Tuesday 28 July 2009

Zenoss - Open Source Monitoring

Zenoss is a fantastic open source monitoring solution. I have been running Zenoss-Core, the free (no support contract) version for about 4 months now. I am currently monitoring pretty much everything, including but not limited to, linux, windows, aix, Mac, and bsd servers. most services on these servers are monitores, like databases, mail, web, proxy, san, vmware you name it. Also the hardware aspects of these devices are monitored including bladecenters, san, network devices etc.
Zenoss has proved to be the solution to all monitoring. It has made use of snmp really worth it.
For more information about zenoss chech the site http://www.zenoss.com/community/docs

Whats good about Zenoss is that it has got very active forums with users contributing "ZenPacks" which are package sthat add new functionality to Zenoss Core and Enterprise.
With zenpacks, you dont need any special skills to implement monitoring of a certain type of devices, You just install the zenpack and follow its simple instructions and you are done.

I recently added a ZenPack to monitor MGE UPS devices to the community. You can find the zenpack here

vmware home lab up and running

After fidlling with various hardware, I fiunally managed to get my esxi server up and running.
I installed my additional 4GB RAM into my HP ML115 box. My total memory is now 5GB.
NOTE: that you have to install identical dimms in alternating slots, eg. slot1 -> 2GBtypeA; then slot2 -> other-typeB, slot3 -> 2GBtypeA; and slot4 -> other-typeB.

Esxi CD installed like a dream. It detected everything including hard drives and network card and I didnt have to do anything. within seconds, Esxi was installed and I was configuring it.
I had not bothered to check how I was gonna manage my configs. I had hoped the VI client wioll be cool. However, connecting to my esx host from my vista laptop using vi, client, the connection was slow due to two things, firts my vista laptop has always had perfomance problems and it sucks! I dont have time fiddling with vista and I had always contemplated throwing it away (dell vosto 1400, vista business, 160GB, 3GB RAM, Intel Core 2 Duo T56) Only that my loved ones sometimes want to play windows games, movies and music on it. Also it has been loaded with proprietary softwares for managing my TV, etc. etc. Secondly, I am connecting via my home wireless network, and my wireless hup is a modest 100MB huawe unmanaged wireless router. I know this sucks and I intend to be serious very soon, but for now thats it, and its "painfully" working.
I discovered the magic juju to enable that limited ssh service console. Now I connect to my esx host using ssh client and I can edit my config files easily. If I had time in this world, Oh boy, I tell you I would hack this "unsupported" console and build my own custom management plugins. I suspect that its also possible to "Upgrade" this minimalistic console although a great deal of work and prior vm kerneling is needed.
The 60 day evealuation licence has more features than the free licensed version, so if you want to play around with esxi, its a good idea to delay licensing it until towards the expiration (if you dont want to re-install again)
I grabbed a cheap 19" widescreen HP monitor (sub £100) but I am not using it yet. Will probably keep it as my cluster will grow beyond this solo type of thing.
I also bought a wireless desktop Logitech Cordless Desktop S520 and it worked out of the box with my esx, was jut Plug and Play thing.

Thursday 16 July 2009

Hard drive and memory

I ordered an additional hard drive for my datastore.
I ordered the Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB. Its said to be the best sub-terabyte drive in the market. I got it cheap for £51 inc. vat and shipping from ebuyer.com

From http://compreviews.about.com/od/storage/tp/SATAHardDrives.htm
"If you don't need a huge hard drive but are looking for a solid performing drive that is a bit more affordable, then the Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB is the choice. The drive actually uses the same platters used by the terabyte Caviar Black version, but instead uses two rather than three platters. The result, a drive with the same level of performance but uses a bit less energy and is more affordable to those that don't necessarily need to store as much data."

This is a sata II, 3GB/s, 7.2k rpm, 8.5ms ave. seek time, 32MB cache drive

I have also received my memory form www.overclockers.co.uk. I ordered Corsair XMS2 4GB (2x2GB) DDR2 PC2-6400C5 TwinX Dual Channel (TWIN2X4096-6400C5)

Note that these have got heat sincs for perfomance and reliability. I got them for £42 including vat and shipping.

Wednesday 15 July 2009

Vmware Home Lab Project

My HP ML115 G5 arrived. I am yet to unbox it because lately i havent had time to set it up. Also I have odered more Memory and a bigger harddrive. I will also scavenge for a good monitor to use.
I am considering buying some wireless keyboard and mouse bundle, so that I can use it anywhere in the house including on my home entertainment systems.

The original specs for my HP are:
AMD Opteron Quad-Core 2.1GHz, 1GB DDR2 Memory, 160GB SATA HDD, 1
But I will pimp it up very soon.

Tuesday 7 July 2009

First things first - Hardware

I am planning to buy a very low cost HP Proliant ML115 Quad core server. I am looking at prices £200 and below. If anybody knows where I can get good offers, please holla. My main goal is to run ESXi for my home lab. I am hoping to host about 10 VMs; 4 Windows, and 6 Linux.
I will populate this box with 4x2GB ram for a max og 8GB.
I am also considering hardware RAID, but at this moment I am not sure whether this will be really important.
One other thing that I would fiddle around with are the HDDs. I have seen a very lucrative offer online for a Samsung EG 5400rpm 1TB drive for £60, guys advise??
This is basically the summary of my new project.