Using MySQL Enterprise (part 2) - Monitoring

12/20/2011 5:42:24 PM

3. Monitoring

There are several areas in which MySQL Enterprise makes monitoring much easier for the administrators of a complex infrastructure. These areas include:

  • Heat chart

  • Alert details

  • Consolidated server graphs

  • Server details

  • Replication details

  • Advisors

We will examine each of these in greater detail in the following sections.


You can rename the servers using the Manage Servers option on the Settings page. This allows you to use more meaningful names on the Enterprise Dashboard while leaving the actual hostnames of the servers unaltered.

You can also create groups to combine related servers. This can be very handy, because the group is displayed on the various controls, allowing you to collapse the group and alter the display as needed.

3.1. Heat chart

As shown earlier, the heat chart to the right of the monitoring page of the Enterprise Dashboard provides an at-a-glance look at the relative health of your servers. The legend (which you can switch on or off) shows a series of colors that indicate states of operation from online and fully operational (green) to offline or not communicating (red). Clearly, your eye can quickly take in the areas that demand further inspection. Figure 3 shows an example of the heat chart for the information infrastructure example.

Notice that the heading on the heat chart lists several categories that represent critical monitoring areas. These areas cover the critical aspects of monitoring (CPU, memory, etc.). Unlike those manual monitoring methods, this chart presents a relative health meter that allows you to read the status quickly.

Figure 3. Heat chart

Along with the general monitoring areas are MySQL-specific areas such as lock contention, MyISAM cache utilization, query cache utilization, and the number of table scans. MySQL Enterprise can and does report on a lot more areas, as you will see, but these are the most-watched areas.

To the right of these categories are columns that keep a count of recent critical events, warnings, and informational messages.


The values in the heat chart are updated periodically, so the counts may rise and fall depending on the recentness and resolution of the problems.

3.2. Alert details

The best thing about the heat chart, which may not be obvious, is that you can click on any one of the dots or numbered entries to get more information. For example, if you click the I/O usage dot for a server encountering I/O problems, you will see a list of all of the alerts for that system, as shown in Figure 4. You can then click the most recent alert and get a detailed report like the one shown in Figure 5.

Figure 4. Sample alerts list

Figure 5. Sample alert report

This report indicates the server on which the alert occurred, the time it occurred, and advice following the established best practices. There are tabs across the top for closing the alert to clear it from the display (which you can do once you have either fixed or accepted the incident), seeing more details (such as an expanded problem description), and an Advanced tab that shows how the alert was triggered.

The alert reports make the MySQL Enterprise stand alone among the monitoring options. This is what is meant by having a “virtual DBA assistant.” The alerts will make your life much easier by trapping the problems from servers all over your organization and reporting them in a single place. This saves you the time and tedium of costly diagnostic efforts or active monitoring and gives you tips on how to solve problems quickly.

3.3. Consolidated server graphs

At the center of the Enterprise Dashboard display is a consolidated set of graphs that show colored lines for each of the servers being monitored (Figure 6). The default settings keep these charts very small, but you can change both the size and reporting time scales.

You can use these charts to get another pictorial view of the health of the systems in your organization. Even at the small default size it is easy to spot anomalies. Like with the heat chart, you can click a consolidated server graph to see more details about each event.

Figure 6. Sample consolidated server graphs

3.4. Server details

Another nice feature of the Enterprise Dashboard is that it lets you click on a specific server in the list of servers to see more details about the system. The server details report shows the version of the MySQL server; when it was last started (uptime); where the data is located; the host operating system; and CPU, memory size, disk space, and network information.

You can use this information for inventory purposes (determining what hardware is on your network) as well as for a quick look at what operating system is running to give you a clue about how to fix a problem. For example, you can remotely log into a server to fix something and know its hostname, IP address, MySQL version, and most importantly, the host operating system before you log in—all critical information that most administrators memorize or write down in a notebook. Figure 7 shows an example of the server details portion of the Enterprise Dashboard.

Figure 7. Server details

3.5. Replication details

The Replication tab of the Enterprise Dashboard includes a list of all of your servers participating in replication. The information is presented in a list form and, like all lists in MEM, you can click on each item to get more information. Figure 8 shows a sample replication details report.

Figure 8. Replication details

Notice that items in the list are grouped by topology (e.g., “XYZ Corporation,” which you can rename), including the type of topology, what role(s) the server is performing, and critical statistics about replication, including status of the threads, time behind master, current binary log, log position, master log information, and the most recent errors.

In this example, we see there is a problem on dev_slave2, where an error occurred on query execution. This is an excellent example of how you can get a quick picture of your replication topology. The list shows the masters and slaves grouped hierarchically. That is, a master is listed at a level directly under the group and its slaves under each master. In Figure 13-9, it is easy to see the development server has two slaves, dev_slave1 and dev_slave2, and the development server is a slave to the production server. Having all the information about replication in one location makes the tedious task of monitoring replication on each server obsolete.

3.6. Advisors

What makes all of the alerts and pretty charts so informative are the best practices implemented in the advisors. You can see all of the active advisors (and create your own) on the Advisors tab in the Enterprise Dashboard. Figure 9 shows the list of default advisors for the platinum subscription.

Figure 9. Advisors

Figure 9 shows the advisors that are active for a specific server on your network. You can enable, disable, or unschedule any of the advisors (unscheduling removes the data collected).

Perhaps the most useful feature of this page is adding your own advisors. This feature allows you to expand the MEM to meet your specific needs. It also gives you the one thing you need most when migrating from a manual monitoring solution: the ability to preserve your hard work.

For example, if you create a reporting mechanism that monitors a custom application, you can create an advisor for it and add alerts to the Enterprise Dashboard. The specific details of how to add new advisors and alerts are covered in the MySQL Enterprise Monitor manual on the Enterprise subscription portal. This customization feature is one the most powerful and underutilized features of MySQL Enterprise.

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