Manage nimsoft monitoring resources through puppet




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Version information

  • 0.9.0 (latest)
released Jan 22nd 2015
This version is compatible with:
  • RedHat

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stschulte/nimsoft — version 0.9.0 Jan 22nd 2015

Puppet Nimsoft Module

Build Status

What is Nimsoft?

Nimsoft Monitoring is a monitoring solution from CA Technologies.

If you want to monitor a service with nimsoft, you'll first have to install a robot (the agent software) on your target machine or on a proxy machine (in case of agentless monitoring). Once the connection between the robot and your master server (or nearest nimsoft hub) is established, you can deploy probes onto your robot to monitor a specific service.

Each probe that you deploy on a robot is responsible for one or more dedicated areas like checking disk and cpu utilization (cdm probe) or parsing logfiles for errors (logmon probe). Most probes will gather quality of service metrics (e.g. publish the current disk utilization every 5 minutes) and can also be configured to send alarms once a certain threshold is exceeded (e.g. one disk is more than 90% full). Each probe is independet from another and will run as a seperate process on your target machine.

The configuration of these probes are stored in flat configuration files (<probename>.cfg) on the same host that is running the probe. So while nimsoft comes with tools to distribute those monitoring configurations, the agent ultimately is completly independent from the server component.

This is important for puppet to be able to change the monitoring policy for one server locally.

Why managing nimsoft through puppet?

The ultimate goal of this project is to free the administrator (specifically myself) of any repetitive task that might occure when a new server is provisioned or decomissioned. The second goal is use the available puppet infrastructure (e.g. hiera) to give the consumers of your monitoring landscape greater insights and the ability to tweak certain aspects of your monitoring configuration.

Imagine you want to run an apache webserver and you already use puppet to make sure that the apache package is installed and the correct apache configuration files (e.g vhost configurations) are in place. If you now think about monitoring your new website, you'll notice that you need a lot of information to accuratly monitor your service that you alreay have in puppet, like the name of the vhost instance or the port your vhost is listening on (e.g. to monitor the website with the netconnect probe and to parse error logs with the logmon probe).

So instead of seperating the provisioning process and the monitoring configuration, you will now be able combine both, so the apache puppet class will automatically configure the necessary probes to setup the monitoring and whenever you add a vhost you know that it will be monitored. This also increases trust into the infrastructure you can stop asking yourself if you really monitor everything.

The accomplish these goals of automatic monitoring this projects let you treat your monitoring rules as puppet resources.

Despite the described goals, experience showed that having your monitoring rules in the same place as your configuration definitions also allows to evaluate that all parts of a service are monitored and which changes in the monitoring infrastructure are necessary when you make changes to the service you want to monitor, because when you make changes to a class that references a monitor class with nimsoft resources it is harder to forget to adapt your monitoring.

New facts

(currently none)

New functions

(currently none)

New custom types

nimsoft core probes


The nimsoft_disk type can be used to describe a filesystem you want to monitor. It will modify the disk/alarm/fixed section of your cdm configuration file. Example:

Make sure a certain device is not monitored:

nimsoft_disk { '/dev':
  ensure => absent,

Set explicit thresholds on another device:

nimsoft_disk { '/var':
  ensure   => present,
  warning  => 20,
  critical => 10,

deactivate the warning threshold and make sure to raise an alarm when the device is absent:

nimsoft_disk { '/var/lib/mysql':
  ensure   => present,
  warning  => absent,
  critical => '10'
  missing  => 'yes',

The nimsoft_* types all implement an instances method so you can run puppet resource nimsoft_disk on a machine with the cdm probe installed and see a list of all relevant parameters and how puppet interprets the current configuration file.


The nimsoft_queue type can be used to describe a queue on your hub.

nimsoft_queue { 'HUB-alarm':
  ensure  => present,
  active  => yes,
  type    => attach,
  subject => 'alarm',

With exported resources you are now able to automatically add new hubs into the infrastructure and create the necessary get and attach queues on both sides.

Run puppet resource nimsoft_queue so see how puppet currently interprets your hub configuration.


The nimsoft_dirscan type can be used to describe a profile for the dirscan probe. It can be used to check the size of a file or a group of files and can also be used to check the number of files in a given directory (and optional all subdirectories).

Possible usecase: You deploy an application with puppet and this application writes a specific logfile. You now want nimsoft to trigger an alarm if this logfile exceeds a certain size limit (e.g. you expect the size to be less than 10 megabytes). You also want to trigger an alarm if the logdirectory or the logfile is absent:

nimsoft_dirscan { 'foo logfile':
  ensure      => present,
  active      => yes,
  description => 'Check debug.log of application foo'
  directory   => '/opt/foo/log',
  pattern     => 'debug.log',
  recurse     => 'no',
  direxists   => 'yes',
  nofiles     => '1',
  size        => '< 10M'


The nimsoft_logmon_profile type can be used to describe a profile for the logmon probe. The logmon probe is able to monitor a logfile, to execute a command and check its error code, or to check a url. The nimsoft_logmon_profile type can currently only be used to monitor a logfile.


nimsoft_logmon_profile { 'system log':
  ensure       => present,
  active       => yes,
  file         => '/var/log/messages',
  mode         => updates,
  qos          => no,  # do not generate Quality of Service messages
  alarm        => yes, # allow creation of alarm messages
  alarm_maxsev => critical,

Note that you are only defining the general profile here. You also have to add watcher rules for your profile. You can do that with an upcoming nimsoft_logmon_watcher resource type


The nimsoft_logmon_watcher type can be used to describe a watcher rule for a specific logmon profile. A watcher rule describes a pattern that can appear in a logfile and describes the message that will be sent, if such an entry appears. A watcher rule does always belong to exactly one profile.


nimsoft_logmon_watcher { 'system log/failed root login'
  ensure   => present,
  active   => yes,
  match    => '/FAILED su for root by (.*)/',
  message  => 'Possible breakin attempt detected: ${msg}',
  severity => 'warning',

The name of the resource must be of the for profile_name/watcher_name.


The nimsoft_logmon_exclude type can be used to describe a single exclude rule for a specific logmon profile. An exclude rule defines a pattern that will be checked against each line or block before any watcher rules are processed


nimsoft_logmon_exclude { 'system log/ignore failed su'
  ensure   => present,
  active   => yes,
  match    => '/FAILED su for \S+ by/',

The name of the resource must be of the for profile_name/exclude_name.


The nimsoft_process type can be used to describe a profile for the proceses probe. Example:

nimsoft_process { 'cron':
  ensure      => present,
  description => 'Make sure cron is running (managed by puppet)',
  active      => yes,
  pattern     => '/usr/sbin/cron',
  match       => nameonly,
  trackpid    => yes,
  count       => '>= 1',
  alarm_on    => [ 'down', 'restart' ],

oracle probe


The nimsoft_oracle_connection can be used to describe a database connection that can be used by the oracle probe to monitor your oracle database instances. Example:

nimsoft_oracle_connection { 'PROD':
  ensure      => present,
  description => 'The productional database',
  connection  => '', # or some tnsnames.ora entry
  user        => 'nmuser',
  password    => 'secret',
  retry       => '0',
  retry_delay => '10 sec',

The connection string can either be a service entry that can be resolved through the tnsnames.ora file or an easy connect string of the form host[:port]/service_name.


The nimsoft_oracle_profile type can be used to describe a monitoring profile that is used to monitor a database instance. You cannot define custom checkpoints at the moment so every new profile that is created through puppet will inherit all monitoring options form your template. You can however define custom checkpoints in the oracle probe GUI and puppet will not destroy these.


nimsoft_oracle_profile { 'PROD':
  ensure      => present,
  active      => yes,
  description => 'Billing database',
  connection  => 'PROD',
  source      => '',
  heartbeat   => '5 sec',
  interval    => '5 min',

Hint: If the connection name of your nimsoft_oracle_profile instance matches the name of a nimsoft_oracle_connection resource, the connection will be autorequired and you do not have to define an explicit require.

Agentil probe

The sapbasis_agentil probe can be used to monitor SAP instances. The probe is available through CA but has been developed by Agentil.

NOTE: The agentil probe uses a new json based configuration file format since version 4.00. The puppet types can only handle this new format, so if you are using an older version of the sapbasis_agentil probe, you'll most likely destroy your configuration file!

The custom types for handling different aspects of your sapbasis_agentil allow a very abstract view of the configuration file and are able to add/remove/modify systems and landscapes and creating the necessary relationships.


The agentil_landscape type can be used to describe a landscape (a landscape is like a container and describes one system identifier. Each landscape can consist of one or more systems). If you are familiar with the sapbasis_agentil probe interface, a landscape represents the first hierarchy level inside the configuration GUI.

agentil_landscape { ''
  ensure      => present,
  sid         => 'DEV'
  company     => 'My Company'
  description => 'managed by puppet',

The above example will make sure that the landscape exists and that properties like system identifier, company, and description have the correct value. Please note that if you set ensure => absent, puppet will make sure that the landscape is absent but will not automatically remove any assigned system. So make sure you have appropiate agentil_system resources with ensure => absent for every assigned system, too.


The agentil_user type can be used to describe a SAP user. The sapbasis_agentil probe needs a designated user to connect to your SAP systems in order to gather the different metrics. Instead of providing valid credentials each time you add a SAP system, you can describe one user that is valid on every system and then simply reference this user in each of your system definitions. You can also create multiple users if you want to use different credentials for production and developlment boxes for example.


agentil_user { 'SAP_PROBE':
  ensure   => present,
  password => 'encrypted_password',

Note: The password encryption algorithm is not public. In order to get the encrypted password you currently have to set the password in the probe GUI manually and then check the configuration file afterwards. Once you know the encrypted reprensentation of your password, you can use puppet to make sure it stays the same.


The agentil_template resource describes a template. A template consists of a collection of jobs and monitors to easily choose what aspects of your SAP system you want to monitor. There are three types of templates:

  1. Templates created by the probe vendor have an id between 1 and 999999 and are shipped together with the probe
  2. Custom templates starting with id 1000000. These are normally created with the probe UI
  3. System templates which are implicit and cannot be seen directly in the probe UI. A system templates inherits the monitors and jobs from the assigned vendor and custom templates and also hold system specific customizations. Each system has exactly one system template

The puppet type agentil_template currently ignores vendor templates completly but can be used to create custom templates and system templates. If you specify a system template you should not set jobs explicitly since these are inherited from the assigned templates. But you can use the agentil_template type to establish customizations like custom tablespace utilization thresholds.


agentil_template { 'Custom Template':
  ensure    => present,
  system    => false,
  jobs      => [ 4, 5, 12, 177, 3 ],

agentil_template { 'System template for System sap01':
  ensure             => present,
  system             => true,
  expected_instances => [ 'PRO_sap01_00', 'PRO_sap01_01' ],
  tablespace_used    => {
    'PSAPSR3'  => '80',
    'PSAPUNDO' => '98',

Again you can use puppet resource agentil_template on a system with a configured sapbasis_agentil probe and see how puppet interprets your configuration file.


This resource can be used to describe an agentil system. If you are familiar with the probe GUI, these are basically your ABAP and SAP connectors and the second hiearchy level after the landscape.

The agentil system basically tells the probe how to reach an instance and what jobs and monitors should be used to monitor the instance. To do that you can define the user that is able to login and the client to connect to. You can also assign different templates that the probe GUI merges into a system template (with puppet you have to define both the original template and the system template).


agentil_system { 'PRO_sap01':
  ensure          => present,
  landscape       => 'PRO',
  sid             => 'PRO',
  host            => '',
  ip              => '',
  stack           => 'abap',
  user            => 'SAP_PROBE',
  client          => '000',
  group           => 'LOGON_GROUP_01',
  system_template => 'System template for System sap01',
  templates       => [
    'Custom ABAP Production',
    'Custom ABAP Generic',

The landscape, the user and all templates have to be present so the puppet type is be able translate the names into the corresponding ids to create a valid configuration file. Puppet will raise an error if a name connot be found.

Complete examples

Helper scripts

After you make configuration changes you have to restart the probe. So if puppet modifies a file, it'll also have to restart the effected probe. You can use the script to do that (you can find it in the files directory). You may want to use it inside a manifest, e.g.

# Make sure the script is present on your robot
file { '/opt/nimsoft/scripts/':
  ensure => file,
  owner  => 'root',
  group  => 'root',
  mode   => '0755',
  source => 'puppet:///modules/nimsoft/',

# Define an exec resource with refreshonly
exec { 'restart_cdm_probe':
  command     => '/opt/nimsoft/scripts/ cdm',
  refreshonly => true

# Trigger the exec resource if something changes
nimsoft_disk { '/dev':
  ensure => absent,
  notify => Exec['restart_cdm_probe']

Running the tests

This project requires the puppetlabs_spec_helper gem (available on to run the spec tests. You can run them by executing rake spec.

Develop a new type and provider

The nimsoft providers all work pretty similar:

  1. Read the configuration file and convert it into a tree structure. All resources can be checked very efficiently against this in-memory-representation of your configuration.
  2. If a resource is out of sync, the tree is modified and written back to disk.

Parsing configuration files is done by the Puppet::Util::NimsoftConfig class. Here is simple way to parse a configuration file:

config = Puppet::Util::NimsoftConfig.add('cdm.cfg') # should be an absolute path
config.parse unless config.loaded?

The first line will either create a new Puppet::Util::NimsoftConfig object or - if the file was already added before - will return an already present object that represents the configuration file. This way seperate providers can modifiy the same configuration file and modifications of the tree structure of provider 1 can directly be seen by provider 2, thus eleminating the need to parse the configuration file multiple times. So you can e.g. create a cdm_disk and a cdm_cpu provider both managing the cdm.cfg file at the same time.

If you want to develop a new provider for a new custom type you should inherit from the Puppet::Provider::Nimsoft provider

Let's take the nimsoft_disk as a step by step example. You'll first have to create the basic sketch of your provider:

require 'puppet/provider/nimsoft'
Puppet::Type.type(:nimsoft_cdm_disk).provide(:nimsoft, :parent => Puppet::Provider::Nimsoft) do
  register_config '/opt/nimsoft/probes/system/cdm/cdm.cfg', 'disk/alarm/fixed'

The register_config method is inherited from the Puppet::Provider::Nimsoft provider and will trigger the parsing of the specified configuration file and will take the specified section as the rootsection for your provider.

Each subsection within that new root section is processed as a new instance of your custom type. The element title will be the name of that instance.

At a class level you can use the classs method root to get a Puppet::Util::NimsoftSection object that represents the root section you have defined earlier and config to get the representation the whole configuration file.

Each provider instance can use the method element to get the subtree that is mapped to the specific provider instance.

You can modify the tree as you like and then run the class method config.sync to save your changes back to disk.

In case each section within your root section represents a provider instance and in case your resource properties are simple attributes within these sections, you can use the method map_property to save you a lot of typing and create getter and setter methods.

E.g. for our nimsoft_disk type every section within the root section disk/alarm/fixed represents one disk. The description attribute of each subsection can be mapped to a description property of our custom type, so let's modify our provider:

require 'puppet/provider/nimsoft'
Puppet::Type.type(:nimsoft_cdm_disk).provide(:nimsoft, :parent => Puppet::Provider::Nimsoft) do
  register_config '/opt/nimsoft/probes/system/cdm/cdm.cfg', 'disk/alarm/fixed'
  map_property :description

If the property name is different from the attribute name, we can define a custom attribute name.

require 'puppet/provider/nimsoft'
Puppet::Type.type(:nimsoft_cdm_disk).provide(:nimsoft, :parent => Puppet::Provider::Nimsoft) do
  register_config '/opt/nimsoft/probes/system/cdm/cdm.cfg', 'disk/alarm/fixed'
  map_property :description
  map_property :device, :attribute => :disk

We can also define a section within the subtree:

require 'puppet/provider/nimsoft'
Puppet::Type.type(:nimsoft_cdm_disk).provide(:nimsoft, :parent => Puppet::Provider::Nimsoft) do
  register_config '/opt/nimsoft/probes/system/cdm/cdm.cfg', 'disk/alarm/fixed'
  map_property :description
  map_property :device, :attribute => :disk
  map_property :warning, :section => 'warning', :attribute => :threshold
  map_property :critical, :section => 'error', :attribute => :threshold

and we can also instruct the provider to symbolize the attribute value:

require 'puppet/provider/nimsoft'
Puppet::Type.type(:nimsoft_cdm_disk).provide(:nimsoft, :parent => Puppet::Provider::Nimsoft) do
  register_config '/opt/nimsoft/probes/system/cdm/cdm.cfg', 'disk/alarm/fixed'
  map_property :description
  map_property :device, :attribute => :disk
  map_property :warning, :section => 'warning', :attribute => :threshold
  map_property :critical, :section => 'error', :attribute => :threshold
  map_property :active, :symbolize => true
  map_property :missing, :attribute => :active, :section => 'missing', :symbolize => :yes