Using an SMS Server to Provide a Robust Alerting Service for Nagios

I’m a big fan of the Nagios network monitoring system and rely on it to tell me if something goes wrong with the systems for which I am responsible. I have made a large investment in time configuring Nagios to monitor exactly what I am interested in, and this effort would be wasted if Nagios detected a problem, but failed to communicate that problem to me. To make Nagios more robust, I wanted to make sure that its alerting mechanism did not depend on connections to the Internet—this would include the physical connection itself and internal and external services, such as e-mail, routing and DNS.

I have relied on e-mail-based systems in the past to deliver alerts; however, my dilemma was that if I was not getting e-mail, I did not know if this meant everything was okay or if there was some problem preventing me from getting the e-mail alerts, such as a down Internet connection or another kind of e-mail failure. I found that I became uneasy after long periods of silence and felt compelled to “poll” the system to make sure everything was okay.

On the other hand, I felt that if my alerting system was robust and I could trust it, my thinking would become “no news is good news”, and the absence of alerts would mean everything was fine.

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please dont use the -noma switch unless you know what you doing!

Birger Schmidt's picture

Hello readers!

Eric mentions the rather undocumented noma command line switch. As useful it is to check if the SMS was send successfully, the option is disabled by default for a good reason.

The noma switch refers to our GPL licensed product called notification manager NoMa ( And because Nagios is blocking during alerting, it is dangerous to use the -noma switch right out of Nagios. Therefore it is disabled by default and, sorry for that, not very well documented.

Greetings from Germany, Birger Schmidt, Author of the script.

Why not an existing SMS provider?

Vitaliy Levit's picture

Wondering why you didn't go with an existing SMS provider and tie in through an API like PennySMS, TextMarks, or Advanced API? Likely could have come in well under the $$ this setup cost.

Re: Why not an existing provider?

epearce's picture

I have no experience with these providers, but wouldn't they require your Internet connection to be up? I wanted something that would work regardless.

SMS service reminders

Anonymous's picture

It's amazing what solutions are coming out of SMS, other than the usual marketing ones. A recent case study from TextMagic discussed how a home safety company integrated an email to SMS service for life saving smoke detector alerts. Very compelling.