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As an IT administrator, as an extra level of Quality Assurance, you want to perhaps check remotely your wonderful Webconverger kiosks are up and running.

It's worth bearing in mind, the most common kiosk failure point by and large, is network failure. So you can ultimately expect to see a log of "false negatives" with your monitoring. That is Webconverger is fully operational, but somehow between you and your kiosk, the network connection was disrupted. Webconverger is fault tolerant and designed to retry the network when disconnected, so when network connectivity returns, Webconverger is functional straight away.

What I don't want to see is use of "graphical desktop sharing system" tools like VNC for IT administrators to invade the privacy of users, which I have seen in Asia. There is really no need to view a users screen in Webconverger. Webconverger can be configured to reset if a user just leaves the station without closing the last tab with kioskresetstation.

So here are some options to check your kiosk machine is alive:

ping

Super simple. ping the IP of your kiosk machine. If pings fail to be returned, you know you have a problem.

In practice you need to have stable IP addressing. You probably want to run a tool like Nagios to alert you by email if something is wrong. And that tool needs access to your local network, which is often not easy with today's typical Firewalled Internet connection.

Your homepage httpd logs

As described upon the API document under Expansions, you can have a homepage like so:

homepage=http://example.com/?id=WEBCID

And than will expand and be seen in your Web servers logs:

example 127.0.0.1 - - [06/Aug/2013:10:38:43 +0800] "GET /?id=B69E3A64-898C-11E1-BBA0-8CCB39332B00;44:37:e6:9a:3b:51 HTTP/1.1" 200

So typically after a kiosk is used, the station is reset and your homepage reloaded. Now you can monitor this event from your logs.

support.webconverger.com

If you append your machine identity to http://support.webconverger.com/, for example http://support.webconverger.com/EE0CA770-AFFB-453F-B8C5-F9F73135E39A;08:00:27:4e:4a:4e, you can see when machine last retrieved its configuration. So this is a quick sanity check to see when a machine effectively last booted successfully. If you have not seen a kiosk retrieve a configuration on a remote site, then you have a problem.

Furthermore appending support in your configuration will make your logs appear on the server. Though this should only be used for debugging, not for monitoring.

log=

Remote logging as documented in the API reference, is the ability combined with your logging endpoint to show all Webconverger logs. So here the client effectively pushes every 5 minutes a message that you can track, saying that the machine is alive and well.

It's probably the best method to detect hardware issues, though this is a very advanced practice.

Could we do it better?

We don't run any SNMP services on Webconverger. If there is demand from you, we certainly can consider it. This would effectively be a better defined log= functionality.

We also do have a system only used in Neon digital signage that uses ssh for very active monitoring that would be unsuitable for Web kiosks due to the risk to a users privacy. This allows is to be flexible and better track memory issues in signs.

Webconverger uptime monitoring summary

The easiest way to monitor is using ping and using http://support.webconverger.com/. If you are a bit more tech savvy, use the expansions with your Web logging. Finally for very fine grained, consider log=. These Webconverger APIs should give you the piece of mind to run a very high quality IT operation.