APM Tech Tip -- The Missing Manual Part 2: TIM Monitoring 1
Last month, a new Tech Tip series was launched on TIM add-ons. At that time, we talked about some of tools that can be used to analyze TIM packet captures and SSL Health. This month we review the various present and historical tools to assess TIM health. I want to thank Joerg Mertin, creator of many of these utilities (unless otherwise noted) for his input on these articles.
He wanted me to correctly stress that regardless of which of these programs you use, a good understanding what is normal, sub-optimal, and unexpected behavior is key for keeping the Transaction Impact Monitors (also known as TIM) in your life happily humming along. Analysis without context means jumping at every error in the logs without comprehending the behavior behind the performance.
The historical review below shows what was done in the past and how these tools have evolved since then.
SNMP Traps on TIM Health
In 2009, cemlogs2snmp came out. Its function was to provide SNMP traps monitoring TIM performance. This included applications running on the TIMs, hard disk health review, performance and load checks, and authentication history. Although it was meant for TIM appliances, it could be used today for those environments still relying on SNMP for alerting. However, if not using SNMP, the more powerful Monit solution discussed below may be appropriate.
In 2010, Joerg came up with a handy script to assess the network health of the TIM. It would collect key information such as hostname, system name, memory/disk usage, network card information, TIM release, SSL key names, system files and more. This was a nice supplement to the information that TIM already collected. Around the same time, he created a variety of other scripts performing related TIM information gathering. So this evolved into apm-scripts starting in 2014 according to the changelog.
TIM Monitor Fieldpack
Chris Kline created the TIM Fieldpack in 2012 which is now maintained by Guenter Grossberger. Pat Shueh also helped with the fieldpack. It comprises of an EPAgent plugin and a management module with various APM dashboards. These show a graphical representation of the TIM watchdog status, TIM packet statistics, plugins enabled, TIM settings and releases, and TIM out of order packets summary information, and more. Metrics are provided every five minutes. Once implemented, then alerting can be enabled to notify about those times when expected thresholds are exceeded. The fieldpack works with MTP or TIM software versions. The last update was in 2015 and supports up to APM 9.5.
One of the limitations of the program is that it scrapes information from the TIM screens. So if the information is not on the screen, it cannot be captured . An example would be the number of files in the data/out" directory which would be a useful addition.
Monit System Monitor for MTP/TIM
Monit is an free, open source software package to monitor Unix-type servers. See https://mmonit.com/wiki/Monit/Monit. A TIM fieldpack using Monit was created by Joerg Mertin in 2015 working on MTP or TIM. It monitors key processes and file directories. If needed, it will restart the process or provide an alert. This includes when data/out and other directories gets filled up. Note that monit is highly configurable so other scripts can provide additional monitoring if required.
Next month, I will dedicate an entire column to apm-scripts. Then wrap up in June with some of the miscellaneous TIM scripts available.