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Anturis Offers Perceptive Server Monitoring with cPanel

Anturis released a plugin in closed beta this week that makes it easy for small to medium sized businesses, web hosts and system administrators to add Anturis server monitoring and troubleshooting to cPanel and WHM.

According to Anturis, the cPanel and WHM plugin provides automatic server monitoring setup that provides external, cloud based monitoring of web services as well as internal monitoring of servers and applications.

In an interview with Anturis CEO Sergey Nevstruev says the cPanel and WHM plugin is all about making things simpler for those handling infrastructure. "The main purpose is simplicity installation and configuring the monitoring as quickly as possible," he says.

But it’s not just about making installation quick and easy, which is something Nevstruev admits many other monitoring solutions offer. Anturis is distinctive because it provides a more complete monitoring solution with additional insight into what elements of an IT infrastructure are really at fault when a warning arises. This is something that is possible with powerful open source solutions such as Nagios, but it often requires a large investment in customization.

Identifying Problems and Making them Stand Out

Anturis is able to automatically determine the dependencies that each component has on another and track the relational links between components that cause problems to occur.

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Nevstruev says that instead of seeing "a red screen full of alerts and systems administrators around me panicking," they’re provided a more accurate message explaining what’s most likely the root of the problem.

This approach of isolating and analyzing the root causes of errors is seen in other current server monitoring SaaS solutions like New Relic’s application performance monitoring.

In the case of New Relic, it tries to provide users visibility into the entire application stack and insight into why an application isn’t performing well. On a per server basis, it simplifies the key metrics to four: CPU, disk IO, memory, and disk space. Each is assigned a green, yellow or red color to draw attention to potential issues.

From a workflow perspective, this means providing a quick overview with the right information, and perhaps more importantly removing distractions.

Saving time spent identifying and troubleshooting problems is crucial for small businesses, and any organization without a large IT staff, but especially small hosting providers. Nevstruev says, "Small hosting providers will be our clients because the reliability of their infrastructure is very critical for them, it’s their core business."

Monitoring on the Inside and Out

Anturis’ approach is to monitoring is particularly interesting given that it looks for infrastructure problems both from outside and inside the infrastructure. Externally, Anturis tests responsiveness from its geographically dispersed cloud to see how services are actually experienced by users. Then, internally, relay agents installed on local servers securely collect information that can be used to diagnose problems.

But Anturis is flexible and goes beyond standard server monitoring, allowing users to create custom monitors basically anything that can provide text or a numeric value. This means that factors like temperature or traffic can be monitored just like every other component of the IT ecosystem.

With the hosting of applications increasingly involving a complicated mix of components working together, server monitoring has become a more difficult task and one that many businesses require. More options in the server monitoring space have emerged recently such as zPerfmon (a recently open sourced server monitoring tool from Zynga) and JumpCloud (a SaaS solution which promises a 2 minute install). The formula for a competitive server monitoring solution involves a mix of functionality, workflow, and ease of installation and configuration.

With its cPanel and WHM plugin, Anturis is making it easier to setup and configure monitoring in a way that enables administrators to get useful information. And this is the crucial first step in smarter server monitoring.

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