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I would like to run some kind of service monitoring for my server and few other servers/services. Basically I want to monitor availability and send mail, when avail. is bad. Is there any simple alternative to nagios in Ubuntu repo?

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You can use ICINGA, It has all the option you have asked for.

Check the installation How to install icinga on Ubuntu 12.04 & Monitor remote host?

Just keep in mind install MySQL before installing it. Some time it conflict when installing.

   sudo apt-get install mysql-server libdbd-mysql mysql-client
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