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Exporting Metrics to Nagios via the collectd-nagios Utility

This document provides an example of exporting filter node metrics to the Nagios monitoring system (the Nagios Core edition is suggested; however, this document is suitable for any Nagios edition) using the collectd-nagios utility.

Assumptions and requirements

  • The collectd service must be configured for working via a Unix domain socket (see here for details).
  • It is assumed that you already have the Nagios Core edition installed.

    If not, install Nagios Core (for example, follow these instructions).

    You can use another edition of Nagios if necessary (for example, Nagios XI).

    The “Nagios” term will be used hereinafter to refer to any edition of Nagios, unless stated otherwise.

  • You must have the ability to connect to the filter node and the Nagios host (for example, via the SSH protocol), and work under the root account or another account with superuser rights.

  • The Nagios Remote Plugin Executor service (which will be referred to as NRPE throughout this example) must be installed on the filter node.

Example Workflow

Example of metric

This example shows how to work with the single curl_json-wallarm_nginx/gauge-abnormal metric, which shows the number of requests processed by the filter node.

Example workflow

The following deployment scheme is used in this document:

  • The Wallarm filter node is deployed on a host accessible via the IP address and the node.example.local fully qualified domain name.

  • Nagios is installed on a separate host accessible via the IP address.

  • To execute commands on a remote host, the NRPE plugin is used. The plugin comprises

    • The nrpe service that is installed on the monitored host alongside the filter node. It listens on the 5666/TCP standard NRPE port.
    • The check_nrpe NRPE Nagios plugin that is installed on the Nagios host and allows Nagios to execute commands on the remote host where the nrpe service is installed.
  • NRPE will be used to call the collectd_nagios utility that provides the collectd metrics in a Nagios‑compatible format.

Configuring Metrics Export to Nagios

A note on this installation example

This document describes how to install and configure the NRPE plugin when Nagios is already installed with default parameters (it is assumed that Nagios is installed in the /usr/local/nagios directory, and uses the nagios user to operate). If you are doing a non-default installation of the plugin or Nagios, adjust the corresponding commands and instructions from the document as needed.

To configure metrics export from the filter node to Nagios, follow these steps:

1. Configure NRPE to Communicate with the Nagios Host

To do this, on a filter node host:

  1. Open the NRPE configuration file (default: /usr/local/nagios/etc/nrpe.cfg).

  2. Add the IP address or fully qualified domain name of the Nagios server to the allowed_hosts directive in this file. For example, if the Nagios host uses the IP address:

  3. Restart the NRPE service by executing the appropriate command:

    sudo service nrpe restart
    sudo systemctl restart nrpe

2. Install the Nagios NRPE Plugin on the Nagios Host

To do this, on the Nagios host, take the following steps:

  1. Download and unzip the source files for the NRPE plugin, and install the necessary utilities to build and install the plugin (see the NRPE documentation for details).

  2. Go to the directory with the plugin source code, build from sources, then install the plugin.

    The minimal steps to take are:

    make all
    make install-plugin

3. Make Sure the NRPE Nagios Plugin Successfully Interacts with the NRPE Service

To do this, execute the following command on the Nagios host:

/usr/local/nagios/libexec/check_nrpe -H node.example.local

If NRPE is operating normally, the command’s output should contain an NRPE version (e.g., NRPE v3.2.1).

4. Define the check_nrpe Command to Run the NRPE Nagios Plugin with a Single Argument on the Nagios Host

To do this, add to the /usr/local/nagios/etc/objects/commands.cfg file the following lines:

define command{
    command_name check_nrpe
    command_line $USER1$/check_nrpe -H $HOSTADDRESS$ -c $ARG1$

5. Install the collectd_nagios Utility on the Filter Node Host

Execute one of the following commands:

sudo apt -y install --no-install-recommends collectd-utils
sudo yum install -y collectd-utils

6. Configure the collectd-nagios Utility to Run with Elevated Privileges on Behalf of the nagios User

To do this, perform the following steps on the filter node host:

  1. Using the visudo utility, add the following line to the /etc/sudoers file:

    nagios ALL=(ALL:ALL) NOPASSWD:/usr/bin/collectd-nagios

    This allows the nagios user to run the collectd-nagios utility with superuser privileges using sudo without the need to provide any passwords.

    Running collectd-nagios with superuser privileges

    The utility must be run with superuser privileges because it uses the collectd Unix domain socket to receive data. Only a superuser can access this socket.

  2. Make sure that the nagios user can receive metric values from collectd by executing the following test command:

    sudo -u nagios sudo /usr/bin/collectd-nagios -s /var/run/wallarm-collectd-unixsock -n curl_json-wallarm_nginx/gauge-abnormal -H node.example.local

    This command allows the nagios user to get the value of the curl_json-wallarm_nginx/gauge-abnormal metric (the number of processed requests) for the node.example.local host.

    Example of command output:

    OKAY: 0 critical, 0 warning, 1 okay | value=0.000000;;;;
  3. Add a prefix to the NRPE service configuration file so that it will be able to execute commands using the sudo utility:


7. Add Commands to the NRPE Service Configuration File on the Filter Node to Get the Required Metrics

For example, to create a command named check_wallarm_nginx_abnormal that will receive the curl_json-wallarm_nginx/gauge-abnormal metric for the filter node with the node.example.local fully qualified domain name, add the following line to the NRPE service’s configuration file:

command[check_wallarm_nginx_abnormal]=/usr/bin/collectd-nagios -s /var/run/wallarm-collectd-unixsock -n curl_json-wallarm_nginx/gauge-abnormal -H node.example.local

How to set threshold values for a metric

If necessary, you can specify a range of values for which the collectd-nagios utility will return the WARNING or CRITICAL status by using the corresponding -w and -c options (detailed information is available in the utility documentation).

After you have added all necessary commands to the NRPE service configuration file, restart the service by executing the appropriate command:

sudo service nrpe restart
sudo systemctl restart nrpe

8. On the Nagios Host, Use the Configuration Files to Specify the Filter Node Host and to Define the Services to Monitor

Services and Metrics

This document assumes that one Nagios service is equivalent to one metric.

For example, this can be done as follows:

  1. Create a /usr/local/nagios/etc/objects/nodes.cfg file with the following contents:

    define host{
     use linux-server
     host_name node.example.local
    define service {
      use generic-service
      host_name node.example.local
      check_command check_nrpe!check_wallarm_nginx_abnormal
      max_check_attempts 5
      service_description wallarm_nginx_abnormal

    This file defines the node.example.local host with the IP address and the command to check the status of the wallarm_nginx_abnormal service, which means receiving the curl_json-wallarm_nginx/gauge-abnormal metric from the filter node (see the description of the check_wallarm_nginx_abnormal command).

  2. Add the following line to the Nagios configuration file (by default, /usr/local/nagios/etc/nagios.cfg):


    This is necessary for Nagios to start using the data from the nodes.cfg file on the next start.

  3. Restart the Nagios service by running the appropriate command:

sudo service nagios restart
sudo systemctl restart nagios

Setup is Complete

Nagios is now monitoring the service associated with the specific metric of the filter node. If necessary, you can define other commands and services to check the metrics you are interested in.

Information about NRPE

Sources of additional information about NRPE:

  • README of the NRPE on GitHub;
  • NRPE documentation (PDF).