Everything in Checkmk 2.0 feels new, yet familiar. Whether you are a newcomer to Checkmk or a veteran, you will be right at home. The absolutely powerful configuration engine, the event console, everything you’ve come to know and love is there, but better. So how do we break down such a consistent release? In this article, I will highlight for your a selection of our most favorite Checkmk 2.0 features.
With hundreds of new features across the entire platform, it was not easy to choose just these 5, and you can expect more from us on what is the largest release of Checkmk yet.
So here comes our top 5 for today:
Checkmk Micro core
Cloud and containers
Advanced network monitoring
The Checkmk Micro Core
Checkmk has always been about high performance and is one of the reasons we love it. We have scaled Checkmk to hundreds of geographical locations, totaling millions services and this was before Checkmk 2.0. So imagine our delight now that we can do even more with less.
Checkmk 2.0 includes a new architecture of the CMC with considerable work done to reduce the memory and CPU footprint. This translates to money in your pocket immediately, as you can achieve even more using the same hardware.
One aspect of specific interest are the performance improvements to the configuration engine and configuration processing which allows for faster rule evaluations, improved handling of larger number of piggyback hosts and the up to 6x improvement in configuration loading. These are not your typical “scratch the surface” improvements.They are HUGE. Add to this that the GUIhas accelerated the rendering of high-resolution graphs means you can quickly see and feel the performance.
Checkmk 2.0 is only the beginning.There are numerous additions coming that will enable even more improvements to help you do more with less. One such upcoming feature is the synchronization of incremental changes in Distributed Monitoring environments.
Checkmk 2.0 is not only the largest release by now, it is also one of the most consistent, touching upon almost all aspects of the product, improving all components. Keep an eye out, there’s more to come. Until then, Tribe29 have a good technical write-up of the CMC changes and more.
With Checkmk 2.0, thereare two outstanding features that help with the automation of Checkmk. The new Check API will make it easier to develop your own plug-ins for monitoring with Checkmk. The new REST API will help with all automation scenarios.
The Check API
The new Check API simplifies the development of your own plugins by providing a standardized framework for you to work with. As of Checkmk 2.0, plug-ins are Python3 modules with version support making it easier to write plug-ins, perform separate checks, using Python IDE’s for testing and more.The API comes with many features including cluster monitoring compatibility.We recommend you keep an eye out on this one, if you are a check developer.
The REST API
The new REST API will allow you to automate almost all aspects of your Checkmk configuration and operations processes, such as enabling, querying of host and service status, acknowledging problems among others. It is possible now to completely configure and querying Checkmks’s Business Intelligence. The new REST API already includes many more features than the previous API, yet more work is still in the pipeline. Keep an eye out, as the new REST API is slated to completely replace the current APIs as soon as possible.
Cloud and containers
With feature pack 2 for Checkmk 1.6, it was possible to monitor containers such as Kubernetes clusters though the Prometheus integration. This integration allows the gathering of relevant standard and custom metrics from Prometheus which provided an integrated view of the entire stack. The Prometheus integration provides the most important exporters (such as cAdvisor, Node_exporter and kube-state-metrics) but also the creation of custom PromSQL queries that would generate Checkmk services and metrics.
With Checkmk 2.0, that integration deepens and the improvements include better handling of Kubernetes namespaces, HTTP support and completely new checks. Kubernetes monitoring has been enhanced for better monitoring of ingresses, jobs, endpoints and pod conditions.
Cloud monitoring has received updates as well and the improvements around AWS, Azure monitoring are impressive. New services such as AWS Glacier, DynamoDB, Web Application Firewals or Azure Cloud Active Directory Connect are nice additions.
Wherever your infrastructue may be, on-premise, in the cloud or some hybrid configuration, Checkmk has got you covered.
advanced network monitoring
Checkmk has always been a deep network monitoring tool. Now with Checkmk 2.0 they’re going even deeper. We can now gain these deep insights in the network due to an integration with nTop’s network flow monitoring. By integrating the analysis of flow packets, it is possible to see in-depth and relevant information from the network traffic in Checkmk. Now you can go one step further from “I see a traffic spike on this port” from Checkmk to identifying exactly who is doing what. All of this from the familiar Checkmk GUI. Impressive no?
The insights that are obtainable through network traffic monitoring via flows can go even deeper than the data on bandwidth, status or the utilization of network components obtained through an SNMP query.
Switch port monitoring is also enhanced through the nTop integration as the grouping of networked ports work-flow has been simplified. This results in less configuration on part of the operator.
We’ve always said Checkmk provides deep insight into your network and systems. Now we’ve gone even deeper, allowing for more questions to be answered such as “who” and “what”.
It is said we should not judge books by their covers, but man-oh-man does the new Checkmk interface look nice! But wait, it’s not just a nice looking interface. There was real thought behind the design, positioning, color and layout. It is was carefully built to make your interactions with Checkmk smooth and efficient.
The new interface is a modern, intuitive and redesigned user experience. In monitoring you need to get to answers quickly. The new interface is a dramatic user experience improvement that enables both beginners and experts to focus on what matters most. Getting things done, easier and faster.
First you will notice the simplified navigation and the new Navbar and Sidebar. This allows you to always have front and center monitoring data. Whenever you need to navigate to some other place, it is always a single click away.
Secondly, you can customize your monitoring to your desire. Great dashboards are literally a click away and they offer new powerful visualization options such as dynamically resizing to any monitor resolution, extremely intuitive designer and many new dashlets such as Gauge, Histogram and single metric’s.
There are so many improvements on this front that I think we best leave this to an upcoming presentation about the interface. If you’d like to meet-up for a live 30 minutes presentation, book a demo with me.