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Check_MK Manual

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State and Count of Processes

Distribution: official part of Check_MK
License: GPL
Supported Agents: Linux, Windows, AIX, Solaris, OpenVMS

This check looks into the list of then current running processes for those matching a certain name or regular expression and optionally being owned by a certain user. The number of matching processes is matched against warning and critical levels.


A user definable service description for Nagios. That description must be unique within each host. Changing the description will make Nagios think that it is another service.


As of version 1.1.1, ps supports inventory. Since Check_MK cannot know which processes are of relevance to you, some configuration is needed. The configuration is done via inventory_processes. The structure of that variable is a list of seven-tuples. It is similar but not completely the same as the configuration of manual checks. The seven components of each entry are: (1) a service description, (2) a pattern (just as the first parameter of the check), (3) a user specification and (4) - (7) the warning and critical levels for the number of processes.

During inventory Check_MK tries to match all entries on each process found on the target host. If an entry matches, a new check will be created according to the entry (if it's not already existing).

The service description may contain one or more occurances of %s. If you do this, then the pattern must be a regular expression and be prefixed with ~. For each %s in the description, the expression has to contain one "group". A group is a subexpression enclosed in brackets, for example (.*) or ([a-zA-Z]+) or (...). When the inventory finds a process matching the pattern, it will substitute all such groups with the actual values when creating the check. That way one rule can create several checks on a host.

If the pattern contains more groups then occurrances of %s in the service description then only the first matching subexpressions are used for the service descriptions. The matched substrings corresponding to the remaining groups are copied into the regular expression, nevertheless.

New in version 1.2.2: As an alternative to %s you may also use %1, %2, etc. These will be replaced by the first, second, ... matching group. This allows you to reorder things.

Wildcards not enclosed by brackets are simply copied verbatim to the created checks. Please refer to the examples for more details.

The user specification can either be a user name (string). The inventory will then trigger only if that user matches the user the process is running as and the resulting check will require that user. Alternatively you can specify ANY_USER or GRAB_USER. If you specify ANY_USER then the user field will simply be ignored. The created check will not check for a specific user.

Specifying GRAB_USER makes the created check expect the process to run as the same user as during inventory: the user name will be hardcoded into the check. In that case if you put %u into the service description, that will be replaced by the actual user name during inventory. You need that if your rule might match for more than one user - your would create duplicate services with the same description otherwise.

The warning and critical levels are simply copied to the created checks.

As of version 1.1.7i1 ps inventory allows optional host specification. You can prepend a list of host names or a list of tag names and ALL_HOSTS to some of all rules of the inventory specification. That way you can make the inventory apply some rules only to certain hosts.