Nagios instant starter

As is probably evident by now if you’ve read this blog with any regularity I’ve been working with Nagios for sometime, however moving to Nagios XI is still a fairly recent move… well… relatively speaking. During that transition I was in fairly regular contact with Mike Guthrie who has only recently moved on from Nagios. Mike did an amazing job of helping to resolve technical problems, fix bugs and take on-board feature requests to improve the general user experience.

A couple of weeks ago I got wind of a book he’s written called “Nagios Instant Starter” http://www.packtpub.com/nagios-starter/book. Ordinarily I avoid talking about products instead opting to talk about how to appropriately use it, just this once… I’m going to make an exception.

Nagios instant starter as the name suggest is a compact introduction to getting Nagios up and running, it predominantly focuses on the EL family of Linux (RHEL and CentOS most notably but SuSE is not too far removed). The book itself contains information on how to install and configure all of the major Nagios components including the Core processor, Nagios-Plugins, NRPE, NDOUtils, BPI and NRDP as well as a quick overview of the directory structure.

About the only “major” core component not covered is SNMPTT which provides the ability to process SNMP Traps (I use the qualifier “major” because there are a number of other important addons depending on your infrastructure). This is not as detrimental as it first sounds as Nagios has a noticeable preference for stateful active monitoring.

The real value in the book though is not the basic installation and configuration of the major components, I mean you can find that information online for free on the Nagios website. The real value comes from the description of what a component is for and a brief to-the-point explanation of how to do it.

It would be easy to criticise it for not providing *enough* detail when it comes to explaining the components but that’s always a bit of a double edged sword and I think goes beyond the scope of the book. The one thing I definitely would have liked to see in the book was a small introduction to scalable object design as I think that is definitely the bane of new Nagios users but again you could very reasonably argue again that it falls outside the scope of what the book is trying to achieve.

So all in all… if you happen to be a new Nagios user I would highly recommend this as probably the best complete guide I’ve read to getting your major Nagios infrastructure components up and running. You will however want to look towards more advanced guides once you are comfortable with the basic components to begin getting your production monitoring off the ground.

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