Eight things you could do with monitoring checks on 1000 targets

With NodePing, you get checks on up to 1000 targets or services for one flat rate. NodePing’s 1000 service limit is designed to take the lid off of the kinds of limitations you might face with other service providers that charge more for adding checks or services. Once more checks don’t cost you more, what could you do with them? Every once in a while one of our customers has that moment where they realize how much they can do with NodePing that they couldn’t do when adding check targets raised the price. Here are eight things 1000 check targets can allow you to do that you might not do on other services.

  1. Monitor all your web sites and all basic services. OK, this one isn’t very creative, but it has to be said. If you are responsible for your business’s web sites then you need to know if they are down. Web sites that are down are not generating revenue, or if they are internal sites are not enabling your business to operate. If a site is worth having, then it is worth monitoring. This is the main reason people use monitoring in the first place. This goes beyond just web sites. If you are responsible to make sure that a service is available to customers or employees, you should monitor it so that you know immediately if it is unavailable, before someone complains.
  2. Our tongue-in-cheek tag line is “All your nodes are pinged by us,” but why not? With NodePing, now you can ping them all. If you don’t need notifications on all of them, just turn that off on a host by host basis, but you’ll have availability and uptime stats on everything.
  3. Monitor that a web page is showing the right information. This is called a web content check. Some web applications and content systems don’t return a proper 404 error, so to a normal HTTP check the page might appear to be up. A HTTP Content check makes sure the site is up by checking that it contains what you are expecting it to contain. It is often good to set the content to be checked as something that appears in all your pages, such as your copyright statement. This way if the text on the page changes during the normal course of business, your check will still pass.
  4. Monitor that the wrong text isn’t appearing on the page. Some web pages contain dynamic text. This is particularly the case for pages that show feeds, or your most recent news items. We’ve all gone to a site that should have a page with a list of articles or posts, but instead shows a database error or some kind of “No articles found” message. If that’s not what you want people to see, but you don’t know what text to check for because you don’t know what articles will appear, a check that makes sure the page does not contain specific text is the way to go.
  5. Along the same lines, since you have plenty of checks you might want more than one check on the same URL. If you need to watch for more than one error message, or check that multiple widgets or blocks on the page are populating correctly, why not check them all?
  6. Simple cron replacement. Many times web applications have a process that needs to run every so often, maybe every hour or every minute. These are often accessible by hitting a URL. This is often done by using curl or wget in a cron job, but it is easier to set up a check to hit the URL at the right interval. We use this to keep couchdb views fresh. Similarly, it can be used to replace Drupal’s cron job requirements.
  7. Check API’s and other HTTP interfaces. These often don’t get monitored, but they can be a key piece of your business. The HTTP Content check doesn’t care what kind of body the response has, and it will happily check for your text in JSON or XML as well as in HTML. You can monitor that a CouchDb server is saying “Welcome,” for example, or hit a URL that returns a reduced view and look for the value you expect in the results. The same idea applies to SOAP interfaces as well.
  8. Monitor other monitoring. Many systems have a status page that says how services on that host are doing. Frequently they’ll have an OK message, or an ERROR message will appear when things go wrong. HTTP Content checks can be used to watch these pages and send notifications if the wrong thing appears or does not appear on those pages. Both the “Contains” and “Does not contain” options for content checks are useful on this one.

There are many more things you could do with 1000 checks that you might not even consider doing with other services. We plan to add more check types to increase the utility of the service even more. What other things could you think of doing if you aren’t limited by artificial constraints imposed by services that charge by the target service or URL?

One Response to Eight things you could do with monitoring checks on 1000 targets

  1. Douglas Muth says:

    9. Monitor your home’s Internet connection.

    While home ISPs usually use dynamic addresses, unless things are very flaky, you get to keep the same IP for days if not weeks at a time. Using NodePing to monitor the status of your border router is a great way to keep track of any ISP issues, and gives you hard data to use when discussing downtime with your ISP.

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