Friday, 29 February 2008

Using Mikrotik's The Dude to Monitor Dicom Modalities

The Dude from Mikrotik is a wonderful network administrator tool for monitoring almost anything to do with your network.

I was first introduced to it a few months back when we implemented a wireless wide area network in preparation for PACS. Since then The Dude has become an indispensable tool in my everyday work life.

The Dude is capable of many things, but my favorite features are:
  • Continuous Pings to check if devices are active
  • Service checking (i.e. http, ftp, etc.)
  • Link monitoring (The dude shows live network link usage!)
  • Graphing
  • Active alerting via email, pop-up, etc.
  • Server setup (I have setup The Dude on a central server and connect to it from the console only. This assists in monitoring the system even when my laptop is shutdown)
To date I have been using The Dude exclusively for monitoring our Wide Area Network, but today I decided to implement it to monitor some key dicom modalities and see if I could get it to report on the availability of the dicom service on the modality itself. These are my findings.

Step 1: Create New Network Map
I created a new network map so that my views are not too cluttered. I have one for my WAN view and I created a new one for DICOM modalities.
You can create a new map by double clicking on the "network maps" link in the menu tree and then clicking on the + icon.

Step 2: Add DICOM modality
I then added a dicom modality to the system. The machine I chose is a Conquest Dicom Server I have setup at one of my remote sites. To add the modality you can open up the network map and press the + and select device.
You can then type in the IP Address of the modality.

Step 3: Setup Ping Monitoring
You should now see the device in the network map.
You can now right click on it and select the services tab.
Click on the + button and select ping.
You can also add a notification on the notification tab.
You can setup the notification types in the notification link in the menu tree.
I setup a notification that emails myself and the other IT admins.

Step 4: Setup DICOM service monitoring
To add a service monitor for the DICOM service you need to do the following:
Open the settings tab for the device and go to services.
Click on the pus button, then click on the small ... icon on the right hand side of the probe drop-down list.
Click on the + button and give the new service a name like "conquest dicom".
Select "TCP" for the type and then in the Port section put in the DICOM port for your modality.
I then selected the connect only option.
Once this is done you can setup email notifications, etc. So that if the DICOM service goes down on your conquest server you will be notified by email.

The Dude is very useful for monitoring both your standard network infrastructure as well as your dicom modalities. I find it very useful to have as it notifies the instant there is a problem though-out the entire network. In fact I normally know there is a problem with a server or a network link before my users. I would recommend that if you have a lot of devices to monitor that you give Mikrotiks The Dude a try.