Home > Articles > Networking > Network Administration & Management

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

Processing and Overhead

Monitoring systems necessarily introduce some overhead in the form of network traffic and resource utilization on the monitored hosts. Most monitoring systems typically have a few specific modes of operation, so the capabilities of the system, along with implementation choices, dictate how much, and where, overhead is introduced.

Remote Versus Local Processing

Nagios exports service checking logic into tiny single-purpose programs called plugins. This makes it possible to add checks for new types of services quickly and easily, as well as co-opt existing monitoring scripts. This modular approach makes it possible to execute the plugins themselves, either locally on the monitoring server or remotely on the monitored hosts.

Centralized execution is generally preferable whenever possible because the monitored hosts bear less of a resource burden. However, remote processing may be unavoidable, or even preferred, in some situations. For large environments with tens of thousands of hosts, centralized execution may be too much for a single monitoring server to handle. In this case, the monitoring system may need to rely on the clients to run their own service checks and report back the results. Some types of checks may be impossible to run from the central server. For example, plugins that check the amount of free memory may require remote execution.

As a third option, several Nagios servers may be combined to form a single distributed monitoring system. Distributed monitoring enables centralized execution in large environments by distributing the monitoring load across several Nagios servers. Distributed monitoring is also good for situations in which the network is geographically disperse, or otherwise inconveniently segmented.

Bandwidth Considerations

Plugins usually generate some IP traffic. Each network device that this traffic must traverse introduces network overhead, as well as a dependency into the system. In Figure 1.1, there is a router between the Nagios Server and Server1. Because Nagios must traverse the router to connect to Server1, Server1 is said to be a child of the router. It is always desirable to do as little layer 3 routing between the monitoring system and its target hosts as possible, especially where devices such as firewalls and WAN links are concerned. So the location of the monitoring system within the network topology becomes an important implementation detail.

Figure 1.1

Figure 1.1 The router between Nagios and Server1 introduces a dependency and some network overhead in the form of layer 3 routing decisions.

In addition to minimizing layer 3 routing of traffic from the monitoring host, you also want to make sure that the monitoring host is sending as little traffic as possible. This means paying attention to things such as polling intervals and plugin redundancy. Plugin redundancy is when two or more plugins effectively monitor the same service.

Redundant plugins may not be obvious. They usually take the form of two plugins that measure the same service, but at different depths. Take, for example, an imaginary Web service running on Server1. The monitoring system may initially be set up to connect to port 80 of the Web service to see if it is available. Then some months later, when the Web site running on Server1 has some problems with users being able to authenticate, a plugin may be created that verifies authentication works correctly. All that is actually needed in this example is the second plugin. If it can log in to the Web site, then port 80 is obviously available and the first plugin does nothing but waste resources. Plugin redundancy may not be a problem for smaller sites with less than a thousand or so servers. For large sites, however, eliminating plugin redundancy (or better, ensuring it never occurs in the first place) can greatly reduce the burden on the monitoring system and the network.

Minimizing the overhead incurred on the environment as a whole means maintaining a global perspective on its resources. Hosts connected by slow WAN links that are heavily utilized, or are otherwise sensitive to resource utilization, should be grouped logically. Nagios provides hostgroups for this purpose. These allow configuration settings to be optimized to meet the needs of the group. For example, plugins may be set to a higher timeout for the Remote-Office hostgroup, ensuring that network latency doesn't cause a false alarm for hosts on slower networks. Special consideration should be given to the location of the monitoring system to reduce its impact on the network, as well as to minimize its dependency on other devices. Finally, make sure that your configuration changes don't needlessly increase the burden on the systems and network you monitor, as with redundant plugins. The last thing a monitoring system should do is cause problems of its own.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020