Nagios XI - The Beginners Guide to Nagios XI
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Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - Nagios XI - The Beginners Guide to Nagios XI
THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO NAGIOS XI // 2
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MONITOR YOUR ENTIRE IT
Nagios® XI™ is the most powerful IT infrastructure monitoring solution
on the market. Nagios XI extends on proven, enterprise-class open
source components to deliver the best monitoring solution for today’s
demanding organizational requirements.
Designed for scalability and flexibility, XI is designed to make
problematic IT monitoring tasks simple, while retaining the powerful
attributes of its enterprise-class foundation blocks.
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THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO NAGIOS XI // 3
CHAPTER ONE: CONFIGURE /6
CHAPTER TWO: VISUALIZE /9
CHAPTER THREE: ORGANIZE /13
CHAPTER FOUR: ANALYZE & MANAGE /16
CHAPTER FIVE: GLOSSARY /19
THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO NAGIOS XI // 4
For over 15 years, Nagios has been the industry standard in network
monitoring. Nagios XI is used by organizations in nearly every industry
including education, healthcare, government, and Fortune 100
corporations. Its ability to both scale and adapt to surrounding network
environments is the key to XI’s success in a wide variety markets and
Nagios Enterprises was founded on the idea that your network
shouldn’t dictate your work. That’s why with Nagios XI, we’ve
developed features, tools, and components that make managing your
network faster, while also giving you the control you need to get the
job done, even when you can’t make it into the office.
We also don’t think it is fair for your network monitoring solution to limit
you and to determine how and what you monitor. XI is a full-featured,
flexible monitoring framework that can be molded to your network and
meet your organization’s dreams, wishes, and desires. With the power
of Nagios XI behind the scenes in your organization, the possibilities
The document that follows is a short beginner’s guide that we’ve
developed to help you learn the basics, best practices, and feature set
of Nagios XI that are most useful in real-world situations. That said,
the capabilities of XI stretch far beyond the examples mentioned in
this eBook, so take a look at the information we’ve provided and step
outside the box of traditional network monitoring. Your organization is
unique and we believe your monitoring solution should be too.
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There are a few main topics we’ll cover in this packet. We’ll walk you through the basics and best
practices of Nagios XI, explain key terms, and get you familiar with monitoring, analysis and
At the heart of monitoring is configuration. Config Wizards make it easy to quickly begin monitoring your network
while key organizational tools and topography graphs provide the tools necessary to stay on top of network
See deep into the health of any device on your network. Quickly take remediation action and manage individual
devices right from within the XI interface. With XI, you are provided with a central view of your entire IT operations
network and business processes.
We provide a foundation for viewing your data, but you should see it in a way that’s intuitive to you.
Develop custom dashboards in seconds and tailor XI to your specific needs.
Viewing real-time data is almost as important as reporting on your findings. A full list of
technical reports allow users to see what’s happening on the network over a period of time and
make important business decisions based on real data segmentation.
Take full control of your network with powerful administrative tools designed to
eliminate the hassle of managing a network infrastructure. Manage users, notifications,
and a myriad of other system settings and preferences right within XI.
THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO NAGIOS XI // 6
CHAPTER ONE: CONFIGURING
Nagios XI is designed to provide the most flexible and powerful configuration foundation in
monitoring. If it uses electricity, chances are, XI can monitor it. Easy-to-use Configuration Wizards
allow you to enter information in a step-by-step program and instantly monitor your network. Extend
beyond out-of-box capabilities with custom plugins and wizards from the Nagios Exchange.
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Now is a good time to determine what you want to gain from monitoring your network. It’s important
to have an idea of how your network is segmented, your organizational strategy, the metrics you
NEED to monitor, and the metrics you WANT to monitor. Another thing to think about is HOW you
want to monitor. Agent-based, agent-less, SNMP traps, etc.
A small piece of software is
installed on the monitored device
(called a host) to provide in-depth
information about the monitoring
metrics (called services) on that
A type of monitoring strategy
where the Nagios XI server reaches
out to the host device for
information and actively checks to
see if anything has changed.
Usually aided by an agent, this
strategy can get resource
intensive in large environments.
Without installing anything on the
host, monitor services with XI. For
example, using WMI on Windows
machines, or SNMP on Linux
machines can accomplish an
A monitoring strategy where XI
does not actively reach out to the
hosts for information, rather it
listens for new information. This
strategy can prove very efficient
when monitoring large
infrastructures by decreasing the
load on the Nagios XI server.
Agent-based Agent-less Active Monitoring Passive Monitoring
THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO NAGIOS XI // 8
Configuration Wizards are simple step-by-step
programs that configure your network devices,
servers, databases, etc. for monitoring in Nagios XI. Stay
away from the command line and give these
wizards a try!
settings and click
apply. You are now
Top 5 Configuration Wizards
Step ThreeStep One Step Two
Find the wizard for
you! With over 40+
you can monitor nearly
anything your network
can throw at XI.
Enter the device
information and the
wizards will do the
1. Windows Server Wizard
2. Linux Server Wizard
3. Network Switch & Router Wizard
4. Database Wizards – MongoDB, MSSQL, MySQL, Oracle, Postgres
5. Exchange Server Wizard
THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO NAGIOS XI // 9
CHAPTER TWO: VISUALIZE
Viewing your devices and being able to take remediation actions immediately is extremely important
in your monitoring solution. The host and service detail pages are great for drilling down into a device
to see exactly what’s going on and also to take action. Let’s take a look!
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Quick Actions are customizable links that can be
programmed to take remediation action as well as other
administrative tasks. Among the many options, you can
With Performance Graphs, you can see the historical data
that Nagios XI has collected. These graphs allow for
extensive analysis of monitoring metrics including
custom time frames, user menu memory, and direct
linking to monitored devices. Within the graph you can:
1. Zoom – Drill down to specific events to see what’s going on
2. Stats – Hover over data points for more detailed information
3. Dashify – Add to your dashboards for a customized view.
schedule a check to make sure
your host or service is truly up
or down. You can take action on
your remote devices right from
Quick Actions are fully customizable. Add links to repair scripts event handlers or
other custom scripts to take remediation action.
Performance Graph Examples
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Graph Explorer: Drill down to specific Hosts/Services to see what’s happening on your network. Get an overview of top alert producers, overall
Host/Service health, and Multi-Metric performance graphs.
See which devices are causing
the most alerts
Top Alert Producers Host Health & Service Health
Quick pie charts showing the overall health of your network.
Time-Stacked & Multi-Stacked Performance Graphs
View service data over time, or compare and contrast multiple hosts and services in one easy to read graph.
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4. Maps:Being able to view your monitoring data & network performance on a map can be extremely beneficial. Saving users time & allowing for at-a-glance
network visibility, maps can be customized to users’ viewing preferences & give administrators the awareness necessary to maintain their network health.
Visualize your network across any geographical region. Per-
fect for service providers or large organizations, the Google
Map feature allows users to quickly spot the problem areas
and regions of their network. Segment your network based
on office location, datacenter, or client location and plot
the geo-coordinates on the map. Drill down to the details of
a particular location and quickly react to network incidents.
Don’t limit your creativity! NagVis allows users to create
custom maps to represent their network visualization
preferences. The server room visualization shows a
real-world image of a server room and plots device
information on the exact server blade. View detailed
information about the server and take action when
THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO NAGIOS XI // 13
CHAPTER THREE: ORGANIZE
XI provides you with a lot of tools and options for segmenting, viewing, and mapping your network.
Your data needs to make sense to you. Use the Hostgroups and Servicegroups as well as Nagios BPI
to keep track of device groupings and organize complex business processes. The Hypermap feature
auto-generates a network topography map based on your Parent-Child relationships built into your
host configurations so you can see a quick overview of your networking environment.
THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO NAGIOS XI // 14
Nagios Business Process Intelligence is a simple
way to monitor the overall health of complex
processes in your network.
- Determine essential group members in the
process. When an essential member goes down,
you’ll receive an alert, regardless of the overall
health of the process.
- Receive alerts on overall health % thresholds.
Segment your network into logical groupings and
easily view breakdowns of host health and service
Auto-generated by the parent-child relationships
you configure, this network topography visualiza-
tion lets you see exactly how things are connected
in your network infrastructure.
To get the most out of XI, and the Hypermap, make sure you define the proper parent-child relationships for each device you’re monitoring. This will
minimize false positive alerts, and mitigate alert fatigue.
Nagios Business Process
Hostgroups & Servicegroups Hypermap
THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO NAGIOS XI // 15
Dashboards are a powerful feature of Nagios XI designed to provide individual users with customized information they find useful. Dashboards are often used
to display important, relevant information where it is needed most. Dashboards are specific to individual Nagios XI users. Each user can create their own unique
set of dashboards to customize Nagios XI to fit their needs.
Nagios XI allows users to create
multiple customized dashboards.
To add a new dashboard, select the
Add New Dashboard link under the
Dashboard Tools Menu.
This will open a dialog box where users
can enter a title and background color
for their new dashboard. Once you have
named your dashboard and selected a
background color, click Submit. This new
dashboard can be accessed from the My
Dashboards menu on the left side of the
Select the Add Dashlets link on the left
side of the page to expand the menu. To
add a dashlet, click on the Add This To
A Dashboard icon located to the left of
each of the list items.
Nagios XI also allows you to add dashlets
to your dashboard from other pages
within the site. Any summary, graph, or
chart that has the Add To Dashboard
icon can be added to your custom
Dashlets can be moved and resized within
the dashboard to create a custom layout
to fit a user’s particular needs. To
manipulate a dashlet, move your mouse
over it to reveal a blue border and a set of
The Pin/Float Dashlet icon controls
whether the dashlet is fixed to the page,
or if it can be moved.
The tab located at the bottom right
corner of the dashlet controls the size. To
re-size your dashlet, click & drag the tab.
Each user has a special home page
dashboard that is shown to them when
they login. This dashboard can be
modified from the dashboards page, and
dashlets can be added, manipulated, or
removed using the methods described
Manipulating Dashlets Home Page DashboardAdding Dashboards
THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO NAGIOS XI // 16
CHAPTER FOUR: ANALYZE AND MANAGE
XI’s powerful reporting features allow you to not only view your data, but make informed business
decisions for your organization. Reports are essentially static dashboards that contain summarized
monitoring data that can be scheduled, exported, saved, and shared.
THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO NAGIOS XI // 17
Overview of some of the most useful pieces of
information to help you determine the overall state
of the network. Availability, Top Alert Producers,
Alert Histogram, and Latest Alerts make this report
perfect for C-level executives.
Service Level Agreements are important for every
organization to maintain. Whether you’re a service
provider, or you have a strict IT budget, the SLA
Report in Nagios XI is perfect for determining if
you’re meeting your SLA or not. Just select a host,
hostgroup, or servicegroup, determine your
timeframe, and click “update.”
Designed to provide you with the ability to predict
when network incidents will occur, the capacity
planning report allows users to plan for hardware
upgrades, future outages, and more. Stay ahead
of the curve with four prediction methods. Add the
report to a dashboard to keep an eye on a specific
host or service.
Executive Summary Service Level Agreement (SLA) Capactiy Planning
Use the buttons in the upper right-hand
corner of any report to see what actions you
can take on them.
Edit Dashlet Settings
View All Host Tracks
View Host’s Services
THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO NAGIOS XI // 18
Manage Users & Notifications Backups & Configuration Snapshots Extend Your Monitoring Capabilities
Sending notifications when things go wrong on your
network is extremely important. Making sure the
person responsible for that device receives a noti-
fication is crucial. In the Admin panel, XI allows the
management of users, notifications, and
preference to ensure the right people are notified
with the information necessary to resolve the
XI has the ability to send critical monitoring data to
an off-loaded data storage device. Schedule your
system to run regular backups to ensure your data
is never lost, or create local backups to restore
Configuration Snapshots are taken after each
‘Apply Configuration’, storing the last 10 ‘good’ and
last 5 ‘bad’ configuration files allowing users to
archive, download, & restore from a
previous configuration. The archive feature is
perfect for storing milestone upgrades or
configuration changes to roll back to if something
Flexibility and customization is where Nagios XI
truly excels. Manage components, dashlets,
Config Wizards, plugins, and MIBs all from the
admin panel in XI. Adapt your monitoring solution to
meet your exact specifications or upload custom
created plugins to monitor your network. Choose
from over 3500+ projects on the Nagios Exchange
to make your monitoring fit your environment.
THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO NAGIOS XI // 19
CHAPTER FIVE: GLOSSARY
If you are new to Nagios, you may not understand all of the terminology. This glossary will give you a
better idea about what some of those terms mean.
THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO NAGIOS XI // 20
A check that is initiated and performed by Nagios Core or Nagios XI - usually on a pre-determined schedule. Plugins are used to perform
Software that is installed on servers/workstations so they can be monitored. Agents are available for Windows and Linux machines/
servers. In contrast, agentless monitoring refers to the ability to monitor a machine without having to install an agent on it - usually using
SNMP or WMI.
A check that is initiated and performed by Nagios Core or Nagios XI - usually on a pre-determined schedule. Plugins are used to perform
Nagios XI has a builtin Auto-Discovery wizard. When running an Auto-Discovery job the user will enter an network of addresses they would
like to scan and a job is created which utilizes fping and nmap to scan the network defined for alive machines and then performs an nmap
scan on the host to determine which ports it is listening on. The results of the Auto-Discovery scan additionally report the OS of the
machine discovered as well as all of the ports the host is listening on. A user can then optionally pass these results into a wizard that will
monitor to make sure all of these ports continue to be responsive.
When the configuration is applied in Nagios XI a snapshot is made of the current configuration. These configuration snapshot are stored and used
to automatically roll back to the last known good configuration if a configuration cannot be applied. Additionally, the configuration snapshots can
be used to store good configurations and allow users to roll back to previously know good configurations.
THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO NAGIOS XI // 21
Configuration wizards guide users through the process of monitoring new devices, services, and applications – all without having to
understand complex monitoring concepts. You can download Config Wizards at the Nagios Exchange.
In Nagios XI: A customizable page on which dashlets can be placed. Nagios XI offers each user the ability to have multiple dashboards for
customized views of important data.
A moveable container that can be placed on a dashboard in Nagios XI. Different dashlets provide performance graphs, custom HTML, and
Any machine or component that attaches to a computer. Examples of devices include disk drives, printers, mice, and modems.
In Nagios XI, a Host is a device that is monitored. Generally a server, VM, switch/router, or other network device.
A host group is a collection of hosts that share access to storage array volumes. Creating host groups lets administrators use the
combined processing power of the host group computers to access the volumes.
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Nagios Exchange is the central place where you’ll find all types of Nagios projects - plugins, addons, documentation, extensions, and
more. Nagios Exchange is designed for the Nagios Community to share its Nagios creations. Have a new project for Nagios that you’d like
to share? Just create an account and add it to the directory.
Nagios supports optional escalation of contact notifications for hosts and services. Escalation of host and service notifications is
accomplished by defining host escalations and service escalations in your object configuration file(s). Once a notification is escalated,
the contact/groups and notification options for the object will be overridden by the escalation’s settings.
NRDS is a component pre-installed on a Nagios XI server that allows the administrator to create and manage configurations and plugins
to be deployed with a passive agent that can be installed on a variety of operating systems including Windows, Linux, AIX & Solaris. The
passive agents downloads the current configuration and the required plugin from the Nagios XI server and run the checks and posting the
results to the XI server.
A check that is performed by an external application, operating system, or device and is submitted to Nagios Core or Nagios XI for
processing. Some monitoring agents - including NSCA, NCPA, and NRDP can be used to send passive checks to Nagios. An SNMP trap is
also considered a passive check.
Plugins allow you to monitor anything and everything with Nagios - databases, operating systems, applications, network equipment,
protocols and more. Nagios Plugins can be found on the Nagios Exchange.
THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO NAGIOS XI // 23
Nagios XI provides users the ability to measure effectiveness of specific hosts, services, and business processes to determine if
service-level agreements are being met. Schedule reports to be sent on a recurring basis for quick and accurate network performance
A metric on a particular Host that is being monitored. For example, CPU usage, Memory usage, or HDD space. Nagios XI pricing does not
count the number of services someone wants to monitor.
A service group definition is used to group one or more services together for simplifying configuration with object tricks or display
purposes in the CGIs.
Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) is a protocol-based network management system. SNMP traps are alerts generated by
agents on a managed device.
THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO NAGIOS XI // 24
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