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How to monitor a VMware ESXi 5 / 6 host with Check_MK & OMD

Recently I posted a guide detailing how to install OMD (Open Monitoring Distribution) on Ubuntu 14.04. Part of OMD is the Check_MK network monitoring platform. I consider it the best available in the Open Source world. Check_MK supports monitoring VMware ESXi hosts, as well as vSphere servers. It uses the vSphere API to communicate with the host, so it’s able to pull much more data than SNMP. It’s not exactly a very intuitive process to get an ESXi host added to Check_MK, but it’s very easy if you know what to do. The documentation available is sub par, at best. So, I’m going to change that! This guide applies to all versions of ESXi 5 or later. So, ESXi 5, 5.1, 5.5 and 6.

Check_MK is capable of monitoring all sorts of valuable data from an ESXi host. This includes, CPU usage, RAM usage, Datastore usage, Network bandwidth statistics, health sensors and virtual machine power state.

How to add an ESXi 5, 5.1, 5.5 or 6 host to Check MK

Go ahead and log in to your Check_MK web interface. In the Configuration navigation area of the left, click on Host & Service Parameters.

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 3.23.21 PM

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How to install OMD (Open Monitoring Distribution) on Ubuntu 14.04

Open Monitoring Distribution (OMD) is an Open Source network, server, and datacenter monitoring platform and it’s absolutely fantastic. It’s basically a bunch of different monitoring systems all pooled into one platform. My favorite part of OMD is that it includes Check_MK, which I think is the best monitoring interface out there. But, it’s a lot more than that. Here is a breif list of what OMD contains (there’s more than this).

  • Nagios
  • Icinga
  • Shinken
  • Check_MK
  • Multisite
  • DokuWiki
  • NagVis
  • pnp4nagios
  • rrdtool

That’s just a brief list of all the greatness that’s packaged into OMD. Every network and home lab should have an OMD installation running on a virtual machine to keep tabs on everything and alert you when something goes wrong. Today, I’ll be installing and configuring OMD on an Ubuntu 14.04 virtual machine. So, lets get started already.

Installing OMD on Ubuntu 14.04

I always like to make sure everything is updated and upgraded when I’m setting up a new server. So lets go ahead and do that.

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get -y upgrade

Now we can get to work installing OMD. Fortunately, there are OMD packages already made for some of the more popular Linux distributions, Ubuntu 14.04 included. You can see all of the available packages by clicking on this link. As of this writing, OMD version 1.20 is the latest so that’s what I’m going to install. Check and see what the latest version is before getting started.

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