Virtual Private Networks monitoring

Why VPN monitoring? Let’s imagine a company that have a network of branch offices in most of the largest cities of the country. The offices are interconnected using both public networks (i.e. Internet) and dedicated operator networks (i.e. MPLS). In order to provide secure communications, on top of both types of links the company runs VPN tunnels, that are used for to carry the actual data. Also, in order to make the connectivity more reliabile, the company employs multiple VPNs from each site — one main (over MPLS) and two backup (over the Internet); in case of link failure the re-routing is handled using OSPF. As our experience shows, network  failures and service degradations may occur even in case of a very reliable network such as this one. In case of RDP and VoIP-based services (i.e. the remote office doesn’t have any servers and PBXes), the network failure will bring the office to a dead stop. More. »

Monitoring APC equipment with Microsoft SCOM 2007

This article describes our management pack for System Center Operations Manager 2007 (SCOM) which provides monitoring of the APC UPS devices.

Why did we start writing this management pack? The power supply monitoring task becomes more urgent when you have to maintain distributed server rooms. In such environment it is hard to expect that monitoring a single UPS by the native APC application in one room you could predict the behavior of the others.

So let’s take a look at existing UPS monitoring solutions. As far as we have implemented SCOM in our company earlier, we had not been looking for monitoring solutions designed for other (non-SCOM) monitoring systems. Some of our UPSs have an imbedded network management card, some – not and these devices are connected to the servers via USB or a serial cable.  Of course we would like to have a universal monitoring tool working regardless to the connectivity type. These are the solutions we had been tested:

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Monitoring CISCO equipment with Microsoft SCOM 2007

This publication is dedicated to CISCO monitoring management pack design by Metrex Engineering team.

I’d like to start from how did we get this way, i.e. why did we start writing our own Cisco management pack.

Some time ago we’ve been trying to use Zabbix, Nagios, OpManager and other systems for the monitoring issue however I’ll skip this part as far as we’re not using it anymore.

The issue is that it’s been a while since we installed SCOM and it had been working well for Windows – based servers. Then we’ve got a predictable idea to have a monitoring system for both servers, network equipment and UPSs. And we have started digging of how to monitor CISCOs with SCOM. In a catalogue on the Microsoft web site we found two third party packages (designed by MS partners and sold separately). I have installed both of them – Quest Software and Jalasoft and have shown to our company network dept… In any event we agreed that they are not suitable for our needs and rather than trying to adjust to the existing solution we’d try to write our own management pack.

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