BigBen: Network Monitor Utility LG #28

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BigBen is a collection of three Perl scripts useful to monitor a Unix network. The development is not completed, and there are a lot of things to add and improve, but I think that the skeleton of the application is working quite fine. The program was built on a Linux box, but I think it will run fine also on other UNIX environment, with a perl interpreter

BigBen is made of three scripts:

  • LittleBen: Client program. This program collect the info on a system and send all the data to the server
  • BigBen: Server program. Accept the connections from the clients and save the data in the proper place/format
  • Weber: Output formatter. This script collect the data files saved by the server, and creates an HTML output, so you can check your network on a WEB browser

As you can see, the use of this application is quite simple. All the three scripts run as daemons. BigBen and Weber run on the same system, and the LittleBen client can be installed on several systems (all the systems you need to check).

The check logic of Weber is the following:

  • when it starts for the first time, it checks for data file sent by the clients. The data file will be unavailable, because it’s easy that the clients start at the same time, so Weber set an initial Warning message
  • if at the second check, it does not find a data file, not it set an error flag (may be that the client is not started, or has some problems)
  • after each pause, it checks the file and display the infos in them. An error is set if it does not find the data file

To avoid problem due to the timings between the client and the server (both wait for a while before check), it’s better to start the client before.

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Now, we can analyze the scripts in detail.


LittleBen is the client application: it runs as a daemon, and it is configurable through the configuration file (see the LittleBen.conf sample file). In this file you can put the processes you want to monitor, and the Min and Max values you want for these processes; if these values are out of the border you set, the client send an ERROR or a WARNING to the server. See the README file to have a detailed description and an example of this file.


This is the server script. Once installed, it listens on a port (default 4455) for the data sent out by the clients. When the packet is received, it saves the data in the proper directory, where the Weber will get the data. See the README file to have a detailed description of the options available.


The Weber gets the data saved by the BigBen, and creates a couple of HTML pages, so you can check the data with your HTML browser. The HTML file created, is able to auto-reload itself, so you will get the last date in each moment. The Weber and the BigBen will run on the same system.

Weber needs a configuration file. See the README file to have more info about the command line options and the configuration file. The scripts and README are in a gzipped tar file for download purposes.

*** Please report any bug, enhancement request, comment to the author: *** Cesare Pizzi *** ***

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