NEMS from a beginners standpoint.

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Gregorywest
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NEMS from a beginners standpoint.

Post by Gregorywest »

Well so far so good. A few interesting things coming out my playing with NEMS for the first few days.

First off I started on a Raspberry Pi 3A+ This was a huge mistake on my part. The 3+ is more than capable of running NEMS right out of the box, but you are asking for issues. First and most important issue, is there no Ethernet port of the 3A. No problem you think, I can use WiFi! Well yes you can, except there goes your ability to do a headless install, you 100% require a display and keyboard to set up the WiFi. Also when you are setting up the WiFi follow the MENS instructions, NOT the Raspbian instructions. These two sets of instructions are different and I started with the Raspbian method, there is 24 hours of frustration. Once you have the WiFi running you are good to go, albeit a little slower than you might like.

Second thing is there is NEMS and there is Cockpit. This is obvious unless it isn't. All over the place there are instructions about going to nems.local:9090. This gets you to cockpit, this is great, but if you are just starting you probably don't want to be there. you want to go to https://nems.local. This gets you the NEMS main menu, trust me you need this to get things going.

Third thing I discovered was, WOW are there a lot of options. I mean TONS of them. There are many ways to get NEMS to watch your Windows computers. Some are far more complex than others. Require clients to be installed, others require a lot of configuration inside Windows. Not saying either one is better than the other, they are just different.

Where I am now, is the stage I am at now. Do numerous setups from the ground up. This is specially easy with the Pi. Just swap SIM cards around. This is the time I plan ahead for what I think I want my NEMS to look like when complete.

I hope to make this an on going blog of my experiences with NEMS. And how successful I am at getting the various functions of NEMS to solve issues for me.

Here are a list of what I want to achieve over time:
1) Monitor PC's on both LAN and WAN for basic information (disk space, up/down, Ethernet usage)
2) Monitor smart switches (all are HP Procurve) over the entire WAN for total data traffic, and peak demands. This will be history reporting, not real time monitoring.
3) Monitor access points for new connections, and attempted connections. In time would like to have a list of "Known" devices, thus the reporting is only on unknown devices.
4) And of course monitor printers, toner levels up time, pages printed.

Not sure what order I will be getting these items done in, time will tell.

Will keep you posted as to my progress!

Greg
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Robbie Ferguson
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Re: NEMS from a beginners standpoint.

Post by Robbie Ferguson »

Hi Greg,
Great post!

Yeah, I'm not a fan of using WiFi for a NEMS Server. I provide it for folks who want to hide their NEMS Servers in obscure places without wiring, but it seems a little counter-intuitive to me, and could result in false notifications (eg., latency of WiFi or dropouts causing NEMS to think servers aren't responding as quickly as they should). For your use case, I'd rather see you plug a USB-to-Ethernet adapter in. Costs like $5.

As you state, NEMS Linux is not Raspbian. What works on Raspbian might not work on NEMS Linux, and vice-versa. Best to start with the NEMS Linux documentation, which is a work in progress, and if you can't find what you're looking for, jump on the Discord server for help.

I can't really speak to your comment about Cockpit: I'm not sure where "all over the place" refers to for instructions to load port 9090 by default, but not the official documentation. So it stands as a good pointer to future users who are new to the platform: To access NEMS Linux, you should be visiting https://nems.local (or the IP of your server if DNS doesn't resolve), and to access Cockpit, choose it from the menu. But only if you need to perform Cockpit tasks (Shutting down or rebooting your NEMS Server, setting a Static IP address or WiFi settings, etc.) Don't confuse the two. I appreciate that you pointed out this confusion, because it gives me insight into a possible point of confusion for end users. NEMS is massive: It's easy to get lost if you don't know where you're supposed to be. I'll work on a decent 'getting started' guide that addresses this.

Looking forward to the next instalment to see how you're getting on. You have some really interesting ideas on what to use your NEMS Server for (I love the toner level idea!)

Cheers,
Robbie
jarrod843
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Re: NEMS from a beginners standpoint.

Post by jarrod843 »

Greg,

How are you coming along with your listed objectives?
chris_hird
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Re: NEMS from a beginners standpoint.

Post by chris_hird »

I am just starting down the path of installing NEMS Linux, I have lots of other Linux Installs and use many VM's to host servers for various tasks (Proxmox with 9 VM's). I decided to use NEMS Linux as I have a number of small clients who could probably benefit from a NAGIOS based monitoring solution, NEMS Linux fills the biggest requirement which is low cost hardware and software :cool: We did look at going for NAGIOS X but as we are only a test and development outfit we felt it was overkill and NEMS Linux should give us the ability to work with NAGIOS X should we ever need to.

I am particularly interested in using it for monitoring IBM i (AS/400 as they used to be called, I did see one other comment about requirements for this platform) which is not part of the current hosts NEMS Linux supports when configuring through NConf. Hopefully I will find a way to add the required software to NEMS Linux, there are already some plugins available which I need to figure out how to add before I look at extending them. I run 3 Power Servers (Power7, Power8, Power9 with 10 VMs configured at the moment).

Internally we have a lot of equipment we use for testing so our network is pretty complex, lots of toys to play with where NEMS Linux is concerned.

I found the install and instructions pretty good, the docs are a bit sparse in terms of how to move beyond the initial install but I feel its pretty intuitive once you figure out what each option allows.

I am looking forward to getting this going and hopefully helping to extend it in the future.

Hardware:
Pi 4B 4Gb
128Gb EVO Pro Micro SD
1Gb Ethernet

Chris...
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