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Management is on my back again. Now they want me to provide them with a measure of Sharepoint 's availability for reporting purposes. Given the system is architected for high availability makes this a little difficult to determine compared with many other systems.

Downtime for some of our other systems is merely determined by the state of the server. But it's not so cut and dry for a SharePoint farm. For example just because one load balanced WFE server is down does not mean the system is unavailable. Also part of SharePoint (a web application, site collection) might be down but not another.

Just wondering how others have gone about reporting availability. Does anyone have a clever and concise definition that they use to measure availability that covers Sharepoint's unique nature. Something simple that management can understand. Also does anyone use a good tool that measures availability. Just pinging farm servers just doesn't cut it.

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ServerFault had a good discussion about this: https://serverfault.com/questions/324875/monitoring-tool-for-monitoring-the-health-uptime-of-my-servers-in-the-cluster-w

My domain admin uses Zenoss to monitor all of our servers. It can monitor a broad spectrum of servers and services (on each server). There is a pretty extensive list of free plug-ins that you can download.
We set it up to monitor a few different points on our SP 2010 server so we could compare/contrast. It also gave us a more granular view, like you seem to be interested in.

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Management types often feel best when using 3rd party solutions for website monitoring solutions such as http://www.host-tracker.com/ (NOTE: This is a suggestion, not an endorsement, I've never used them), that'll watch the front end anyways and this one lists reporting as a feature.

Closer to home, consider implementing a Solution like Systems Center Operations Manager (SCOM): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/System_Center_Operations_Manager. This also has reporting features you can look into.

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At a client we use Nagios (free) - at my company we use SCOM with SharePoint Management packs (our admin says its great).

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Surely you need to break it down into what they expect availability to monitored on - or even put the onus on them go define what availability means to them - as they are the party who cares about it being online. Then when you know what user scenarios/use cases they expect in terms of availability, you can come up with metrics to suit.

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