Monitoring Tool in the Cloud in (less than) 2 minutes…


This article will show how to deploy a simple monitoring application in the Cloud in a couple of minutes using statusdashboard and Heroku.

I already introduced StatusDashboard several months ago with a small websocket client I wrote allowing to connect to the web application and streaming monitoring data directly in the terminal. The monitoring data is produced by the server which is periodically trying to call a set of defined services (HTTP, HTTPs, FTP, TCP, UDP, …).

In the last version, you can now embed StatusDashboard in any node application with a really simple to use API. This is especially nice to customize it for your needs, for example, getting settings from a configuration file, from a remote service or whatever:

Let’s deploy it on Heroku…

There is one problem with the current approach: When running such an application on Heroku with the default Heroku Plan, it will ends when nobody browse it. This will stop the monitoring loop which is not really useful for a monitoring app… In order to avoid such behavior, I added a heartbeat mechanism last night which is configured from the application settings. It also needs to define some environment variable with the heroku client. Let’s assume that your application is running on http://YOURAPP.herokuapp.com, you have to define this variable like:

It will restart your application (if not, restart it manually), will start to ping itself and keep the application alive.

The code of this article is available at https://github.com/chamerling/statusdashboard-server. You get fork/clone/whatever and start monitoring your services in the next minutes…

And the proof that it works in less than 2 minutes (with a poor Internet connection, and taking time to browse source code…)

 

Kids are sick? Take coffee and code


I had some time since several nights (thanks kids to be sick…) to start watching how to implement a REST API using node.js (my new friend).

I plan to create an OW2 API this year; but before I started to wrap some existing services as proof of concept. The first feature focuses on how to get projects data from the gitorious instance we run at OW2. There is no clear API for gitorious but after some googling and source code search, it looks that there is a read-only XML API. Since I am targeting node.js, let’s translate this API into a JSON one: xml2js will do the job.

This results in a first library (gitoriou.js) which just call the gitorious instance and translates the XML data into JSON without any other data mapping. The following gist is showing how to get information from a project:

I talked about having a REST API, let’s use express.js for that and let’s run it on Heroku (this platform rules, just took 2 minutes to create, deploy and run the service and it is up at http://ow2apisample.herokuapp.com/).

To get information (as JSON) about the Jasmine project, just HTTP GET http://ow2apisample.herokuapp.com/project/ow2-jasmine

If you master any scripting language, you will be able to get all the repositories URLs from the JSON response, if not you can use the ow2git project to clone them all. Assuming node.js and npm are available on your system (you already have java, ruby and every other stuff installed, why not adding node?), you can install the binary:

npm install -g ow2git

and then clone all the repositories from any gitorious project

ow2git –clone ow2-jasmine

Will clone all the ow2-jasmine repositories into your current folder.

I am really impressed by node.js runtime, tools and community. Even if all of this is just a proof of concept, not really well designed, you can have something running quickly without many effort. Time to get something real. Soon…

Node.js client for Status Dashboard


Status Dashboard is an awesome node.js monitoring application developed by @obazoud. I recently sent some pull requests to Olivier to improve the IRC plugin and then I though that even if I am always connected to IRC, jabber or whatever, I also have a Terminal opened most of the time. So the question was: How can I get my services status pushed to my laptop in realtime?
Socket.IO is the candidate: It does not provide only server and browser modules, there is also the socket.io-client module which can be used in your node runtime, on the client side in exactly the same way you use Socket.IO in your HTML pages. Since Socket.IO is already used in Status Dashboard to push status to the browser, we have the right solution.

I created a simple node.js client application called statusdashboard-client which connect to a status dashboard instance using Socket.IO. Once data is pushed by the server to the client, it is displayed with some basic code colors on the terminal:

It is totally fun to see what we can do without any node.js expertise. I just start looking at it but I already have many ideas, especially for platform monitoring.