Say Hello to NIXStats: Welcoming the Newest Family Member

Plesk is proud to be a member of a growing group of innovators that are all working towards supporting web professionals.

As the WebPros group expands to welcome new and exciting technologies and softwares, we proudly welcome the newest member of the family: NIXStats, the OS-agnostic open-source server monitoring agent, is now a part of WebPros group.

What is NIXStats?

NIXStats is, in short, a tool for monitoring. It measures the performance of your websites and servers, and alerts you via almost any preferred channel of any issues or updates: you could get a ping via Slack, a Discord notification, or even RocketChat for your DevOps team.

On a user-friendly dashboard, you can access network usage data, CPU activity charts, and loading times, along with your usual alerts.

Not to mention the integration of NGiNX, Apache, MongoDB, Docker, and other key development tools, allowing you to access their essential metrics as well. 

NIXStats interface Plesk

What’s New for NIXStats and Plesk?

As of March 2021, the WebPros group announced the acquisition of NIXstats, and the forthcoming plans for integration within the software of their existing digital ecosystem.

So at Plesk, we’re the lucky ones, being an active member of the WebPros group. We love welcoming new team members into our family and serving our customers with ever more solutions, for whatever web management scenarios they might encounter. Our hosting and web management platform works daily to integrate new innovations that resolve customer inconveniences. NIXStats’ web monitoring with extension-supported metrics is sure to fit the bill.

Watch this space for updates on this customizable software in Plesk.

Get to know NixStats

You can learn more about the features of NixStats here.

Keeping Tabs with Plesk Obsidian’s Advanced Monitoring Extension [VIDEO]

Advanced Monitoring Extension by Plesk

Plesk is continually evolving. We released Plesk Obsidian just a few months ago, and it’s by far our most powerful management platform yet. Jam-packed with new features, Plesk Obsidian also introduces six new extensions that make the Plesk experience better than ever. Each extension offers users enhanced usability, tougher security, and maximum productivity. One of these new extensions is the Advanced Monitoring extension.

Advanced Monitoring replaces the Server Health Monitor component as the main feed for monitoring the health of your server. The Advanced Monitoring extension works in tandem with Grafana – an extension that displays server metrics as visuals, graphs and dashboards. The result is a powerful combination that optimizes both the flexibility and control of your Plesk account.

This article will fill you in on everything you need to know about the new Advanced Monitoring extension. We’ll first look at why the extension is so important and the problems it solves. Then, its main features, and finally how you can start using it.

What problems does Advanced Monitoring solve?

Keeping track of your servers can be a tricky and time-consuming task. But anyone who’s suffered an unexpected cut knows it can ultimately save you a whole lot of time and hassle. That’s why, a tool that can automate the monitoring of your servers is an invaluable asset. However, it’s important that it actually makes the process easier and upholds server monitoring best practices.

First on the best practice list is that the tool can watch various system metrics around the clock. Alerting you whenever there’s a problem. The Advanced Monitoring extension does this by tracking your server resources usage day and night.

It then notifies you when the usage of one or more resources reaches a pre-defined threshold. Because it’s essential to be instantly alerted of critical issues in order to handle them right away. Advanced Monitoring sends you emails according to your preferences and limits so you never have to worry about breaks again.

Another best practice is being able to monitor current and historical data of your server usage. This can help you get a feel for the overall state of your Plesk. Ensuring you don’t overload your server, and allowing you to plan accordingly for future needs.

Of course, all this data is useless unless it’s offered in a clear, easily-digestible manner. Grafana is the leading open source software for time series analytics. The extension displays data in Advanced Monitoring through graphs and dashboards that are highly customizable and visually appealing.

Main features of Advanced Monitoring

Let’s take an overview of Advanced Monitoring’s full feature list. With the Advanced Monitoring extension, you can:

  • See detailed reports on your server health
  • See how server health parameters change with time
  • Change the displayed time period
  • Keep track of the system resources’ usage on your server
  • Configure email notifications to inform when one or more resources’ usage reaches a pre-defined threshold (this feature is on its way).

One of the best things about the extension is that it’s ready to go out-of-the-box. Both the Advanced Monitoring and Grafana extensions are installed in Plesk Obsidian by default. You can find them located in the main left panel. The resources and services monitored by Advanced Monitoring are separated into five categories, with each one shown on its own tab.

If you upgrade to Plesk Obsidian from Plesk Onyx, Advanced Monitoring will automatically install and replace Server Health Monitor.

How to use the Advanced Monitoring extension

It’s incredibly easy to monitor your resources and server health using Advanced Monitoring. Most of its features are ready to go, but you can also customize it to suit your needs.

For example, you can select a time period for which Advanced Monitoring generates graphs. Or specify a custom period by selecting “Custom time range”. This can help you find out how your parameters change over time. As well as identify the periods when your resources usage is maximal or minimal.

You can also track your server health. Not only by looking at resources graphs, but by setting up and receiving Advanced Monitoring notifications. Advanced Monitoring can show notifications in Plesk’s interface when your resource usage exceeds its threshold and/or returns to normal value. The notifications only show for resources with notifications turned on and which have thresholds set in the Advanced Monitoring settings.

Certain resources already have their notifications turned on and their thresholds set by default. When a default threshold’s exceeded, it means a parameter is close to its critical value, which can be problematic. The automated-add on Grafana allows you to see detailed, visual reports on server health. And follow the real-time evolution for parameters that are of interest to you.

It offers numerous types of dashboards and can be used in two main ways:

  • With the data collected from default sources which were integrated for you by us.
  • (If you’re an experienced Grafana user) By harvesting data from any source you can integrate Grafana with.

We’re very excited about all Plesk Obsidian’s powerful new extensions. If you have any questions about Advanced Monitoring, be sure to leave us a comment below. Or get in touch with our friendly team of Pleskperts.

The DevOps Cycle 2: Automated Deployment, Operations and Monitoring

The DevOps Cycle

Deploying in classical organizations has always been a pain. In the DevOps cycle, two roles, Dev and IT, with divergent objectives and interests battle to publish the application. These go in different work environments, such as development, integration, quality / test, pre-production, and production.

Automated deployment

DevOps automated deployment

As in any chain, it’s easy to break through the weakest link. And the more steps in the deployment processes, the more possibilities of human failure. Thus, DevOps promotes the automation of deployments through tools and scripts. With the goal of solving the entire process with an approval or activation of a feature.

 

Between each deployment environment, we must consider the context management – create, configure and destroy environments). Then, perform and pass the specific tests of each one, such as performance, resilience, functional, safety or UX tests. After, we manage configuration management (CMDB) according to the complex needs of different deployment contexts.

The most critical in this phase is the arrival of the Cloud, with its Infrastructure capabilities as a code. This forces a change from a finite infrastructure management to a management based on permanent cost optimization.

Operations: Ensuring proper functioning

DevOps

Only a minority of apps go into production without constant optimization, evolution, or support. Usually, all operations related to its operation must happen continuously throughout the life of the software. This way we have:

  1. Resources adjusted according to demand or growth of the application
  2. Dynamic change in the infrastructure due to security, performance, and availability
  3. Process optimization to improve execution and exploitation.

During the operations phase, the Cloud concept applies like a ring to the finger. Be it public, private or hybrid, this platform offers opportunities of scalability, persistence, availability, transformation, resilience and security. Furthermore, we automate the optimization of operations scenarios to mitigate failures that happen because of human error.

Monitoring

DevOps monitoring

This last phase of a DevOps process is a permanent phase and applies to the entire cycle. It’s where we monitor, analyze and measure all that displays the current status overview of the application and its infrastructure. Including all the dependencies.

And it has a reactive slope, where according to the results, we adjust the platform. Moreover, continuous learning allows us to anticipate needs and risks.

What is not defined can not be measured. What is not measured can not be improved. What is not improved, always degrades.

William Thomson

Now, the continuous feedback of all the areas of the DevOps cycle is consolidated and included in the next iteration. Either during the Planning phase, or immediately with specific corrections.

About the phases of the DevOps cycle

DevOps Phases

This was a generic, and perhaps idyllic, vision of a complete DevOps cycle. One following a logical structure, based on experience and literature. However, the reality is much more complex both in the implementation and in the execution.

But without a doubt, the biggest obstacle is communication between teams with different objectives and interests. Or maybe leaving your comfort zone to follow a trend. However, the benefits remain important in the field of productivity, Time to Market, or the flexibility of the business against customer demands.