Juju and Nagios, sittin’ in a tree.. (Part 1)

Monitoring. Could it get any more nerdy than monitoring? Well I think we can make monitoring cool again…


If you’re using Juju, Nagios is about to get a lot easier to leverage into your environment. Anyone who has ever tried to automate their Nagios configuration, knows that it can be daunting. Nagios is so flexible and has so many options, its hard to get right when doing it by hand. Automating it requires even more thought. Part of this is because monitoring itself is a bit hard to genercise. There are lots of types of monitors. Nagios really focuses on two of these:

  • Service monitoring – Make a script that pretends to be a user and see if your synthetic monitor sees what you expect.
  • Resource monitoring – Look at the counters and metrics afforded a user of a normal system.

The trick is, the service monitoring wants to interrogate the real services from outside of the machine, while the resource monitoring wants to see things only visible with privileged access. Continue reading

UDS Maverick – day2 highlights

  • btrfs – BTRFS is pretty awesome, with filesystem level snapshotting and compression, it promises to make some waves on the server and small devices. Unfortunately, its still marked as EXPERIMENTAL by its own developers, and there are known bugs. However, you can choose to play with it in Ubuntu 10.04, which should be helpful for people finding and submitting bugs so the developers can feel better about people using it. There is a desire to have it as the default filesystem for the next Ubuntu LTS release, which is pretty exciting.
  • Monitoring is too easy – Any time I see 10+ implementations of the same idea, I figure its probably something that is easy enough that people tend to write their own instead of searching for a solution. Monitoring and graphing seem to be in this category, with many solutions such as nagios, opennms, zenoss, munin, ganglia… the list goes on and on. We talked a lot about what to do in Ubuntu Server to make sure this is done well and makes sense, and basically ran out of time. The best part of the session though, was that we decided to focus on solving the data collection problem first, so each server takes responsibility for itself, and then allow centralized aggregation on another level.
  • Server Community – There is some desire to have people test Ubuntu Server before a release, especially for the LTS releases. A beta program was proposed, but there is some doubt (my own included) that this will actually get people to test before the .0 release. Basically I have to think that as a server admin, people aren’t interested in even trying something in an unstable state. They’ll take the .0 and build a new server rev, but they’re not going to go around upgrading stable servers. This needs more thought and discussion definitely.

Sitting in the first session for Wednesday now listening to a session about the next 6 months of Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud and Eucalyptus development. Very exciting stuff!

Ubuntu Developer Summit Day 1 survived

After about 16 hours in the air and waiting on the tarmac, I arrived here in Brussels, Belgium for my first day on the job at Canonical.

I actually really love the feeling one gets when pushed to their limits of sleep deprivation. For me, my ego tends to shrink and go away after this long without sleep. I did catch a few winks on the plane, but they were mostly drunken winks, so they weren’t quite as restful as, say stretching out on a pile of broken glass. With the sun hanging in the air while my body wanted it to be under foot safely blocked out by a ball of mud, magma and water, I arrived feeling pretty much like I was in outer space.

That feeling was rather fitting, given that the first Canonical employee I met at lunch was none other than Mark Shuttleworth, who actually *has* been in outer space. Continue reading