Using Google charts to enhance the system monitoring stats you receive in your email inbox

We have set up scripts at all our client sites to monitor everything related to computer system operations in order to ensure uptime is guaranteed and to also proactively forecast upgrades. This includes monitoring server disk space available daily, email mailbox usage weekly for MS Exchange Servers, and backup capacity planning to ensure we don’t span to multiple tapes. I’m sure there are other sexy off-the shelf canned solutions out there but making use of batch scripting, vbscripts, Google Chart api, and a free smtp mailer takes care of the daily monitoring requirement that we need at each site. Any off-shelf we purchase will have to be customized anyway so this is a cost-effective alternative.

The most popular statistic that systems administrators like to monitor is disk space on servers or critical workstations. Here are different parts required to receive these disk space stats in the message body of your email inbox.

1) Setup a batch script that reads the disk space free on the shared disk partitions of the servers you are interested in monitoring and writes the results to a command delimited text file. Append to this text file everytime the script runs.

2) Setup in vbscript code that reads the above input text file. Have it create a string variable that has as a value in html syntax the disk space free records from the input text file. Include in the html syntax the correct Google Chart api URL syntax to display the data in a chart.

3) In the vbscript code, call a third-party command-line smtp mailer like blat.exe or postie.exe that emails the string variable containing the html syntax as an email attachment. This chart is good looking and can be used to send daily email alerts to site owners and General Managers.

You can extend this to other systems you would like to monitor. It provides good business-case for any proposals or projects you initiate and enhances the value you provide by showing business users that you are actively watching their computer systems.

We are putting together an eBook ‘kit’ that includes all these sample scripts. It will also include all the other templates we apply to clients we have on monthly maintenance plans. Come back here often for updates.

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