FOSDEM 2010: cucumber-nagios

I listened to the talk about cucumber-nagios by Lindsay Holmwood. Besides the slides the presentation also had a live demonstration. As I understood the presentation cucumber-nagios is not completely new. You could have achieved the same with some other Nagios plugins or their combination, but I have to say: It is cool! It seems to be much more flexible and extendible.

I see cucumber-nagios as a plugin to Nagios which itself has plugins, called features. This way you extend Nagios only once and then do everything in cucumber-nagios.

As it does not use any browser, you can run it on every headless server, without the need for a graphical environment. I know you could also use a headless server for graphical checks (see this blog post), but again it makes things easier.

What I'm not sure about (but I'll find out) is authentication. How do you monitor applications which require authentication? Another problem I see are internal webapplications which only run in IE and need AD authentication. Until know I thought about Selenium to do the job by running it on a Windows Client machine and let it connect to the webapplication, but perhaps cucumber-nagios could also do this job. Another point I have to find out about, is performance data. Until know I've only seen performance data for the number of tests. What would be more interesting are the duration of the single tests. This way you would see problems or the effect of changes to your application or infrastructure in the monitoring system.

As Lindsay himself stats, one purpose of cucumber-nagios is to bridge the gap between developers and sysadmin (see slide 68 of this presentation, it's not from fosdem, but the same slide) So one more idea: It would be nice if one could translate testcases of the development/testing team to cucumber-nagios monitoring checks, even when the development project is not using Ruby or cucumber.


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