Announcing GroundWork Monitor 8
December 20, 2019
GroundWork Monitor 8 is a new version of a mature product, GroundWork Monitor Enterprise. As such, a lot of what is inside of this version will be familiar to users of prior versions. For example, we are still using the same bundled GPL Nagios™ and GroundWork Distributed Monitoring Agent (GDMA), and we are still including NeDi and Cloud Hub as data feeds.
Then again, much is very new. We have completely re-worked the status screens and made them much more responsive. There are lots of new ways to view the state of your monitored resources, and to drill into the history and performance of the metrics you collect.
The grouping and search features make your specific inventory easy to find and filter, and the role-based access allows you to restrict your users to just a subset of the inventory, but allow them to change the configuration and over-ride alerting thresholds.
On the back end, we have continued to enhance the REST APIs, and allow more granular access with user-specific tokens. We have made big changes in the database layer to optimize its speed and reliability, but generally, the APIs have no breaking changes – old integrations that used them properly will still work.
Whether you are experienced in GroundWork administration or new to it entirely, we think you will appreciate the speed and effectiveness with which you can use and scale the monitoring you do with this latest version.
Why did we make a new version?
Our motivation was two-fold: to move forward to more modern ways of monitoring, and to make a product that could be migrated to from prior versions easily.
GroundWork Monitor in its prior versions encompassed a lot of different use cases. We wanted to modernize it and yet keep it recognizable and even largely compatible with prior versions. Some of the technology we were using was getting too old to support, and there were better options available. We took advantage of them. Some of the ideas for improvement we heard from our customers were not possible to explore in the old version. We enabled that exploration and will continue to enhance it in the coming years.
In short, we made this version because we wanted to provide the best monitoring product we could, based on open source, both now and into the future.
What is different?
- Administration – We have greatly simplified administration. Most functions of administration are possible now using the UI, and don’t require dropping to the command line.
- GroundWork components – We Dockerized all of the GroundWork server components, allowing portability and easing the burden of administration, especially upgrades.
- RBAC – We re-worked role-based access, adding many new multi tenancy features.
- Events – We removed the event console, and changed it to a viewer with filtering capabilities. We also added Elastic Stack as an integration.
- Analysis – We added an insight dashboard to provide more depth and useful data without the need to configure a dashboard.
- Override Thresholds – Administrators can now edit threshold overrides on a service by service basis.
- GDMA – We updated GDMA to support HTTPS transport with strong cyphers and automated GDMA deployment and upgrade.
- Graphs – Grafana is enhanced to support a richer set of graphing and dashboarding options.
- Older apps – Cacti, Ntop, NagVis and Weathermap have been removed.
- Network Discovery – NeDi has been updated and now supports packet sniffing and policy monitoring.
What is the same?
- APIs – We kept the APIs, as mentioned above. We also kept the existing Nagios bundled in, and Cloud Hub, but now as containers.
- GDMA – The GDMA, even older versions, is compatible with GroundWork Monitor 8.
- The configuration UI for Nagios Monitoring is the same, albeit improved and faster.
What’s the state of this version?
It’s ready to use for new monitoring projects that don’t require multiple monitoring servers. That being said, it doesn’t have all the same functionality that is in GroundWork Monitor 7.2.2, at least not yet.
In particular, GroundWork Monitor 8 (as of this writing):
- Does not support the extension of GroundWork to multiple servers (what we call Parent-Child servers).
- Does not have an event console application that allows events to be transitioned through workflow (although this can still be done with the API).
- Does not yet support the Log Bridge extension to Elastic stack.
These features, and several more, are being worked on and will appear in subsequent releases.
What do I need to know to be able to use GroundWork Monitor 8?
We are providing a Quick Start document for those of you new to monitoring with GroundWork Monitor 8. There’s a lot of community knowledge that you can use when setting up GroundWork Monitor, especially if you ever used a prior version. There are, however, some Docker Commands administrators will want to get familiar with in order to make the most of their GroundWork Monitor 8 installations.
What to do, and What not to do
Please see Best Practices.