NodePing: Easy Network Monitoring

At Bob’s I manage the networks at multiple locations like our stores, greenhouses, and at our HQ.  Way back when, the only way I knew when a connection, device, or service went down was when I got a call from someone that something wasn’t working correctly.  There had to be a more efficient way!

In comes NodePing.  NodePing is a very simple uptime monitoring solution.  You enter a list of web addresses, select what exactly you want to monitor (http, ports, RDP, etc.), and it will notify you when an address is unreachable.  For example, if a server goes offline at Bob’s for more than 15 minutes, I get a text message letting me know.  This allows me to troubleshoot … hopefully before anyone notices.  As the great Montgomery Scott would say “How else can I keep my reputation as a miracle worker?”

For the most part I use HTTP, PING, RDP, and TCP port checks.  The TCP port checks come in handy because I can monitor a wide range of devices like our POS systems and employee time clocks.  The ability to set nonstandard ports is also handy for complex firewall arrangements like we have at Bob’s.

Another benefit of the system is the ability to fine-tune the alerts.  I can adjust the frequency of the checks to account for scheduled restarts of devices and servers.  For example, our payroll server reboots once per week so I don’t want a text at 4 am every Tuesday.  To prevent this, I set the check frequency to be just long enough to account for the restart time.  However, I do use a Growl alert to notify me of the restart success.

A new feature that NodePing just added is the ability to set notification dependencies.  This is handy for preventing a cascade of notifications if an upstream service goes down.  At our HQ we run some of our servers as VMs in Hyper-V.  If I restart the Hyper-V host, I don’t want to get notifications that all the virtual servers are offline too.  I already know that.  Likewise, if the internet connection goes down, I don’t want to know that all the servers, timeclocks, etc. on that connection are suddenly unreachable.

Also, the uptime data gets saved by NopePing so you can create reports.  They also have an optional public page so you can keep users informed about service availability.  Bob’s is available at status.bobsmarket.com.  The entire service can be branded to fit your business!

Finally, when it comes to cost, NodePing is by far the best deal.  We pay $15/mo for 200 monitors!  Compared to similar services, like Pingdom (roughly $200 for the same service), it is a huge savings.  Also they give you a nifty referral URL, so if you are interested in uptime monitoring, share the love and CLICK HERE.