BBTEST-NET(1) General Commands Manual BBTEST-NET(1)
bbtest-net - Xymon network test tool
(See the OPTIONS section for a description of the available commandline options).
bbtest-net(1) handles the network tests of hosts defined in the Xymon configuration file, bb-hosts. It is normally run at regular intervals
by hobbitlaunch(8) via an entry in the hobbitlaunch.cfg(5) file.
bbtest-net does all of the normal tests of TCP-based network services (telnet, ftp, ssh, smtp, pop, imap ....) - i.e. all of the services
listed as BBNETSVCS in bbdef.sh. For these tests, a completely new and very speedy service- checker has been implemented.
bbtest-net has built-in support for testing SSL-enabled protocols, e.g. imaps, pop3s, nntps, telnets, if SSL-support was enabled when con-
figuring bbgen. The full list of known tests is found in the bb-services(5) file in $BBHOME/etc/bb-services.
In addition, it implements the "dns" and "dig" tests for testing DNS servers. This is done in the same way as bb-network.sh does it.
bbtest-net also implements a check for NTP servers - this test is called "ntp". If you want to use it, you must define the NTPDATE environ-
ment variable to point at the location of your ntpdate(1) program.
Note: bbtest-net performs the connectivity test (ping) based on the hostname, unless the host is tagged with "testip" or the "--dns=ip"
option is used. So the target of the connectivity test can be determined by your /etc/hosts file or DNS.
Determines the timeout (in seconds) for each service that is tested. For TCP tests (those from BBNETSVCS), if the connection to the
service does not succeed within N seconds, the service is reported as being down. For HTTP tests, this is the absolute limit for the
entire request to the webserver (the time needed to connect to the server, plus the time it takes the server to respond to the
request). Default: 10 seconds
This option is deprecated, and will be ignored. Use the --timeout option instead.
This option sets a timeout for the external commands used for testing of NTP and RPC services, and to perform traceroute.
Determines the number of network tests that run in parallel. Default is operating system dependent, but will usually be 256. If
bbtest-net begins to complain about not being able to get a "socket", try running bbtest-net with a lower value like 50 or 100.
--dns-timeout=N (default: 30 seconds)
bbtest-net will timeout all DNS lookups after N seconds. Any pending DNS lookups are regarded as failed, i.e. the network tests
that depend on this DNS lookup will report an error.
Note: If you use the --no-ares option, timeout of DNS lookups cannot be controlled by bbtest-net.
Same as "--dns-timeout=N". The "--dns-max-all" option is deprecated and should not be used.
Determines how bbtest-net finds the IP adresses of the hosts to test. By default (the "standard"), bbtest-net does a DNS lookup of
the hostname to determine the IP address, unless the host has the "testip" tag, or the DNS lookup fails.
With "--dns=only" bbtest-net will ONLY do the DNS lookup; it it fails, then all services on that host will be reported as being
With "--dns=ip" bbtest-net will never do a DNS lookup; it will use the IP adresse specified in bb-hosts for the tests. Thus, this
setting is equivalent to having the "testip" tag on all hosts. Note that http tests will ignore this setting and still perform a DNS
lookup for the hostname given in the URL; see the "bbtest-net tags for HTTP tests" section in bb-hosts(5)
Disable the ARES resolver built into bbtest-net. This makes bbtest-net resolve hostnames using your system resolver function. You
should only use this as a last resort if bbtest-net cannot resolve the hostnames you use in the normal way (via DNS or /etc/hosts).
One reason for using this would be if you need to resolve hostnames via NIS/NIS+ (a.k.a. Yellow Pages).
The system resolver function does not provide a mechanism for controlling timeouts of the hostname lookups, so if your DNS or NIS
server is down, bbtest-net can take a very long time to run. The --dns-timeout option is effectively disabled when using this
Log failed hostname lookups to the file FILENAME. FILENAME should be a full pathname.
With this option, bbtest-net will send a status message with details of how many hosts were processed, how many tests were gener-
ated, any errors that occurred during the run, and some timing statistics. The default columnname is "bbtest".
When using the BBLOCATION environment variable to test only hosts on a particular network segment, bbtest-net will ignore hosts that
do not have any "NET:x" tag. So only hosts that have a NET:$BBLOCATION tag will be tested.
With this option, hosts with no NET: tag are included in the test, so that all hosts that either have a matching NET: tag, or no
NET: tag at all are tested.
Used with the bbretest-net.sh(1) bbgen extension. This option determines how long failed tests remain in the frequent-test queue.
The default is 1800 seconds (30 minutes).
Causes bbtest-net to generate a warning if the run-time of bbtest-net exceeds N seconds. By default N is set to the value of
BBSLEEP, so a warning triggers if the network tests cannot complete in the time given for one cycle of the BBNET server. Apart from
the warning, this option has no effect, i.e. it will not terminate bbtest-net prematurely. So to eliminate any such warnings, use
this option with a very high value of N.
Warn if the response from a TCP test is more than N bytes. If you see from the bbtest status report that you are transferring large
amounts of data for your tests, you can enable this option to see which tests have large replies.
Default: 0 (disabled).
Make the test results valid for N minutes before they go purple. By default test results are valid for 30 minutes; if you run
bbtest-net less often than that, the results will go purple before the next run of bbtest-net. This option lets you change how long
the status is valid.
OPTIONS FOR TESTS OF THE SIMPLE TCP SERVICES
When testing well-known services (e.g. FTP, SSH, SMTP, POP-2, POP-3, IMAP, NNTP and rsync), bbtest-net will look for a valid ser-
vice-specific "OK" response. If another reponse is seen, this will cause the test to report a warning (yellow) status. Without this
option, the response from the service is ignored.
The optional color-name is used to select a color other than yellow for the status message when the response is wrong. E.g.
"--checkresponse=red" will cause a "red" status message to be sent when the service does not respond as expected.
By default, bbtest-net sends some extra information in the status messages, called "flags". These are used by bbgen e.g. to pick
different icons for reversed tests when generating the Xymon webpages. This option makes bbtest-net omit these flags from the status
By default, TCP tests run roughly in the order that the hosts are listed in the bb-hosts file. If you have many tests for one
server, this may result in an exceptionally large load when Xymon is testing it because Xymon will perform a lot of tests at the
same time. To avoid this, the --shuffle option reorders the sequence of tests so they are spread randomly across all of the servers
OPTIONS FOR THE PING TEST
Note: bbtest-net uses the program defined by the FPING environment to execute ping-tests - by default, that is the hobbitping(1) utility.
See hobbitserver.cfg(5) for a description of how to customize this, e.g. if you need to run it with "sudo" or a similar tool.
--ping Enables bbtest-net's ping test. The column name used for ping test results is defined by the PINGCOLUMN environment variable in hob-
If not specifed, bbtest-net uses the CONNTEST environment variable to determine if it should perform the ping test or not. So if you
prefer to use another tool to implement ping checks, either set the CONNTEST environment variable to false, or run bbtest-net with
Disable the connectivity test.
Enable/disable the use of traceroute when a ping-test fails. Performing a traceroute for failed ping tests is a slow operation, so
the default is not to do any traceroute, unless it is requested on a per-host basis via the "trace" tag in the bb-hosts(5) entry for
each host. The "--trace" option changes this, so the default becomes to run traceroute on all hosts where the ping test fails; you
can then disable it on specific hosts by putting a "notrace" tag on the host-entry.
OPTIONS FOR HTTP (WEB) TESTS
Determines the name of the column Xymon displays for content checks. The default is "content". If you have used the "cont.sh" or
"cont2.sh" scripts earlier, you may want to use "--content=cont" to report content checks using the same test name as these scripts
OPTIONS FOR SSL CERTIFICATE TESTS
Determines the name of the column Xymon displays for the SSL certificate checks. The default is "sslcert".
Disables reporting of the SSL certificate check.
Determines the number of days before an SSL certificate expires, where bbtest-net will generate a warning or alarm status for the
SSL certificate column.
Enables checking that the encryption supported by the SSL protocol uses an encryption key of at least N bits. E.g. to trigger an
alert if your SSL-enabled website supports less than 128 bits of encryption, use "--sslbits=128". Note: This can be enabled on a
per-host basis using the "sslbits=N" setting in bb-hosts(5)
Don't send any status updates to the BBDISPLAY server. Instead, all messages are dumped to stdout.
Causes bbtest-net to collect information about the time spent in different parts of the program. The information is printed on std-
out just before the program ends. Note that this information is also included in the status report sent with the "--report" option.
Dumps a bunch of status about the tests as they progress to stdout.
Dumps internal memory structures before and/or after the tests have executed.
--help or -?
Provide a summary of available commandline options.
Prints the version number of bbtest-net
Dump the list of defined TCP services bbtest-net knows how to test. Do not run any tests.
USING COOKIES IN WEB TESTS
If the file $BBHOME/etc/cookies exist, cookies will be read from this file and sent along with the HTTP requests when checking websites.
This file is in the Netscape Cookie format, see http://www.netscape.com/newsref/std/cookie_spec.html for details on this format. The
curl(1) utility can output a file in this format if run with the "--cookie-jar FILENAME" option.
ABOUT SSL CERTIFICATE CHECKS
When bbtest-net tests services that use SSL- or TLS-based protocols, it will check that the server certificate has not expired. This check
happens automatically for https (secure web), pop3s, imaps, nntps and all other SSL-enabled services (except ldap, see LDAP TESTS below).
All certificates found for a host are reported in one status message.
Note: On most systems, the end-date of the certificate is limited to Jan 19th, 2038. If your certificate is valid after this date, bbtest-
net will report it as valid only until Jan 19, 2038. This is due to limitations in your operating system C library.
ldap testing can be done in two ways. If you just put an "ldap" or "ldaps" tag in bb-hosts, a simple test is performed that just verifies
that it is possible to establish a connection to the port running the ldap service (389 for ldap, 636 for ldaps).
Instead you can put an LDAP URI in bb-hosts. This will cause bbtest-net to initiate a full-blown LDAP session with the server, and do an
LDAP search for the objects defined by the URI. This requires that bbtest-net was built with LDAP support, and relies on an existing LDAP
library to be installed. It has been tested with OpenLDAP 2.0.26 (from Red Hat 9) and 2.1.22. The Solaris 8 system ldap library has also
been confirmed to work for un-encrypted (plain ldap) access.
The format of LDAP URI's is defined in RFC 2255. LDAP URLs look like this:
hostport is a host name with an optional ":portnumber"
dn is the search base
attrs is a comma separated list of attributes to request
scope is one of these three strings:
base one sub (default=base)
filter is filter
exts are recognized set of LDAP and/or API extensions.
All "bind" operations to LDAP servers use simple authentication. Kerberos and SASL are not supported. If your LDAP server requires a user-
name/password, use the "ldaplogin" tag to specify this, cf. bb-hosts(5) If no username/password information is provided, an anonymous bind
will be attempted.
SSL support requires both a client library and an LDAP server that support LDAPv3; it uses the LDAP "STARTTLS" protocol request after
establishing a connection to the standard (non-encrypted) LDAP port (usually port 389). It has only been tested with OpenSSL 2.x, and prob-
ably will not work with any other LDAP library.
The older LDAPv2 experimental method of tunnelling normal LDAP traffic through an SSL connection - ldaps, running on port 636 - is not sup-
ported, unless someone can explain how to get the OpenLDAP library to support it. This method was never formally described in an RFC, and
implementations of it are non-standard.
For a discussion of the various ways of running encrypted ldap, see
When testing LDAP URI's, all of the communications are handled by the ldap library. Therefore, it is not possible to obtain the SSL cer-
tificate used by the LDAP server, and it will not show up in the "sslcert" column.
USING MULTIPLE NETWORK TEST SYSTEMS
If you have more than one system running network tests - e.g. if your network is separated by firewalls - then is is problematic to main-
tain multiple bb-hosts files for each of the systems. bbtest-net supports the NET:location tag in bb-hosts(5) to distinguish between hosts
that should be tested from different network locations. If you set the environment variable BBLOCATION e.g. to "dmz" before running bbtest-
net, then it will only test hosts that have a "NET:dmz" tag in bb-hosts. This allows you to keep all of your hosts in the same bb-hosts
file, but test different sets of hosts by different BBNET systems.
bbtest-net first reads the bb-services file to see which network tests are defined. It then scans the bb-hosts file, and collects informa-
tion about the TCP service tests that need to be tested. It picks out only the tests that were listed in the bb-services file, plus the
"dns", "dig" and "ntp" tests - those tests that bb-network.sh would normally use the "bbnet" tool to test.
It then runs two tasks in parallel: First, a separate process is started to run the "hobbitping" tool for the connectivity tests. While
hobbitping is busy doing the "ping" checks, bbtest-net runs all of the TCP-based network tests.
All of the TCP-based service checks are handled by a connection tester written specifically for this purpose. It uses only standard Unix-
style network programming, but relies on the Unix "select(2)" system-call to handle many simultaneous connections happening in parallel.
Exactly how many parallel connections are being used depends on your operating system - the default is FD_SETSIZE/4, which amounts to 256
on many Unix systems.
You can choose the number of concurrent connections with the "--concurrency=N" option to bbtest-net.
Connection attempts timeout after 10 seconds - this can be changed with the "--timeout=N" option.
Both of these settings play a part in deciding how long the testing takes. A conservative estimate for doing N TCP tests is:
(1 + (N / concurrency)) * timeout
In real life it will probably be less, as the above formula is for every test to require a timeout. Since the most normal use of BB is to
check for services that are active, you should have a lot less timeouts.
The "ntp" and "rpcinfo" checks rely on external programs to do each test. Thus, they perform only marginally better than the standard bb-
Defines the network segment where bbtest-net is currently running. This is used to filter out only the entries in the bb-hosts(5)
file that have a matching "NET:LOCATION" tag, and execute the tests for only those hosts.
Defines the maximum number of status messages that can be sent in one combo message. Default is 0 - no limit.
In practice, the maximum size of a single Xymon message sets a limit - the default value for the maximum message size is 32 KB, but
that will easily accomodate 100 status messages per transmission. So if you want to experiment with this setting, I suggest starting
with a value of 10.
Defines a a delay (in microseconds) after each message is transmitted to the BBDISPLAY server. The default is 0, i.e. send the mes-
sages as fast as possible. This gives your BBDISPLAY server some time to process the message before the next message comes in.
Depending on the speed of your BBDISPLAY server, it may be necessary to set this value to half a second or even 1 or 2 seconds.
Note that the value is specified in MICROseconds, so to define a delay of half a second, this must be set to the value "500000"; a
delay of 1 second is achieved by setting this to "1000000" (one million).
FPING Command used to run the hobbitping(1) utility. Used by bbtest-net for connectivity (ping) testing. See hobbitserver.cfg(5) for more
information about how to customize the program that is executed to do ping tests.
Location of the traceroute(8) utility, or an equivalent tool e.g. mtr(8). Optionally used when a connectivity test fails to pin-
point the network location that is causing the failure.
Location of the ntpdate(1) utility. Used by bbtest-net when checking the "ntp" service.
Location of the rpcinfo(8) utility. Used by bbtest-net for the "rpc" service checks.
This file contains definitions of TCP services that bbtest-net can test. Definitions for a default set of common services is built
into bbtest-net, but these can be overridden or supplemented by defining services in the bb-services file. See bb-services(5) for
details on this file.
$BBHOME/etc/netrc - authentication data for password-protected webs
If you have password-protected sites, you can put the usernames and passwords for these here. They will then get picked up automati-
cally when running your network tests. This works for web-sites that use the "Basic" authentication scheme in HTTP. See ftp(1) for
details - a sample entry would look like this
machine www.acme.com login fred password Wilma1
Note that the machine-name must be the name you use in the http://machinename/ URL setting - it need not be the one you use for the
system-name in Xymon.
This file may contain website cookies, in the Netscape HTTP Cookie format. If a website requires a static cookie to be present in
order for the check to complete, then you can add this cookie to this file, and it will be sent along with the HTTP request. To get
the cookies into this file, you can use the "curl --cookie-jar FILE" to request the URL that sets the cookie.
$BBTMP/*.status - test status summary
Each time bbtest-net runs, if any tests fail (i.e. they result in a red status) then they will be listed in a file name TEST-
NAME.[LOCATION].status. The LOCATION part may be null. This file is used to determine how long the failure has lasted, which in turn
decides if this test should be included in the tests done by bbretest-net.sh(1)
It is also used internally by bbtest-net when determining the color for tests that use the "badconn" or "badTESTNAME" tags.
This file contains the hostnames of those hosts that should be retested by the bbretest-net.sh(1) test tool. It is updated only by
bbtest-net during the normal runs, and read by bbretest-net.sh.
bb-hosts(5), bb-services(5), hobbitserver.cfg(5), hobbitping(1), curl(1), ftp(1), fping(1), ntpdate(1), rpcinfo(8)
Xymon Version 4.2.3: 4 Feb 2009 BBTEST-NET(1)