grouping methods

Tim McCloskey tm at
Fri Jun 13 05:30:30 CEST 2008

Looking for some thoughts and experiences on how folks have configured their systems.  Mainly in regard to 
classification/grouping of servers for alerting purposes.  I'll try to keep this short.

Currently I'm running a total if 3 hobbit servers, each in a different data center.  Each server monitors clients local 
to his network in addition to each of his partner servers smtp box, etc.  This all works fine.  However, our alerting 
system, which also works fine is overly complex and contains too many opportunities for bugs.

In a nutshell, we have 3 groups of sysadmins that rotate on call every nn interval.  Each group may be involved with a 
number of systems in each location and some of the admins will work on multiple Operating Systems.

I'm looking for a way to avoid having specific alert rules for each server (lots of text, even with regex macros/vars). 
More to the point, I want to categorize the servers based on a sysadmin group then the rules can be considerably less 
Dividing the alerting on OS categories does not work well as some of the admins are cross platform folks.
Dividing the alerting by page does not work well as the same 'page' may contain servers belonging to one or more 
sysadmin groups.  The 'Class' statement for bb-hosts seems like a possibility, however I think the intended purpose is 
more related to whatever logs are defined in client-local, so I don't think that will work beyond log files.

Ideally I'd like to define the sysadmin group in the bb-hosts file but I don't think this is possible.

In summary, if I maintain immense configuration files with somewhat repetitive data Hobbit works quite well.  I'd like 
to reduce the complexity but maintain the functionality.  Maybe its not in the cards, or maybe - and I am hoping this is 
the case - I missed some cool flag or config setting.


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