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How Do You Monitor Your Low End Virtual Server?

Well. Not much cheap deals going on at the moment nor do I have anything useful to write about. So here is just some questions to ask everyone (that have been asked by one of the readers in the emails in the past).

How do you monitor your low end virtual servers?

My personal setup needs to meet the following requirements:

  • Centralised monitoring on multiple boxes, as I have servers with various sizes — from 32MB to 1.5GB memory. Need something that work for them all, and monitor from one single location.
  • Simple RRD of memory, bandwidth utilisation and load average will do.
  • Light weight and use minimum amount of memory. Don’t want some crap coded in Ruby or Python that takes up 10MB memory just to monitor a cheap VPS with only 64MB to play around.

So I ended up using Cacti + a few hand coded scripts. Cacti does need a bit hacks to do notification stuff when servers are down, but it’s in PHP so relatively easy to modify.

What do you guys use?

Latest posts by LEA (see all)


  1. I have a small question with this. how do you monitor the cacti box? do you have all others monitor it? just hope it stays online or something in the middle?

    December 19, 2009 @ 10:09 am | Reply
  2. Olivier B.:

    I use Zabbix, which allow monitoring of much more items on servers.
    At start the Zabbix agent use only 2MB, but after some days it use 8MB : maybe there is some memory leak ? (I use the 1.6.6-5 Debian 64bit version).

    I read that the 1.8 version can monitor without adding a daemon on the server : probes can be done directly thought SSH.

    December 19, 2009 @ 11:26 am | Reply
  3. Nagios or Ganglia depending on if I’m checking service availability or checking metrics like bandwidth or memory usage.

    December 19, 2009 @ 5:38 pm | Reply
  4. I use munin: http://munin.projects.linpro.no , Munin generates graphs offline as static HTML pages.

    December 19, 2009 @ 10:06 pm | Reply
  5. I use Xymon (formerly known as Hobbit), which is fantastic. Easy to set up, monitors just about anything (log files, ports, daemons, etc). Also provides graphs, trends, uptime reports, and more. As a fail-safe, wasitup.com is also used. They’re really quick with the email notifications.


    December 30, 2009 @ 12:40 pm | Reply
  6. Ken Price:

    I *love* Cacti, but don’t use it for availability notifications. It’s intuitive, easy to use, and gives me the ability to quickly setup restricted user accounts with access to see only specific servers or groups of servers. For service availability monitoring I use Nagios. Configuration is certainly a pain in the bunda, but it’s worth it.

    I’m in the process of evaluating Centreon, but it certainly doesn’t have a small memory footprint, nor is it intuitive to use. I wasn’t familiar with Zabbix. I’ll have to give it a looksie as well.

    I usually use an offsite (and out of geographic region) VPS or dedicated server as the monitoring server. I never use small fly-by-night companies, but highly reliable providers such as Linode for VPS’s and ServerBeach/SuperbHosting for dedicated servers. I’ll also have another nagios instance which simply monitors the monitoring server – this can be located on one of your production servers, or even a home server. It’s simple checks and balances, and while these seems redundant, it is. :-) And that’s the point.

    December 31, 2009 @ 6:12 pm | Reply
  7. Alaettin:

    sorry old deal lowendbox!

    January 1, 2010 @ 4:37 am | Reply
  8. pete:

    A very nice daemon with tons of plugins to grab just about any stat you’d want and shove it in RRDs. Also has a nice multicast network protocol so you can pretty much replace most of Ganglia with this.

    January 6, 2010 @ 10:32 pm | Reply

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