I work on Linux boxes, Windows boxes, and Macs. My preference is the Mac. Why?
Less work, less headache, lower costs, and superb applications. Server Siren is one of those simple alarm apps that just works.
At work we have hundreds of machines to keep track of, monitor, update, troubleshoot, most of which help the sys admin staff grow gray hair. Faster.
There’s servers and desktops of all kinds. Those that cause us the fewest problems are Macs. We also support Mac and Windows applications (Linux is used mostly for servers and doesn’t have much of a desktop presence).
As you may imagine, we have all sorts of server monitoring tools to keep track of what’s running, and more importantly, what’s not running.
This weekend I came across another excellent Mac application which monitors other computers and alerts you to a problem. It’s called Server Siren.
If there’s a manual or docs available for Server Siren, I didn’t find either. I didn’t look, either. Server Siren is about as simple as you want an alert application to be.
Basically, Server Siren monitors a server and alerts you when the server is no longer available or online. That’s very handy these days.
Enter a web site URL, a port number, and select an alert. Or, two, or three. You can be alerted to a server’s failure by email, SMS, sound, or AppleScript.
Since Server Siren sits in the Apple Menu Bar and the icon is the old police car style siren (bubble gum machine), status reports are merely a glance away.
Green says you’re good to go. Red says there’s a problem. Regardless, Server Siren will notify you via email, run an AppleScript, or via a sound (you choose from the Mac’s system sounds, or create a custome sound—my favorite: “I’m sorry, Dave. I can’t do that.”).
That’s about it. Server Siren just works. But there’s more under the hood than just simplicity.
Clicking on the Server Siren icon in the Menu Bar and selecting Manage Server List brings up the guts, the tools, the goodies. Add servers, add alerts, change server ports (web sites are usually port 80, POP email is usually port 110, SMTP is port 25, FTP is port 21, and so on).
Server Siren checks the port which checks to make sure the application is running appropriately. If not, you get an email alert or any other alert you set.
If everything is A-OK, the green light stays on.
I’ve used about every alert system available, Mac, Windows, Linux, and this one is about as easy and basic as it gets.
Preferences? The only preference item is how often you want Server Siren to check a server.
Under the hood, Server Siren also logs checking attempts so you can easily see when something when wrong. There’s also a graphical view of server response time over a period of time.
That will give you an idea of how quickly a server is responding. Status reports can be displayed showing a single server, or all servers in your list.
Server Siren is elegance personified. Simple, intuitive, yet powerful and another way to check servers—Mac, Windows, Linux, whatever. $15 is chump change.
I’ve used Dejal Simon on the Mac and the WatchMouse Dashboard Widget, both of which are straightforward and worthy applications; the former has many features, more complex, and costs more, the latter is free and does just one thing.
In between is Server Siren.
There’s always a list of additional features we’d like in a new application. I want to be able to select which email account gets the message, rather than the default setting on the Mac. That should show up in a future release.
Ease of use? It doesn’t get much better. Any Mac application developer that’s named Foggy Noggin is worthy of a look see.
Bambi’s Note: Jeff Mincey works as a network system administrator in Georgia and manages hundreds of computers; from Linux and Windows to Macs.