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.NET Tip: Are Your Computers Up and Running? Are You Sure?

  • April 2, 2009
  • By Jay Miller
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There are plenty of utilities to help monitor your computer systems, but what if you need to integrate system status information into your own application? I am in the process of building a system-wide dashboard for my employer. I want to display a simple red/yellow/green light for each computer to indicate its current status. A red light indicates that the computer is unreachable.

How do you normally determine if a computer is available? I normally open up a command prompt and fire off a ping to the computer. Ping is a great utility to determine basic system availability. You could write a script that pings the computer and then parses the reply to determine availability. If you are using .NET, then everything you need to do the same thing in code is only a namespace away. The System.Net.NetworkInformation namespace has what you need to ping a computer directly from your application. It is as simple as a single call using the Ping class.

Ping Pinger = new Ping(); 
PingReply Reply = Pinger.Send("127.0.0.1"); 

The above code creates a new instance of the Ping class and then sends a ping to the local machine. It isn't very interesting, but it couldn't be much simpler. Take a look at another example. This time you will start with a list of computers that need to be monitored. The example iterates through each computer in the list, pinging the computer and displaying the results on the console. The list of computers can contain either IP addresses or web sites. For this example I have included a few internal systems as well as a couple web sites you might recognize.

List IPs = new List(); 
IPs.Add("10.1.1.12"); 
IPs.Add("10.1.1.15"); 
IPs.Add("192.168.173.160"); 
IPs.Add("www.google.com"); 
IPs.Add("www.amazon.com"); 
Ping Pinger = new Ping(); 
foreach (string ip in IPs) 
{ 
    PingReply Reply = Pinger.Send(ip); 
    Console.WriteLine("Ping " + ip + ": " + Reply.Status.ToString()); 
}

Here is the console output for this example.

Ping 10.1.1.12: Success 
Ping 10.1.1.15: TimedOut 
Ping 192.168.173.160: TimedOut 
Ping www.google.com: Success 
Ping www.amazon.com: TimedOut  

With only a few lines of code you can now determine the status of your computer systems. Whether it is an email, SMS message, or red/yellow/green light, you can be confident that your systems are up and running. The Ping class provides several options that you can use to control the requests as well as the ability to send asynchronous ping requests. Make sure you check out these options as well as all of the information available in the reply from the ping request.

About the Author

Jay Miller is a Software Engineer with Electronic Tracking Systems, a company dedicated to robbery prevention, apprehension, and recovery based in Carrollton, Texas. Jay has been working with .NET since the release of the first beta and is co-author of Learn Microsoft Visual Basic.Net In a Weekend. Jay can be reached via email at jmiller@sm-ets.com.




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