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Hostwinds Monitoring Management

Essentials Of Server Monitoring

Monitoring the CPU

If computers had body parts, you could say that the CPU is the 'brains' of the physical computer. The CPU performs the algorithms, functions, and input/output of the computer. If a CPU has reached the 100% maximum usage of its resources, then it is an overloaded computer! The computer cannot handle any more requests! You can either

1) upgrade the CPU service

2) add additional CPU cores

3) or shut down frivolous services that are clogging up the CPU. If your CPU is at or above 75%, you should consider the previous steps to make it run more efficiently.

Monitoring the RAM

RAM is the form of memory storage for a computer. RAM uses flash-based storage – it is several times faster than slower, hard-moving parts like HDD storage. Servers know if they run out of RAM, they can allocate a portion of the hard drive for the RAM space. We call this process swapping, and it leads to performance degradation. Swapping can also lead to file fragmentation. File fragmentation can lead to server performance decline. RAM is the cheapest way to improve server performance.

Monitoring the Disk

The server stores the majority of data on the hard disk. The hard disk consists of data stored on magnetic discs that read through a rotating drive. The data storage is permanent and only erased when directed by the user. The server needs space to write temporary data to cache the operation. Insufficient free disk space can lead to file system fragmentation – this can cause severe performance issues.

How the Hostwinds Monitoring Service Works

Hostwinds Monitoring System constantly watches servers for any problems that may occur, such as your service not loading correctly, going offline, etc.

Specifically, we check these aspects of your server:

  • Server Hardware
  • Operating systems
  • Applications running on the operating systems
  • Network traffic
  • Memory and disk utilization
  • CPU utilization

We call these checks pings. When enabled, monitoring pings your service consistently to ensure that it's active and running smoothly. If the ping fails, then a ticket is created automatically and sent to our Support team, who immediately get to work on solving the issue. In addition, you can choose to set it up to notify yourself of any ping failures in the configuration. In addition, we provide access to many advanced features, from immediate alerts to detailed reports, and we keep you aware of your service status at all times.

You can review and edit your monitoring service from the Cloud Control portal on the Monitoring page at any time. However, we suggest you check it upon purchase to ensure the correct setup.

Managing your Monitoring addon

Note: To make full use of this section, you must log in to the Hostwinds Client Area. To access your Cloud Control portal, you will need to click on the Cloud Control dropdown on the top of the Client portal dashboard menu and click the Cloud Portal link.

How the Hostwinds Monitoring Service Works

Click on the Cloud Control dropdown and click on the Monitoring link to move to the Monitoring page. Here you can review any scheduled checks created for your monitoring service. By default, any purchased monitoring service will include a consistent ping test. To add additional checks, click the blue + Add Check button at the top of the dashboard. To edit an upcoming monitoring check, click the edit check link.

Adding or editing a check will navigate you to a separate page with options to customize your monitoring check.

Top-level Options

Check Name: This can be anything you wish. It is simply a friendly name for the check you have created. Hostname or IP Address to check: This can either be a domain you want to have reviewed or an IP address you want to have inspected.

Check Type:

  • HTTP
  • SMTP
  • IMAP
  • SMTP
  • SSL
  • POP3
  • PING
  • DNS
  • HTTP Custom Script
  • HTTPS Custom Script
  • DNS Blacklist
  • Custom TCP Port

Check types are optional and would be a message within your ticket / alert subject whenever your monitoring check alerts an outage.

Advanced Options

Custom Message: Sent to you in the subject when a recovery alert sends. Custom messages are optional and would be a message within your ticket/alert whenever your monitoring check alerts to the recovery of services.

Timeout in seconds: This sets the length that the check waits for a response before triggering an alert. You can choose to check a time between one (1) to thirty (30) seconds of a timeout period setting the length of the outage by way of a failed ping before the alert is triggered. Hostwinds recommends using a period above 2-3 seconds to prevent false positives.

Retries: A set amount of times the check performs before submitting a warning of an outage.

Open a support ticket in the event of failure: Unless you perform a particular task that causes excessive alerts, Hostwinds always recommends this option remain on Yes. By doing so, our support staff can resolve issues proactively. Setting to yes ensures that a failed check automatically opens a ticket for your account, allowing our support staff to resolve the issue without your need to submit the ticket.

Finally, clicking the green Save button will set the check.

Managing Service Monitoring checks

Your Monitoring dashboard provides you with various information you will need to use the system to full effect.

The Monitoring Dashboard

The initial page consists of a table populated with each check you have created and a View dropdown. The table shows you:

  • Name: The name of the service you are checking.
  • Hostname/URL: The IP address or URL of the service you have applied the check.
  • Type: The particular style of how the check works.

Status: A quick link to all data related to this specific check. This particular page consists of three tabbed sections:

Check Stats: A quick overview of the current statistics relating to the service you are running. From here, you can run reports to show uptime through a range of dates.

  • Downtime Log: A list of the downtime the monitoring has recorded. You can filter the log using date ranges and sort them.

Detailed Check Log: A complete list of checks in a paginated table.

Edit Checks: Edit your Checks with the same parameters you were able to when you created them

  • Delete the Specific Check

The View Dropdown

The View dropdown provides some tasks that are both tangential and essential to your Monitoring service. It is worth noting that the Checks link in the dropdown is the page you navigate to when clicking on the Monitoring link in the Cloud Control dropdown.

Assembled below are the various dashboards accessible from the View dropdown.

  • Checks: This shows the Monitoring Dashboard outlined above.
  • Contacts: A table showing all contacts you have available from which you can create notification lists. You can add as many contacts as you wish. Click the green Add Contact button and enter the information below and then click the green Save button :
    • First Name
    • Last Name
    • Email Address
    • Phone Number (Numbers only)
  • API Alerts: A table showing all API Alerts you have available. Send an alert to the platform of your choice via API. Click the green Add Alert button and enter the information below and then click the green Save button :
    • List Name
    • API Alert Type: Choose the platform you wish to send the alert from the dropdown. We currently offer WebHook, HipChat, Campfire, PagerDuty, and Boxcar iPhone Notifications. Note: When selected, the Tooltip will provide you with instructions on how to set up the API
  • Fields: A list of the essential information you must fill out before entirely using the API alert type you select.
  • Notification Lists: A table showing all notification Lists you have available. Create a list of contacts that will automatically be alerted when the monitoring system sends an alert. Click the green Add List button, name your New Notification List, click the green Next button. Continue onwards by entering the information below and then click the green Save button :
    • List Name: You can change the name you entered previously should you choose to.
    • Add Member: Choose from your current members in the Member dropdown and add to the Members table below.
    • API Alerts: Choose from the API Alerts you have created earlier in this section and add them to the API's table below.