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Nagios Website Check

Nagios XI Free,Guide for the Windows Sysadmin

Getting Started with Nagios XI Free is Extremely Easy!

Please Note: This guide is intended for testing and evaluation only.

At MCS, we strongly feel that Nagios XI is the best IT monitoring software available and has been for quite a long time. XI is the more polished, easy to use product over the community Nagios Core software. We have seen some resistance from enterprises that are mostly Microsoft Windows shops. There is no Windows version of Nagios XI available so sysadmins have to use Linux. For some, this may seem daunting. Getting started with Nagios XI Free is actually one of the simplest Linux tasks out there. Starting from nothing, you can start monitoring in only a few steps. This guide is for the Linux and Nagios newbie so we will cover everything.

Nagios XI used to only be supported on RHEL and CentOS but is now fully supported on Oracle Linux, Debian, and Ubuntu. Right now, we like CentOS 7 Minimal as it is stable, completely open source, and tried and true for running Nagios XI.

Starting Out

  1. Download CentOS 7 Minimal (no GUI needed)
  2. Install CentOS 7. Since I am talking about Microsoft shops in this article, I will use Hyper-V. Use a Gen1 VM any don’t use dynamic memory. If you are using VMware you can get the OS+Nagios XI ready to go in an OVA. We have even run Nagios XI stably on AWS on a t2.micro instance with a few dozen checks running.
  3. Nagios has been optimized very well over the years. You only need 1 CPU, 1GB RAM, and 8GB Storage. Of course, the more resources you assign the better!
  4. After install, login as root.
  5. Now this is the really slick part. As long as your new CentOS 7 Server has internet access, you only need to run a single command to download and fully install Nagios XI.
curl https://assets.nagios.com/downloads/nagiosxi/install.sh | sh

The amazing engineers from Nagios keep this install.sh script up to date for you. Using this command will always get you the latest stable release of Nagios XI fresh from the factory! Grab a cup of coffee and watch a beautiful waterfall of text scroll down your screen.

Take note of the URL to access Nagios XI:

Nagios XI Installation Complete! 
You can access the Nagios XI web interface by visiting: http://<server_address>/nagiosxi

Once the install script is done, you now have a Nagios XI server of your very own. Just for best practices, you should now update your OS and software. Type:

yum update -y

Several items will update and you should reboot in case one of those updates was for the kernel.

reboot
In a browser, visit http://<server_address>/nagiosxi

If you missed the server address you can always run:

ip addr show

Now, set your nagiosadmin password and login via the web. By default, you will be using a 60 day trial of the Unlimited Enterprise Edition. If you plan to purchase Nagios, MCS can get you a key to extend your trial a little longer. If you want to use Nagios XI free, you don’t need any license at all. Just go to Admin > License Information and select free mode. This will let you monitor up to 7 different hosts with unlimited services.

Adding Hosts to Monitor

Nagios XI will monitor itself (localhost) by default. Adding common checks is easy though. Let’s say we want to keep an eye on our website.

  • Go to Configure > Configuration Wizards
  • Search for Website
  • Enter your url
  • Optionally customize your settings for your checks

In about one minute you are monitoring several critical metrics for a website. It is about as easy to monitor Windows Servers, Linux, networking gear, and just about anything with an IP address. It can actually be really fun and rewarding to finally get a real-time view into what is working and what is not.

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Nagios Free

3 Options for Using Nagios Free of Charge

When you hear Nagios, most people think of their award-winning monitoring software and that is the subject of this article. Nagios is open source software, but there are more options to use Nagios free of charge.

1. Nagios Core – Open Source

Nagios Core, available at nagios.org, is freely available to download, use, and modify. It’s called Core because it uses the same engine that is under the hood of their commercial product, Nagios XI, available at nagios.com. More on that later though. The open source version offers 100’s of free add-ons and the ability to monitor just about anything with an IP address. The core edition has no limitation on the number of monitored devices. Core has been used from everything form monitoring a garden all the way up to looking after the High-End Computing Capability over at NASA. Core’s open nature allows for lots of tinkering and complete control to modify it to suit your needs.

With a ton of control and openness there is also a learning curve. Managing Nagios Core can be difficult for lots of monitored nodes. We used the Core edition in our data center before switching to XI. Managing monitored hosts also meant manually editing 100’s of config files. Many Linux sysadmins may love this approach but we found it too cumbersome. Also, installing Core will mean compiling from source code and will take some time to setup.

Download Nagios Core

2. Nagios XI – Use the Commercial Version of Nagios Free

XI is the commercial version of the already great Core version. The main advantages to Nagios XI are Web Configuration and built in Performance Graphing. Also, you get SNMP Trap Support, easy Configuration Wizards, and a Database Backend. The UI is also just much more polished and integrated than the core. The main disadvantage to using Nagios XI free is that you are limited to 7 total nodes, or hosts. You can monitor more than you may think with 7 hosts though. A host is typically anything with an IP address. Under that, you can monitor unlimited services attached to that host. Theoretically, you could monitor 10,000 individual service checks under one host.

The good news is that the free version can even be used for commercial purposes. Let’s say you have a data center and use Nagios Core to monitor your infrastructure. If the data center goes dark, so does your core server and you wouldn’t be notified. Spend an hour and about $10 a month and you can spin up Nagios XI for free in Amazon AWS. It’s super easy and a cheap insurance policy for when everything else fails. For small projects, this is the best way to run Nagios free.

Download Nagios XI

3. Run a Free Trial

Nagios is very generous with their free trials. They offer 60 days free for most of their products. If you are serious about using their software and may move to their paid version there is a strong possibility that a rep here at MCS can get your trial extended. Contact us to let us know what your specific situation is. Nagios XI runs as a trial by default so use the download link above for this option too. If you have less than 7 hosts it takes about 10 seconds to convert a trial to the free edition that won’t expire.

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