Coming back to the NetBeez monitoring service – a gigabit agent and more

[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 this 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.

See the previous article for how I started using the gear, and why I wanted to upgrade almost as soon as I got the first agent going.

B is for Banana – Pro, that is

With a 200mbit+ connection at home, and a 100mbit Ethernet port on my agent, I hit an obvious bottleneck.

Luckily, though, I’d stocked up on a couple of Banana Pi Pro devices, and had a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B as well. Since the only device I have a case for is the Banana, that’s what I ran with. I later realized the Raspberry Pi 3 is also a 10/100 device, so it would not fix the problem, although it worked fine as an agent on my backup DSL connection (which maxes at 20Mbps). Continue reading

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First look: Checking out the Netbeez cloud-based monitoring service

[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.

Getting Started

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

Join me on Thwack next week!

I was going to make a joke about an uncomfortable unicorn and tooting my own horn… but I’ll leave that as an exercise to the reader.

Seriously though, starting next week I’ll be a Thwack Ambassador on the Thwack Community hosted by SolarWinds.

Thwack is a community for people who manage, monitor, or deploy stuff. There are consultants, administrators, a few SolarWinds gurus, and generally people interested in having an easier life in systems/network/virtualization administration.

I’ll be sharing, and soliciting, some thoughts on topics around alerting and oncall, for the next four weeks. I also hope, if I can, to use, in a manner of speaking, way more commas than one, in his right mind, that is, might use. </shatner>

SolarWinds, as you may know, produces software to monitor and manage networks, servers, virtualization, logs, and more. They have a number of free products that you can use, from an SSH client and a very popular tftp/sftp server to IP address management and a subnet calculator (great for those of you with ten fingers rather than two). But this isn’t about their products.

#include <disclaimer.h>

I am paid a bit for my stint as a Thwack Ambassador. I am given a very broad theme to work from, but they don’t get to specify what I write about. So as with my own blog, you’ll be reading what I find interesting and/or true.

Come see me on Thwack next week, share your thoughts (there’s bound to be a contest for people who interact with me and my co-ambassador for March, Jeremy Stretch), and hopefully you’ll find (and share) some new ideas and solutions.

Update: My first post is up: Let’s just eliminate alerting altogether, okay? Check it out for a chance to win an iPod Nano!