System Monitoring with Xymon/User Guide
System monitoring overview
What is system monitoring?
Computer monitoring systems are used to repeatedly gather data from various monitored systems for the purpose of real-time incident notification, system health verification, performance analysis, and longitudinal capacity planning. Various metrics are typically gathered by these systems, including CPU, memory, network, or disk utilization, response time of network services, occurrence of anomalous messages in system log, et al. Without such a tool, like big brother or Xymon, a system administrator would have to login to each machines to collect these information repeatedly. This kind of repetitive task can be automated using a system monitoring tool.
Please see the chapter Other Docs/About System Monitoring for a more details overview of monitoring systems.
Existing system monitoring features
|Platforms supported||Server: HTTP. Client: Unix-line, Windows||Windows, Unix-like, Mac OS X|
|Main Programming Language||C||C||C||Java||Perl|
|Client configuration changes from Central Server?||Yes|
|Client binary update from Central Server?||Yes|
|Monitoring Server with WAN High Availability Support?||Yes|
|Monitoring Server with LAN High Availability Support?||Yes|
|Is solution scalable to handle huge monitoring clients?||Yes|
Some commercial system monitoring tools
|Big Brother||Tivoli||NetIQ||HP Openview||BMC Performance Manager||Microsoft SCOM||A2Monitor|
|Maintainer||Quest||A1 Tech, Inc.|
|Cost||Depends on number of devices||Depends on number of devices||$79|
|Platforms supported||Windows, Unix, Mac OS X, Linux||Windows, Unix, Mac OS X, Linux||Windows, Unix-like, Mac OS X||Windows, Linux, iSeries||Windows, Unix-like, Mac OS X||Server: Microsoft Windows Server; Clients: Mostly Microsoft, but some support for Linux, SNMP, etc.||Windows|
|Main Programming Language||C, Flash, Shell||C, Flash||C||C, bash||.Net|
|Client configuration changes from Central Server?|
|Client binary update from Central Server?|
|Monitoring Server with WAN High Availability Support?|
|Monitoring Server with LAN High Availability Support?|
|Is solution scalable to handle huge monitoring clients?|
- Repository model describes the relationship between various copies of the source code repository. In a client-server model, users access a master repository via a client; typically, their local machines hold only a working copy of a project tree. Changes in one working copy must be committed to the master repository before they are propagated to other users. In a distributed model, repositories act as peers, and users typically have a local repository with version history available, in addition to their working copies.
- Concurrency model describes how changes to the working copy are managed to prevent simultaneous edits from causing nonsensical data in the repository. In a lock model, changes are disallowed until the user requests and receives an exclusive lock on the file from the master repository. In a merge model, users may freely edit files, but are informed of possible conflicts upon checking their changes into the repository, whereupon the version control system may merge changes on both sides, or let the user decide when conflicts arise. Note that distributed version control almost always implies a merge concurrency model.
Who use Xymon ?
Please See The Xymon Users across the world.
Why use Xymon ?
- The source code is open and in GPL license.
- There is no seat license fee.
- Xymon(Hobbit) Server highly compatible with Big Brother client.
- It has a user and developer community.
Xymon System Monitoring Tool Wish lists
- Delete a host from web page UI.
- GUI administration tool.
- Prepackaged binary for different OS with lots of add-on modules.
- E-mail or SMS notification --already exists, you can also trigger shell scripts on events
- Has commercial email support -Granted, see http://www.xymon.com/license/
- Remote wake/die capabilities
Xymon vs Big Brother
This is a detailed comparison chart why a current BB site would want to migrate to Xymon. Opinions could be biased toward Xymon.
|Features||Xymon 4.2.0 above||Big Brother BTF (Better Than Free, 1.9c version above)|
|Community contributed addon modules.||Xymon: http://xymonton.org/about, BB:http://www.deadcat.net, bb modules can be reused without much rewriting effort.||http://www.deadcat.net|
|Monitor Server on Windows||Not directly, Unix platform only so far. See BBWin.||Yes, only binary are available.|
|Monitor agent for Windows||Yes. Opensource and use WiX for MSI packaging.||Yes, only binary are available.|
|Software in package format||Yes. Will have complete packages for different OS over time.||No. Due to license issue.|
|Commercial Support||Yes. Available here.||Yes. Available from Quest Software.|
|Main Programming Language||C, use as much C as possible to improve performance.||Shell, use C only for bottleneck areas of code.|
|License type||GPL Open source. No need to have accurate count how many clients you have deployed.||BB BTF(1.9c above) version require seat-license of every deployed bb client. Source code is available but it is not open source. Only free for non commercial use for version 1.9c and below.1.9c above version is per-seat license. Need to match the license purchased and number of bb clients deployed.|
|Install base||Large. See the Xymon users list.||Very Large.|
|Development||Active.||Stalled. Active only in BB professional edition. BB PE is closed-source.|
|Process alert differentiation||Yes. "oracle listener process died" alerts can be configured to send to oracle team only.||No.|
|Disk Partitions alert differentiation||Yes. "/oracle partition is 96% full" alerts can be sent to oracle team directly while "/ is 96% full" alert sent to UNIX team.||No.|
|Base features||Xymon has larger basic features set. LARRD Trending is included by default.||BB has smaller features by default, need more customization works.|
|Centralized configuration||Modify xymon/bb client configuration from one central configuration.||Need to login to each xymon/bb client to perform the changes.|
|Client version update automation||Enhanced 1984 protocol to perform binary update automatically.||Need login into each client to update binary.|
|Performance||Hobbit can handle thousands of monitored clients.||BB by default without tweaking can only handle hundreds of machines and thousands of machines with tweaking.|
|Client report||Xymon provide detail information about hosts monitored.||No.|
|Search||Xymon provides search ability to help get to a machine quickly.||Yes, available on http://www.deadcat.net|
|Menu System||Xymon provides a better menu system for ease of browsing.||No.|
|RT Ticket system integration||Yes, via external module.||Yes, via external module.|
|Remedy Ticket system integration||Yes, via external module.||Yes, via external module.|
|BB messages compatibility||Xymon server can accept BB messages from bb clients.||BB server can receive BB messages from xymon clients.|
|Alerts on different color codes||Xymon can act different color codes.||BB server can only act on yellow or red.|
|subtests combination for SLA.||pingable + web process running + port 80 is answering request = web server is green.||Yes. Using bbgen (not under active development though).|
|SNMP Integration||Not by default. http://devmon.sourceforge.net/||Not by default. http://devmon.sourceforge.net/|
|Classification and actions on different priority levels of monitored hosts||default support.||No. may be via external modules.|
Xymon System Monitoring at home
- To monitor your computers at home,perhaps integration with X10 stuff.
- This section is about Xymon and your home system monitoring.
- porting hobbit to linksys's nlsu2 or wrt54g.
- Email support from Xymon Author, http://www.xymon.com/license/.
- VM Assist, Inc., http://www.vmassist.com.
- McNatton Technologies, LLC, http://www.mcnatton.com/monitor.php
- Reverse Polarity, LLC - We offer full support for Xymon, including on-site server installation, client configurations and custom scripting where required. Call us and see how we can help!
- Xymon Support by A-team
Free Community Support
Your questions will not necessarily get answered.
- Maillist Archive:
- Project page at
Xymon Demo Site
Here are a few best xymon implementation sites.
Sat Apr 21 06:25:43 CDT 2007 up: 07:35, 1 users, 70 procs, load=0.01 System clock is 0 seconds off PID USERNAME SIZE RSS STATE PRI NICE TIME CPU PROCESS/NLWP 407 root 1724K 976K sleep 59 0 0:01:16 0.1% vmware-guestd/1 542 root 10M 11M sleep 59 0 0:00:55 0.1% Xorg/1 8112 hobbitc 4440K 3948K cpu1 0 0 0:00:00 0.1% prstat/1 8081 hobbitc 1052K 796K sleep 0 0 0:00:00 0.1% hobbitclient-su/1 640 root 9572K 6868K sleep 59 0 0:00:18 0.0% dtgreet/1 8077 hobbitc 1048K 796K sleep 51 0 0:00:00 0.0% hobbitclient.sh/1 1 root 2004K 1080K sleep 59 0 0:00:01 0.0% init/1 474 root 8248K 2868K sleep 59 0 0:00:05 0.0% httpd.prefork/1 96 root 3424K 2324K sleep 59 0 0:00:03 0.0% nscd/24 1148 hobbitc 1056K 756K sleep 59 0 0:00:01 0.0% hobbitlaunch/1 459 hobbits 1080K 720K sleep 59 0 0:00:02 0.0% hobbitlaunch/1 461 hobbits 4844K 1540K sleep 59 0 0:00:04 0.0% hobbitd/1 256 root 1060K 632K sleep 59 0 0:00:00 0.0% utmpd/1 234 daemon 2336K 1540K sleep 59 0 0:00:00 0.0% statd/1 93 root 2132K 1268K sleep 59 0 0:00:00 0.0% syseventd/15 159 root 2480K 1560K sleep 59 0 0:00:00 0.0% picld/4 250 root 1884K 1092K sleep 59 0 0:00:00 0.0% ttymon/1 195 root 2236K 884K sleep 59 0 0:00:00 0.0% cron/1 373 root 2488K 1924K sleep 59 0 0:00:00 0.0% vold/6 222 daemon 2412K 1140K sleep 59 0 0:00:00 0.0% rpcbind/1 NPROC USERNAME SIZE RSS MEMORY TIME CPU 36 root 134M 86M 15% 0:02:56 0.3% 4 hobbitc 7596K 6296K 1.1% 0:00:01 0.2% 23 hobbits 104M 42M 7.5% 0:00:12 0.0% 4 daemon 10M 5996K 1.0% 0:00:00 0.0% Total: 67 processes, 182 lwps, load averages: 0.01, 0.01, 0.0
- No hurry but we need a good logo. Put your design here for voting later on.
- The icon should/better be associated with Henrik's idea of Hobbits love green.
- We may consider using GNUStep's approach to contract out the logo design.
I've(Henrik Storner) been going over the various suggestions this past week, and I've setup a few loose criteria for judging the names. In no particular order: *) No references to Tolkien characters. Although I might be able to get away with "hobbitmon" or Gandalfr (thanks, Anna - didn't know those names came from the Edda), I do not want to push my luck any further. *) Likewise, no names that might infringe on existing characters from movies, books etc. *) Nothing that is trademark'ed. *) The name should be somewhat meaningful. Not necessarily obvious, but enough that it is understandable. Also, somewhat "business- like". (Sorry Vernon - I enjoyed Your ventures into Mesopotamian astronomy and egyptology, since those are also hobby-interests of mine, but very few would know who "Horus" is, or what was the role of Aldebaran). *) The name should be short. Preferably two or three syllables, and fit into the space currently on the webpages where it says "Hobbit" now. This is because the name is frequently used in speech; I often have people at work asking me "what's on Hobbit right now?" if they need to know what issues there are currently. It just wouldn't feel right if that was "what's on smart-and-open-systems-monitor right now" ... *) .com, .net and .org should preferably be available.
Please put down your suggested new name for hobbit. also Under "Sponsors", please vote with your name behind the original sponsor. so we can do the tally in "Total Supporters" field.
|Name Candidates||Comments||Domain Avaiability||Sponsors||Total Supporters|
|hobbitmon||"hobbit mon"intor||Yes. Owner is hobbit author, Henrik.||Henrik: tj, jluthman||3|
|HobbitMonitor||Keeping Hobbit origin with Monitor wording to clarify its purpose.||Yes. resolved for hobbit community by T.J.||T.J. Yang||1|
|OpenGuardian||Open source guardian software for your IT.||Yes||Darren Cotton||2|
|HobbitTrac||Integration With [Trac] SCM.||Yes, not registered.||T.J. Yang||1|
|HobbMon||Just like hobbitmon only shorter - and low google count.||Yes, not registered.||Phil Wild||1|
Hobbit Renamed to Xymon
This note needs a date...
Greetings! As I wrote some time ago, I was contacted by the owners of the "Hobbit" trademark back in June. Several names have been suggested by you on the mailing list (see ), but the decision has now been made. As of today, the official name is "Xymon" (pronounced just like "Simon"). At the moment this renaming has not caused much of a change, but it will be implemented over the coming weeks. * The Sourceforge project URL remains at due to project renamings currently being suspended on Sourceforge. Once the suspension is lifted, however, there is a queued request to rename the project. It will then be available at * The mailing list address remains "" for the moment. A new "Xymon" mailing list will be setup, but this will be announced separately. * The demo website is active. The old address - - will remain in place for some time, but no longer than August 2009. * Changes to documentation, code, webpages inside the Hobbit monitor etc. will be happening over the next couple of weeks, and will be fully implemented in the upcoming release. Best regards, Henrik