Working away in the background

Thought I would add a quick post as we have not done any for some time.

We have been working away on our next product that will interface with Nagios, the original idea of using the IBM Java based open source did come to fruition but we found it had a few things that caused us some concern so we decided to go down a different path.

The biggest concern for us was the way the Java requests would impact the IBM i, we found that the history log was being changed on a very frequent basis due to the number of new jobs that were being logged through the java requests. This resulted in our logs being changed and messages being sent to QSYSOPR about saving them and lot more frequently.

Another problem was the lack/slowness of the responses when we found issues with the Java code (its open source and most of the support comes out of China) so any small problem would take weeks for us to get a response from the developers and sometimes the language conversion was not making things any easier. I understand the fact that this is open source and its always done on a best effort from the developers (we did offer updates where we could but not being Java experts meant we would rely on their expertise to come up with the final fix). We also found that some of the Java requests would fail periodically when using the IBM supplied services, but could not spend a lot of time digging into the code trying to figure out why (as I have said we are not Java experts).

We have now developed our own Linux and IBM i programs that can be used to provide the data back to Nagios which are all written in C (a language we can use on both platforms with relative skill). The programs are called through shell scripts in the same manner as the current Java processes and we provide a secure/non secure communications process between the Linux and IBM i systems. The storage of the connection information is encrypted and decrypted automatically with shell scripts provided to set up and update system connections. This was important to some of our customers that require a secure link capability.

We have mentioned the use of a Raspberry Pi for running Nagios and an appliance called NEMS that we stumbled over while looking for a testing capability for Nagios services we were building. We have now created our own build process for Nagios with NCONF and Nagios TV as the display interface which we can install on any Linux based server and will eventually build out as an OVA for those customers which want to run in a virtual environment. NEMs was OK but getting changes through and adding our environment over the top of what was supplied was not as simple and straight forward as we had hoped, now we are in full control of our destiny and have a much better offering for our customers as a result.

We hope to be able to show more about the new product and how it helps with High Availability and system monitoring with EM4i in the near future. As usual we are still developing lots of other new features for existing products and looking for new product opportunities as we get customer feedback.

Keep checking back, perhaps some solution you need may pop up in the near future.


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