Friday, February 01, 2008

Still looking for open source DB2 monitoring tools?

Hyperic website:Hyperic HQ open source version 3.2 released

It's fun when somebody crashes a dull party, and very few parties have been more dreary over the past few years than the gathering of open-source monitoring tools that work out of the box with DB2 LUW. After deploying and customizing Nagios for a few of my DB2 customers, I felt the need to work up a bit of a rationalization for its abstruse configuration files, but we all know how much comfort rationalizations offer. What I really needed was a solid monitoring stack for DB2, and -- even with a price tag of zero dollars American -- Nagios was often a difficult sell (although their upcoming Version 3 looks somewhat better).

When my friend Irving described Hyperic HQ as the monitoring platform that Nagios should be, I was more than ready to give it a spin. HQ's built-in support of DB2 V8 and DB2 9 was enough encouragement for me to get it running. Seeing so many servers and services automatically register themselves with the HQ server was a welcome change from the "don't do me any favors" philosophy of Nagios.

Before the shiny new release of Hyperic HQ 3.2 earlier this week, I poked and prodded versions 3.0.5 and 3.1.4 as they monitored DB2 and other servers running in my lab. I wasn't wild about the documentation's insistence that I monitor DB2 as the instance owner, so I made the DB2 plugin connect as a SYSMON user instead. The plugin did a decent job of autodetecting the tables and tablespaces that were encountering activity. Best of all, once I installed my agents, I was able to configure everything else over the web, with no hateful configuration files expecting me to learn an arcane language that makes httpd.conf look like a Little Golden Book. One more thing: just about everything in HQ can be graphed. Don't get me wrong, I'm still a big fan of RRDTool, but I'll happily use another graphing tool if it's going to do nearly all the work for me.

The secret gem of Hyperic HQ is the SQL Query server type, which will run any piece of SQL you can throw at it, and even graph the resulting number. If the number returned (or query execution time) fall outside of your predefined limits, it will send you a civilized email alert. Unless you'd rather wait for your users to inform you of database problems, I heartily recommend using Hyperic HQ to wire up DB2 (if not everything) and learn what normal looks like in your shop.

Hyperic HQ is an open source project written in J2EE that runs on an embedded JBoss server. Its internal database is PostgreSQL, but MySQL and Oracle are also supported. If anyone on Planet DB2 are interested in lending a hand with the DB2 port, I'm sure you'll receive a warm welcome from the HQ team.

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