I am looking for popular tools that would help ensure the smooth functioning of a Magento portal.
Any recommendations for tools that could help monitor Magento performance? Inform about peak loads or spikes in CPU utilization?
How are patches deployed and managed - Is there a tool or scripts that need to be run?
What database archival strategies are frequently used in Magento? Are there any db archiving tools available?
I highly recommend collectd for monitoring your machines. Unlike the 5 minute intervals that a lot of tools use, collectd will give you 10 second resolution in your graphs (I gave a talk about the differences, you can view it here, btw)
For archival, you can install AOE's Aoe_QuoteCleaner to clear up old quote table entries (which is where a lot of the cruft builds up). Otherwise make sure that your log retention settings in the Magento admin are set to the levels you're happy with - they default to keeping spurious information for quite a long time,
I hope that helps,
You may take a look at Nagios. My company is using them
Good point @magesolutions - something like Nagios or Icinga is good for alerting, things like NewRelic and collectd are more geared towards graphing and showing you spikes in CPU usage - you can use the latter to diagnose issues, but you'd probably want Nagios or Icinga paging your phone or emailing you to let you know that there's a problem.
Also, if you *don't* want to manage an Icinga or Nagios install, just getting a PagerDuty or IPPatrol account is a quick way to make sure your site is loading at all - step 0 in monitoring!
depends on what level of monitoring you need?
if you need just to get alerts on cpu spikes and high server load, traffic stats, or service down - then i guess simple local bash script will be perfect.
if you need something that shows you transactions and stack traces - you need to use remote server with "packetbeat" or services like "newrelic"