Annotations in Grafana

Im Zuge der diesjährigen Open Source Monitoring Conference durfte ich mit Timeseries & Analysis with Graphite and Grafana einen der Workshops am Vortag der eigentlichen Konferenz halten. Wie man dem Titel unschwer entnehmen kann spielte dabei auch Grafana eine besondere Rolle. Grafana ist vielen als schöneres Dashboard für Graphite bekannt und unterstützt mit Elasticsearch, CloudWatch, InfluxDB, OpenTSDB, Prometheus, MySQL als auch Postgres in der aktuellen Version 4.6.2 allerdings noch eine ganze Reihe weiterer Datensourcen nativ. Zusätzlich können diese herkömmlichen Datensourcen auch noch durch Community Plugins ergänzt werden.

Ganz besonders hilfreich ist es wenn man die Informationen aus verschiedenen Datensourcen miteinander vereint. So lassen sich beispielsweise Zusammenhänge besser erkennen und Rückschlüsse auf bestimmte Ereignisse ziehen, die ansonsten vielleicht unentdeckt blieben. Metriken, die z.B. aus Graphite stammen, können bei Grafana nun durch sogenannte Annotations um zusätzliche Informationen angereichert werden. Neben Annotations aus den unterstützten Datensourcen können solche Events seit v4.6 übrigens auch direkt in der eigenen Grafana-Datenbank gespeichert werden, ob man das wiederum möchte ist allerdings eine ganz andere Frage…

Als Praxisbeispiel habe ich für meinen Workshop im Rahmen der OSMC überraschenderweise Icinga gewählt. Hier ist es möglich über die Icinga 2 API verschiedene Daten wie Checkergebnisse, Statusänderungen, Benachrichtigungen, Bestätigungen, Kommentare oder auch Downtimes mit dem Icingabeat direkt an Elasticsearch oder wenn man möchte alternativ auch an Logstash zu senden. Über das Annotation-Feature von Grafana lassen sich so die Benachrichtigungen aus Icinga über die Elasticsearch Datasource passend zu den jeweiligen Statusänderungen der Host- oder Serivcechecks einblenden:

Wer dazu mehr erfahren möchte dem kann ich unsere Graphite + Grafana Schulung ans Herz legen, neben vielen anderen Themen werden dort auch Grafana und Annotations in aller Ausführlichkeit behandelt. Und wer’s nicht schafft, für den findet sich vielleicht der ein oder andere passende Workshop im Rahmen unserer Konferenzen.

Markus Waldmüller

Autor: Markus Waldmüller

Markus war bereits mehrere Jahre als Systemadministrator in Neumarkt i.d.OPf. und Regensburg tätig. Nach Technikerschule und Selbständigkeit ist er nun Anfang 2013 bei NETWAYS als Lead Senior Consultant gelandet. In seiner Freizeit ist der sportbegeisterte Neumarkter mit an Sicherheit grenzender Wahrscheinlichkeit auf dem Mountainbike oder am Baggersee zu finden.

NETWAYS Web Services: Connect to your own Domain!

This entry is part of 10 in the series NETWAYS Web Services

Our team has continued to improve the NETWAYS Web Services products for providing more comfort to our customers. Now any app can be run under its own Domain Name in combination with its own SSL certificate. This option is available for the following products:

The implementation within the product is quite simple. After your app has been created successfully, you will find a new webform in your app’s Access tab. Here is an example of a Request Tracker app:

As the webform shows, customers simply have to enter a registered Domain Name and their SSL Certificate as well as their SSL Key. The implementation in the app will be done by our NWS platform fully automated. Customers only need to take care about the quality and correctness of the certificate and to make sure they enter the DNS record correctly on their Domain Name Server. The IP address needed will be indicated underneath the webform in the information section. Furthermore, it is still possible to set an additional CName for your app. This means that your customized Domain Name and the CName can be used in parallel. Furthermore, the platform generated standard URL will stay valid and customers can always go back to the initial settings by removing their entries from the webform.

After clicking the save button, the app will be restarted and all changes will be taken into production immediately.

The bonus of this option is clear: Anybody working with your apps will be glad to use easy to read and memorize URLs. Furthermore, company identity and culture is even more important today than ever. So why not also provide your SuiteCRM, Rocket.Chat or Nextcloud with a well branded URL?

More information can be found on our NWS homepage, in any of our product sections or by contacting us via the NWS livechat.

Important note: All NWS products are up for a 30 day free trial!

Nicole Lang

Autor: Nicole Lang

Ihr Interesse für die IT kam bei Nicole in ihrer Zeit als Übersetzerin mit dem Fachgebiet Technik. Seit 2010 sammelt sie bereits Erfahrungen im Support und der Administration von Storagesystemen beim ZDF in Mainz. Ab September 2016 startete Sie Ihre Ausbildung zur Fachinformatikerin für Systemintegration bei NETWAYS, wo sie vor allem das Arbeiten mit Linux und freier Software reizt. In ihrer Freizeit überschüttet Sie Ihren Hund mit Liebe, kocht viel Gesundes, werkelt im Garten, liest Bücher und zockt auch mal gerne.

Monitoring – it’s all about integration and automation – OSMC 2017 Hackathon

OSMC 2017

Also this year we organized a hackathon as follow up and managed to get about 50 people to work on actual coding. We started again with a small round of introduction so everyone had the chance to find people with same interests or knowledge needed. Afterwards people started to hack on Icinga 2, Icinga Web 2, different Modules, OpenNMS, Zabbix, Mgmt, NSClient++, Docker containers, Ansible and Puppet code or simply help others with configuration and other tasks to solve in their environment.

Here is a list of some things developed or at least designed today:
* Tom accepted and improved some of my pull requests, so the director got more property modifiers
* He also was working on improving notifications to allow managing them via a custom attribute of hosts and services
* Markus was improving Icinga packaging resulting in new package releases for SLES and support for Fedora 27
* Bodo was trying to move the ruby library for Icinga 2 to 1.0.0 release and got valuable input by Gunnar for displaying API coverage
* Thomas improved his diagnostics script for Icinga 2 to help with troubleshooting
* Nicola was working on a graphical picker for the geolocation in the Director for his awesome map module while getting several other ideas and requests
* David started a Single Sign On module for Icinga Web 2
* Mgmt got some improvements by Julien, Toshaan und James
* Michael was working on Elastic integration and web based installer for NSClient++
* Gunnar and Michael discussed so many features they actual did not find time for hacking, but keep our eyes open for Elastic 6 support and datatypes for arguments
* Steffen, Blerim and Michael discussed how to fix a problem with running two Icingabeat instances which now could probably be solved
* Stephan finally solved the management issue of red alerts in Icinga Web 2 😉

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Furthermore an impressive amount of knowledge was transferred, user questions got answered and problems got solved. One thing I am really happy about seeing one user to use the URL encode property modifier only minutes after being accept by Tom to create Hostgroups including membership assignment from PuppetDB. But I want to end this blogpost with one really cool thing Dave from the Australian Icinga Partner Sol1 showed us. This map displays all pubs in Australia because it monitors Satellite receivers to visualize any large outages for Sky Racing Australia.

Map of Australian Pubs by Sol1

So have a nice weekend and keep on hacking.

Dirk Götz

Autor: Dirk Götz

Dirk ist Red Hat Spezialist und arbeitet bei NETWAYS im Bereich Consulting für Icinga, Nagios, Puppet und andere Systems Management Lösungen. Früher war er bei einem Träger der gesetzlichen Rentenversicherung als Senior Administrator beschäftigt und auch für die Ausbildung der Azubis verantwortlich.

Monitoring – it’s all about integration and automation – OSMC 2017 Day 2

OSMC 2017

The second day started with “Monitoring – dos and don’ts” presented by Markus Thiel. Room was already full on the first talk what was not expected when people move from evening event to late lounge and then at 5 o’clock in the morning to the hotel. Event was great great with good food, drinks and chat. But Julia already wrote about that so I will focus on the talks and Markus one was nicely showing “don’ts” I also recognize from my daily work as consultant and helped with tips how to avoid them. He got deeply into details so I can not repeat everything, but just to summarize the biggest problem is always communication between people or systems, perhaps you already knew this from your daily business.

The second talk I attended was Bodo Schulz talking about automated and distributed monitoring of a continuous integration platform. He created his own service discovery named Brain which discovers services and put them into Redis which is then read by Icinga 2 and Grafana for creating configuration. Pinky is his simple stack for visualisation consisting of containers. Both of them are integrated in the platform, one Brain for every pipeline, one Pinky for every team. If you did not get the reference. watch the intro on youtube. His workarounds for features he missed were also quite interesting like implementing his own certificate signing service for Icinga 2 or displaying License data in Grafana. And of course he had a live demo to show all this fancy stuff which was great to see.

Tom was giving the third talk of the day about automated monitoring in heterogeneous environments showing real life scenarios using the Director‘s capabilities. He started with the basics explaining how import, synchronization and jobs work and followed by importing from an old Icinga environment utilizing SQL and the IDO database. In the typical scenario for importing from a CMDB Tom showed typical problems like bad quality of input data and how to workaround with the Director to get a good quality of output. Another scenario explained how to get data from Active Directory for the Windows part of your environment. For VMware users he show the already released vSphere module and also the prototype of the vSphereDB module which adds some more visualization and for AWS users the corresponding module. And the last one showed how to import Excel files using the Fileshipper. And of course he explained how easy it is to create your own import source.

Right after the excellent lunch and the even better event massage Marianne Spiller‘s talk “Ich sehe was, was du nicht siehst (… und das ist CRITICAL!)” (in English “I spy with my little eye something CRITICAL!”) focused on how to get a good monitoring environment with a high user acceptance up and running. Being realistic and show everyone his benefits are the best tips she gave but also she could not provide the one solution that fits all. For more of her tips ranging from technical to organizational I can recommend her blog.

Lennart and Janina Tritschler were talking about distributed Icinga 2 environments automated by Puppet. Really happy to see the talk because Janina adopted Icinga 2 after a fundamentals training I gave about a year ago. They started with a basic introduction of distributed monitoring with Icinga 2 as master, satellite and agent and configuration management with Puppet including exported resources. Afterwards they were diving deeper into the Puppet module for Icinga 2 and how to use it for installation and configuration of the environment. In their demos they included several virtual machines to show how easily this can be done.

In the last break the winner of the gambling at the evening event got his price, a retro game console.

Last but not least I decided for Kevin Honka‘s talk “Icinga 2 + Director, flexible Thresholds with Ansible” in favor of Thomas talking about troubleshooting Icinga2. But I am sure his talk was great as troubleshooting is his daily business as our Lead Support Engineer. Kevin was unhappy with static threshold configured in their Monitoring environment so started to develop a python script to include in his Ansible workflow which modifies thresholds using the Director API. On his roadmap is extending it by creating a Icinga 2 python library usable for others, utilizing this library in a real Ansible module and extending functionality.

Thanks to all speakers, attendees and sponsors leaving today for the great conference, save travels and see you next year on November 5th – 8th for the next OSMC. And of course a nice dinner and happy hacking to all staying for the hackathon tomorrow, I will keep our readers informed on the crazy things we manage to build.

Dirk Götz

Autor: Dirk Götz

Dirk ist Red Hat Spezialist und arbeitet bei NETWAYS im Bereich Consulting für Icinga, Nagios, Puppet und andere Systems Management Lösungen. Früher war er bei einem Träger der gesetzlichen Rentenversicherung als Senior Administrator beschäftigt und auch für die Ausbildung der Azubis verantwortlich.

Monitoring – it’s all about integration and automation – OSMC 2017 Day 1

OSMC 2017
Also for the 12th OSMC we started on Tuesday with a couple of workshops on Icinga, Ansible, Graphing and Elastic which were famous as always and afterwards with meet and greet at the evening dinner. But the real start was as always a warm Welcome from Bernd introducing all the small changes we had this year like having so many great talks we did three in parallel on the first day. Also we had the first time more English talks than German and are getting more international from year to year which is also the reason for me blogging in English.

The first talk of the day I attended was James Shubin talking about “Next Generation Config Mgmt: Monitoring” as he is a great entertainer and mgmt is a really a great tool. Mgmt is primarily a configuration management solution but James managed in his demos to build a bridge to monitoring as mgmt is event driven and very fast. So for example he showed mgmt creating files deleted faster then a user could recognize they are gone. Another demo of mgmt’s reactivity was visualizing the noise in the room, perhaps not the most practical one but showing what you can do with flexible inputs and outputs. In his hysteresis demo he showed mgmt monitoring systemload and scale up and down the number of virtual machines depending on it. James is as always looking for people who join the project and help hacking, so have a look at mgmt (or the recording of one of his talks) and perhaps join what could really be the next generation of configuration management.

Second one was Alba Ferri Fitó talking about community helping her doing monitoring at Vodafone in her talk “With a little help from…the community”. She was showing several use cases e.g. VMware monitoring she changed from passive collection of snmptraps to proactively monitoring the infrastructure with check_vmware_esx. Also she helped to integrate monitoring in the provisioning process with vRealise using the Icinga 2 API, did a corporate theme to get a better acceptance, implemented log monitoring using the sticky option from check_logfiles, created her own scripts to monitor things she was told they could only be monitored by SCOM or using expect for things only having an interactive “API”. It was a great talk sharing knowledge and crediting community for all the code and help.

Carsten Köbke and our Michael were telling “Ops and dev stories: Integrate everything into your monitoring stack”. So Carsten as the developer of the Icinga Web 2 module for Grafana started the talk about his motivation behind and experience gained by developing this module. Afterwards Michael was showing more integration like the Map module placing hosts on an Openstreet map, dashboards, ticket systems, log and event management solutions like Greylog and Elastic including the Icingabeat and an very early prototype (created on the day before) for a module for Graylog.

After lunch which was great as always I attended “Icinga 2 Multi Zone HA Setup using Ansible” by Toshaan Bharvani. He is a self-employed consultant with a history in monitoring starting with Nagios, using Icinga and Shinken for a while and now utilizing Icinga 2 to monitor his costumer’s environments. His ansible playbooks and roles showed a good practical example for how to get such a distributed setup up and running and he also managed to explain it in a way also people not using Ansible at all could understand it.

Afterwards Tobias Kempf as the monitoring admin and Michael Kraus as the consultant supporting him talked about a highly automated monitoring for Europe’s biggest logistic company. They used omd to build a multilevel distributed monitoring environment which uses centralized configuration managed with a custom webinterface, coshsh as configuration generator and git, load distribution with mod_gearman and patch management with Ansible.

Same last talk like every year Bernd (representing the Icinga Team) showed the “Current State of Icinga”. Bernd shortly introduced the project and team members before showing some case studies like Icinga being deployed on the International Space Station. He also promoted the Icinga Camps and our effort to help people to run more Icinga Meetups. Afterwards he started to dive into technical stuff like the new incarnation of Icinga Exchange including full Github sync, the documentation and package repository including numbers of downloads which were a crazy 50000 downloads just for CentOS on one day. Diving even deeper into Icinga itself he showed the new CA Proxy feature allowing multilevel certificate signing and automatic renewal which was sponsored by Volkswagen like some others, too. Some explanation on projects effort on Configuration management and which API to use in the Icinga 2 environment for different use cases followed before hitting the topic logging. For logging Icinga project now provides output for Logstash and Elasticsearch in Icinga 2, the Icingabeat, the Logstash output which could create monitoring objects in Icinga 2 on the fly and last but not least the Elasticsearch module for Icinga Web 2. In his demos he also showed the new improved Icinga Web 2 which adds even more eye candy. Speaking about eye candy also the latest version of Graphite module which will get released soon looks quite nice. Another release pending will be the Icinga Graphite installer using Ansible and Packaging to provide an easy way to setup Graphite. So keep an eye on release blogposts coming next weeks.

It is nice to see topics shift through the years. While the topics automation and integration were quite present in the last years it was main focus of many talks this year. This nicely fits my opinion that you as a software developer should care about APIs to allow easy integration and as an administrator you should provide a single interface I sometimes call “single point of administration”.

Colleagues have collected some pictures for you, if you want to see more follow us or #osmc on Twitter. So enjoy these while I will enjoy the evening event and be back tomorrow to keep you updated on the talks of second day.

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Dirk Götz

Autor: Dirk Götz

Dirk ist Red Hat Spezialist und arbeitet bei NETWAYS im Bereich Consulting für Icinga, Nagios, Puppet und andere Systems Management Lösungen. Früher war er bei einem Träger der gesetzlichen Rentenversicherung als Senior Administrator beschäftigt und auch für die Ausbildung der Azubis verantwortlich.

12 years of OSMC – The conference is open

***For English Version please scroll down.***

Nachdem der erste Tag mit vier ausgebuchten Workshops erfolgreich zu Ende ging, gab es beim ersten gemeinsamen Abendessen bereits die Möglichkeit, sich kennen zu lernen und auszutauschen. Zu späterer Stunde wurde die Runde zwar kleiner, aber keinesfalls langweiliger. Weiter ging es in der gemütlich eingerichteten Konferenzlounge, wo der erste Abend seinen fröhlichen Ausklang fand.
Nach der ersten Nacht in den renovierten Hotelzimmern im Holiday Inn, kamen am Mittwoch Morgen die restlichen Teilnehmer gut in Nürnberg an und mit Bernd’s Opening fiel auch endlich der Startschuss für die Vorträge der 12. OSMC. 16 spannende, witzige und lehrreiche Vorträge waren geboten. Hierzu erfahrt ihr alle Details von Dirk und selbstverständlich – wie gewohnt – nach der Konferenz auf unserem YouTube Channel und auf Slideshare.
Neben den Vorträgen ist die OSMC auch für das reichliche Essen bekannt was freilich in diesem Jahr auch nicht zu kurz kam. Nach den gesunden Pausensnacks, konnte beim Mittagessen nach Belieben ausgiebig geschlemmt werden, um sich von den Vorträgen des Vormittags zu erholen und Kraft für den langen Tag zu tanken.
Heute Abend findet schließlich ein weiteres Highlight statt. Die OSMC Abendveranstaltung im Nachtkind meets Guilia. Freut euch schon jetzt auf ein außergewöhnliches Get Together im Herzen Nürnbergs mit einigen spaßigen Überraschungen.  Wer nun an die Evening Events der letzten OSMC’s denkt, wird sich auch auf den traditionellen nächtlichen Marsch von der Abendveranstaltungslocation zum berühmt berüchtigten “Checkpoint Jenny”(*). Die alten Hasen haben bereits entdeckt, dass an besagtem Platz kein Schild mit der Aufschrift “Checkpoint Jenny” zu finden war. Stattdessen prangte hier nun ein “Lambada” Schild. “Häää, wo ist die Jenny?!?”, dachten sich wohl viele. Unsere geliebte Jenny musste den Laden leider verkaufen. Nun gut, selbe Location, neuer Name, aber wir werden bleiben. Und da wir damals eh schon einen 20 Jahresvertrag (mindestens 20) abgeschlossen haben, werden wir auch den neuen Namen akzeptieren und wie gewohnt unsere Tradition fortführen, das wäre doch gelacht!
Wir jedenfalls sind schon voller Vorfreude auf das Event und gespannt, was die nächsten Tage noch so bringen werden. Wir halten euch wie immer auf dem neuesten Stand. 🙂

*: Anm. der Redaktion: Weltberühmte, erstklassige” Late Night Lounge” gegenüber des Konferenzhotels, welche all denjenigen, die von der Abendveranstaltung nicht genug kriegen konnten, stets eine herzliche, gemütliche Atmosphäre bis tief in die Nacht bietet.

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After the four fully booked workshops on the first conference day, our first dinner was the perfect setting for getting to know each other and for exchanging experiences. The group shrunk throughout the evening, but our mood didn`t! After dinner we ended the day in the comfortable and cozy conference lounge.

The first night was spent in the newly refurbished rooms of the Holiday Inn, and on Wednesday morning the rest of the attendees arrived in Nuremberg. Bernd`s opening launched the talks in the 12th OSMC. 16 exciting, fun and informative talks awaited us. Dirk will give you all the details on them, and you will of course- as usual- find them on our YouTube channel and on our slide-share after the conference.

Beside the talks the OSMC is known for lots of food, and this year is no exception. After healthy snacks in the breaks, everyone could feast on the generous lunch buffet, and gain strength for the afternoon talks.

Tonight, another highlight takes place. The OSMC evening event at Nachtkind meets Guilia. You can look forward to an extraordinary get together in the heart of Nuremberg with several fun surprises.

But the ones` who look back upon the evening events of the last OSMC`s will remember the nightly walk from the evening event to our notorious “Checkpoint Jenny” (*). Our “regulars” have already noticed that the “Checkpoint Jenny” sign is missing and that a “Lambada” sign hangs in its´ place.  Many attendees thought (and twittered) about the missing Jenny. Unfortunately our beloved Jenny had to sell her bar. So, same location, different name, but we are staying.  And since we “signed” a contract for at least 20 years back then, we will accept the new name and stick with our tradition. We are looking forward to the event, and are excited to see what awaits us in the next few days. We will of course keep you posted!

*: World famous, first class “Late night lounge” vis-à-vis the conference hotel, that offers a welcoming atmosphere for those who didn`t get enough of the evening event.

Julia Hackbarth

Autor: Julia Hackbarth

Julia hat 2017 ihre Ausbildung zum Office Manager bei NETWAYS absolviert und währenddessen das Events&Marketing Team kennen und lieben gelernt. Besondere Freude bereiten ihr bei NETWAYS die tolle Teamarbeit und vielseitige Herausforderungen. Privat nutzt Julia ihre freie Zeit, um so oft wie möglich über’s Handballfeld zu flitzen und sich auszutoben. In ihrer neuen Rolle als Marketing Managerin freut sie sich auf spannende Aufgaben und hofft, dass ihr die Ideen für kreative Texte nicht so schnell ausgehen.