Off on a tangent ([hobbit] conn alerts based on ping time)

Charles Jones jonescr at
Fri Jan 13 22:59:06 CET 2006


That's a very good point. Do you know if anyone has documented setting 
up MRTG with Hobbit?  I searched the mailing list archives and didn't 
find anything concise. 

I will probably end up recommending and implementing the MRTG solution, 
but I still think it should be trivial for hobbit to alert on the ping 
response, since it already collects that data. I guess a real solution 
would be for hobbit to come with an MRTG module "out of the box" so that 
users didn't have to delve into the knowledgebase and/or depend on 
places like deadcat to find and provide the functionality they need.

I myself don't mind using external scripts and having to tinker with 
something to get it to work the way I want, but its hard enough to sell 
management on Hobbit over commercial and well known tools like Nagios, 
without having to reveal that you need to spend a day downloading 
external scripts and making them work in order to get the functionality 
that they expect (and that they think that the commercial tools already 

I believe that a well-setup hobbit monitor is superior to Nagios and 
other tools I have tested and been forced to use over the years. But the 
fact that a lot of the application-specific monitoring (mysql, oracle, 
postgres, etc), as well as traffic monitoring (MRTG) is handled by 
third-party scripts that you have to meld into your server probably 
scares away a lot of people, especially management types who have 
security folks whispering in their ear to never trust third-party 
modules and especially not code written by "joe-user from some website" 
(a manager actually said that to me once).  As of yet Hobbit does not 
even have a fully functional client (no logfile parsing), so we have to 
use either the bb-client or the bb-msgs script....more third party plugins.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this, I guess what I'm saying is I 
would like to see Hobbit come with built-in support for monitoring 
common applications and services (besides the basics). It's already 
partway there as Hobbit can natively check things like mysql, but what 
about postgres, oracle?

Henrik is a busy guy I am sure, and he probably doesn't get much 
compensation for all the fine work he does on Hobbit, nor does he ask 
for any (I did buy him one of his wishlist items, I hope others do as 
well). As far as I know, Henrik has nobody helping him, except for 
seeing him mention someone was working on a new Hobbit client. Maybe 
what we need is more people to roll up their sleeves and write some 
modules that are compatible with hobbit with little or no tweaking. 
Sadly I'm no C/C++ guru, but I am pretty good with Perl :-) 

I think also perhaps we need an "official" repository of scripts that 
work with Hobbit, so when someone needs an addon, they can grab an 
already Hobbit-ized one, instead of going to deadcat and getting a 
script to hack on. Also a Wiki might be handy, so that Hobbit users can 
easily share and update information on various Hobbit setups and problems.

Okay, I have written WAY more than I intended here, I'm so far off topic 
now that I will edit the subject line as a warning :)


Jeff Newman wrote:

> Really, honestly, im not trying to belabor a point here, but you need 
> to be careful as the ping only runs every 5 minutes, so even if you 
> could get this alerting to work, the link would have to be slow during 
> a ping cycle. So it could possible be slow for 4 minutes, recover, and 
> the page wouldn't happen, as the ping time would be ok. Assuming the 
> client saw the slowness during those 4 minutes via other methods, they 
> would then question why hobbit didn't see it.
> Same thing hapens to me with spikes in network traffic between polling 
> periods, I don't see them.
> With MRTG, you can shorten the time to 1 minute. MRTG integration with 
> hobbit isn't too hard, so thats probably the route you should go.
> -Jeff
> On 1/13/06, *Charles Jones* <jonescr at 
> <mailto:jonescr at>> wrote:
>     Deal, Richard wrote:
>>     Sounds like they need to through in MRTG and go red when the
>>     traffic is high on the link.
>>     And then throw in things like
>> to check that ospf is not flapping over the link
>> to check out the routers at each end and the interfaces
>     Yeah I'm aware of the existance of, although I have
>     never set it up.  I guess I was hoping that Hobbit could natively
>     support ping testing rather than having to install mrtg and hack
>     stuff in.  Its sort of confusing for a newbie when you are showing
>     them the ropes of Hobbit and start bringing external scripts into
>     the mix (especially ones that require modifying before they will
>     work).
>>     you can also use http to a reliable server on the remote side as
>>     part of the link test.  Just make the http test for the link
>>     dependent on the router and the conn test to the web server.
>     That won't work in this case as all of the companies servers are
>     in a CoLo, Hobbit is running at the CoLo, and they want to test
>     the T1 link at the office from the CoLo (there are no servers on
>     the other side of the office T1 to do a test against), and even if
>     there was, it still would not give them a heads-up to the T1 being
>     slow/saturated, as Hobbit only alerts when the conn test outright
>     fails.
>     -Charles
>>     ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>     *From:* Charles Jones [mailto:jonescr at]
>>     *Sent:* Friday, January 13, 2006 1:01 PM
>>     *To:* hobbit at <mailto:hobbit at>
>>     *Cc: * crimson at <mailto:crimson at>
>>     *Subject:* [hobbit] conn alerts based on ping time
>>     I'm helping someone set up Hobbit at their company, and they want
>>     to monitor the status of a remote office T1 link.  Of course
>>     Hobbit can tell them if the link goes totally down, or you can
>>     ignore bad pings with "badconn",  but they want to know when the
>>     link is *slow*, as they often have periods of time when the pings
>>     are not dropped, but instead taking 1-3 seconds (instead of
>>     <100ms like normal). 
>>     Is there any chance that Hobbit will soon support comparing the
>>     ping replies to specifiied values for green, yellow, and red?
>>     Somethign like:
>> <> <> #
>>     conn:200:500
>>     This would make <>'s conn test go
>>     yellow if the ping was between 200 and 500ms, and red if it was
>>     over 500ms.
>>     Since hobbit already graphs the numeric values of the ping
>>     replies, this seems like it would be fairly easy to add?
>>     -Charles

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