[Table of Contents][Index]



user-guide - a user's guide to using Spong


This the user's guide to using spong. It has an overview of the operation of the whole system and how the user fits into the scheme of things. Spong acknowledgements, the web-base user interface and the character based interfaced will be covered in detail.



The Spong web display has two different modes that can be configured by the Administrator: 2 frame or 3 frames. The two modes are essentially the same from the user's point of view. The 3 frame mode added a header frame at the top of the windows in addition to the two side by side display frame.

The display frames are 2 side by side frames, The left frame is commonly called the Command frame. It will contains a summary of any hosts that currently have any problems (i.e. any service that is red.) The right Display frame will contain various displays that are select from previous displays or the links on the Command frame.

Status Colors

Though out many of the displays the status of a host or a service is expressed as a color. This will be in the form of a blocks, a strip, or an icons. This is a list of the colors and their meaning.

For a service, green means that it is responding normally, or it is within normal parameters. For a host, green means that all services are OK and there are active acknowledgements or over-due service status reported.
For a service, yellow generally means that something minor is wrong and may need attention, or a parameter is slightly out of bounds. For a host, yellow mean that one or services are at a warning status.
For a service, red means that is something is critically wrong for a service, such as a network service not responding or a parameter is radically out of bounds. For a host, red means that one or more services are at a critical status.
For a service, purple means it's status report is overdue. The last time that the service has been updated is too old. this can be due to network problems or a Spong Client program has stopped for some reason. For a host, is means that one of more service status reports are over due.
For hosts and services, this means that there is an active acknowledgment on the service or host. While a service is acknowledged, no notifications will be sent to, but events will still be written to the history log file.
For hosts and service, this meaan that the status is unavailable for some reason. The usual cause is the host being out of communication. Service checks used by the the spong-network|spong-network entry elsewhere in this document program can be flagged with a stop_after flag. If a service with the stop_after fails the remaining checks will be skipped. And all of the remaining checks will have a clear status.

Display Modes

There are two main viewing modes for the Spong web interface


Header Frame

In the 3 frame mode of operation this will be displayed across the top of the web page. This frame is static. It holds a tool bar.

The tool bar has controls to switch between the Groups and Hosts view modes of the two Display frames. The tool bar may also have other controls added by your the Administrator.

Command Frame

The left Command frame is divided 5 or 6 sections from top to bottom: Title,View Tool Bar, Action Bar, Main Section (problem host list), Host Group selector and Last Update. The View Tool Bar is only displayed when the Web display is configured in 2 frame mode. And the Host Group selector will not be displayed in the Groups view mode.

The section is simple the title Spong and the version number of the server.
View Tool Bar
This has two links, Hosts and Groups, which are used to switch between the Hosts and Groups viewing modes. This Tool Bar is only displayed is the Web Interface is configured in 2 frame mode.
Action Bar
The section under the title section is the Command action bar. The Ack link will bring up the the www-spong-ack entry elsewhere in this document CGI program in the Display frame. The page allows you to display, delete, or create Spong Acknowledgements. The Summary link brigs up the host summary table of the currently select Host Group(s) in the Display frame. The <History> link displays the event history for all of the hosts in the current Host Group. And the <i>Help</i> link will the Spong HTML documentation.
Main Section
The main section of the Command frame is a list of all of the hosts that have any problems (e.g. services that are red). If there are no reported problems then this section will have "No Current Problems" in green letters. If there are problems then a list of hosts will be displayed along with name of the services that has the problem. The last date/time that the service was updated and, is defined. A contact responsible for the host.

The host name is a link that will bring up the full status display for the host in the Display frame. The problem field under the host name is a link to the service display page for that host. It will be displayed on the Display Frame. The updated field is the date and time that the status of that service updated. The contact field (if present) is a link that will bring up a custom CGI program that will allow you to send a message to the people responsible that host.

Group Section
The Host Group section allows to select which group of hosts that you want to display in the <Summary> and History displays. This title to the right of the <Group> link is the currently selected Host Group. Selecting the Group link brings up the Spong Group display in the Display frame. On top of the page is a list of all of the predefined host groups defined along with the display name and a summary description of the group.

If you click a group name link, you change the group of hosts that you are viewing. The web browser window will be redrawn to reflect the new group of hosts. At the bottom of the <Spong Groups> display is a section that allows you to select a custom group of hosts to display. You select all of the hosts that you want to be in your custom group from the list of hosts. Then click in the Show Hosts button to redraw the browser window and display the your customized group of hosts.

This section will only be displayed in the Hosts view mode.

Last Update
The time stamp section at the bottom is the date and time that the entire left frame was last updated. If refreshing is allowed by you or your system, the frame will be automatically reload every $SPONGSLEEP (for spong-server) seconds. See the section on $SPONGSLEEP in the spong.conf manpage for more information.

Display Frame

The right frame is the Display Frame. It is used to display various informational displays and forms. The default display is the Group Summary. Most of the sub-pages have an action bar.

Action Bar
The Action Bar on displays is directly under the title at the top of the page. The Connect to Host link will start a telnet session to the host if clicked. The Acknowledge Problem link will bring up the the www-spong-ack entry elsewhere in this document CGI program Display. The Host and Service fields will be filled in (if possible). The Contact Help link (if present) is a link that will bring up a custom CGI program that will allow you to send a message to the people responsible that host (see the admin-guide/"Custom Contacts" entry elsewhere in this document for more information).
Group Summary Display
The Group Summary Display is a table that lists the hosts and services of the current selected group of hosts. The name of the selected group is displayed at the top of the display. In the Groups view mode, the hosts will be grouped into separate tables by host groups.

Each host is a row in the table with services being the columns of the table. The current status of each service is a colored block or a icon depending on how spong-service is configured. The statuses are represented by the color: RED - critical, YELLOW - warning, GREEN - normal, PURPLE - status is output of date, BLUE - service has active acknowledgement, CLEAR - status is unavailable, NOTHING - service is not checked.

The host name in the first column is a link to Host Services display the host. The service names in the first row of the table are links to Help page for that service. The Help page has a description of the service and the ramifications if the service is in a warning or critical status. The service status colored block or icon is a link to the <Service Status> display for the host/service.

Host Services Display
This display shows most of the available information about the host. The display is divided into several sections. From top to bottom they are : Title (Host Name), Action Bar, Overall Status, Acknowledgements, Services Table, Information, History.
The is the name of the Host being displayed.
Action Bar
The Action Bar is discussed above.
Overall Status
This a bar this displays the current overall status of the host. The over status is the highest order color of all of the service statuses according to the following hierarchy: BLUE, RED, YELLOW, PURPLE, GREEN, CLEAR.
If there are any Acknowledgements for the host they will be listed here. Each acknowledgement will have the service that is acknowledged, the expiration date, and the message. There is a Delete link for each acknowledgement also which will delete the acknowledgment when clicked.
Services Table
This is a summary table of all of the services that is checked on this host. The table lists the service name, the current status of the service (colored-block or icon) , the time (in 23 hour format) of the last update, and the summary message of message status. The service name and the current status colored-block/icon are links that will bring of the Service Status display for the service.
If there is any addition information defined for the host, it will be displayed in this section. This information is unique to each host. There can be a description of the functions of the host, embedded image or links to other information sources. For further information see the the admin-guide entry elsewhere in this document.
The recent event history of the host will be displayed in this section. The events are displayed in reverse chronological orders divided into separate days. Each event has the status color, time (in 24 hour format), host name, service name, and message summary line of the event.
Service Status Display
This display shows all of the information available for the service/host. It is divided into several sections: Title (Host Name/Service), Action Bar, Summary Information, Detailed Information>.
This is the name of the host and service being displayed.
Action Bar
This is discussed above.
Summary Information
This section shows summary information for the service. First is a colored bar that shows the current status color of the service. See the section on Status Colors elsewhere in this document for details. Next is the Updated: field which if the date and time of the last update of the status. The Duration field shows the amount of time that the service has been in it's current status. And last is the Summary field which is a one line summary message about the status of the service.

Detailed Information
This last section is detailed information about the status of the service. The type of information depends of the service. For example, for the disk service it will be the output of the df command showing the mounted disk partitions and amount of space used on each disk and the for the cpu service it will be a ps command output showing information about the top 10 processes using a CPU.
Acknowledge Problem Display
This display is a form generated by the www-spong-ack CGI program. At top of the form are instructions on how to fill out the form, next will be a list of all of the current Acknowledgments created for the host. The list includes the service that was ack'ed, the expiration date of the acknowledgement, and the message text of the acknowledgment. There is also a Delete link that can be used to delete the Acknowledgment if clicked. Below this if a form that can be filled out to create a new Acknowledgment. See the <www-spong-ack> documentation for more information.


The command line interface is provided by the spong program. It has all of the same displays that the Web Interface provides. The spong program is run with 0, 1 or 2 parameters from a shell prompt. For more information run the spong program with the --help parameters or see the spong manpage documentation.


Spong Acknowlegements are a mechanism that allows the user to notify the spong-server that they know about the problem and no more notifications need to be sent. Acknowledgments have a limited life time. After an acknowledgment has expired, the spong-server will start sending out notifications if necessary. Acknowledgments are created for a specific host and service, or all services can be acknowledged by specifying 'all' for the service name.


Stephen L Johnson <>

[Top] Generated by Pod::HTML 0.43 on Wed Jun 13 11:17:46 2001