Kevin's Blog Photography, technology, and whatever else

23Nov/115

MRTG Virtual Appliance

Over the last couple of weeks I have been working to build an MRTG server in our VM environment.  I wanted it to be very lightweight for CPU, RAM and Disk storage.

I've used MRTG quite a bit before and it can sometimes be tricky getting everything worked out just right so that it runs without babysitting.  I finally got a pretty good install going and thought I would share it up here for anyone who might find it useful.

This is an MRTG Virtual Appliance that is running on Ubuntu Server for Virtualization.  The install is very compact with just a 2gb virtual disk, 1 cpu and 512MB of RAM.  You can download the  MRTG_Appliance here.  Total file size is ~430MB.

MRTG is setup and configured as well as lighttpd as the webserver.  The server is configured for DHCP and SSH is enabled for console management.  There is no GUI but there is a configuration page linked from the default webpage.

This is a first run at creating an Appliance/OVA file for me, so I'm sure I have missed some steps.  I will update this page as well as the download file as any issues are identified.

Let me know how it goes so we can make it better!

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10Nov/115

ESX Datstore filled up by AVVI Snapshots

One thing that I just learned overnight is that you really should keep an eye on the Snapshots in ESX/vSphere.  We are running the AVVI backups from Backup Exec 2010, and it uses the vSphere storage APIs to do it's business.  BE has vSphere run a snapshot by calling the API and then it grabs that snapshot and sends it to whatever your backup medium is.

In the past I have seen where a snapshot gets left behind and not deleted.  Last night I started getting paged from our monitoring system that one of our AD servers was offline.  After having to jump through some hoops to get in via VPN (because the AD server was the one used to authenticate and give DHCP to VPN users) I was able to get onto the ESX server.  There I saw that the snapshots had hogged up all available disk space on the ESX box and my AD server was stalled as a result.  It turns out that the snapshots for my Exchange server were piled up and I had to delete them.  Once there was free space again my AD server was back online and everything is OK again.

Now I need to figure out a way to monitor my ESX server for datastore space so that this does not happen again.

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21Oct/110

Virtual Load Balancer Appliance

In our production environment that we host at Rackspace we have an F5 Big IP load balancer.  This is an excellent  product that has way more features than we can ever hope to need.

One problem with this setup is that in our development and staging environments we do not have load balancing and this has caused some issues when moving to production.  Some of the issues we've had stem around session persitence and what server the sessions are landing on.  These can be hard to troubleshoot, and if you aren't seeing them in the Dev or QA processes you are debugging while in production which is not good.

It became pretty evident that we needed to make our staging environment as much like production as we could, so I started to poke around for a virtual load balancer.  After a bit of searching I found several that seemed to fit the need, but many of them were not free.  With a bit more digging I found that the Zeus Traffic Manager product has a developer licence that is free to use for non production environments.  This suits our needs very well as this is just for staging testing.

I downloaded the VMWare template and had the box up in running in no time.  The initial web config is quick and easy, and the developer license was good for 1 year.  After which I assume/hope I can still get another free one.

The web based configuration is clean an easy to understand.  I have never administered a Load Balancer myself, and even so I was able to get all of our staging sites up and running with thier own pools, healthchecks, session persistence settings and everything we have in production.  Our QA team tells me that the speed is noticably better and it has already helped us uncover some issues that we have been fighting with our production servers.

All in this has been a great addition and the best price you can hope for.

Take a look and let me know your experience

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28Jun/111

ESX 4.0 and USB devices

I'm having trouble getting USB to work on one of my ESX 4.0 hosts.  I did a bunch of research and found that in the initial release of ESX 4 USB was 'supposed' to work but didn't.  All the posts I read indicated that this was fixed in subsequent releases so I went about the task of upgrading my host to the newest release.

After quite a bit of fiddling I was able to get Update 3 installed.  After this I still have not had any luck getting my USB device to connect.  I'm tryinmg to connect a Serial to USB adapter so that I can connect to a Cisco console cable, or other serial devices.  I do have it working just over the regular com/serial port onboard, but I want it to work via USB so that I can more easily move the connection around to other boxes/laptops/etc.

Much of the info that I read dealt with USB HDs so perhaps they work but not these other types of devices/adapters?  If anyone has any ideas I sure would appreciate it!

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5May/114

BE 2010 AVVI and Exchange agents

This may seem obvious to everyone else out there, but it wasn't to me.  I am testing a new Exchange 2010 server running in VMWare and am experimenting with backups.  I have the whole server backed up using BE AVVI, but wanted the granular restore of mailboxes and messages, so I was also running a job where I selected just the Exchange database. When I went in to do a test restore the Microsoft Information Store showed up in the list with two distinct entries.  The properties looked slightly different but the data was the same.

 

It took me a little time to realize that I was duplicating my Exchange data by having those two backups (duh!), so I turned off my specific Exchange job and just left it with the AVVI job only.  What I didn't realize was that just having the AVVI job would allow me the granular restores of messages from Exchange.

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