Proxy auto-detection broken by recent Microsoft update

Posted on November 29th, 2012

Recently, Microsoft released a ‘security update’ for .NET Framework 3.51, to address KB2729452. Apparently someone, somewhere, was using proxy auto-detection scripts to somehow compromise a system. Reading the KB, this change doesn’t appear to be a problem for software developers. Unfortunately, this ‘security update’ actually broke legitimate usage for any software that uses HttpWebRequest, which is part of the .NET Framework, and is the normal way to check websites, connect to websites, etc. via code.

A customer recently brought this to my attention, and thankfully was aware that one of the new updates he installed caused the problem. I was able to work-around this problem for him by giving him a special file, but it became clear to me that other customers are likely to have this issue and it will appear as though Overseer simply doesn’t work. So, to work around this breaking change from Microsoft, I’ve added support in Overseer to specify proxy information. I left the option to ‘auto detect'(which used to be what Overseer did), but the default selection is now ‘no proxy’– this is the least problematic setting for most people. Those that have proxies can easily set their proxy information, or attempt auto-detection(which will likely work if this MS Update hasn’t been loaded).


Overseer 5.0.96 has been released

Posted on November 29th, 2012

I’ve just released a new version of Overseer 5.0.96. This is a minor version upgrade that adds support for specifying proxy information under tools->options. This might be useful for some people that use proxy servers, or explicitly don’t want Overseer to use a proxy when their computer typically does.

Additionally, I’ve updated the user agent string used for HTTP requests. This used to reference “Overseer 4.1”, and I’ve correctly updated it to pass in “Overseer 5.x” instead.


Moving Overseer 5.0 to another computer

Posted on November 21st, 2012

One of the most common support requests I have, is people asking how to move Overseer to another computer. For one reason or another, people simply need to move from older hardware to new, or simply different. Obviously, they want to maintain their existing resources, history, etc.

Overseer 5.0 makes this very easy. To move Overseer 5.0 to another computer, simply follow these steps:

  1. Open Overseer and stop the service(click the “Service Running” text)
  2. Go to Tools->Backup and Restore Wizard, and perform a backup to a safe place
  3. Install Overseer on the new computer
  4. On the new computer, go to Tools->Backup and Restore Wizard, and perform a restore from the file you just backed up
  5. Uninstall Overseer from the old computer

At this point, Overseer network monitoring software should be running on your new computer with the resources from the old one. Note that this works both when using SQLite or MSSQL as Overseer’s database.

For more information, please see these entries in the help file:

Backing up the database

Restoring the database

 


Should you upgrade Overseer to use MSSQL?

Posted on November 12th, 2012

An Overseer 4.1 customer recently asked me when upgrading to 5.0, if they should consider using the MSSQL add-on. While some customers have explicitly asked for Overseer to utilize an MSSQL database, others aren’t necessarily sure what benefits it provides. This blog post will discuss the reasons to use the MSSQL add-in.

 

Performance

If you have hundreds of resources, and/or use a very short ‘check every’ setting on your resources, Overseer can spend a considerable amount of time waiting for the file system to write data to disk. The default SQLite database works well, but it is built with data-integrity in mind, versus performance– so sometimes a SQLite database will be slower than an MSSQL database. MSSQL uses different algorithms to assure data integrity, which work quite well, while not hurting performance as much as SQLite’s algorithms do.

Additionally, when Overseer uses MSSQL as its database, MSSQL can be running on the same or a different server. This has the potential to allow you to use a far more powerful computer configured as an MSSQL server(likely also used for other applications at your location).

 

Data Accessibility

If you have a need or desire to access the Overseer data, using MSSQL as the Overseer database is the ideal choice. You can easily open the database in standard MSSQL tools, or integrate easily with your website using code that simply connects to the MSSQL database and queries the data. This makes more extensive reporting possible, along with website status display, etc.

 

Backup

Overseer supports backing up its database using the Tools->Backup and Restore wizard. This works when using SQLite or MSSQL as the database. When MSSQL is used as the database, however, online backups can be performed using your standard MSSQL backup tools– potentially alongside other MSSQL databases used in your organization.

 

I’m convinced– how do I use it?

Once you’ve purchased the MSSQL add-on module, you can configure Overseer to use MSSQL as it’s database by following this blog post:

Using MSSQL for Overseer’s database