As your business grows, so do your resources, people, services, systems, and IT infrastructure. Therefore, a performance monitoring solution is important to monitor the health, activity, and performance of your servers.
In this article, I’ll talk about several lightweights, free-to-use server monitoring tools.
Every IT administrator faces these challenges such as server crashes, slow applications, unexpected downtime, configuring dependencies, fixing memory leaks, etc. To solve these problems, IT monitoring software/applications are required.
Nagios and Zabbix are the most popular monitoring tools out there for monitoring the entire infrastructure. With these tools, you can monitor almost anything such as server performance, network performance, and logs, operating systems, applications, websites, etc.
However, if your infrastructure is not large enough or you just want to monitor server performance instead of opting for a full-featured end-to-end tool, you can opt for lightweight, self-hosted server monitoring software.
Note: If you are using Linux, you can also try Inbuilt commands to monitor CPU, memory, and process.
1. Linux Dash
Linux Dash is a web dashboard for Linux systems. The user interface of Linux Dash is based on Angular, and several languages support the server-side.
The System Status tab displays information about RAM usage, average CPU usage, CPU utilization, CPU and RAM processes, disc partitions, swap usage, CPU temperature, and Docker processes.
It also includes network-level, account-level, and application-level information.
Linux Dash features:
- Also supports WebSocket for real-time visualization of system data.
- Drag and drop user interface
- Customizable screens (minimize, expand, adjust) in the dashboard
- Server-side implementation available in multiple languages (Node.js, Python, Go, PHP)
Netdata is free open-source software for real-time monitoring of systems and applications. It can run on Linux, FreeBSD, macOS, Docker containers, and IoT devices.
You can install the Netdata agent on your system, application, or container and it will provide all the performance and integrity information in real-time.
You can select the diagram of the CPU shown above in yellow color by dragging through the diagram and zooming in/out with SHIFT + mouse wheel. This area will be displayed in detail. It can be easily integrated with other tools such as Prometheus, AWS Kinesis, Graphite, MongoDB, etc.
• Quick and easy installation
• Provides real-time data
• Can monitor thousands of metrics per node
• Can automatically collect up to 10000 metrics per server itself
• Stores historical data of every single second
• Very easy to understand dashboard presentation
• Identifies abnormalities with the advanced metrics visualizer
• No dedicated resource is required to run Netdata
Conky is a system monitor originally written for X (window system). It currently works on several platforms. You can run it on X, Linux, Mac OS (with X Quartz), and on most BSDs.
It displays information with plain text or busing progress bars and graph widgets with different fonts and colors.
- Over 300 integrated objects to display system status
- Very simple user interfaces
- Supports music players like Audacious, MPD
- Supports POP3 and IMAP
- Can display all information using scripts and external programs
Blicke is a cross-platform monitoring tool written in Python. It supports only Python 2.7 or Python> = 3.4. It uses Python libraries (psutil) to collect all system information.
Depending on the size of the user interface (mobile, web user interface, terminal), the information displayed on the user interface changes dynamically.
- Remote monitoring available via terminal, web UI, or API (XML-RPC server and RESTful JSON)
- Exportable statistics to a file or database
- Easy one-command installation — pip installation glances
- Docker container available for looks
- If you need better visualization, you can export data from Glances to InfluxDB and visualize this data on Grafana.
Ward Specifies minimal/main information related to servers only. It is compatible with all major operating systems.
Ward uses OSHIDies is a free Java library for retrieving operating system and hardware information. It shares information such as operating system version, memory, processor, disk, and partitions, CPU usage, etc.
The dashboard consists of five different sections:
- Processor: name, utilization%, number of cores, bit, frequency.
- Machine: operating system and its version, RAM%, RAM size, RAM type, number of current processes
- Cabinets: name, utilization%, memory size, hard disk count, virtual memory
- % Usage: this section shows the visualization of processor, memory, and storage in the last 20 seconds
- Ward: It shows the availability since the last boot time on Linux and the hard reset time on Windows.
To run Ward, you can create and run a JAR file of this project or download and run the latest JAR file. You can also run Ward in a Docker container.
6. Prometheus + Grafana
Prometheus is an open-source tool for monitoring system metrics and Grafana is an open-source visualization platform. An integrated Prometheus and Grafana setup is a powerful environment for efficient monitoring of servers.
The Prometheus server regularly collects all data, Prometheus becomes the data source for Grafana and Grafana visualizes all metrics in the dashboard. In Grafana you even have the possibility to query the metrics to be visualized.
It’s worth trying out this combination!
Monitoring the performance of your server is indeed necessary. If it is not done properly, it can create performance and uptime issues that can hinder your business. However, you don’t have to worry if you use a monitoring software solution to ensure that your server performs well.