Can anyone suggest a better tool for monitoring BlackBoard App server? Can Cacti monitor JMX? Or is there any other better option for the same?
I want to preface this comment with two things:
I've worked with an open source piece of software named Zabbix for approximately 7 years, at least 5 of those years I've been using it to monitor my Blackboard application servers.
Without being sure on your environment or your organisation, the following pieces of Zabbix functionality are likely to help you out:
Because you've mentioned by name that you're looking for JMX monitoring, these are my recommendations/pointers:
The following entries are required in the 'bbconfig.jvm.options.extra.tomcat' options list if you're presenting unauthenticated JMX monitoring:
If your organisation/security policy dictates that you need to have a username + password. You will need to read up on the extra requirements.
Zabbix is an amazing platform that fits my needs really well, I gave a very simplified presentation in 2015 at the ANZTLC about the benefits of monitoring your Blackboard application however now that I'm employed by another institution, I do not have the rights to distribute that presentation.
I also found a presentation given in 2012 at Blackboard DevCon on Zabbix & Blackboard: Here. The links in that presentation Blackboard templates provided by Blackboard will be pointing to an old link that existed on EduGarage many years ago, I haven't been able to find a mirror of that article in a while though.
Edit: Link to Blackboard provided templates (years old)
Best of luck and have fun!
Woow Ashley...Thanks for the detailed explanation.
Let me try Zabbix and see whether it can meet our requirements.
Once again thanking you for the wonderful reply. Will give you some updates after I install and configure it.
We use Zenoss and it includes JMX monitoring so it works fairly well for us.
Thanks Jeff for your valuable input. Usually which all parameters you monitor for finding the performance level of blackboard application.
I have successfully installed zabbix and now I can see JMX gateway able to fetch details from our blackboard servers. Now I have a few questions which im trying to figure out:
1. Which JMX paramer we need to configure to get the total number of concurrent assessments happening across all blackboard servers. Is there any single parameter for this or do we need to take the aggregate of a particular parameter across all the servers?
2. Similarly which JMX paramer we need to monitor to get a count of total number of students currently logged into all blackboard servers?
3. Also which all java/backboard parameters do we need to monitor to analyze the smooth working of blackboard application.
Apologies if these questions are too basic. Im trying to understand how blackboard can be monitored efficiently.
Not a problem Gopi, I'm glad you were able to get it all configured nicely.
I have just found a mirror of the templates Blackboard built for monitoring of the application, but just a warning, these are very old: https://github.com/blackboard/zabbix-ext
GitHub - blackboard/zabbix-ext: More metrics, elasticity, scalability, and automation for Zabbix.
The reason that I dug up the above repository from Blackboard is that there is a building block available under the zabbix-ext/templates/blackboard_learn/b2/201404/ folder named 'bb-extended-monitoring'. This building block and the metrics presented through that were not required for me to report on, so I haven't used it in a production sense for the last 3 or so years.
It may be perfect for you however, the items included in the 'application_single_agent.xml' template are overview metrics of your environment (you can run the template on just one of your hosts (I find this prospect scary though, if you lost this host for a period of time)). The items that appear as though they fit your needs:
Unfortunately I believe that the above building block needs to be deployed for these items to be exposed for you to use. If you cannot deploy the building block, you may be able to get indicative numbers by aggregating the number of tomcat sessions running across your hosts, and the number of users currently using the assessment/assignment building blocks.
A very quick overview of what I would suggest to look at in terms of performance are the following:
There's no such thing as a question that's too basic .
I realise that you've probably got a lot of stuff to do, but if you find yourself with a little bit of time, I would recommend listening to presentations given at Zabbix conferences over the last few years. This one is my personal recommendation: Raymond Kuiper - Zen and The Art of Zabbix Template Design | Zabbix Conference 2016 - YouTube.
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