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Monitoring

The Art of Monitoring

The Art of Monitoring is a modern and fairly complex guide of monitoring your application effectively. There is no doubt, nowadays just about any modern application has a complex architecture, with many moving parts surrounding it. This book aims to give you the best guide to monitor your entire application stack. From the operating system, web server, to the application itself. The example applications used in this book are Ruby on Rails and Java based, but the book is written in a manner that I was able to apply some of the concepts on my existing PHP applications. The examples are described using both Ubuntu and CentOS systems, and I loved that the author provided links to all three major configuration management tools Chef, Puppet, and Ansible; with their respective configuration to deploy whatever service was being described as we're reading this book.

The bread and butter of this book is the use of the event-processing and tracking based application called Riemann. The core monitoring concepts are handled by this application. I have to admit, prior to reading this book, I’ve never heard of this application and I had a hard time following the examples showcasing its use. While I did had some minor experience using some commercial application event-processing based solutions (New Relic), grasping the notion of having Riemann be the central point of the monitoring framework was hard to me accept. Mainly because some of the functionally described by Riemann was of alerting after certain thresholds were met. To me, this is something that I’ve been doing in Nagios for years. While I can see why the integration of Riemann is showcased here, as it's deeply tied to the flow of other monitoring tools that are also described in this book. That's the addition of the ELK stack for log analysis, collectd/statds for system and application metrics, Graphite for storing the metrics, and Grafana for displaying the application metrics.

This book covers just about every aspect of a modern application that you want to monitor, with the exception of the networking layer. From the ground up, the core audience of this book are system administrators and developers. I liked that this book designed the entire monitoring stack to easily scale depending on your application environment. As the author describe it, "your monitoring framework should be just as dynamic as your application."

The Art of Monitoring

Rating: 3/5
Chapter 1: An Introduction to Monitoring
Chapter 2: Monitoring, Metrics and Measurement
Chapter 3: Events and metrics with Riemann
Chapter 4: Storing and graphing metrics, including Graphite and Grafana
Chapter 5: Host-based monitoring with collectd
Chapter 6: Monitoring hosts and services
Chapter 7: Containers - another kind of host
Chapter 8: Logs and Logging, covering structure logging and the ELK stack
Chapter 9: Building monitored applications
Chapter 10: Alerting and Alert Management
Chapters 11-13: Monitoring an application and stack

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The Logstash Book

Logstash, along with the entire ELK stack, is a really awesome piece of software. Assuming you already have moderate *nix knowledge (after all this book is aimed for SysAdmins/Operations, Developers and DevOps folks), this short eBook is practically all you need to start learning and using Logstash. A good chunck of this book are excepts from the official documentation. Like most FOSS projects, the official documentation is somewhat null, and this book does a really good job filling that void in a very comprehensive manner.

This book does an excellent job walking through setting up the entire Logstash, Elasticsearch, and Kibana stack, and the basic minimal configurations needed to get up and running quickly, as well as an entire chapter devoted to scaling your Logstash/Elasticsearch infrastructure. The core content of the eBook, is regarding the three main configuration options in Logstash; input, filter and output. Which is how Logstash is able to receive logs via different ways like syslog, another Logstash deamon, and logstash-forwarder (aka lumberjack), and then how we filter the incoming logs to a more well comprehensive structure using various filter plugins, and finally configuring Logstash how to save our incoming filtered logs to a respective backend.
This book also describes how we can integrate Logstash with other applications like Graphite and Nagios. As well a high-level introduction on how to extend Logstash by creating custom input and filter plugins.

Along with Logstash itself, this book is very Linux centric. Practically nothing is mentioned regarding Logstash in other platforms like FreeBSD and Solaris aside from configuring them to ship their logs to a central Logstash server via syslog.

Thus said at just $10, this eBook is worth every penny of it.

Chapter 1: Introduction or Why Should I Bother?
Chapter 2: Getting Started with Logstash
Chapter 3: Shipping Events
Chapter 4: Shipping Events without the Logstash agent
Chapter 5: Filtering Events with Logstash
Chapter 6: Outputting Events from Logstash
Chapter 7: Scaling Logstash
Chapter 8: Extending Logstash

Rating: 5/5

http://www.logstashbook.com

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Monitoring with Ganglia

This is essentially the handbook needed to start using Ganglia in your high performance environment. I've always been somewhat skeptical towards books that have multiple authors, however this book is definetly the exception. The authors are core contributors of Ganglia and they surely demonstrated their expert knowledge of Ganglia in this book. Hell even at times, I found myself re-reading certain portions of the book, given how complex I found their technical writing to be. Prior to reading this book I had very little experience gathering cluster metrics using Ganglia, and this book has enormously helped me understand Ganglia tremendously. The authors did and excellent job describing the different components that make up Ganglia; gmond/sflow, gmetad, and gweb.

Ganglia is a kick ass application. One thing that I really like about it that a standard install of gmond out of the box will provide the basic metrics that you would want to gather about your systems ie., memory, cpu/load, disk, and network. This book does an excellent job explaining how to extend gmond with modules written in Python. Personally I'm not big with Python, but given how easily it is to create custom modules, I can see myself using this feature if needed. Though optionally, this book also does an excellent job describing how to gather metrics using the gmetric command line utility, of which at this point you're not tied to any specific language if you want to gather custom metrics. Additionally this book included some examples using libaries that make use of gmetric functionally to gather metrics about your application. The primary reason why I bought this book was because I wanted to learn more in depth about Ganglia integration with Nagios, and this book does an excelent job describing how easily Ganglia and Nagios alert integration can be enabled making an absolute kick ass monitoring combo!

One unique thing that this book included was a chapter dedicated to real case studies of Ganglia being used in large high performance environments, and the unique constraints that each environment had, what they did to solve or mitigate the problem. The only thing that perhaps this book could have excluded was the portion regarding extending gmond using C/C++, given that the core audience for this book are system engineers, and given the complexity of the subject, I feel extending gmond using C/C++ falls out of scope of the book.

As far as I know this is the only Ganglia book available, and probably the only book you'll need to learn Ganglia. I definitely recommend this book if you're interested deploying Ganglia.

Chapter 1: Introducing Ganglia
Chapter 2: Installing and Configuring Ganglia
Chapter 3: Scalability
Chapter 4: The Ganglia Web Interface
Chapter 5: Managing and Extending Metrics
Chapter 6: Troubleshooting Ganglia
Chapter 7: Ganglia and Nagios
Chapter 8: Ganglia and sFlow
Chapter 9: Ganglia Case Studies

Rating: 5/5

Monitoring with Ganglia

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Nagios: System and Network Monitoring

Nagios: System and Network Monitoring is hands down one of the best technical books I have read thus far. While I have used Nagios plenty of times in the past before, prior to reading Nagios: System and Network Monitoring, I knew little to none about its configuration and inner workings, let alone plugin development (really simple stuff, literally). One of the things that make this book an absolute must have for any one interesting in using Nagios is the thorough explanation of just about every service/command configuration setting their is available for Nagios (at the the time of the book writing of course). The official Nagios documentation is great, but this book explains them in a more easier to understand approach, and more importantly it describes practical use for such settings. In addition of doing an awesome job explaining service/command configurations, this book does an excellent job explaining the most common Nagios plugins in great detail.

Thanks to this book, I literally started using Nagios in my home network to monitor just about anything that powers up and its online in someway.

This book has to be the ultimate reference/guide for all things Nagios system and network monitoring. Their is a really good reason why the main developer of Nagios quoted this book as "this book is incredibly detailed" and "I don’t think I could have gone into that much detail if I wrote a book myself".

PART I: From Source Code to a Running Installation
Chapter 1: Installation
Chapter 2: Nagios Configuration
Chapter 3: Startup

PART II: In More Detail...
Chapter 4: Nagios Basics
Chapter 5: Service Checks and How They Are Performed
Chapter 6: Plugins for Network Services
Chapter 7: Testing Local Resources
Chapter 8: Plugins for Special Tasks
Chapter 9: Executing Plugins via SSH
Chapter 10: The Nagios Remote Plugin Executor (NRPE)
Chapter 11: Collecting Information Relevant for Monitoring with SNMP
Chapter 12: The Nagios Notification System
Chapter 13: Passive Tests with the External Command File
Chapter 14: The Nagios Service Check Acceptor (NSCA)
Chapter 15: Distributed Monitoring

PART III: The Web Interface and Other Ways to Visualize Nagios Data
Chapter 16: The Classical Web Interface
Chapter 17: Flexible Web Interface with the NDOUtils
Chapter 18: NagVis
Chapter 19: Graphic Display of Performance Data

PART IV: Special Applications
Chapter 20: Monitoring Windows Servers
Chapter 21: Monitoring Room Temperature and Humidity
Chapter 22: Monitoring SAP Systems
Chapter 23: Processing Events with the EventDB

PART V: Development
Chapter 24: Writing Your Own Plugins
Chapter 25: Determining File and Directory Sizes
Chapter 26: Monitoring Oracle with the Instant Client

Rating: 5/5
Nagios: System and Network Monitoring

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