Nagios: Setting up your contact list and the tier method

The wonderful aspect of Nagios is the ability to set up notifications. Notifications provide the enterprise with rapid response to issues. Another added value is accountability. So, here is a simple method for determining how to set up your contact list.

You should notice how notifications are occurring now within your enterprise. Are the correct people being contacted the first time or do you see an email thread with an expanding list of recipients? I would say 99.9% of the enterprises today use the later of the two choices. Here is how you might want to address this within Nagios.

When a server dies, the initial notification should only be to the group that can provide the services to get the server working again. Do not worry about management during your initial notification period. If you can get the server back up within 5 minutes or if it reboots on its own you would only be creating an unnecessary fire-storm. Host notifications should only go to the administrators required to get the server back up.

Services are a different animal and will need to be addressed on a service-by-service requirement. Take for instance you have a few instances of tomcat running on various servers. You will need to contact the administrator that is responsible for the software the instance of tomcat is pointed towards. In other words don’t notify ecommerce for an instance of tomcat that is running EDI services, unless it is the same administrator.

Adding a narrow contact list to an individual service is very easy. Within the individual service definition add the following two options:

  1. notification_period        This is defined in your timeperiods file
  2. contact_groups              This is defined in your contactgroup file

Remember, Nagios looks for object definitions from the narrowest to the broadest object definition. So, defining contacts at the service level will ensure the administrators that can resolve the problem are contacted first.

Hope this helps with your Nagios installation,
Mike Kniaziewicz, MIS

Comments are closed.