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Big Brother Professional Edition UNIX Server

Getting Started Guide

Version 4.40

Copyright Quest Software, Inc. 20022010. All rights reserved.

This guide contains proprietary information, which is protected by copyright. The software described in this guide is furnished under a software license or nondisclosure agreement. This software may be used or copied only in accordance with the terms of the applicable agreement. No part of this guide may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording for any purpose other than the purchasers personal use without the written permission of Quest Software, Inc.

The information contained in this document is subject to change without notice. Quest Software makes no warranty of any kind with respect to this information. QUEST SOFTWARE SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIMS THE IMPLIED WARRANTY OF THE MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. Quest Software shall not be liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, or other damage alleged in connection with the furnishing or use of this information.

Quest, Big Brother, Foglight, and Spotlight are trademarks or registered trademarks of Quest Software, Inc. Other trademarks and registered trademarks used in this guide are property of their respective owners.

NET-SNMP routines
Copyright 1989, 1991, 1992 by Carnegie Mellon University Copyright 1996, 1998-2000 The Regents of the University of California Copyright (c) 2001-2003, Networks Associates Technology, Inc All rights reserved. Portions of this code are copyright (c) 2001-2003, Cambridge Broadband Ltd. All rights reserved. Copyright 2003 Sun Microsystems, Inc., 4150 Network Circle, Santa Clara, California 95054, U.S.A. All rights reserved. Copyright (c) 2003-2006, Sparta, Inc All rights reserved. Copyright (c) 2004, Cisco, Inc and Information Network Center of Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications. All rights reserved. Copyright (c) Fabasoft R&D Software GmbH & Co KG, 2003 Author: Bernhard Penz

Cryptographic routines
This product includes cryptographic software written by Eric Young ( Copyright (c) 1998-2006 The OpenSSL Project. All rights reserved.

Charting SWFObject is (c) 2007 Geoff Stearns and is released under the MIT License Jstree Copyright (c) 2010 Ivan Bozhanov (

World Headquarters 5 Polaris Way Aliso Viejo, CA. 92656 USA email: U.S. and Canada: 949.754.8000 Please refer to our Web site for regional and international office information.
Big Brother Professional Edition UNIX Server Getting Started Guide Software Version 4.40

Revision: 10/7/10- Copyright 2010 Quest Software

Table of Contents
Description of Big Brother Professional Edition .................. 1 About This Document ............................................................. 2 Big Brother Professional Edition Terminology..................... 3
Naming Conventions ...........................................................................3

System Requirements ............................................................. 4 Getting the Product ................................................................. 4 Apache Configuration ............................................................. 4 Big Brother Server Installation............................................... 5
Before the Installation..........................................................................5 What You Need to Know ...............................................................5 Security Issues...............................................................................5 Log in as the Root User ................................................................6 Create the Big Brother User .........................................................6 Installing the Software .........................................................................6 Extracting the Big Brother Archive..............................................6 Running the Main Configuration Script.......................................7

Accessing Big Brother ............................................................ 9 Configuration Files................................................................ 10

The bb-hosts Configuration File.......................................................10 IP Address and Hostname ..........................................................11 Directives......................................................................................11 Defining New Hosts .....................................................................12 Modifying the Big Brother Display.............................................14 The and Configuration Files..................14 Checking the Configuration and Host Definitions ..........................17 Restarting Big Brother.......................................................................17 Creating Notes About Your Hosts ....................................................17

Notification............................................................................. 20
Setting Notification Options..............................................................20 Creating Host Groups and Recipient Groups .................................20 Defining Notification Rules ...............................................................21 Acknowledging Notifications ............................................................22

What Next?............................................................................. 23 Troubleshooting Common Problems .................................. 23

Verifying That Big Brother Is Running .............................................23


Checking That Big Brother Is Generating Web Pages ...................23 403 Permission Denied Error.........................................................24 Checking BBOUT for errors ..............................................................24

Migration From Older Versions ............................................ 25 About Quest Software ........................................................... 25

Contacting Quest Software ...............................................................26 Technical Support ..............................................................................26 Permanent License.............................................................................26



Description of Big Brother Professional Edition

Big Brother Professional Edition (BBPE, or Big Brother) is a software tool for monitoring computers, other devices with an IP address, and processes. As long as the machines are connected to a network, the physical locations of the stations being monitored are not important. This lets you monitor computer networks remotely, 24-hours a day. Big Brother can generate a web page that can be viewed internally or externally and notify one or more people of the network status via e-mail , pager, SMS or SNMP trap. Here is a sample of the Big Brother status display Web page:


And heres a sample of the Big Brother status display using Flash

Big Brother consists of two parts: a server and a client. The server monitors services which can be tested over the Internet: HTTP, FTP, and so on. It does this by sending messages over the Internet to the host and seeing if it receives a reply. The server also collects status logs, prepares and makes available the display Web page, and processes all notifications. The server can be installed on one or more than one computer; a single server instance can monitor many host computers. The Big Brother client tests services which can only be monitored internally by checking the computer itself: CPU and disk space usage and so on. The client must be installed on each host where you want to monitor these internal processes; it sends the results of its tests over the network or Internet to a Big Brother server. Big Brother is very flexible. You configure the hosts to monitor and what tests to perform on each. You also select when e-mail or pager notifications are sent based on test results, and who they are sent to. You can have different recipients based on the host, the test, the day, and/or the time. You can also add external scripts to extend the processes and services Big Brother can monitor.

About This Document

This document describes installation and initial configuration of the Big Brother server software on a UNIX host. It does not discuss installing or using the Big Brother client. For more detailed information about the Big Brother server software, please see the online help.


Big Brother Professional Edition Terminology

This guide uses the following terminology throughout. Understanding the terminology is important to running Big Brother successfully. Big Brother server A computer running the Big Brother server software. It may function as any or all of BBDISPLAY, BBPAGER, and BBNET. BBDISPLAY The computer that accepts incoming reports and prepares them for display. Big Brother uses the Web as its user interface, so it can be accessed by anyone with clearance to access the Big Brother site. It is also called the display server. BBPAGER The computer that sends notifications if alarm levels are exceeded. It is also called the pager server. BBNET The computer(s) that performs all network tests for each protocol, for each system listed in the bb-hosts file. Starting with BBPE 4.00, you can have multiple BBNETs running in parallel (as long as each are defined with a unique location tag). Big Brother client A computer that retrieves CPU, disk, and process information and messages using the Big Brother client software. BB user The UNIX user name created to run Big Brother under. For security reasons, Big Brother cannot be run as root.

Naming Conventions
When referring to specific installation directories, this book uses these naming conventions:


Referred to as

Name of Big Brother user Big Brother users home directory Big Brothers home directory Apaches home directory Apaches cgi-bin directory

bb /home/bb /home/bb/bb4.40-bbpe /var/www/html /var/www/cgi-bin


System Requirements
Big Brother UNIX server requires one of the following operating systems: RedHat Enterprise Server 3.0, 4.0 or 5.0 (x86) SUSE Enterprise Linux 9.0, 10.0 ad 11.0 (x86) Solaris 8 or greater (Sparc & x86) HP-UX 11.0 or 11i (PA-RISC)

Apache or another Web server must be installed and working on the computer that will be the BBDISPLAY server. CGI scripts must be working on any computer where you will install Big Brother server. Any BBPAGER server must be able to send e-mail for e-mail notifications to work.

Getting the Product

You can download the Big Brother Professional Edition UNIX server software from the Quest website at

Apache Configuration
If you are using Apache as the Web server for Big Brother, it must be configured to follow symbolic links. To make sure that it is: 1. Change directory to the Apache configuration directory. In many cases this will be /usr/local/apache/conf. 2. Open the file httpd.conf in your favorite editor. 3. Find the Options line. If it does not include the option FollowSymLinks, add it to the end of the line. 4. Save and close the file. 5. Restart Apache. If you are using a different Web server which includes a similar option, make sure it is enabled.


Big Brother Server Installation

Before the Installation
What You Need to Know
This is a list of information required during Big Brother installation and setup. We recommend you print out and complete this list before installing Big Brother so you have the information easily available when you need it.

User ID the Web server is running as: ____________________________________________ Group the Web server is running as: _____________________________________________ (Note: This may not be the same group as the Web server user. If you are using Apache, see the Group line in Apaches httpd.conf file.) Location of the Document Root directory: ________________________________________ Location of the Web servers cgi-bin directory: ____________________________________ cgi-bin URL: _______________________________________________________________ You must also know the password for the root user, since you will have to log in as root for the installation.

Security Issues
The following suggestions apply mainly to the BBDISPLAY and BBPAGER hosts. These are where the Big Brother daemons run, and as such are at higher risk than the simple clients. Never install network software without considering the security implications. If you have a security person, discuss it with them. If not, talk to your Systems Administrator. Also, feel free to call Quest support (see page 26) if you have any questions. Make sure the Web server on the BBDISPLAY machine is secure. Even Apache can have security breaches from a misconfigured web server. As described below, you must create a UNIX user to run the Big Brother server as. Big Brother cannot run as root. Big Brother can restrict incoming connections to only those IP addresses and networks listed in the $BBHOME/etc/security file. Once you have the server software installed and working, we strongly suggest you turn on this option. See the help file for more information. If you are in an environment with a firewall, we suggest running two instances of Big Brother, one inside the firewall and one outside. This keeps things clean, and doesn't require any unnecessary holes in the firewall. However, it does require two separate licenses for Big Brother.


Be sure to secure the scripts in the cgi-bin directory. Also make sure that your Web server is not running as root, and be careful what can be seen and run by outsiders. We recommend password-protecting the Big Brother web pages, including the cgi-bin scripts. After installation. you may also want to restrict configuration of the Big Brother server files to the Big Brother user by running this command: chown R bb /home/bb/bb4.40-bbpe

Log in as the Root User

Before starting the installation, login or su to root and change directory to the directory where you downloaded the Big Brother archive. The instructions below assume it is in /tmp.

Create the Big Brother User

Use the appropriate commands for your operating system to create the user ID which will own and run the Big Brother server (it cannot be run as root). Throughout the instructions, we refer to this user as bb, but that does not have to be the actual user ID.

Installing the Software

Extracting the Big Brother Archive
1. Copy the Big Brother archive file to the Big Brother users home directory. The archive name includes the name of the operating system it is for. Here is a sample command, assuming the operating system is Solaris 10 (Sparc) and the bb users home is /home/bb: cp /tmp/ BBSVR-solaris5.10-sparc-bb4.40-bbpe.tar 2. Change to the Big Brother users home directory: cd /home/bb 3. Untar the archive: tar xvf BBSVR-solaris5.10-sparc-bb4.40-bbpe.tar This creates the Big Brother directory structure, as described in the next section The Big Brother Directory Structure When you extract the Big Brother archive file, it creates a bb4.40-bbpe subdirectory under the bb directory. The bb4.40-bbpe directory contains several files and subdirectories: /home/bb

File or Directory


bin etc

Contains most of the binaries and shell scripts for Big Brother. Contains almost all of the configuration files that define Big Brothers behavior. You will modify these files to configure Big Brother alarm levels and other behavior.


ext install README.INSTALL LICENSE tmp web www

Contains the files that extend the monitoring capabilities of Big Brother. External user-defined scripts go here. Contains the Big Brother install files.

Startup script template Holds temporary files. Holds the scripts that generate web pages Contains the link to the index.html file.

Running the main configuration script, bbconfig, creates another subdirectory under /home/bb, bbvar. In turn, bbvar contains six subdirectories to hold data and log files: acks, data, disabled, hist, histlogs, and logs. Big Brother Variable Names The /home/bb/bb4.40-bbpe directory and the directories under home/bb/bbvar have special names and variables assigned to them. These are:


Variable Name

/home/bb/bb4.40-bbpe /home/bb/bbvar/acks/ /home/bb/bbvar/data/ /home/bb/bbvar/disabled/ /home/bb/bbvar/hist/ /home/bb/bbvar/histlogs/ /home/bb/bbvar/logs/


The defaults for these variable names are defined in the /etc/ file.

Running the Main Configuration Script

1. Change to the Big Brother installation directory: cd /home/bb/bb4.40-bbpe/install 2. Start the main configuration script, bbconfig: ./bbconfig 3. The script now prompts you for information about your setup. The following steps describe each prompt and show sample responses.


First, it asks if you agree to the license terms: Do you agree to the terms of this license (y/n): y 4. The next prompt asks you to verify your operating system. If the operating system shown is correct, just press Enter: Please confirm your OS: [solaris]: <Enter> 5. The next prompt asks for the Big Brother user ID. This is the user you created before starting the installation. The Big Brother daemons will run as this user: What will be the user ID of BBPE[bb]:bb 6. The script then asks for the name of the BBDISPLAY server. Just press Enter if the host name shown (the current host) is correct: What host will be the BBDISPLAY[]: 7. Next, the script asks for the name of the BBPAGER server. Just press Enter if the host name shown (the current host) is correct: What host will be the BBPAGER[]: 8. You then enter the e-mail address of the default recipient of e-mail notifications: Enter the e-mail address to send notifications to:

9. Next, enter the Web browsers document root: Enter DocumentRoot directory [/home/www/httpd/docs]:

10. Next, you enter the directory path and URL for the Web servers cgi-bin directory. This information is needed because Big Brother uses CGI scripts to create dynamic output. Enter CGI directory [/home/www/httpd/cgi-bin]:

Enter the base URL of the CGI scripts [/cgi-bin]: If you are using Apache, the default directory for CGI scripts depends on the version: /var/www/cgi-bin is the default for versions 2.0 or greater; /home/www/httpd/cgi-bin is the default for versions before 2.0. 11. Next, enter the user ID and group name which own the Web server: Enter web server user id [nobody]: nobody Enter group name [nobody]: nobody If you are using Apache, the default group and user ID are typically either apache or nobody. 12. Youve now entered all necessary information. The installer now generates and displays a host key, similar to this: You need this string to get your Big Brother Server ntmg peds omdi bfdp bvej cxfr


Write this key down in a safe place, as you will need it to get a permanent license key from Quest. To obtain a permanent license key, send e-mail to, call your sales representative, or call (949) 754-8000. The installation script now completes. When done, it displays: It generally will take 5 to 10 minutes to generate the first Big Brother report page. Once created, it may be viewed at Big Brother Professional Installation complete.

Accessing Big Brother

At this point, the Big Brother server should be running and accessible. Open a browser window and point it to the Big Brother directory: or http://yourmachinename/bb/. If Big Brother has had time to perform its first round of tests, this displays the main Big Brother page.

This is the simplest Big Brother display, showing only two tests for one host (the Big Brother Server). If all the sensors displayed are in green, everything is working. In the following sections youll see how to add more hosts to be monitored and how to define the tests to perform on each one. There is a toolbar at the top left with these icons:

Click this icon to display the Management page. From the Management page, you can page a Big Brother Administrator, acknowledge a page you have received from Big Brother, enable/disable notifications for certain hosts and/or services or edit certain configuration files. Click this icon to switch between the Big Brother main page (bb.html) and condensed view (bb2.html). Click this icon to create an availability report. Click this icon to display the help file.

See the Big Brother online help for more information about these features.


If Big Brother has not yet completed its first tests, you see this temporary page instead:

If you wait a few minutes and refresh the page, you should see the screen described above. If your Web server is not using port 80, you must modify the BBWEBHOST parameter in the /etc/ file before Big Brother can successfully perform its tests; see page 15.

Configuration Files
You configure Big Brother server by modifying configuration files. These files are in the /home/bb/bb4.40-bbpe/etc directory. There are three main configuration files on the Big Brother server: The bb-hosts file tells Big Brother what hosts to monitor and what network services to monitor on each host. It also controls the display format of the web pages. The file configures general characteristics of Big Brother which apply on both the serer and a Big Brother client, such as what status colors should trigger a notification message. The file configures general characteristics of Big Brother which apply only on the server, such as how long a status log is valid after it has been received.

Any change to these files requires you to stop and restart the Big Brother server. You can do this using these commands:
./ start to start the server. ./ stop to stop the server.

The bb-hosts Configuration File

When you first open the bb-hosts file, it will contain the following:
# upon install, your Big Brother server is assigned # a basic configuration. Modify with the proper BBNTD server address and hostname # then start adding the other client servers you want to test.




The format for the host definition lines is: <IP-ADDR> <HOSTNAME> # <DIRECTIVES> The following sections discuss the parts of the host definition.

IP Address and Hostname

The first entry on the line is the IP address of the host. To get started, change the on the first line to the address of the server on which Big Brother is installed. The second part of the line is the hostname. Enter the fully-qualified domain name for the server where Big Brother is installed, such as instead of simply mymachine. Stop and start Big Brother after making these changes to your bb-hosts file. You may have to wait up to five minutes for your changes to effect the Big Brother display.

Everything after the # sign is a directive (a space should always follow it). For computers with the Big Brother server software installed, directives determine what roles this host fills for Big Brotherwhich server functions it performs. For all hosts, they determine what network tests are performed on the host. In the above example, the directives indicate that the host with this IP is the Big Brother web server (directive BBDISPLAY), the notification server (directive BBPAGER), and runs the IP network services (directive BBNET). It will test IP connectivity regardless of the hostname but using the IP address (directive testip) and check the web page Many other directives are possible; refer to the Big Brother online help for more information. Big Brother roles and network tests are discussed below. Big Brother Roles Directives on the line defining a Big Brother server determine which server functions that machine performs. When the Big Brother server software starts up, it finds itself in the bb-hosts file to determine what it has to do. The directives and the roles they assign are: BBDISPLAY Receive incoming status logs and generate and make available the bb.html (main display), bb2.html (condensed view) or bbf.html (Flash view) web pages. You can define more than one BBDISPLAY if you want to run parallel instances. To use multiple BBDISPLAY servers, each monitored Big Brother client must have all the BBDISPLAY servers defined. BBPAGER Receive and process requests to notify administrators. There can be more than one BBPAGER, but if there is the administrator may be notified once by each BBPAGER server for the same event. There is no synchronization between BBPAGER servers. BBNET Perform all network tests on each host listed in bb-hosts. Many hosts can act as BBNETs, but you should use more than one only when you are very comfortable with Big Brother server configuration. See the online help for more information. BBRELAY Relay all messages to the host defined in the BBRELAY directive. Consider this example:



This Big Brother server (bbhost) will relay all of its incoming messages to the Big Brother host. The current host does not have to be a BBDISPLAY. It can be a lone BBRELAY: bbhost # BBRELAY:

For this setup, all Big Brother clients must assume that is a BBDISPLAY. While will receive status messages from clients, you will not be able to view them from that host; you will need to access This feature is useful to redirect status messages to a central location while keeping a local copy. It is also helpful if you need to move the BBDISPLAY but do not have time to modify all clients with the new BBDISPLAY address. You can specify multiple BBRELAYs. To use a port other than the default (1984) on the BBRELAY server, enter the port number after the IP address. For example: bbhost # BBRELAY:

Defining New Hosts

You can define additional hosts in bb-hosts following the same conventions. For example, to monitor machine on IP, the entry would look like: # testip If you have a bb-hosts file with two hosts defined, like this (the first two lines are really one line in the file): # testip BBPAGER BBNET BBDISPLAY # ftp telnet

The screen display would look like this (remember, you have to stop and restart the server, and wait up to five minutes, for your change to take effect):

In this way, you can add any number of new servers/workstations and other devices. The example does not show monitoring of internal services such as CPU, disk, messages, processes, or services because the Big Brother client must be installed on any host where you want to monitor internal processes. At this stage, we suggest you define only a few hosts, and only standard network tests, as described in the next section. After you test to make sure Big Brother is working properly, you can add the rest of the hosts you want to monitor.



Testing Network Services To test network services on a host, you list the network test directives on the hosts line in bb-hosts. (If there are no test directives, Big Brother will only ping the host and display the results in the conn column.) These tests will be performed by the host defined as the BBNET server. Basic TCP-based protocol tests have native support; you can easily add other TCP-based protocols. The network tests verify for connectivity only. (The Big Brother Windows server tests for both connectivity and proper protocol response.) Big Brother has native support for these TCP-based protocols: http ssh ssh1 ssh2 telnet ftp pop pop2 pop3 smtp imap https is also supported if you install ssl-enabled cURL. ( ) If the protocol is text-based and simple, just specify it on the host line. The name of the TCP service must be valid and resolvable: the port ID and the service name must be defined in the services file (/etc/services). To be tested, protocols must be listed both in the BBNETSVCS variable in the file (see page 14) and in the network services file (or equivalent), and their spelling must match. The pop3 service is sometimes listed as pop-3 in the services file, and imap may be listed as imap2, in either case, make sure the service is listed the same way in The services file is a configuration file that is part of your operating system. You can test protocols that are not defined in the services file; the steps are described in the help file. You can add either of two prefixes to a network test directive to change its operation: Add a ! to indicate the service should not be running. This option is especially useful on secure networks to make sure certain protocols are not left open accidentally. For example, !telnet. Add a ? to specify that the service is a dialup service. If the test fails it should generate a clear status, not a red status, to indicate that the service is offline. For example: ?ftp.

You can only use the ! and ? prefixes with the basic TCP service tests. The http and dns/dig tests cannot use these prefixes. For the HTTP test, you include the URL to test after the directive. For example: http://www-path This tests the host for HTTP connections using the www-path. You can specify multiple URLs either by joining them with |: http://www-path|http://www-path1 Or by specifying them individually: http://www-path http://www-path1 If the Web server does not use port 80, you must include the port number at the appropriate place in the path. For any network service directive, you can add these qualifiers after the directive:
:s Silent mode. Big Brother connects to the service port but does not establish a protocol




:q Quiet mode. Big Brother runs the regular network test but returns only the result of the

test, not the protocol conversation. (This qualifier does not currently work on Big Brother Windows servers.) :Q Do not return error messages usually returned by the bbnet program.

To add your own protocol to test, just add the directive name followed by the port number to test on: # newtest:1234 This creates a test called newtest which tests on port 1234. You must also add newtest to the BBNETSVCS variable in the file. You can use the :s qualifier with the new test; if the service is not text-based, you must use :s. You can also add these directives for any host:
dns Check for the name resolution server. dig Same check as dns but using the dig command if it is available. noping Do not do the ping test for this host. noconn Do not do the ping test for this host and don't generate a clear dot. dialup If the host is unreachable, display it with a clear button instead of a red button nodisp Dont show this entry in the display page, you can also say nodisp:cpu to not

display the cpu result for this entry in the bb-hosts.cfg file. Multiple services can be specified; nodisp:cpu:disk will remove the cpu and disk results on the display for this entry. Big Brother supports DHCP addressing. For hosts which use DHCP, put in the IP address field, and the hostname will be used for testing. By default, Big Brother uses DNS to make sure the IP address corresponds to the host name entered. You can add the testip directive to a host definition to force Big Brother to use the IP address for that host, not the host name. If the IP address is entered as (for DHCP), Big Brother uses the hostname regardless of testip. Note The cpu, disk, procs, and msgs (messages) tests are performed by the Big Brother client software. Host definitions do not contain directives for these tests.

Modifying the Big Brother Display

By default, Big Brother lists the status of each test for each host in a large HTML table on the bb.html page (or bbf.html for Flash version) on the BBDISPLAY server. You can change this by using the group directives to split the results into separate table, the page directives to move some results to a separate, linked page, the summary directives to display the status of one page of another BBDISPLAY, and use the display directive to isolate portions of the BB pages . All of these directives are fully described in the inline help.

The and Configuration Files

Options available in the etc/ and etc/ files control many aspects of Big Brothers behavior. Changes to any of these options take effect only after the Big Brother server has been stopped and restarted. The tables below lists some of the more commonly-changed options in each file. You should not need to change any of these to get Big Brother to work initially, except



possibly the BBWEBHOST entry in check this to make sure it includes the fullyqualified domain name. Also, if your Web server does not use port 80, youll need to add the port number to the BBWEBHOST entry. For more complete information, see the online help and the comments in the files themselves. Note The options in can be used by both the Big Brother client and server; options in are used only by the server. There is also a file which is used only by the Big Brother client. These settings are in




Are the status logs reported by the clients in a Fully Qualified Domain Name format? If FQDN is TRUE, hosts will be displayed as; otherwise they will be displayed as www. If you set FQDN=FALSE, make sure no two clients share the same host name. If FQDN=TRUE, make sure your hostnames in the bb-hosts file are also in FQDN format. In almost all circumstances, FQDN should be TRUE. Set it to FALSE only if you have a specific reason to do so.


The directory to save temporary files in. The status color(s) that generate a notification.

These options are in




The directory path of the URL of your Big Brother installation. It is used with the BBWEBHOST variable to create the complete URL of your Big Brother installation. The portion of your Big Brother installation URL. You must put a port number here if your web server is not using port 80. For example:


If you have a different port number, dont forget to also change bb-hosts. The format of BBWEBHOST must match the FQDN setting (see above), which usually means it should be a fully-qualified domain name. CGIBINURL URL location of the cgi-bin directory used by Big Brother . You can change this value to a global cgi-bin directory. If you do, you must copy the Big Brother cgibin programs to that directory. Status logs are converted immediately into HTML pages if BBLOGSTATUS=STATIC. If it is set to DYNAMIC, the status logs are rendered into HTML when you click a colored dot. Setting this to DYNAMIC is useful when you have a lot of hosts and want to minimize the resources used by the BBNTD program.







If set to TRUE, each color change for a status log will be saved so you will be able to view its previous log contents. (Viewing of the previous logs is currently unavailable) The number of minutes before a status log is declared outdated. If a status log hasn't been updated after PURPLEDELAY minutes, the test will show a purple dot. This may generate a notification depending on the value of PAGELEVELS. The valid network services to be tested. They must exactly match the spelling found in the bb-hosts file. The number of concurrent tests the BBNET host can execute. You can increase the value until you notice degradation in system and Big Brother resources. Each thread tests a separate host. Maximum size accepted for incoming message Define the behavior of BB when tests with location tags are encountered




PROPAGATE_MULTILOC_RESULT Should aggregate logs determined from multi location tests be sent to non-local BBDISPLAYs BBCURRDISP RUNOPTS Required top-level zone name when using the display zone feature Runtime options: ENABLE_DISABLE - allows enabling/disabling notifications request messages DATAMSG - Accept incoming data message type NOTESMSG - Accept incoming notes message EMBEDHTML - Keep HTML code in incoming status CONVHTMLTAGS - Change HTML <> tags to &lt; and &gt; in incoming status log LARRD - Inline code for LARRD when generating HTML status log NOTAMP - Don't convert '&' to '_' even if it's defined in the CLEANCHARS variable below DEBUG turn on a debug trace TRAP Accept SNMP traps PERF Save performance/trending data Below are settings for DB access SAVE_IN_FILES: save data into flat files SAVE_IN_DB: save data into database USEDB: Use data in database for display USEFILES: Use data in flat files for display



Checking the Configuration and Host Definitions

After defining a small number of hosts and the standard tests to perform on each one, we recommend you test to make sure the configuration is valid and you havent made any formatting errors in the bbhosts file. You can do this using commands included with Big Brother: 1. If necessary, change directory to /home/bb/bb4.40-bbpe/etc. 2. Check your Big Brother configuration by typing this command: ./ This should display a message that all processes are running smoothly. 3. Check the bb-hosts file for errors by typing: ./ This should display a message stating that everything is ok. If not, follow the instructions to change the errors in the file.

Restarting Big Brother

Now that youve confirmed your changes will work, you need to stop and restart the Big Brother server to make them take effect. As mentioned above, you can do so with these commands: ./ stop ./ start After a couple of minutes, point your Web browser to the Big Brother display page, as described in Accessing Big Brother on page 9. You should see test results for the hosts and tests youve defined.

Creating Notes About Your Hosts

You can set up an HTML link from any host name on the main and condensed displays to an information page for that host. You do this by creating in the www/notes directory a file with a name that exactly matches the system name as displayed by Big Brother, and a null extension or the extension .htm, .html, shtml, or .php3. When it finds such a file, Big Brother links to it from the host name in both the bb.html (main display) and bb2.html (condensed display) page. You can create these files manually or you can use the bb utilitywhich is part of the Big Brother clientto send a notes message. The command format for a notes message is: bb {BBDISPLAY IP} notes {name of file} {data to write to the file} For example: bb notes <HTML><BODY> Home page for Quest Software</BODY></HTML> This command creates a file named in the www/notes directory under the Big Brother installation directory on the BBDISPLAY host; the file contains the text Home page for Quest Software. The next time Big Brother creates the bb.html and bb2.html files, they will include a link to this file from the host name



Note The notes message will only be accepted if the RUNOPTS variable in the etc/ file on the BBDISPLAY server has the NOTESMSG keyword defined. See the online help or the file for more information. The format shown for the bb command is for a UNIX client. On a Windows client; you do not include the IP address of the destination BBDISPLAY server; replace it with



Database connectivity
Big Brother has historically saved incoming status logs and its associated data in flat files. Since version 4.00, it can also save the status information into a database. By default, it saves the status logs in flat files unless you configure it to use a database by making the appropriate changes in the etc/bbdb.cfg file. WARNING! Always back up bbdb.cfg before changing it. This section describes the steps to follow in order to allow Big Brother to save and retrieve status information from a database.

Creating DB tables
It is assumed that a database server has been installed and is functional. It is also assumed that ODBC has been installed and is functional. The first task to execute is to create the various DB tables that Big Brother requires. Depending on the database server that you have chosen from the list that Big Brother supports (SQL Server, Oracle and mySQL), locate the script in the etc/ directory, enter the maintenance utility of your database server and execute the script. After that is accomplished, edit the etc/ file to configure Big Brother for use with a database. The table below lists the various settings in the configuration file:




This is the data source name to use. User name for database operations Associated password with the user defined in USER_DB By default, BB only stores information when theres a change of color in a monitored item. Location of the ODBC configuration file odbcsys.ini file path unixodbc compatible libodbc shared library path Override default DB server name



By default, Big Brother will send a notification if any test returns a red or purple status. You entered the default e-mail address to send notifications to during installation, so notifications will start working as soon as you start Big Brother. However, in most cases youll want to specify one or more notification rules and change some notification options; you may have to set the mailrelay option described below. You can change who gets notified for what events by modifying the bbwarnrules.cfg file. You change the options for notification by modifying the bbwarnsetup.cfg file. WARNING! Always back up bbwarnrules.cfg or bbwarnsetup.cfg before changing it. This section discusses the changes youre likely to want to make soon after installing Big Brother, and gives some examples. The Big Brother online help describes in detail how to modify the notification rules and options.

Setting Notification Options

The bbwarnsetup.cfg file contains many options which affect the way notifications work. When setting up notification for the first time, you will probably want to check the bbwarn option to make sure it is set to TRUE (this should be set by default) There are many other options in bbwarnsetup.cfg. You can change the status colors which trigger a notification, how long to wait before a notification, and much more. See the online help or the file itself for more information.

Creating Host Groups and Recipient Groups

Many installations want to send notification messages from different hosts to different recipientsfor example, notifications from UNIX hosts to one set of people and those from Windows hosts to another group. You can accomplish this by listing each host and recipient in notification rules (see the next section), but there is an easier way: you can define host groups and recipient groups (called page groups) in bbwarnsetup.cfg. To define a host group, you use the hg-group token. Its format is: hg-groupname: host1 host2 For example, you can create a group containing your monitored UNIX hosts: hg-unix: unixmach1 unixmach2 unixmach3 You can place any number of hosts into a host group. You can also define as many host groups as you want by entering multiple hg-group tokens: hg-unix: unixmach1 unixmach2 unixmach3 hg-windows: winmach1 winmach2 winmach3 To define a group of recipients (a page group), you use the pg-group token. Its format is: pg-groupname: recipient1 recipient2



The recipients can be either e-mail addresses or pager numbers. Here is an example: pg-unixadmins: As with host groups, you can create as many page groups as you want. Once you have defined host groups and/or page groups, you can use the group name in any notification rule instead of listing all the host names or recipient addresses.

Defining Notification Rules

The etc/bbwarnrules.cfg file contains one or more rules defining who Big Brother sends notification messages to. You can define different recipients for notifications about different hosts, and at different times. For example, you may want to have different administrators notified for problems during the day and at night. Rules are written in this following format: hosts;exhosts;services;exservices;colors;day;time;recipients or hosts;exhosts;services;exservices;day;time;recipients The latter format is to allow backward compatibility with pre-3.20 versions. The colors field has been added to allow a rule to trigger only on the defined colors in that field. Note that by setting that field to *, the rule will behave like pre-3.20 versions where only colors defined in the pagelevels entry in the bbwarnsetup.cfg file are matched on. By default, each field is separated from the next by a semi-colon (;); you can change this by changing the cfgdelim setting in bbwarnsetup.cfg. The fields are:
hosts: This rule is for these hosts. exhosts: Exclude these hosts from this rule.

For both hosts and exhosts, you can enter host groups instead of or in addition to host names. Use the format hg-groupname. You can also enter unmatched- as the host name to indicate all hosts which are not covered by any other rule.
services: This rule is for these services. exservices: Exclude these services from this rule. colors: The rule only applies to listed colors. A * uses the colors defined in the pagelevels entry in the bbwarnsetup.cfg file. day: 0-6 (Sunday-Saturday). You can enter a range of days by separating the numbers with a dash (-). For example, 2-4 for Tuesday through Thursday. time: 0000-2359

Time ranges cannot cross midnight: 2300-0100 is not valid. To do this you must enter a separate rule for the time before and after midnight.



recipients: The page groups, e-mail addresses, numeric pager numbers, and/or external

script recipients to notify:

Page groups are as defined in the bbwarnsetup.cfg file. Enter pg-groupname. See the previous section. E-mail recipients are in the form: name@domain Numeric page recipients are in the form: 123-4567 To indicate a recipient should be notified using an external notification script, enter extscriptname-recipient. For example, to send a notification to the recipient called using the ex1 script. SNMP trap recipients are in the form: trap-ipaddress or trap-hostname. Ipaddress or hostname must be defined in the bbwarnsnmp.cfg file. If you are using the qpage application to send SMS notifications, you can enter SMS recipients in the format qp-recipient. If you are using the smsclient application for SMS recipients, use the format smsclient-recipient. Note that both qpage and smsclient are third-party applications, and are not supported by Quest Software. You can define an initial delay for any recipient (which determines how long before the next notification occurs) by following the recipient with a colon (:) and the number of minutes to delay. For example: to set the delay for this recipient to 20 minutes. For all fields, you can use the * wildcard. * by itself indicates all (all hosts, all services, all days, etc.) You can also use * with a partial entry: for example, win* for all hosts starting with win. You can separate multiple entries in a field with spaces. For example, to notify recipients in the group unixadmins for all hosts in the host group unix, and all recipients in the group winadmins for all hosts in the host group windows, enter these two rules: hg-unix;;*;;*;*;*;pg-unixadmins hg-windows;;*;;*;*;*;pg-winadmins You can also create a rule to be used if a host is not listed in bb-hosts.cfg. Set the host name to unmatched-. For example: unmatched-*;;*;;*;*; Here is a more complex sample rule: *;win34 unix12;*;cpu disk;red;0 5 6;*; 555-9999 This rule send notifications for all hosts except win34 and unix12, and all tests except the cpu and disk tests, if the color is red and on Sunday, Friday, and Saturday only, via e-mail to and to a pager with the number 555-9999.

Acknowledging Notifications
Anyone who receives a notification can send an acknowledgement to the Big Brother server. This changes the colored dot for the event to a checkmark of the same color. It also adds a status line at the bottom of the individual status page. By default, the last 25 acknowledgements are listed at the bottom of the condensed display. To acknowledge a notification:



1. Display either the main or condensed display. 2. Click the checkmark in the toolbar at the upper left. 3. Enter the seven-digit ack ID from the notification message in the Enter Security Code field on the acknowledgement section and specify the delay to apply to the next notification for the event in the Don't page me again... field 4. Click send ack

What Next?
After completing your initial configuration on the server, you can install the Big Brother client on any host where you want to monitor disk and CPU usage or other internal processes. You can install the client on both UNIX and Windows hosts; see the Getting Started Guide for the client you want to install for more information.

Troubleshooting Common Problems

Verifying That Big Brother Is Running
If after ten minutes no results appear on the Big Brother Web page or you get a permission denied entry from the web server, you should verify that the Big Brother server is running by typing the following from the command line: For Solaris or HP/UX: ps ef | grep bbrun For Linux ps aux | grep bbrun The output from either command should be similar to this:
[root@grace root]# ps aux | grep bbrun bb 1646 0.0 0.5 2264 1112 tty2 S bb 1648 0.0 0.5 2264 1112 tty2 S bb 1649 0.0 0.5 2264 1112 tty2 S root5485 0.0 0.3 1700 604 pts/3 R [root@grace root]# 13:15 13:15 13:15 13:43 0:00 0:00 0:00 0:00 /bin/sh ./bbrun.s /bin/sh ./bbrun.s /bin/sh ./bbrun.s grep bbrun

If you do not see output similar to this, Big Brother is not running. Repeat the command to start Big Brother (see above). If it still does not start, contact technical support, as described on page 26.

Checking That Big Brother Is Generating Web Pages

Once youve verified that Big Brother is running, make sure the Web server on the BBDISPLAY server is running. You can do this by pointing a Web browser to any page on that server:



Once you know the Web server is working, see if Big Brother has created the Web pages for its display. Change to the /home/bb/bb4.40-bbpe/www directory; this is where the Web page files are stored: cd /home/bb/bb4.40-bbpe/www List the contents of the directory in long format. ls al You should see something like this: [root@grace www]# ls -al total 52 drwxr-xr-x 9 bb drwxr-xr-x 10 bb -rw-rw-r-1 bb -rw-rw-r-1 bb drwxr-xr-x 2 bb drwxr-xr-x 2 bb drwxr-xr-x 2 bb lrwxrwxrwx 1 bb drwxr-xr-x 2 bb drwxrwxr-x 2 bb [root@grace www]# users users bb bb users users users bb users apache 4096 4096 6413 7486 4096 4096 4096 7 4096 4096 Aug 9 13:48 . Aug 9 14:10 .. Aug 10 13:51 bb2.html Aug 10 13:51 bb.html May 13 01:02 gifs Aug 9 13:09 help Aug 9 13:48 html Aug 9 13:06 index.html -> bb.html May 3 01:00 notes May 3 00:59 rep

If the bb.html and bb2.html files exist (they are highlighted in the sample above), Big Brother has run and created Web pages at least once. If Big Brother is presently running, the time stamp for these two files should be within five minutes or so of the system clock. If it is not, for some reason Big Brother has stopped updating the files. Check the BBOUT file for errors, as described below. If that does not point out the problem, contact Technical Support; see page 26.

403 Permission Denied Error

If everything is running, but you get a 403 permission denied error when trying to view the Big Brother display, it usually indicates one of two problems: 1) The permissions for the /home/bb directory are not set correctly, or 2) The Apache web server is not configured to follow symbolic links. To ensure that the Big Brother user directory is readable from Apache, change the directorys permission settings to 755: chmod 755 /home/bb If this does not correct the problem, see Apache Configuration on page 4 for instructions on configuring Apache to follow symbolic links.

Checking BBOUT for errors

The BBOUT log file contains a list of all the errors generated during the initial running of Big Brother. It is located in the Big Brother users home directory, /home/bb. To view the contents of the file, use this command: more /home/bb/BBOUT



Migration From Older Versions

Big Brother can be moved to another system or upgraded from an older version. Perform the following steps to migrate the Big Brother UNIX Server 1. Stop the Big Brother server. Change to the Big Brother installation directory and enter: ./ stop 2. Install Big Brother server (see the installation instructions on page 6). Make sure the top level directory is the same as the current Big Brother installation (for example, /home/bb). The new version will be placed in a different subdirectory. 3. Copy the appropriate files from the previous Big Brother etc directory to the new etc directory. Most likely, these files will be bb-hosts,, bbwarnsetup.cfg, and bbwarnrules.cfg. If external scripts are running. do not forget to copy over the scripts into the ext directory and to copy over bb-bbexttab. 4. Update the,,, and files for the new version to match the settings you were using in the older version. 5. If the machine has not changed, copy the LICENSE file from the old etc directory into the new one. Otherwise, contact your Quest Software sales representative to obtain a new license key. 6. If you did not install within the same top directory as the previous version (for example, /home/bb), and you want to keep your old historical data, copy the hist, histlogs, and logs directories to the new location. For example, you can go to the old bbvar directory and run the command: tar cvf /tmp/logs.tar ./hist ./histlogs ./logs Then change to the new bbvar directory and run: tar xvf /tmp/logs.tar 7. Restart the new version of Big Brother server: NEWDIR/bb4.40-bbpe/ stop NEWDIR/bb4.40-bbpe/ start 8. Wait five minutes and check update times to make sure everything is updating properly. If there is a problem, start with a clean bb-hosts file. Gradually modify it and note results after stopping and starting Big Brother. 9. Remove or archive the old Big Brother directory. Reboot the system to make sure the proper version of Big Brother automatically starts.

About Quest Software

Quest Software, Inc. delivers innovative products that help organizations get more performance and productivity from their applications, databases and Windows infrastructure. Through a deep expertise in IT operations and a continued focus on what works best, Quest helps thousands of customers worldwide meet higher expectations for enterprise IT. Quests Windows Management solutions simplify, automate and secure Active Directory, Exchange and Windows, as well as integrate Unix, Linux and Java into the managed environment. Quest Software can be found in offices around the globe and at



Contacting Quest Software

You can contact Quest Software for product and pricing information in any of the following ways: Phone E-mail Mail 949.754.8000 (United States and Canada) Quest Software, Inc. 5 Polaris Way Aliso Viejo, CA. 92656 USA Please refer to our Web site for regional and international office information.

Web site

Technical Support
Visit the support web site for current contact information and hours of operation:

Permanent License
To receive a permanent license, you must purchase Big Brother Professional Edition. To do so, contact your Quest sales representative, send e-mail to, or call (949) 754-8000. Once youve purchased the product, send your key string in an e-mail to Please see the online help for instructions on finding your key string and entering your permanent license.