Newsletter:4/How to Utilize the Fping ZenPack

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How to Utilize the Fping ZenPack

Every network has a few devices with limited or no support for network management protocols (e.g. SNMP). This article will cover how to monitor and get statistics using the Fping ZenPack.
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Introduction

Every network has a handful of devices with limited or no support for network management protocols (e.g. SNMP). If these devices are critical for daily operations, especially in a low latency environment, they need to be monitored and generate events accordingly. This article will cover how to monitor and get statistics using the Fping ZenPack.

Real World Example

In this article we will use a LAP (Lightweight Access Point) and a VoIP Handset as examples. Typically these devices only respond to ping and allows us to showcase the magic of the Fping ZenPack.


Lets Get Started!

Installation

Install the Fping package and ZenPack

yum install fping
su zenoss
wget http://wiki.zenoss.org/download/zenpacks/ZenPacks.BlakeDrager.fping/1.1/ZenPacks.BlakeDrager.fping-1.1.egg
zenpack --install ZenPacks.BlakeDrager.fping-1.1.egg

Configuration

Verify and update the path by navigating to the Monitoring Templates -> b_fping -> Data Sources Gear -> View and Edit Details -> Command Template

hydruid@zenoss:~$ which fping
/usr/bin/fping

Bind Template

I recommend binding the Fping template to the /Ping device tree.

Lightweight Access Points

LAPs are used with and managed by a Wireless Controller. The controller can be monitored with SNMP and has Syslog functionality, and the LAPs report their issues to the controller.

In our environment we monitor the controller, but it floods Zenoss with a ton of useless information that requires a lot of time to sort. I've found that technicians get "numb" to alerts that it sends because of the amount of events it creates. The controller also has various reports but they are severely lacking in regards to network statistics.

To combat these issues, we monitor the LAPs with the Fping ZenPack, since they only respond to ping. This setup allows for an alert to be created when a LAP is down or a threshold is met, as well as recording the required network statistics.

VoIP Handset

VoIP handsets connect to a local or remotely hosted PBX. The PBX can usually be monitored with SNMP but most handsets can not. In this scenario we'll pretend that both only respond to ping, which is true for our environment.

VoIP services require a very healthy network to function correctly, latency and jitter are not your friend. Many companies struggle to monitor these services and be proactive to potential issues.

The Fping ZenPack is especially helpful with identifying network issues with both the handset and PBX, which allows you to troubleshoot both ends. Also one added benefit of having a remote PBX, is that the network statistics provide a view into the health of your WAN.

Example Graphs

These graphs are from a LAP.

Conclusion

The Fping Zenpack will benefit your organization by providing a broader view of unmanageable devices. It doesn't matter if the network applications and services are local or remote, if never hurts to have an extra "pair of eyes" to monitor how things are going while you're away.

I hope this article was informative and can aid others with similar obstacles.