A Business Activity Monitoring Server

Version 0.4.1

Table of Contents

1 Introduction

Monitoring and surveillance is today common in any IT operation. The market is mature and a number of excellent solutions exists, especially in the open source market, like Nagios. But when it comes to monitoring of business applications the maturity is not on the same level. Business operations teams seldom has any monitoring solution to understand what goes on in their business processes and applications. Business intelligence solutions can often tell what happened last month, but from a more tactical operations view there is a gap. So why do not business operations team implement the same surveillance structure or use the existing IT operations infrastructure to understand “why number of orders have dropped under the current threshold”?
So what is the difference between business activity monitoring, BAM, and traditional IT infrastructure monitoring? Basically its the same, some entity to measure and for that entity define thresholds levels that will generate warning or critical alarms. The demands we have seen in addition to the basic functionality are the following features provided by bischeck:
Lets look at 3 examples that would be solved by using bischeck:

Example 1 – Monitor the number of orders received during the day
The order management application receive orders 24 hours a day during Monday to Friday. The total aggregated number of orders are different depending on time of the day. The business expect to have a total numbers of orders of 1500 at 13:00, at 14:00 the order count should be 2300, at 15:00 it should be 3400, etc. Between every hour the business want to interpolate that the order rate are according to a linear equation between the defined hour rates. This means that the threshold at 13:20 is (2300-1500)*20/60+1500 = 1767. The warning alarm level should be between 90% and 70% of the threshold and critical alarm if the measured value is below 70% of the threshold.

Example 2 – Monitor the number of created invoices in relation to the number of received orders
The invoice system should invoice at lest 80% of the daily incoming orders in the same day with one hour delay. This means that the measured value of orders with one hour delay must be used as a threshold for the number of created invoices.

Example 3 – Monitor the current number of orders and if the inflow is zero we need an alarm
The order system have a table with all received orders, but the requirement is that we need to monitor how many that has been received during the last 10 minutes. If this value is zero an alarm must be generated since its an indication that the sales system are not generating orders. To achieve this monitoring we use the last and the previous sample of the total number of orders from example 1 and create the difference between the two to get a new virtual entity to measure, with an threshold level of 0.

Hopefully these examples have convinced you that with bischeck you can do complex application monitoring by advanced threshold management and processes dependencies. And this can be done by just integrate it with your existing IT surveillance infrastructure.
But complex threshold management is not limited to the area of BAM. Even in the normal infrastructure and network monitoring the capabilities are important. A typical threshold for disk utilization is defined like 90% of total space. This is of course important but it could be equally important to understand the growth speed of the disk utilization, like if the size has grown with 5% from yesterday. This is simple in bischeck without develop a specialized check command.
figure overview.png
Figure 1.1 Architecture overview
The bischeck architecture include the following main components:
bischeck is open source and licensed under GPL version 2. bischeck is written in Java and runs as a stand-alone daemon and integrates with different monitoring and surveillance tools over open protocols. If you have ideas to new features, find bugs, etc please visit where you can fill in bug reports and feature requests. You can also email We look forward to your feedback.

2 Service configuration

The design of bischeck is based on the concept of configuring hosts, services and service items. As an example we have host erpserver and we define a service called orders. For the order service we can have multiple service items, defined like ediOrders and mailOrders. The service define a connection url to connect to the entity to measure and the service items define the statement to be executed to retrieve the entity value. The service url is used by bischeck to instantiate the right service class to manage the the connection. For example if the url has a schema part that is jdbc, the JDBCService class is used. The mapping between the service url and the class to use is configurable. Each service class must implement the Service interface. The execution statement described for the service item must only return one single value. A service item class must implement the interface Serviceitem. The host can av multiple service, and each service can have multiple service items.
All host, service and service items are described in xml configuration files located in the etc directory of the installation, $BISHOME. For more information about services and service items classes please section3↓.

3 Services and service items classes

The key configuration objects in bischeck are the service and service item. The service key attributes are the service name, the schedules when to execute the service and the url that define the connection used by the service item.
The service item key attributes are the execute statement that define what should be executed to retrieve the measured entity and the threshold class used to process the measured entity to validate the state of the measured entity.

3.1 Service classes

The following Service classes is provided in the standard bischeck distribution.

3.1.1 JDBC

JDBCService manage services connecting to databases over JDBC. JDBC driver jars should be put in the directory customlib in the bischeck install directory to automatically be found at start-up.
A JDBC connection is described with a normal jdbc url and with an additional driver class in the driver tag of the bischeck configuration.

3.1.2 Livestatus

LivestatusService enable connectivity to any Nagios server supporting MK Livestatus [B→] [→B] More information on MK Livestatus can be found on . With this service both the service state and performance data can be retrieved from a Nagios server. [New in 0.4.0] . A livestatus connection is specified with a url with the following format:
The requirement for this type of connection is that livestatus is configured as a xinetd service on the server running livestatus and Nagios. To configure livestatus this way please see “Remote access to Livestatus via SSH or xinetd”.

3.1.3 Bischeck cache

LastCacheService enables connection to bischeck’s internal cache where the measured data is stored. With the service any existing host->service->serviceitem can be retrieved from the cache. This can typical be used to create new virtual services based on mathematical expression for combination of cache entities. The connection url for the bischeck cache is:

3.1.4 Shell (beta)

[New in 0.4.1] ShellService enables execution of programs and scripts on the localhost. The connection url for the shell service is:

3.2 Service item classes

The following ServiceItem classes is provided in the standard bischeck distribution.

3.2.1 SQL

The SQLServiceItem class enables execution of a SQL statements. Its important that the SQL statement only return one single number value, like a "select count(*) ...." or “select sum(orderValue) from ....”.
The SQLServiceItem class can be used when the service url is a jdbc://... url.

3.2.2 Livestatus

With the LivestatusServiceItem class both state and performance data can be queried for a Nagios service. The query is formatted as a json structure. To query a specific Nagios service state the following statement example can be used:
The above will query the current Nagios state of service DNS for host linux-server1.
To query the the performance data for the Nagios service HTTP just change the query key value to perfdata and add the label key so the right label in a multi value performance data is retrieved:
The LivestatusServiceItem class can be used for service url livestatus://hostname:port.

3.2.3 Cache calculations

CalculateOnCache service item class enable statement execution using measured values residing in the bischeck internal cache. Mathematical statements according to jep expressions capability is possible like:
if((erpserver-orders-ediOrders[0] - erpserver-orders-ediOrders[1]) < 0,0, erpserver-orders-ediOrders[0] - erpserver-orders-ediOrders[1])
The above example check if the result of "erpserver-orders-ediOrders[0] - erpserver-orders-ediOrders[1]" is less then 0. If true, return 0 and if false return the result of "erpserver-orders-ediOrders[0] - erpserver-orders-ediOrders[1]". The value to use from the cache is defined by an index [X], where 0 is the latest value retrieved for the specific host-service-item.
The CalculateOnCache class can be used with service url bischeck://cache.

3.2.4 Check commands (Beta)

[New in 0.4.1] With the CheckCommandServiceItem class performance data can be retrieved by executing a Nagios check command. The check command that is executed must output performance data according the Nagios specifications for the CheckCommandServiceItem to work. The execstatement query is formatted as a json structure. To execute a check command and retrieve a specific performance data the following statement example can be used:
{"check":"usr/lib/nagios/plugins/check_tcp -H localhost -p 22","label":"time"}
The above will execute the check_tcp program and retrieve the performance data with label time.
The benefit of using a check command from bischeck would be if there is a need to manage the performance data with dynamic thresholds that is not possible in Nagios Core.
Important is that there is no management of environment variables through bischeck when executing a check command.
The CheckCommandServiceItem class can be used for service url shell://localhost.

4 Date formatting

Many service items will typically execute something depending on a date. For this reason bischeck supports date macros in the execute statement for service items. For example, if this is a SQL select statement that using a date condition, the formatting could be done like this:
select count(orders) from order where 
fromdate=’%%yyyy-MM-dd%%’ and 
bischeck will replace anything between %% and %% with the current date according to the format string. The formatting follows the structure of the Java SimpleDateFormatter class. If the format string includes a %[] macro, the current date will be calculated, where Y means year, M means month and D means day. So %[D-1] means subtract one day from the current date and %[M2] means add two months to the current date. A construction like D-1Y-1 is not supported.

5 Service item cache - LastStatusCache

Bischeck keeps a cache of the measured data points for every service items. The cache content can be used in the specification of execute statements of serviceitems and in threshold classes to create dynamic and adaptive thresholds, see section 6.1 on page 1↓.
The cached data is saved to disk every time bischeck is stopped and reloaded every time bischeck is started. The stored data is written to a file called lastStatusCacheDump and located in the directory specified by the property lastStatusCacheDumpDir, see 8.2↓. Before a save is made a backup file is created in the same directory called lastStatusCacheDump.bak.

5.1 Methods to retrieve cache data

There is a number of ways to retrieve data from the cache. The cache support both retrieval by index or by time, and the retrieval can be done for a single element or to a list of elements.

5.1.1 Retrieve single cache data element by index

For each service item the last 500 measured values are kept in the cache in a LRU list. To retrieve data from the cache the following format is used, host-service-item[index] where index is the lru entry, with 0 specifying that last retrieved measured value , e.g. erpserver-orders-ediOrders[0].

5.1.2 Retrieve single cache data element by time

Data can also be retrieved from the cache by using a time offset, like the cache data of erpserver-orders-ediOrders 30 minutes ago. This is specified by setting the index part to -30M, erpserver-orders-ediOrders[-30M]. This is useful since the relation between static index and service schedule do not need to be known. The time operator supported is S for seconds, M for minutes and H for hours.

5.1.3 Retrieve a list of cache data elements by index

For mathematical functions that operates of a list of elements, like a sum, avg, max, bischeck support two methods to reterive the range by index. The first method is to define a from “to index”, like erpserver-orders-ediOrders[0:9] that will retrieve all cache elements from index 0 to 9 as a list separated by “,” [C→] [→C] The choice of , as separator character is due to this is the separator character used by JEP functions that take a list of values. .
This will calculate the sum of the last 10 cached elements for erpserver-orders-ediOrders.
The second methods is to define a list of index that do not need to be in sequence, like erpserver-orders-ediOrders[1,3,5] that will retrieve the elements for index 1, 3 and 5 as a list separated by “,”.

5.1.4 Retrieve a list of cache data elements by time range

To retrieve list of the data elements based on a time range the expression has the format erpserver-orders-ediOrders[-30M:-120M]. This will retrieve a list of all elements that exist in the cache between 30 minutes to 120 minutes ago. The time operator supported is S for seconds, M for minutes and H for hours.

5.2 Mathematical expressions on cache data

In places where cache data can be used, like thresholds and serviceitems, it’s possible to use mathematical expressions on the data. In bischeck we use the mathematical package JEP to evaluate mathematical expressions and formulas. Lets look at some examples.
erphost-orders-ediorders[0] / erphost-orders-ediorders[-30M]
This example will divide the last cached data, index 0, for erphost-orders-ediorders with the cached data of erphost-orders-ediorders 30 minutes ago.
In the above the highest value will be returned of the cached data for erphost-orders-ediorders cached 5, 10 and 15 minutes ago.
For more information of all functions that can be used please visit and download the JEP distribution to get access to the JEP version 2 documentation.

5.2.1 JEP extensions

With JEP it’s easy to create additional functions. With bischeck the following functions has been added as part of the distribution.

6 Threshold configuration

To define the state of the retrieved service items value a threshold class is specified for each service item. The threshold class evaluate the measured value with some logic and return the state as okay, warning or critical level. The threshold instance for the specific service item is stored in a threshold cache and valid for a period of a day. Every new day the threshold cache is invalidated and bischeck looks for new valid threshold classes to instantiate for the service item to be used for the period of a day. The reason that the period is set to a day is that there may be a need to configure the threshold instance differently depending on the day of the week or month.
A valid threshold class must implement the interface Threshold. This structure enables a flexible implementation of very different ways to calculate or specify a threshold. In the simplest form a threshold class could just return a okay independent of measured value and in the more complex solution be based on algorithms, database content, measured values from other service items, day of month or some complex combination.
Warning and critical level specification are also part of the threshold class. The threshold class are also responsible to define what operations are support for the measured value, like measured value should be higher, lower or in an interval of the threshold. Warning and critical level are always defined as the percentage of the threshold.

6.1 Twenty4HourThreshold class

The Twenty4Hour threshold class divides the day into 24 hours. For each hour of the day a threshold is defined. The two threshold values that are next to each other used to calculate a slope of a linear equation between the two closest hours. For example, if the threshold value is 1000 at 14:00 and 1600 at 15:00, the calculation for a threshold value between 14:00 and 15:00 is y=x*(1600-1000)/60 + 1000. At 14:20 the threshold is 20*(1600-1000)/60+1000 = 1200.
The threshold model gives a linear equation with one hour granularity, but over 24 hours it can resemble a curve. This behavior is typical in business systems where the key business values are distributed in a none linear and none constant way over the period of a day, e.g. incoming orders.

6.1.1 Period definition

Since the threshold for a service item can be different depending on the month, day of month, week, day of week the configuration supports thresholds to be described on a granularity called period. A period include multiple months and weeks definitions as long as they share the same threshold definition. For a month it is possible to specify a specific month and/or a day of a month and for a week a specific week and/or a day of a week. To find the right threshold period the the class look for threshold period specification in the following order:
  1. Month and day of month
  2. Week and day of week
  3. Day in month
  4. Day in the week
  5. Month
  6. Week
  7. Default
Month is specified between 1-12, week 1-53, day of month 1-31 and day of week 1-7 (1=Sunday). The default threshold period is used if no other matching occurs.
Since holidays are often days where the business are not operational there is a way to describe days that should no have any threshold checks. These exclude days are checked before any other rule above are evaluated.

6.1.2 Calculation definition

The class support tree ways how the threshold is compered to the measured value:
">" Measured value should be higher then threshold. If the measured value is lower then threshold*warning(%) warning state is set and if measured value is lower then threshold*critical(%) critical state is set.
"<" Measured value should be lower then threshold. If the measured value is higher then threshold*(1-warning(%)) warning state is set and if if measured value is higher then threshold*(1-critical(%)) critical state is set.
"=" Measured should be in the interval of the threshold. If the measured value is lower then threshold*warning(%) OR higher then threshold*(1-warning(%)) a warning state is set and if measured value is lower then threshold*critical(%) OR higher then threshold*(1-critical(%)) a critical state is set.
For complete configuration description see section 8.5 on page 1↓.

6.1.3 Hours and threshold definition

The measured value is compered against the threshold value that is calculated from linear equation of the two closest threshold values. As described in the introduction of this chapter we can set the threshold values to fixed number, but in a business system this is not enough. Let take an example. The number of orders that can be invoiced during a day is probably depending on the number of orders received. So instead of setting the threshold to a fixed number we can use an expression based threshold like “80 % of received orders”. The syntax of expression based thresholds is simple and powerful. Expressions are based on the JEP package, see chapter 16↓, where the parameters are any measured values that exist in the service item cache, see 5↑. For example the expression "erpserver-orders-ediorders[0]*0.8" is the threshold is set to 80% of the last measured value of the service item ediorders for the service order and host erpserver. We could also combine multiple cached values from different sources in the same expression like, "erpserver-orders-ediorders[0] / geoserver-route-finalroute[0]” to get some sort of ratio threshold.
If we just need to check parts of a day for thresholds, just set the hour to NULL and no calculation will be done for that time interval. For example if no threshold checks should be done on weekends just define period rule number 4 for day 1 and 6 with all hour thresholds set to NULL.

7 Server integration

Since bischeck support integration with multiple monitoring its not possible to define a single message format or protocol. For that reason each Server class implementation is responsible for message formatting and communication with the integrated server. If the server system is not responding the message will be dropped on the bischeck side.

7.1 Nagios integration with NSCA and NRDP

The data format between bischeck and Nagios follow the standard Nagios format. This means that the Nagios host and service names must be the same as you configure in bischeck. Since NSCA and NRDP [New in 0.4.1] works with passive checks the check_dummy or equivalent check command should be used on the Nagios side in the service configuration. For a service in bischeck the data is split in the status and the performance output. The bischeck status output has the following format:
<level> <service item name> = <measured value> (<threshold> <warning value> <warning_calc method> <critical value>) <critical calc method> , <service item name> = ...
Since a service can have multiple service items, the output is presented as a concatenated string of the service items. The <measured value> is the value that was retrieved from the execution of the specific service item execute statement. The <threshold> is the current threshold value that the measured value has been compared against. The calculated warning and critical levels are also calculated based on the percentage value of the threshold.
Depending of the calculation method the string representation will differ. The following methods are support:
Example of the output:
OK ediOrders = 12000 (11000 > W > 9900 > C > 7700)
In this case the threshold value is 11000 and warning and critical levels has been set to 10% and 30 % of the current threshold. Since the warning and critical level are as a fixed percentage the calculated level will changed with the current threshold.
If there are no threshold values defined for the current period in which the measured value is done, the threshold is reported as null and no calculation is done that can be used for notification. Null can also be reported as the measured value. This can occur if a none or a null value is retrieved for the service item, for example from a faulty SQL statement.
Service connection problems will be reported as critical. Warning and critical notification will be based on the service item that has the highest level of severity if there are more then one service item defined for a service. If one service item reports critical and the other reports OK the service will report critical.
For the performance data, which Nagios graphs, like pnp4nagios, are based upon, each service item is included with the addition of the current threshold.
ediOrders=12000;9900;7000;0; threshold=11000;0;0;0; avg-exec-time=223ms
The execution time of the service execute statement is always part of the performance data and reported in milliseconds. With the pnp4nagios template that is provided by the bischeck installation the average execution time is not graphed.

7.1.1 NSCA configuration

The configuration parameters that need to be define in the server.xml for NSCA are:

7.1.2 NRDP configuration (Beta)

The configuration parameters that need to be define in the server.xml for NRDP are:

7.2 OpenTSDB

OpenTSDB is an monitoring system that provide storage and indexing of high volume of time series data. Access to the data in through a graphical web console provide easy way to view many different data sources for advanced analysis. The OpenTSDB integration is provided over OpenTSDB text based protocol. From bischeck the format will be the following for put host erpserver, service orders and service item ediOrders:
put bischeck.measured 1288946927 12000 host=erpserver service=orders serviceitem=ediOrders
put bischeck.threshold 1288946927 11000 host=erpserver service=orders serviceitem=ediOrders
put bischeck.warning 1288946927 9900 host=erpserver service=orders serviceitem=ediOrders
put bischeck.critical 1288946927 7700 host=erpserver service=orders serviceitem=ediOrders
So for each host, service and service item configuration 4 lines of data will be sent to the OpenTSDB server for the measured, threshold, warning and critical value.
The configuration parameters that need to be define in the server.xml for OpenTSDB are:

8 bischeck configuration files

The basic configuration file are xml based and located in the $BISHOME/etc directory. The distribution package also include all xml schema, xsd, files used for validation. For detail information please review the xsd files located in the directory $BISHOME/resources. Remember that all xml configuration files should use HTML encoded characters.

8.1 bischeck.xml

The bischeck configuration can be described as a hierarchy of hosts, services and service items to monitor. Each host can have one or more services, and for each service one or more service items can be configured.
2	<host>
3		<name>erpserver</name>
4		<desc>ERP server</desc>
5		<service>
6			<name>orders</name> 
7			<desc>Order management</desc>
8			<schedule>0 0/5 * * * ?</schedule>
9			<url>
10				jdbc:mysql://erphost/erpdb?user=bischeck&amp;password=bischeck
11			</url>
12			<driver>
13				com.mysql.jdbc.Driver
14			</driver>
15			<serviceitem>
16				<name>ediorders</name>
17				<desc>Inbound edi orders</desc>
18				<execstatement>
19					select count(*) from orders where createdate=&apos;%%yyyy-MM-dd%%&apos;     
20				</execstatement> 
21				<thresholdclass>
22					Twenty4HourThreshold
23				</thresholdclass>
24				<serviceitemclass>
25					SQLServiceItem
26				</serviceitemclass>
27			</serviceitem>
28		</service>
29	</host>
In the host section the following elements are defined:
In the service section the following elements are defined:
In the service item section the following elements are defined:
It is important that the name field for host, service and serviceitem do not include any space characters or the dash (-) character.

8.2 properties.xml

The properties.xml include properties used by the core of bischeck, but can also be used by custom developed services and threshold classes. The properties xml has a simple structure of key/value pair:
2	<property> 
3		<key>akey</key> 
4		<value>avalue</value>   
5	</property>
Any properties should have a default value that is set in code. The following properties are currently used by core bischeck:
The properties.xml file can also include class specific properties typical used for custom developed service, service item and threshold classes. A class specific property should have a key formatted in the following way - classname.propertyname
Any class specific properties must have a default value implemented by the class itself. E.g. for JDBCService there is a property called querytimeout that sets the max time in seconds before aborting the query. This property has the name JDBCService.querytimeout and have a default value of 10 seconds.

8.3 urlservice.xml

The configuration define of the mapping between service url schema and Service class. The urlservice xml has a structure of:
2	<urlproperty>
3		<key>jdbc</key>
4		<value>JDBCService</value>
5	</urlproperty>
6	<urlproperty>
7		<key>bischeck</key>
8		<value>LastCacheService</value>  
9	</urlproperty>

8.4 server.xml

The configuration file define the mapping between service url schema and Server class. The urlservice.xml has a structure of:
2	<server name="Nagios1">     
3		<class>
4	    	com.ingby.socbox.bischeck.servers.NSCAServer     
5		</class>
6		<property>
7			<key>hostAddress</key>
8			<value>localhost</value>
9		</property>
10		<property>       
11			<key>encryptionMode</key>
12			<value>XOR</value>     
13		</property>
14		<property>
15			<key>password</key>       
16			<value>change this</value>     
17		</property>
18		<property>       
19			<key>port</key>       
20			<value>5667</value>     
21		</property>
22		<property>       
23			<key>connectionTimeout</key>       
24			<value>5000</value>     
25		</property> 
26	</server>
2728	<server name="Nagios2">     
29		......
30	</server>
Each server that is integrated with bischeck must be defined with the server tag and with a unique attribute name. This solution enable bischeck to send data to multiple servers of the same type, like multiple Nagios servers. The class tag define what Server class implementation to use for the integration. Each Server implementation can have different numbers of properties that is specific for the Server class. Custom developed server classes should be placed in the customlib directory

8.5 24thresholds.xml

The threshold class Twenty4HourThreshold described in section 6.1↑is configured through the 24thresholds.xml file.
2	<servicedef>
3		<hostname>erpserver</hostname>
4		<servicename>shipments</servicename> 
5		<serviceitemname>outboundshipment</serviceitemname>  
7		<period>
8			<!-- valid for any 21th day in the month -->  
9			<months> 
10				<dayofmonth>21</dayofmonth> 
11			</months> 
13			<!-- valid for week 12 (middle of March)
14				and if its a Thursday -->
15			<weeks> 
16				<week>12</week>
17				<dayofweek>5</dayofweek>
18			</weeks> 
20			<calcmethod>&gt;</calcmethod> 
21			<warning>10</warning> 
22			<critical>30</critical> 
23			<hoursIDREF>1</hoursIDREF> 
24		</period>
26		<period>
27			<!-- valid if its a Friday --> 
28			<weeks> 
29				<dayofweek>6</dayofweek>
30			</weeks> 
31			<calcmethod>&gt;</calcmethod> 
32			<warning>10</warning> 
33			<critical>30</critical> 
34			<hoursIDREF>2</hoursIDREF> 
35		</period>
37		<period>
38			<!-- This will be used if no 
39				other rule if applicable -->
40			<calcmethod>&gt;</calcmethod>
41			<warning>10</warning> 
42			<critical>30</critical> 
43			<hoursIDREF>31</hoursIDREF> 
44		</period>
4546	</servicedef> 
48	<hours hoursID="1"> 
49		<!-- 00:00 -->
50		<hour>500</hour> 
51		<!-- 01:00 -->	
52		<hour>1500</hour> 
53		<!-- 02:00 -->
54		<hour>4000</hour> 
55		.................
56		<!-- 21:00 -->
57		<hour>9000</hour> 
58		<!-- 22:00 -->
59		<hour>10000</hour> 
60		<!-- 23:00 -->
61		<hour>11000</hour> 
62	</hours>
6364	<hours hoursID="2"> 
65		<!-- 00:00 -->
66		<hour>1500</hour> 
67		<!-- 01:00 -->	
68		<hour>2500</hour> 
69		<!-- 02:00 -->
70		<hour>5000</hour> 
71		.................
72		<!-- 21:00 -->
73		<hour>10000</hour> 
74		<!-- 22:00 -->
75		<hour>12000</hour> 
76		<!-- 23:00 -->
77		<hour>14000</hour> 
78	</hours>
7980	<hours hoursID="2"> 
81		<!-- 00:00 -->
82		<hour>500</hour> 
83		<!-- 01:00 -->	
84		<hour>erpserver-orders-ediorders[0]*0.8</hour> 
85		<!-- 02:00 -->
86		<hour>erpserver-orders-ediorders[0]*0.8</hour> 
87		.................
88		<!-- 21:00 -->
89		<hour>erpserver-orders-ediorders[0]*0.3</hour> 
90		<!-- 22:00 -->
91		<hour>null</hour> 
92		<!-- 23:00 -->
93		<hour>null</hour> 
94	</hours> 
9596	<!-- Holidays -->
97	<holiday year="2011">
98		<dayofyear>0101</dayofyear>
99		.................
100		<dayofyear>1224</dayofyear>
101		<dayofyear>1225</dayofyear>
102	</holiday> 
The configuration is based on two main parts, a servicedef tag and an hours tag. For each combination of host, service and serviceitem a servicedef tag is specified. Each servicedef can have one to many period specifications, see 6.1.1↑. The period specify what hoursID that should be used for a specific combination of months and weeks definitions, see 6.1.3↑for more information. The period also define calculation method, warning and critical level, see 6.1.2↑.
The hours tag must have 24 hour tags, each represent on hour of the day. An hour tag can have a null value, meaning no threshold, a fixed value or an mathematical expression according to JEP, but with variables from any measured value existing in the last value cache, see 5↑. For more information about threshold specifications please see 6↑. The final section, holidays, describe any day of the year where no threshold will be tested. For that reason the service will always return a OK state if bischeck services is ran and using the threshold class Twenty4HourThreshold.

9 Service scheduling

The service scheduling define when a service is triggered to be executed. For each service there can be multiple scheduling configurations, but at lest one is mandatory. The scheduling can be described in three ways.

9.1 Interval scheduling

The simple format describe a interval execution that are repeated forever. The format is just a number and a indicator defining the granularity in seconds (S), minutes (M) or hours (H). 10M specify that the service should be executed every ten minutes.

9.2 Cron based scheduling

The second format is more advanced and follow the cron specification of Quartz, see With this format its possible to define scheduling expression like “0 15 10 ? * MON-FRI” which would schedule the service at 10:15am every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. For more cron examples please visit
1<schedule>0 15 10 ? * MON-FRI</schedule>		

9.3 Service relation scheduling

[New in 0.4.0] The service relation scheduling trigger a service to execute after another service has been scheduled. This is useful when a service is depending on data for another service for its thresholds or execution statement. The format is “host-service” specifying the host and service that will trigger the execution of the service.

10 Configuration tools

Bischeck provides by default no additional tools for configuration other than the normal editor to manage the xml configuration files. The default configuration files in etc directory are valid for the test example configuration, see 13.2↓.
A web based configuration tool, bisconf, is under development. Bisconf will be hosted on the bischeck project site,

11 bischeck internal surveillance

bischeck use the Java JMX standard for internal monitoring. Please read the javadoc for the classes ExecuteMBean and LastStatusCacheMBean to to understand the methods available or just start jconsole or equivalent tool.
The following JMX settings are used by default and set in the bischeck script located in the $BISHOME/bin directory.$bishome/etc/jmxremote.password$bishome/etc/jmxremote.access
If authentication should be used please change the property to true and configure the roles and password in the files jmxremote.access and jmxremote.password. For more information how to configure JMX please visit
JMX is only enabled when the bischeck script is called with the argument "Execute -d", which is the way bischeckd init script call the script bischeck to start bischeck in daemon mode.

12 Building bischeck

To build bischeck from source is simple. Check out the bischeck trunk from
$ svn checkout --username anonymous bischeck
To build a bischeck distribution run from the directory where you checked out the bischeck code:
$ ant dist
This will create a compressed tar file in the target directory, named bischeck-x.y.z.tgz where x.y.z is the version number. Different versions of bischeck can be checked out from the tags directory located in

12.1 Jar customization

To support custom jar files please place them in the directory customlib. This would typical be jdbc drivers, custom threshold classes, etc.

12.2 Developing with bischeck

Its simple to develop your own service, service item and threshold classes. To develop your own you must follow the interface that exist for each type. For service and service items an abstract class exist with default implementation of most of the methods described in the interfaces.

13 Installation

The latest binary version of bischeck is available on
Download the distribution file and follow the steps below to install. Make sure you have root privileges doing this.
# tar xzvf bischeck-x.y.z.tgz 
# cd bischeck-x.y.z
# chmod 755 install 
# ./install -u #Get usage
# ./install    #Install default
# service bischeckd start    #Redhat/Centos
# /etc/init.d/bischeck start #Debian/Ubuntu
To get full list of available options to the install script use -u. By default the install script will install bischeck in directory /opt/socbox/addons/bischeck, referred to as $BISHOME, and with the ownership of the user id nagios. Make sure that the user exist before running install.
The last commands start the bischeck daemon with the effective user id of the user id set during install, default user nagios. The installation will configure bischeckd to start automatically in run level 3, 4 and 5.
The process id of the java process running bischeck in daemon mode is located in a file, default in /var/tmp/ This file is used by the bischeckd script to stop the java program running bischeck and make sure that only one instance of bischeck is started on the server.

13.1 Upgrading

From version 0.3.2 upgrading is possible. If you already have an installation download the new version as described in the previous chapter but to upgrade run:
# ./install -I /opt/socbox/addons/bischeck -X
The upgrade will save the current installation in a directory parallel to the new version named bischeck_x.y.z, where x.y.z is the version of the old installation.
The file migrationpath.txt describe the supported upgrade paths and what migration scripts that will be run by the install script when running in upgrade mode, -X.
If the upgrade is successful bischeck can be started.
# service bischeckd start

13.2 Getting started

In the $BISHOME/etc directory there are examples of all the configuration files. These works as an examples to get started with a simple bischeck setup of monitoring a Mysql database table. Scripts to create the test database is found in the examples directory. You do not need a nagios server setup to run the test, just monitor the bischeck log file located by default in /usr/tmp/bischeck.log. To run the example the mysql jdbc driver is required and the jar file, typical mysql-connector-java.jar should be copied to the $BISHOME/customlib directory to automatically be part of bischecks classpath.
$ cat examples/create_bischeckverify.sql | mysql -u root
$ cp <some location>/mysql-connector-java.jar customlib/
$ sudo /etc/init.d/bischeckd restart
$ tail -f /usr/tmp/bischeck.log

13.3 Integration with pnp4nagios

pnp4nagios can create graph layouts depending on the check command used for the service on the Nagios server. Since bischeck use a passive check we need to create a unique check command that match the pnp4nagios layout for bischeck. Create a link in the libexec directory on the nagios server:
nagios$ ln -s check_dummy check_bischeck
When describing the service always use the check_bischeck as the check command. The check_bischeck.php that control the pnp4nagios layout must be copied to the directory pnp4nagios/share/templates on the Nagios server.

13.4 Logging

bischeck use log4j for log management. The log4j configuration is described in the file located in the resources directory of the bischeck installation. By default bischeck writes log information at level INFO to file /var/tmp/bischeck.log.

14 Command line utilities

There is a number of command line utilities available in bischeck. All can be ran through the bischeck script located in the $BISHOME/bin directory. To use the bischeck script add it to your PATH variable.

14.1 Run bischeck

The normal way to run bischeck is as a daemon using the init.d script bischeckd, but is also possible to start bischeck in continues running mode by executing:
$ bischeck Execute -d
Running in this way have limitations since the execution will not automatically be placed as a background process and the effective user id will be the user starting the process which may not have all permissions according to the installation. Neither will pid files be updated correctly. For production system always use the init.d script.
$ sudo /etc/init.d/bischeckd start
# service bischeckd start
For testing purpose it can be good to just run bischeck once and make sure that every thing is executing as expected. This is done by executing:
$ bischeck Execute
This will override all scheduling definitions and execute everything directly, but only once.
To show the pid file used for the bischeck daemon running:
$ bischeck ConfigurationManager -p
This command is used in the init script bischeckd to retrieve the current pid.

14.2 List bischeck configuration

Formatted listing of all configuration files is managed by the DocManager class.
To generate the configuration files in html format:
$ bischeck DocManager -d <directory name> -t html
The files are generated to the directory set with -d. Point your browser to the index.html file in the directory to get links to each configuration file.
To get the same but in plain text:
$ bischeck DocManager -d <directory name> -t text
If -d is omitted the files file be created in the default directory bisheckdoc. The default value for -t is html.

14.3 Validating configuration files

To validate if the xml configuration files are correct the following command will return 0 if correct. Use $? to see return status.
$ bischeck ConfigurationManager -v; echo $?

14.4 Twenty4HourThreshold testing

To verify which threshold rule that will used for a specific host, service and service item for a specific date run:
$ bischeck threshold.Twenty4HourThreshold -h erphost -s orders -i ediorders -d 20111207
The above command will show which threshold definition that will be used for host erphost, service orders and serviceitem ediorders on seventh of December 2012. If -d is omitted the current date will be used.

15 Releases

15.1 Release 0.4.1 - 2012-10-0X

15.1.1 New feature

15.1.2 Bugs fixed and important issues

15.1.3 Upgrading

Release 0.4.0 is supported for upgrade to 0.4.1.

15.2 Release 0.4.0 - 2012-08-31

15.2.1 New feature

15.2.2 Bugs fixed and important issues

15.2.3 Upgrading

Release 0.3.3 and 0.4.0_RC2 are supported for upgrade to 0.4.0.

15.3 Release 0.3.3 - 2011-11-14

15.3.1 New features

15.3.2 Bugs fixed and important issues

15.4 Release 0.3.2 - 2011-07-29

15.4.1 New features

15.4.2 Bugs fixed and important issues

15.5 Release 0.3.1 - 2011-04-08

15.5.1 New features

15.5.2 Bugs fixed and important issues

15.5.3 Upgrade issues

15.6 Release 0.3.0 - 2011-03-03

15.6.1 New features

15.6.2 Bugs fixed and important issues

16 System requirements

bischeck should run on any operating system that supports Java 6. The installation script and init scripts are supported on Redhat and Debian equivalent Linux distributions. Running on none Linux operating system has not been tested.
The following jar packages are distributed as part of the bischeck distribution. All these packages have their own open source licenses.
All jar files distributed as part of bischeck are located in the lib directory.

17 bischeck license

bischeck is licensed under GNU license version 2. For more info please visit

18 Bug reports and feature requests

Please submit bug reports and feature requests on in the Forge section.

19 Credits

Thanks to all people who has developed all the great software that bischeck depends on, and especially all who made Nagios and the Nagios community a success. A special thanks goes to Peter Johansson and his colleagues at DHL Freight Sweden for sponsoring the development and providing ideas and important feedback.