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Monitoring With Groundwork Open Source On CentOS 5.1

Nagios is (in my opinion) one of the finest availability and monitoring solutions available. The stability, extendability and cost effectiveness (it is free under the GPL), are second to none (again, my opinion). That being said, it is far from being the easiest monitoring solution to implement. The build process itself, while not being overly complicated, can be vexing to new Linux users. That doesn’t even include the configuration, which sometimes still makes me cringe.

Fortunately, there are a few projects that aim to ease both the installation and configuration of Nagios. There is Centreon (formerly Oreon), fruity  and then there is GroundWork Open Source. For me, it seems to be the most intuitive tool that I have found to implement and configure Nagios and is the subject of this guide.

Having run through this guide several times, I can honestly say that you will spend more time getting CentOS 5.1 installed and updated, than you will installing Groundwork. My rough estimate is that by following this guide, you can have Nagios running and monitoring your network within three hours. Let’s get started, shall we…


Installing CentOS 5.1

Since I do not have VMware installed, I cannot produce screen shots of the base installation. Basically, I did a base install with the exception of the following:

Edit and set IP manually
Disable IPv6 support (This is kind of up to you, but since it is not used in our environment, I disable it)
Set hostname to Groundwork.DOMAIN
Set Gateway, Primary and Secondary DNS

When you come to the software selection options, install the following:

uncheck Desktop-Gnome
check server
choose “customize now”
Choose these options:
Applications – Editors, text based Internet
Development – Development tools
Servers – MySQL Database, Server Configuration Tools, Web Server
Base System – Administration Tools, Base, System Tools


Disable The Firewall And SELinux

Both the firewall and SELinux will interfere with Groundwork, so you must disable them. Perform the following steps to do so:


Select “Disabled” for both the “Security Level” and for “SELinux”.


Once you have completed this step, you must reboot the server to make the change take effect. Perform the following command:

shutdown -r now


Enable [CentOSPlus] Repo

You need to enable the Enable [CentOSPlus] repo so that MySQL 5 is available (as this is one of the requirements of Groundwork).

vi /etc/yum.repos.d/CentOS-Base.repo

To enable [CentOSPlus], find the following section and change “enabled=0” to “enabled=1”, so that it resembles the text below (this should be at the very bottom of the file).

name=CentOS-$releasever - Plus


Install Apache, MySQL, PHP And Some Other Necessary Software

It is time now to begin preparing the server with the software necessary to run Groundwork. Issuing the following commands should get you everything that you need (at least that is available from the repositories).

rpm –import /etc/pki/rpm-gpg/RPM-GPG-KEY*

yum update

yum install fetchmail wget bzip2 unzip zip nmap openssl lynx fileutils ncftp gcc gcc-c++ bison flex byacc nano mysql mysql-devel mysql-server php php-devel php-gd php-imap php-ldap php-mysql php-odbc php-pear php-xml php-xmlrpc curl curl-devel perl-libwww-perl ImageMagick libxml2 libxml2-devel

First warning: Do not set a password for the root MySQL user yet! It will interfere with the Groundwork install. It will be taken care of later in the guide.

Once everything is up to date and installed, issue the following commands to set Apache and MySQL to start at boot and also to start them now:


chkconfig –levels 235 httpd on
/etc/init.d/httpd start


chkconfig –levels 235 mysqld on
/etc/init.d/mysqld start

You also need to edit the httpd.conf file make sure that Apache can serve .php and .cgi files. Issue the command:

nano /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf

Now, find the DirectoryIndex directive and change it from:

DirectoryIndex index.html index.html.var


DirectoryIndex index.html index.htm index.shtml index.cgi index.php index.php3

Now, restart Apache to make the changes take effect.

/etc/init.d/httpd restart


Install Webmin

I’m sure there are going to be questions as to why Webmin is needed. My short answer is “you may not need it.” My longer answer is that we need to install Java later in the guide and I find that uploading the file to my server is easiest done via Webmin. If you have another method, please feel free to skip this section. Installing Webmin is simple and can be done by issuing these commands:

cd /tmp/
gpg –import jcameron-key.asc
rpm -U webmin-1.400-1.noarch.rpm

If, after, you have completed the guide and gotten Groundwork functional, you wish to remove Webmin, you can do so by issuing this command: (I guess that I don’t have to tell you not to do this until after the Groundwork install is complete…)

rpm -e webmin-1.400-1.noarch.rpm

You should now be able to access Webmin at:


Install Java

Groundwork requires Java SDK version 1.5 and can be obtained from the following URL: The file that you are after is jdk-1_5_0_15-linux-i586-rpm.bin.

To upload the file to your server using Webmin, login to Webmin at http://IP Address:10000. From there, click on “Others” on the menu on the left hand side, them “Upload and Download” and finally on the “upload to server” tab.  Use the “Browse” button to locate the jdk-1_5_0_15-linux-i586-rpm.bin file, and set the “File or directory to upload to” directive to the /tmp directory and click on the “upload” button.

If you receive an error like the following, you will need to disable the “Trusted Referrers” directive in the Webmin configuration.


You can disable the “Trusted Referrers” directive by going to “Webmin” in the left hand menu, then clicking on “Webmin Configuration” and clicking on “Trusted Referrers” (should be on the far right hand side). Set “Referrer checking enabled?” to “No” and check the box next to “Trust links from unknown referrers”  Once you have done this, try your upload again.

Once the jdk-1_5_0_15-linux-i586-rpm.bin file is in your tmp directory, issue the following commands to install it.

cd /tmp/
chmod +x jdk-1_5_0_15-linux-i586-rpm.bin

You will be prompted to agree to the license agreement – Simply type “yes” and hit the Enter key to proceed. Once the installation has completed, you need to verify that you do not have other Java packages installed. Issue this command:

rpm -qa | grep -i java

If you see something resembling this output, you will need to remove them.



You can remove them by issuing a command similar to this:

rpm -e java-1.4.2-gcj-compat-

With that done, you need to reboot your server before proceeding. Issue this command now:

shutdown -r now

Once the system has rebooted, you can finalize the Java installation. First, you need to edit your profile and insert the paths to your Java installation.

nano /etc/profile

When the editor is open, add these lines at the bottom of the open file:

export JAVA_HOME=/usr/java/jdk1.5.0_15

export PATH=$PATH:$JAVA_HOME/bin

Press Ctrl-O to write out your changes and Ctrl-X to exit the editor. Now, we need to update the profile by issuing this command:

source /etc/profile

To ensure that Java is working, issue this command:

which java

You should see output similar to this:


Almost there, we just need to create a few shortcuts so that Groundwork finds Java where it expects too.

ln -sf $JAVA_HOME/bin/java /etc/alternatives/java
ln -sf /etc/alternatives/java /usr/bin/java

Now, if you issue the “which java” command again, you should see output such as this:


If you do, then it is time to move onto setting the host file. If not, then look back over these steps to see if you missed something.


Set Hosts File

Groundwork requires that the host file be set up in a specific manner (and is the opposite of the perfect setup guides that you will find here). Issue the following command to edit the host file.

nano /etc/hosts

Now make sure the IP Addresses and the hostname are set up like the following example. localhost localhost.localdomain Groundwork Groundwork.Server

You will, of course, want to substitute your server’s IP Address in place of the address and your server’s name in place of Groundwork.Server (although I would highly recommend keeping a format similar to Groundwork.*, where the * represents your local domain). Everything else within the host file should stay the same.  Once your modifications are complete, press Ctrl-O to write out your changes and Ctrl-X to exit the editor.


Obtain And Install Groundwork Open Source

It is now time to obtain and install Groundwork. This should be the most painless part of the whole build process. Simply issue the following commands to obtain and install Groundwork.

mkdir /usr/local/groundwork
cd /usr/local/groundwork
tar -xvzf groundwork-monitor-os-5.1.3-3.rhel5.i386.tar.gz
rpm -Uvh groundwork-foundation-pro-1.6.1-67.noarch.rpm
rpm -Uvh groundwork-monitor-core-5.1.3-8.rhel5.i386.rpm

If there are no errors, it is time to visit your new Groundwork based monitoring solution. If however; You receive an error such as the following:

Couldn’t connect to localhost:4913: IO::Socket::INET: connect: Connection refused

Then you need to check your host file and make sure that it is set up properly. This error is due to Apache not being able to properly resolve your host name and not starting.

If you had to reconfigure your host file, then you will need to issue the following commands before proceeding:

/etc/init.d/httpd restart
rpm -e groundwork-monitor-core-5.1.3-8.rhel5
rpm -Uvh groundwork-monitor-core-5.1.3-8.rhel5.i386.rpm


Accessing GroundWork

To access Groundwork, all you need to do is open your favorite web browser and point it to the IP Address of the server as shown in the example below.

The default user ID and password are:

Username: admin
Password: admin



I am not going to go into the full configuration of Groundwork, because that would simply take to much time. I will help you get started though.

Once you have logged in, you will see a menu area in the top left hand side of your browser (look for “Home”) – Click on the square to the left of it to access a menu.


On the menu, look for and click on “Configuration EZ”. From there, click on “Discover” and enter the IP range that you wish to scan for hosts. For example 192.168.1.*-110 and then click on the “Next” button.  Once the scan has completed, simply choose the hosts that you wish to monitor, by placing a check mark next to their names and clicking on the “Add” button.

With your hosts chosen, it is time to commit your configuration. In the menu near the top of the page, you should see where it says “Commit” – Click there. On the left hand side of the screen, you should have two options – Pre flight test and Commit. First choose “Pre flight test” to test your configuration. If you get a statement such as this – “Things look okay – No serious problems were detected during the pre-flight check”, then your configuration is good to go. Click on “Commit” and then in the new section that opens, click on the “Commit” button there.

That’s it! Now if you go back to the menu and go to the “Monitoring Server” option in the menu, you will see your new monitoring solution in action.

For information concerning extending Groundwork to meet your needs (or any other questions that you may have), they have an excellent community forum – GroundWork Community Support.


Setting Root MySQL Password

If everything is working as it should, then you can set the root password for MySQL now (only do this after you are sure that everything is working though). The command is as follows:

mysqladmin -u root password put_your_password_here

I hope that you have found my guide useful.