By: Shamas Demoret
The Nagios Cross Platform Agent (NCPA) is a modern, flexible Nagios agent with a variety of capabilities that make it an excellent option for monitoring your physical, virtual, and cloud server infrastructure.
As the project notes on the NCPA homepage state, “The origins of NCPA can be traced back to the 2012 Nagios World Conference, where a network admin stated, ‘I have no idea why agents are so difficult’. After reflecting on the statement, we had no answer. The idea for NCPA to be a single monitoring agent that was secure, simple, and easy to manage was formed.” Fast forward to today, and NCPA has not only met but far exceeded those initial goals.
In this article we’ll explore some of the key features and benefits of this powerful Nagios monitoring agent.
Multiplatform Support and Ease of Installation
NCPA tends to be one of the easiest to install Nagios agents, and supports a variety of operating systems including many Linux distributions, Windows, OSX, AIX, and Solaris. Full details on supported OS’ and versions can be found on the downloads page:
NCPA checks are run using the powerful check API, which is described as ‘the core of NCPA’ in the documentation. The API provides endpoints which Nagios uses to check CPU, memory, interfaces, processes, services, user counts, Windows performance counters, and more. Custom and community plugins can also be integrated with NCPA and executed via the ‘plugins’ endpoint.
Active and Passive
NCPA provides both active and passive check capabilities, providing the ability to either configure Nagios to check remote hosts directly, or to configure remote hosts to check themselves on a defined interval and send status data upstream to Nagios proactively.
NCPA can be used with both Nagios Core open source and Nagios XI, but smart wizards are an exclusive benefit of using Nagios XI. When the NCPA wizard is run, Nagios XI scans for drives, services (showing both running and stopped), and interfaces present on the system. This simplifies configuration by providing system-specific data you can leverage to choose what to monitor, rather than needing to tell Nagios what the system has.
NCPA also provides a robust web GUI which can be used to view realtime performance graphs, state history, and process memory and CPU usage. Additionally, it can be used to test various API endpoints.
This feature can be helpful for realtime troubleshooting- for example, if Nagios detects heavy CPU or memory usage, you can navigate to the GUI and examine currently running processes on the host to quickly determine which are responsible for the most resource usage:
Here’s a quick look at the realtime graphing, state history, and API endpoint testing sections as well:
Considering all of the above, NCPA is a strong option for monitoring your physical, virtual, and cloud server infrastructure. There are a variety of other great Nagios agent projects as well, but NCPA is unique in providing the combined capabilities of comprehensive monitoring of a wide variety of operating systems, a check API, both active and passive monitoring, smart wizards, and a robust web GUI.
Visit the NCPA homepage to learn more about the project and review available downloads and documentation.