room is going to be as easy and a bit cheaper. NetBeez offers options for Debian Linux, OVA bundles for the virtualization platform of your choice, Raspbian for Raspberry Pi, and an Odroid C2 Debian image. There are probably other options you can work out if you put your mind to it, but it’s not much of a hindrance to getting going.
With any of these options, you’ll run an agent setup script with your secret code in it, given to you in an email (or in their dashboard once you’re set up–click on the gear icon in the top right of your dashboard). Then it should show up promptly in the NetBeez dashboard, and you can rename, configure, add targets, etc.
What I’m Monitoring
The first tests I put in were pointing at my home router (a Meraki MX84, see disclosures), and my remote workshop router (a Meraki MX60).
For my home router, I have a ping to the router’s internal interface, and a DNS lookup for one of the Meraki Cloud sites I would use to manage the Meraki environment. This validates internal connectivity and general DNS availability.
For the remote workshop router, which is connected over VPN, I check ping and http response to the internal interface of the router (which validates VPN connectivity), and ping and traceroute to the external interface (which validates Internet connectivity). Continue reading