Safely Monitor Backend Databases

Many of our Customers need to monitor their server database. In general, there are 2 ways to monitor a database: using direct connection to the database engine, and using dynamically generated web pages.

When direct connection is used, the monitoring service actually logs on to the database and executes some predefined query. This requires the login name and password for the database to be saved by the monitoring service. This also requires, and this is the most important part, the database engine to be set to handle external connections. Many of the hosting providers and network administrators have disabled this for security reasons (this means that only requests from the same machine will be allowed), and, hence any monitoring service will fail to check the database status. Even though this method is possible, we do not recommend opening your database for external connections.

What is the solution
The solution to this is easy with WebSitePulse. To monitor your database output requires a little effort by you. You will need to create a web page, that will query your database, and we will parse the result for predefined keywords. If your database is functioning properly, it will return the specified contents. If not - the page result will be different, and WebSitePulse will alert you for the problem.

How to set it up

Step 1:
Build a custom web page script or CGI that queries the backend database. When the URL for this web page is called, it should produce HTML output similar to the following:

<HTML> <TITLE> Database Check Results</TITLE> <BODY> Database working </BODY> </HTML>

In the above example, the script produces the text "Database working" when it runs successfully. You can have another text, or even check for actual query results to be sure your database is working correctly. As an example, if you have database driven search system working on your server, you can, instead of writing special page for the task, use real search results from your server. Just be sure to use the full URL address for these search results to show up.

How you should write your database-checking page depends upon the tools available on your server. It may be written in PHP, ASP, Perl, C, or another scripting language. Because of this, we cannot provide assistance in writing the script.

When you have the page, which will provide evidence that your database is working, use the Web site performance monitoring service in your account. Enter the exact URL of your page in the URL field.

Step 2:
The second and very important part of setting up the database monitoring is to specify the text string "Database working" in the URL set up screen. The service will verify that the text "Database working" does exist on the downloaded page when the database is functioning properly. Keep in mind that the exact text string is case sensitive - the text entered in the URL set up keyword field must match exactly the text returned from the database-checking page on your server.

If you setup everything correct, when we check your page, we'll search for the string you specified in the keywords field. If we find it, we consider your database is working fine. If we don't find it, then our system will send alerts to the Contacts specified in the "URL check" properties.

If you have any questions about this resource or need help setting up your account or monitoring target, please contact Support at 1-888-WSPULSE (977-8573) x2 or email us at . We are available to help you 24/7.

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