Hobbit monitoring

After setting up Hobbit monitoring on my home network, I discovered a curious issue with the Zyxel P-2602HW router that Fullrate delivers with their ADSL products: The Telnet administration port occasionally times-out connection attemps:

I really like the Hobbit monitoring tool, I have used it ever since I heard about it when I met the author, Henrik Storner, at a local LUG meeting. It really obeys my favorite software principle, “simple things should be simple, complex things should be possible” (and it only helps that it works similarly to BigBrother, which I learned on a previous job).

Setting it up is litterally as simple as this:

    sudo apt-get install hobbit hobbit-plugins

That sets up a lot of useful monitoring (network, disk, memory, cpu, …), everything with very reasonable defaults. Then it was just a matter of adding a few lines in /etc/hobbit/bb-hosts for the routers, other hosts, and uplink peer node. It will be interesting to see how stable the shiny new Fullrate connection is!

Hobbit comes preconfigured with a lot of nice stuff. It’s not just the basic stuff, either. It automatically sets up monitoring of configured apt repositories so that alerts appear when new security patches are available. And when I set up https/SSL on my local Apache (using StartSSL to obtain a free, valid certificate!), just adding a entry in /etc/hobbit/bb-hosts provides not only monitoring of the service running, but also of when the certificate is about to expire, which in almost a year’s time I would be bound to forget otherwise. Custom monitoring is both easy and flexible to add ass well (haven’t needed that on the home network yet, though).

And why do I need to monitor my home network? Well, I believe any network where one cares at all about it working should be monitored (and if one does not care, why not turn the power off, save some CO2 pollution?)

Well, I don’t really use the Telnet administration port on the router that often, so it is not a problem for me. Except that of course I want to avoid alarms about this, as there is probably nothing I can do about it, complaining to Fullrate does not really seem either worthwhile or likely to help.

Hobbit has a simple way to do this, just add badtelnet:<ignore>:<warn>:<error> to the entry in /etc/hobbit/bb-hosts (numbers are levels for ignore, warning, and error):     zyxel               # telnet badtelnet:1:3:4

Annoyingly, I first omitted the telnet entry on the line, leaving only the badtelnet, which neither works nor gives any errors. The documentation is not extremely clear on this point, so I had to sleep on it until I vaguely remembered that I might have run into the same problem a couple of years ago, but had completely forgotten. Hopefully now that I blogged it I will not forget again!

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