6 Easy-to-Use Tools to Monitor Your DreamCompute Virtual Servers

6 Easy-to-Use Tools to Monitor Your DreamCompute Virtual Servers thumbnail

Soon after you launch your application on a couple of DreamCompute cloud servers you want to make sure it’s always running. Depending on the kind of application, there are a few different ways to make sure it’s available to your users.

We run virtual servers on DreamCompute all the time, and we like to keep an eye on them even if some people would think that we like our pets too much. Here is a rundown of what we use to see if our virtual machines and applications are alive:

  • For our applications, we like zabbix — solid and reliable, open source. Zabbix offers real-time monitoring of millions of metrics collected from tens of thousands of servers, virtual machines and network devices. Zabbix collects and analyzes data from agents running on hosts: each host you want to monitor needs to run the agent. Because of its huge community, Zabbix offers lots of contributed scripts and recipes to automate its deployment and configuration. We love the Puppet modules for Zabbix maintained by Werner Dijkerman as they cover Debian, Ubuntu, Red Hat, CentOS and a couple others.
  • Munin is another favorite in our team: it’s a lot simpler to run and administer than Zabbix. Munin surveys all your virtual computers and remembers what it saw. It presents all the information in graphs through a web interface. Their website claims that Munin “makes it easy to determine “what’s different today” when a performance problem crops up. It makes it easy to see how you’re doing capacity-wise on any resources.” and we believe that. To manage and deploy Munin we like to use the Ansible Munin role maintained by Jeff Geerling.

Cloud Computing and DreamHost

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  • If running a monitoring service yourself is not for you, there are two cloud-based monitoring services we like: Site24x7 and Pingdom. Pingdom’s website monitoring can check when your website is down or if a transaction is slow or broken. The entry package costs almost $14 per month and should be good enough for a small website. Site24x7 is an all-in-one monitoring solution capable of giving insights on applications and cloud servers. Their entry-level packages for bloggers and small business go for $4 to $9 per month, quite affordable.
  • A quite sophisticated option is New Relic: the basic server monitoring product is gratis for Application Performance Monitoring subscribers, at around $149 per month per host. From signup to running a monitor for a DreamCompute virtual server it took less than 5 minutes. To keep an eye on network IO, disk IO and utilization, memory and CPU usage it definitely qualifies as an easy to use tool. New Relic is not cheap but the level of insights it provides with little effort is quite good.
  • Finally for geeks like us running the i3 window manager on a *nix system may have fun using i3pystatus. It is a growing collection of python scripts for status output compatible to i3status / i3bar of the i3 window manager, and our resident geek David Wahlstrom has contributed the OpenStack virtual machine monitor script.

This is what David’s status bar looks like, with 10 VMs Up and 0 Down:


What do you use to monitor your virtual servers?  If you have any tips to share we’d be happy to publish them here under your name.




(Featured Image Photo credit: JD Hancock via Visualhunt / CC BY)

Photo of David Wahlstrom
About the Author:

David is a Principal Systems Architect at DH, responsible for designing the architecture that runs DreamHosts’s infrastructure. In his free time, he enjoys video games, tinkering with small electronics, paint-balling, and spending time with his family on their ranch in Montana. Follow David on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/dwahlstrom/

1 Comment

  1. I monitor all my servers using NodePing. You can check http results, send custom POST and GET requests, check DNS results for a specific value, and all sorts of goodies (and they are cheaper than Pingdom). I even built a WordPress plugin to connect to their API and show your uptime stats on your own page: https://wordpress.org/plugins/nodeping-status/

    I also use NewRelic to keep an eye on other metrics, and have used it extensively to squeeze every last bit of performance out of my servers.

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