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  1. #1
    SitePoint Zealot ninjayong's Avatar
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    Website Monitoring Script

    I'm noticing some availability issues with my hosting provider's MySQL server, so I just had a look at setting up a monitoring service. I nearly fell off the sofa when I saw that it costs around $50 per month to monitor with a 1 minute interval. Yikes !!

    I think this is a pretty easy script to create, am I on the right track with the following ideas ?

    - Test for a database connection
    - Write results to a log file
    - Add e-mail alert

    Surely that's not it... how can that cost $50 per month ! I must be missing something ?

  2. #2
    Keep it simple, stupid! bokehman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ninjayong View Post
    I must be missing something ?
    No, you're not! Software costs money and companies are willing to pay. They either hire a full-time pro or a freelancer. In both cases $50 is not even enough to get to the morning coffee break. Based on that, a piece of read to run, proven software for $50 sounds pretty good value for money.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Zealot ninjayong's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bokehman View Post
    No, you're not! Software costs money and companies are willing to pay. They either hire a full-time pro or a freelancer. In both cases $50 is not even enough to get to the morning coffee break. Based on that, a piece of read to run, proven software for $50 sounds pretty good value for money.
    That's $50 per month, not a one-off fee....

  4. #4
    SitePoint Addict ruby-lang's Avatar
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    I think this kind of monitoring service is sold based on value, not cost. In other words, if you need a service that monitors your database 24/7 then $50 should be a pittance for you.

  5. #5
    Theoretical Physics Student bronze trophy Jake Arkinstall's Avatar
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    Hmm.. Thanks, you gave me a great idea for a C# desktop app, which monitors mysql. I've done something similar, but this is slightly different.
    If I make it, you'll all get a free version
    Jake Arkinstall
    "Sometimes you don't need to reinvent the wheel;
    Sometimes its enough to make that wheel more rounded"-Molona

  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard TheRedDevil's Avatar
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    $50 per month is not expensive when they host the software. Remember they need to have a redunancy setup. I.e. Cluster of servers incase one goes down, multiple backbone connections incase one goes down etc.

    You dont pay for the software, you pay for a service which guarantee that it will check if your server is available every minute.

    If you honestly believe you can get the same "service" from making your own script and hosting it on a shared host etc, then your wrong.

    What happens if your software loses internet connection, it would start sending error to you even if the server is online. Or what if there is a hardware failure, if your server goes down you would never know because the software you check it with would be down as well.

    Those reasons is also why creating such a desktop application is a bad idea arkinstall.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Zealot ninjayong's Avatar
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    I've just noticed performance problems with the MySQL server for the hosting account I use, so I only need to monitor this for a few days.... I don't need a service with bells and whistles on, to run on a permanent basis. Unfortunately I don't have the kind of websites that require this... yet !

    I'll create a simple script myself...

  8. #8
    We're from teh basements.
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    Quote Originally Posted by arkinstall View Post
    Hmm.. Thanks, you gave me a great idea for a C# desktop app, which monitors mysql. I've done something similar, but this is slightly different.
    If I make it, you'll all get a free version
    http://www.mysql.com/products/tools/administrator/

  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy Cups's Avatar
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    One way round this is to meet up with someone similar, and you ping each others servers mutually, to really make it work, in case of breakdown by either party - meet a third party and fix up a triangular pinging service.

    As long as its 3 different servers it would work, we thought about doing this with other local providers, but it didn't pan out.

    This could work with SPers though.

  10. #10
    SitePoint Wizard TheRedDevil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cups View Post
    As long as its 3 different servers it would work, we thought about doing this with other local providers, but it didn't pan out.
    If the servers are at different colocations and those colocations is connected to different backbones it would work.

    If not they would go down at the same time if there is a network problem.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Wizard wheeler's Avatar
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    I realise that this is not the ultimate solution for the reasons stated above, but i've recently had munin setup on a server and it's pretty nifty.

    I understand that it can email notifications when things go bad although I don't claim to understand what is going on, I just look at the pretty graphs
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  12. #12
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    [QUOTE=ninjayong;3613230]I'm noticing some availability issues with my hosting provider's MySQL server, so I just had a look at setting up a monitoring service. I nearly fell off the sofa when I saw that it costs around $50 per month to monitor with a 1 minute interval. Yikes !!
    QUOTE]

    There are free monitoring services out there. I use one now. They don't go to one minute intervals for free, but that's a lot of bandwidth/resources. If you can't justify the cost for the 1 min interval service, then go with the free which is ussually 15 min increments.

    I would try a few out. I ended up going through 3 different services to get one that I found reliably see's when my site is down.

    Also, use an email that you don't care about lots of marketing email/spam. I was inundated with stuff. But it's "free".

  13. #13
    SitePoint Wizard wheeler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjulson View Post
    Also, use an email that you don't care about lots of marketing email/spam. I was inundated with stuff. But it's "free".
    You trust guys who send you spam to genuinely monitor your service?

    do you also give them your bank details when an African Queen wishes to dispose of her husband's estates?
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  14. #14
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    I think that the cost of such a service is indeed the result of a high availability environment. How can you trust a service to test connections if they don't have a 100% uptime? The difference between 99% uptime en 100% uptime is obviously very expensive...

    But I would see large potential in a free to use project where one can get monitoring of uptime for free every minute in return for the monitoring of an identical number of monitorings of other services. Why stop with 3 members? Real value can be added when a network is setup.

  15. #15
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy Cups's Avatar
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    >Why stop with 3 members? Real value can be added when a network is setup.

    Well you'd want to strike a balance between the work your server is doing ( systematic mutual polling ) and the benefit you got back ( assurance that your dbase is responding from at least 2 other backbone nodes - as ThRedDevil quite rightly pointed out).

    I said 3 because its one more than 2.

    If your server is node1 only being polled by node2 and node2 loses connectivity then your assured service has stopped.

    Its unlikely that if node3 was introduced that it would also lose connectivity at the same time as node2.

    Yes, n nodes would even more assured up-time-ness, but would break KISS. That was the only reason I thought 3 would be optimal, but maybe it could be 4.

  16. #16
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    The number one mistake in setting up an alert destination that I see:

    using an email address served by the same server that just went down

    Doing monitoring well and reliably is not easy. There are a lot people that think it is simple. Until they try to scale. Then they find out where everything breaks.

    The service I represent is free, but does not test mysql directly.

  17. #17
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cups View Post
    >Why stop with 3 members? Real value can be added when a network is setup.

    Well you'd want to strike a balance between the work your server is doing ( systematic mutual polling ) and the benefit you got back ( assurance that your dbase is responding from at least 2 other backbone nodes - as ThRedDevil quite rightly pointed out).
    ...
    I am not talking about a network in which one would test n services, but in which a network exists where there is plenty of choice which member (1 member) will test your service on a given day/hour/minute. You still have to share resources (bandwith) with only one member, but there are numerous other users that serve as a backup.

  18. #18
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy Cups's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcauweli View Post
    I am not talking about a network in which one would test n services, but in which a network exists where there is plenty of choice which member (1 member) will test your service on a given day/hour/minute. You still have to share resources (bandwith) with only one member, but there are numerous other users that serve as a backup.
    That raises another interesting idea.

    How about my server agrees to test your uptime ( and say 24 others ) between the hours of 2 and 3 am local time ( for me ).

    As says plumsauce
    The number one mistake in setting up an alert destination that I see:

    using an email address served by the same server that just went down
    Then you'd want the choice to be sent an SMS or an email to, say, an off-site gmail account.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by wheeler View Post
    You trust guys who send you spam to genuinely monitor your service?

    do you also give them your bank details when an African Queen wishes to dispose of her husband's estates?
    SPAM was strong word for me to use. It's a web marketing newsletter. To me the value of spam.

    So far the service has caught my site down two times. (1 planned outage, 1 I didn't expect) I don't make money off my blog, so it's not a huge issue to me, but I would like to know when's it down. I'm not losing money by the minute, so allowing these guys to send me an email newsletter that I don't value is worth the price of admission.


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