Although designed as a real-time data collection and trending tool, real-time alerts (or alarms) are a natural extended functionality for Cricket. Unfortunately, because they are not a part of the core design, the alert mechanisms in Cricket are not as cleanly implemented or efficient as they could be. If your interest is purely in a tool to generate real-time alerts, then Cricket is probably not the best choice. But if you already utilize Cricket for data collection and real-time trend analysis and you have the additional need for some light real-time alerting mechanism, then Cricket can meet your needs.
In Cricket, the alert mechanism is called a monitor threshold. Monitor thresholds are set (or enabled) for specific data sources through the monitor-thresholds target dictionary tag. After the data collection pass, Cricket processes each monitor threshold by retrieving the most recent value of a data source from the RRD file and applying some criteria specific to the monitor threshold type. This criteria generates either a pass or fail condition. Depending on the setting of the persistent-alarms tag for the target, Cricket executes a specified action.
Note that the most recent value of a data source from the RRD file will not necessarily agree with the most recent value fetched from by the collector because RRDtool interpolates. For those familiar with RRD tool internals, the "most recent value" is retreived from the first RRA in the file with a consolidation function of AVERAGE. The order of RRAs in the file is specified by the rra tag in the targetType dictionary.
Note that a monitor threshold configured for a multi-instance (aka vector instances) target will be checked and an action possibly executed for each instance. Monitor thresholds are not supported for multi-targets (as multi-targets are purely a construct of the Cricket grapher).
monitor-thresholds = "<monitor-threshold> [, <monitor-threshold> ...]"
<data source> := a data source defined for the target; Case sensitive.
<monitor type> := One of the six supported types: exact, value, relation, hunt, quotient, or failures. Case insensitive.
<monitor type args> := a colon-delimited list of arguments specific to each monitor type. Case sensitive
<ACTION> := One of six supported actions: SNMP, MAIL, EXEC, FUNC, META or FILE. Case insensitive.
<action args> := a colon-delimited list of arguments specific to each action. Case sensitive in most cases.
<SPAN> := Spanning keyword: SPAN. Case insensitive.
<span-length> := Number of time spans a thresholds should fail before triggering an action. Number.
Please consider these as examples on using monitor thresholds, not best practices.
target --default-- mail-pgm = /usr/bin/mailx trap-address = 127.0.0.1 persistent-alarms = true target network-link-1 monitor-thresholds = "ifInOctets : value : n : 262144 : SNMP, ifInOctets : relation : <10 pct : : : 300 : MAIL : %mail-pgm% : me\\\@mydomain.com, ifInErrors : quotient : 0.1 pct : : ifInUcastPackets : SNMP" target pop-2 persistent-alarms = false monitor-thresholds = "users : hunt : 40 : pop-1 : users : FILE : /var/log/cricket-alerts" target router-chassis persistent-alarms = false monitor-thresholds = "cpu1min : value : n : 60 : META : router-cpu : yellow, cpu1min : value : n : 90 : META : router-cpu : red : SPAN : 3, mem5minUsed : quotient : >60pct : : processorRam: META"
Note: Make sure to include spaces/tabs leading each line related to a target as above. Or else Cricket will not process the line.
target network-link-1 monitor-thresholds = "ifInOctets : value : n : 250000 : SNMP, ifInOctets : relation : <10 pct : : : 300 : MAIL : %mail-pgm% : me\\\@mydomain.com, ifInErrors : quotient : 0.1 pct : : ifInUcastPackets : SNMP"
The first target, network-link-1, has three monitor thresholds.
target pop-2 persistent-alarms = false monitor-thresholds = "users : hunt : 40 : pop-1 : users : FILE : /var/log/cricket-alerts"
The second target, pop-2, has a single monitor threshold.
target router-chassis persistent-alarms = false monitor-thresholds = "cpu1min : value : n : 60 : META : router-cpu : yellow, cpu1min : value : n : 90 : META : router-cpu : red : SPAN : 3, mem5minUsed : quotient : >60pct : : processorRam: META"
The third target, router-chassis, has a three monitor thresholds.
By default, the target tag persistent-alarms is set to false. With this setting, the first time a monitor threshold criteria fails, the action is executed. Specifically, the Alarm() subroutine in the Monitor.pm module is invoked; the action and its arguments are passed as arguments. If the criteria continues to fail (at subsequent data collection passes), the action is not executed again. After one or more failures, the first time the monitor threshold criteria passes, the action is executed. In this case, the Clear() subroutine in the Monitor.pm module is invoked, with appropriate action and action arguments. Thus the default behavior is like a switch that toggles states when the result of the monitor threshold criteria changes.
If the target tag persistent-alarms is true, the action is executed (the Alarm subroutine is invoked) every time the monitor threshold criteria fails. An action (and Clear subroutine) is still executed once the first time the criteria passes after a string of failures. With persistent-alarms set to true, monitor threshold behavior is like a bell. It keeps ringing until the problem stops.
The monitor type determines the criteria used to check a monitor threshold.
These monitors are the simplest to use and configure, and allow you to monitor a datasource for an exact match. This is useful in cases where an enumerated (or boolean) SNMP object instruments a condition where a transition to a specific state requires attention. For example, a datasource might return either true(1) or false(2), depending on whether or not a power supply has failed. The exact monitor expects one argument; the value on which the monitor will trigger. For example, monitor-thresholds = "dsPowerFail:exact:1" would cause Cricket to send a trap when the last value of the "dsPowerFail" datasource in the RRD file for this target is 1.
dsPowerFail : exact : 1 : <ACTION> : ... dsTempAlarm : exact : 1 : <ACTION> : ...
The next simplest monitor type, value monitor thresholds take two arguments, a minimum and maximum value. If the data source strays outside of this interval, the monitor threshold criteria fails. To omit the minimum or maximum value, use the character "n".
temperature : value : 30 : 90 : <ACTION> : ... ifInOctets : value : n : 250000 : <ACTION> : ...
Relation monitor thresholds are very flexible. A relation monitor considers the difference between two data sources (possibly from different targets), or alternatively, the difference between two temporally distinct values for the same data source. The first data source is the data source for which the relation monitor threshold is defined. The difference can be expressed as absolute value, or as a percentage of the second data source (comparison) value. This difference is compared to a threshold argument with either the greater than or less than operator. The criteria fails when the expression (<absolute or relative difference> <either greater-than or less-than> <threshold>) evaluates to false. The four colon-delimited arguments for a relation monitor are:
Quotient monitor thresholds are similar to relation monitor thresholds, except that they consider the quotient of two data sources, or alternatively, the same data source at two different time points. For a quotient monitor threshold, Cricket computes the value of the first data source as a percentage of the value second data source (such as 10 is 50% of 20). This percentage is then compared to a threshold argument with either the greater than or less than operator. The criteria fails when the expression (<percentage> <either greater-than or less-than> <threshold>) evaluates to true. The four colon-delimited arguments for a quotient monitor are:
The hunt monitor threshold is designed for the situation where the data source serves as an overflow for another data source; that is, if one data source (the parent) is at or near capacity, then traffic will begin to appear on this (the monitored) data source. One application of hunt monitor thresholds is to identify premature rollover in a set of modem banks configured to hunt from one to the next. Specifically, the criteria of the hunt monitor threshold fails if the value of the monitored data source is non-zero and the current value of the parent data source falls below a specified capacity threshold. The three colon-delimited arguments for a hunt monitor are:
The failures monitor threshold is integrated with aberrant behavior detection in RRDtool. This monitor checks the FAILURES RRA for the target and datasource. If the current value is 1, this indicates aberrant behavior. Aberrant behavior detection must be enabled for the target, which requires RRDtool 1.1.x. This threshold may be conditioned on the current value of the datasource. In this case, the threshold is only triggered when both the FAILURES RRA is 1 and the current value of the data source is within a specified range. This range is specified via two colon-delimited arguments; the first is the min or "n" to specify no lower bound and the second is the max or "n" to specify no upper bound.
After the monitor threshold is checked for the current value, Cricket may execute one of several actions. Each action requires one or more arguments, which appear as a colon-delimited list following the action tag in the monitor threshold specification.
SNMP: Generating a SNMP trap is the default action if the action tag is omitted from a monitor threshold specification. To support this default and for backwards compatibility, the action SNMP does not use the action arguments field in the monitor threshold specification. The SNMP action instead requires the attribute trap-address to be set for target. The traps Cricket sends are marked with the enterprise OID ".184.108.40.206.4.1.2595.1.1". The generic type is 6 and specific type is 4 for failure (violation) of the monitor threshold criteria and 5 for success (recall the trap is cleared on the first success after one or more failures). There are currently nine varbinds: the monitor type, the monitor threshold string, the target name, data source name, cricket user name (set to "cricket" on Win32 platforms), instance number (to distinguish targets with multiple instances), instance name, contact name (based on the html dictionary entry contact-name), and data value. These varbinds are set (and could be customized) in the sendMonitorTrap() subroutine in Monitor.pm.
MAIL: This action sends email to a specified address via a Berkeley mailx compatible mail program. The first action argument is the program to invoke to send email. It is assumed that this program is compatible with Berkeley mailx. That is, the program accepts piped input as the message body, and supports a "-s" command flag to specify the subject. If you don't have such a program on your system, you may wish to customize the code in the sendEmail() subroutine in Monitor.pm to utilize your email program. The second action argument is the recipient's email address. Note that as in the example, you may need to escape special characters. Both arguments are required. The mail message body includes the following information: the monitor type, the monitor threshold string, the target name, data source name, the value of the data source retrieved from the RRD file, and the instance number (to distinguish targets with multiple instances). To change the contents of the message, customize the sendEmail() subroutine in Monitor.pm.
FILE: This action appends and deletes entries (lines) from a file. When the monitor threshold criteria first fails, a line containing details in a space-delimited format is appended to the file specified as the action argument (the FILE action has only one argument). Subsequent failures do not add multiple lines to the file. The FILE action essentially ignores persistent-alarms = true (though some overhead is incurred to detect duplicate lines, so persistent-alarms should be set to false when possible for targets using the FILE action). When the monitor threshold passes again after one or more failures, the line is deleted from the file. The line details include the target name and the data source name. To include other details, customize the LogToFile() subroutine in Monitor.pm.
EXEC: This action executes a shell command or script. The first action argument is the shell command or script to execute when the monitor threshold criteria fails. The second action argument is the shell command or script to execute when the monitor threshold passes again after one or more failures. The EXEC action provides a mechanism by which automated corrective action can be taken.
FUNC: This action is similar to EXEC, except that a perl subroutine defined in the Cricket scope is executed. The first action argument is the function invoked when the monitor threshold criteria fails. The second action argument is the function invoked when the monitor threshold passes again after one or more failures. To use this action, you must first modify the entry in the func.pm module to set the global variable gMonFuncEnabled. Using this action requires customization (you must write the subroutines). While this mechanism provides complete flexibility in handling special cases, the invoked subroutines cannot easily accept arguments (this can be done, but the argument list must be included by name in the action arguments which can quickly become unwieldy). If your function requires access to arguments available in the Alarm() and Clear() functions, you might consider adding a new action tag (and sharing your work with the Cricket community).
META: This action is meant to be used to shared threshold monitoring event data with other external systems. This action does nothing. In the sense, that no external action is initiated. There is no mail sent, no SNMP trap generated or any other specific action. What it does is let cricket know the fact that an alarm has been generated or cleared. Cricket stores all active alarms in an internal format call meta files. These files are stored in the cricket-data directory along side each target.rrd file that has monitor-thresholds defined for it. The meta files store alarm data for all Action types.The monitor-threshold line itself and other data is stored in the meta file. Arguments are arbitrary.
Using this action requires customization (you must write the external interface script). The most common uses for this are for sharing event data with event management systems such as NetCool, BigBrother and others. Event management systems often support SNMP, proprietary agents or APIs. This permits a flexible way of interacting with these systems with something other than an SNMP trap.
To provide this, your external script must load the config-tree in memory, query it for active alarms and configured monitoring thresholds and send messages in the appropriate format to the event manager. An example script is provided in the util directory of the Cricket distribution, metaQuery.pl. Note that this is not to be mistaken with real time monitoring, as you have to wait for the collector run to be finished before querying the config-tree or else risk missing a new alarm until the next query.
Cricket monitoring thresholds can be extended to look for consecutive threshold failures. The SPAN keyword will require a threshold to be crossed an arbitrary number of consecutive times before triggering an alarm. The keyword SPAN and a span-length value are required to enable this action. At the first threshold verification that passes, the alarm will be cleared. Threshold crosses that have not been promoted to alarms are stored in the meta file associated with the monitored target. Using the following meta file format:
<monitor-threshold> <timestamp-of-first-failure> failure lastval <ds-value-at-time-of-first-failure>
When the time stamp of a threshold cross is older than <span-length> * %rrd-poll-interval%, an alarm is generated. This option is fully compatible with the persistent-alarms option.
Questions or comments: contact Jake Brutlag