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#1 2014-09-15 21:18:35

hydrosIII
Member
Registered: 2013-04-04
Posts: 127

Tool for monitoring several linux desktops

Hi i currently administer a small office all with linux machines. I also have a server that is up all the time. I'm looking for a tools to automate the processs of watching the desktops if they are behaving well. Something that is client-server. I can use the seerver that is always on to send me emails. I would like to monitor the desktops to see if they are healthy and replace parts or do mainteinace before they fail. Currently im working with very old computers so hard disk failure is common (one every two months), and also sometimes the users fill up the hard disk.
Is there a tool that can send information from all these computers to a central server and then anaylze it? Im looking for info produced by smartmontools and df, and maybe other program, but im not looking for information on the network, as it is not very crucial and theyre desktop machines not servers.
Ive looked at nagios but i think is overkill and mainly for servers.

I just run around 12 computers with linux, all of them desktops except for one.

Also is there a way to automate the update and installation of software of these machines? currently im using webmin cluster module for sending instructions to all of them, but it is rather clumsy.

Is there such a tool, or should i relly in some custom solution, maybe bash scripts + ssh ?

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#2 2014-09-15 21:38:26

firecat53
Member
From: Lake Stevens, WA, USA
Registered: 2007-05-14
Posts: 1,542
Website

Re: Tool for monitoring several linux desktops

It sounds like a monitoring tool like Nagios/Shinken/etc is what you want...after all a desktop is just a server with different software installed smile  WIth 12 machines to monitor, it would probably be worth the learning curve. For software/configuration management, you definitely want something like Ansible/Chef/Salt etc.

Scott

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#3 2014-09-15 22:31:14

nomorewindows
Member
Registered: 2010-04-03
Posts: 3,382

Re: Tool for monitoring several linux desktops

You could run xpra on the machines, but you can also use ssh.  You could PXE boot all those machines to Arch and not be out the extra HDDs.  See the diskless nfs root wiki.  I think you could also pipe the syslogs to a central syslog server (maybe that's outdated with systemd).

Last edited by nomorewindows (2014-09-15 22:33:10)


I may have to CONSOLE you about your usage of ridiculously easy graphical interfaces...
Look ma, no mouse.

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#4 2014-09-17 05:41:25

hydrosIII
Member
Registered: 2013-04-04
Posts: 127

Re: Tool for monitoring several linux desktops

Hi, thnak for your answers. I checked into nagios and shinken and other alternatives but they semmed overcomplocated to me. I'm currently trying out munin and it seems quite simple and easy to configure, also another nice alternative was cacti. They seem cleaner.  I will try it out some days and see if it the right tool for the job. As for the condiguration automations im still looking for something simple and not something for 1000 machines. Preferably with a gui. Im looking into it rigt now.

Nomorewindows: Thank you for the suggestion but that would be adding a single point of failure to all the office. Well two, the server and the router i dont trust them as much as for putting rootless machines in the desktops, but of course that would be a nice solution.  Also it would require upgrading my server hardware to something with more capacity and more disks, so im looking other way. Thanks anyway.

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#5 2014-09-18 00:59:43

nomorewindows
Member
Registered: 2010-04-03
Posts: 3,382

Re: Tool for monitoring several linux desktops

Unless your out of hard drive slots you have all those drives from the clients that keep going out.  If you had a backup tape system that would clear the single point of failure problem.  Of course, you can put the PXE install on a separate disk.

hydrosIII wrote:

i dont trust them as much as for putting rootless machines in the desktops

The server that is serving the PXE clients, is impervious to the actual PXE installation.  It is efficient however to maintain, because you can use the main server's package cache (assuming you pay attention to differing architectures), and pacman into the PXE client installation specifying the PXE root for operations affecting the PXE installation.  You can run the PXE clients without disks in them.  On the windows side, there are windows installations via PXE and iSCSI.  Nothing says you can't use sshfs instead of nfs for  the clients.  You wouldn't need to necessarily log into the PXE clients root account to make changes.  Most of that could be done from the server that it resides on.  Point two is that the files actually serving the PXE clients can be on a totally different computer pointed to by DHCP.  You can turn the router DHCP off, and have the requests answered by Arch's dhcpd.


I may have to CONSOLE you about your usage of ridiculously easy graphical interfaces...
Look ma, no mouse.

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