Wednesday Mar 10, 2010

Sun Storage 7000 Hardware Provider for Microsoft VSS

The release of 2010.Q1 for Sun Storage 7000 Appliances brings a wide variety of new features to the appliance family, including an increased number of ways appliances are integrated directly into storage ecosystems. In addition to the Sun Storage 7000 Management Plug-in for Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g Grid Controller 1.0, Q1 2010 brings integration with Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) through the Sun Storage 7000 Provider for VSS Software 1.0.

For those that have a Microsoft Windows operating environment and are not familiar with Microsoft VSS, it is basically a framework that facilitates creating fast and consistent snapshots of volumes through the coordination of the applications doing backup-type operations (readers, also known as a requestor) and the applications that are writing to volumes (writers). In layman's terms, this facility built into the Microsoft Windows Platforms gives the ability for an application like Symantec NetBackup Advanced Client to take a snapshot of a volume that is being actively used by an application like Oracle Database or Microsoft Exchange. The reader notifies the framework that it would like to take a snapshot. The framework notifies applications that they need to coalesce. The applications complete their coalescing and the framework tells the reader to go. When complete, the framework releases the application to continue writing. An abstract illustration of the environment is shown here:

The whole process of coalescing and taking a snapshot of a volume can take only a few seconds (more depending on how complex the coalesce and snapshot operations are).

For efficiency, storage appliances (like Sun Storage 7000 Appliances) create a "Hardware Provider", also known as a "VSS Block Target Provider". The Hardware Provider takes over the snapshot and clone operations based on the GUID of a SCSI LUN (in our case for Release 1.0, this is iSCSI only, Fibre Channel is not supported).

Installation of the Sun Storage 7000 Provider for VSS is through the InstallShield package downloaded from the Oracle Corp. Download Site (this site contains the Sun domain ID if you notice those types of things). The installation process should be straightforward and results in a new folder accessible from the "Start" menu (Start -> All Programs -> Sun Microsystems, Inc. -> Sun Storage 7000 Provider for VSS). In this folder are two entries: a README.txt (required reading ... seriously) and the Sun Storage 7000 Provider for VSS ConfigUtil. This latter entry (the ConfigUtil) is also placed on the desktop for quick access.

To verify the hardware provider is registered with the Microsoft VSS Framework, find a command prompt and type "vssadmin list providers". As shown in the following screen capture, this results in a printout of registered providers that will include entry for the Sun Storage 7000 Provider for VSS. The Version number you will see in an original installation is 1.0.10.

This means that backup application, such as Symantec NetBackup Advanced Client, can set up policies that leverage the hardware provider for fast snapshots. There is one more setup operation that must be completed before the policy will successfully complete. The Sun Storage 7000 Provider for VSS uses a combination of "Management Path" and "Data Path" operations to achieve snapshot and clones of iSCSI Volumes.

The "Management Path" credentials to any Sun Storage 7000 Appliances supplying iSCSI LUNs to the Microsoft Windows client must be entered through the "Sun Storage 7000 Provider for VSS ConfigUtil". From the Microsoft Windows platform that is consuming the iSCSI LUNs and has the Hardware Provider installed, open the ConfigUtil (form the Start Menu or the Desktop). Use the DNS names of Sun Storage 7000 Appliances or IP Addresses (I prefer IP Addresses), enter each Sun Storage 7000 Appliance Management Path along with User ID and Passwords given to you by the storage administrator for each appliance. Tap the shoulder of the Storage Administrator and remind them you could use a non-root User ID as guided by the README.txt in the download. Most access rights can be removed from the User ID though they do need to have a role that facilitates snapshot creation and clone creation for the shares that you access. Use the template in the README.txt for a starting point.

This screen capture shows the entry of credentials:

Once the credentials are entered properly, access from applications is seamless.

Look for specific documentation on using Hardware Providers with the specific applications that you use on the Microsoft Windows platform. Because VSS is a framework, you may have products that utilize the framework that we did not specifically test in our labs. The README.txt in the download contains a list of applications that we have run using the provider.


The Sun Storage 7000 Provider for VSS Software 1.0 is a Hardware Provider that plugs into the Microsoft VSS Framework on Microsoft Windows 2003 and 2008, 64-bit or 32-bit variations. Using the provider, backup applications and other requestors can make snapshots and clones directly on Sun Storage 7000 Appliances for iSCSI LUNs consumed by the Microsoft Windows Client on the system that the Hardware Provider is installed on. The installation of the provider is quick and you should verify that it was registered with the Microsoft VSS Framework. You must then enter User ID and Password information for each target Sun Storage 7000 Appliance. No further intervention with the Microsoft VSS Framework is necessary from that point forward and the primary work you'll do is configure your Backup Applications to make use of the Hardware Provider through Backup Policies.

For additional reading, use the following resources:

Monitoring the Sun Storage 7000 Appliance from Oracle Grid Control

Over the past few months I've blogged on various monitoring and alerting topics for Sun Storage 7000 Appliances. Besides my favorite of the blogs (Tweeting your Sun Storage 7000 Appliance Alerts), the culmination of this monitoring work is now available as the Sun Storage 7000 Management Plug-in for Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g Grid Controller 1.0, for use with the just shipped 2010.Q1 software release for the Sun Storage 7000 Appliance Family. Phew, that's a bit of a mouthful for a title but I'll just refer to it as the SS7000MPfOEMGC, does that help? Well, maybe not ;-)

Sun Storage 7000 Management Plug-in for Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g Grid Controller creates a coupling between the enterprise-wide monitoring provided by Oracle Grid Control and the monitoring and analytics provided by Sun Storage 7000 Appliances. If you are not familiar with Oracle Grid Control, there is a nice write-up within the Installation and Configuration Guide for Oracle Grid Control. In a nutshell, Oracle Grid Control aids in monitoring your vertical data center rather than simply being an aggregation of horizontal health information. The documentation describes it as software and the infrastructure it runs on but I would simply call it a "Vertical Data Center Monitoring Environment".

The goal of the plug-in to Oracle Grid Control is to facilitate a Database Administrator in their use of Sun Storage 7000 Appliances without attempting to reproduce the world-class analytics available within Sun Storage 7000 Appliances. In other words, the goal is to create a bridge between the world of Database Administration and the world of Storage Administration with just enough information so the two worlds can have dialog about the environment. Specifically, the Plug-in for Sun Storage 7000 Appliances is targeted at the following tasks:

  • Connecting Database deployments with Sun Storage 7000 resources that provide storage infrastructure to the database
  • Understanding the performance metrics of a Database from the perspective of the Appliance (what cache resources are being used for a database, what network resources and the performance being delivered, and how various storage abstractions are being used by the database)
  • Providing a Federated view of Sun Storage 7000 Appliances deployed in the environment (including storage profiles and capacities, network information and general accounting information about the appliances)
  • Providing detailed performance metrics for use in initial service delivery diagnostics (these metrics are used to have more detailed conversations with the Storage Administrator when additional diagnostics are required)

Let's take a look at one of the more interesting scenarios as a simple way of showing the plug-in at work rather than reproducing the entire Installation Guide in blog-form.

Download the Plug-in for Sun Storage 7000 Appliances, Unzip the downloaded file, and read the Installation Guide included with the plug-in.

Follow the instructions for installing, deploying the plug-in to agents and adding instances of Sun Storage 7000 Appliances to the environment for monitoring. Each instance added takes about 60 minutes to fully populate with information (this is simply the nature of this being a polling environment and the plug-in is set-up to monitor data sets that don't change often less frequently ... 60 minutes ... than data sets that do change frequently ... 10 minute intervals).

Once data is funneling in, all of the standard appliance-centric views of the information are available (including the individual metrics that the plug-in collects) as well as a view of some of the important high-level information presented on the home page for an instance (provided you are using Oracle Grid Control Here is a view of a single appliance instance's home page:

Looking into the Metrics collected for an appliance brings you to a standard displays of single metrics (as shown below) or tables of related metrics (all standard navigation in Oracle Grid Controller for plug-in components).

Included in the plug-in for Sun Storage 7000 Appliances are 5 reports. Of these reports, 3 run against a single instance of a Sun Storage 7000 Appliance and are available from both the context of the single instance and the Oracle Grid Control Reports Tab while 2 run against all monitored instances of Sun Storage 7000 Appliances and are only available from the Reports Tab. Among the 5 Reports are 2 that combine information about Databases deployed against NFS mount points and Sun Storage 7000 Appliances that export those NFS mount points. The two reports are:

  • Database to Appliance Mapping Report - Viewable from a single target instance or the Reports Tab, this report shows databases deployed against NFS shares from a single Sun Storage 7000 Target Instance
  • Federated Database to Appliance Mapping Report - Viewable only from the Reports Tab, this report shows databases deployed against NFS shares from all monitored Sun Storage 7000 Appliances

Looking at the "Master" (top-level) Database to Appliance Mapping Report (shown below) you will see a "Filter" (allowing you to scope the information in the table to a single Database SID) and a table that correlates the filtered Database SID to Network File Systems shared by specific appliances along with the Storage IP Address that the share is accessed through, the appliance's Storage Network Interface and the name that the appliance is referred to as throughout this Grid Control instance.

From the Master report, 4 additional links are provided to more detailed information that is filtered to the appliance abstraction that is used by the Database SID. The links in the columns navigate in the following way:

  • Database Link - This link takes the viewer to a drill-down table that shows all of the files deployed on the shares identified in the first table. With this detail report, and administrator could see exactly what files are deployed where. The table also contains the three links identified next.
  • Network File System - Takes the viewer down to a detailed report showing metadata about the share created on the appliance, how the cache is used (ARC and L2ARC) for this share and general capacity information for the share.
  • Storage IP Address - Takes the viewer to the Metric Details that relate to the appliance configuration (serial number, model, etc...).
  • Storage Network Interface - Takes the viewer to metadata about the network interface as well as reports on the Network Interface KB/sec and NFS Operations Per Second (combined with the NFS Operations Per Second that are allocated to serving the share that the database resides on)

The detail reports for the Network File System and Storage Network Interface (both of which are not directly accessible from the Reports Tab) use a combination of current metrics and graphical time-axis data, as shown in the following report:

Wherever applicable, the Detail Reports drill further into Metric Details (that could also be accessed through an appliance instance target home page).

It is important to note that several of these reports combine a substantial amount of data into a single page. This approach can create rather lengthy report generation times (in worst case scenarios up to 5 minutes). It is always possible to view individual metrics through the monitoring home page. As metric navigation is much more focused and relates to a single metric, metric navigation always performs faster and is preferred unless the viewer is looking for a more complex assembly of information. With the reports, an administrator can view network performance and storage performance side by side which may be more helpful in diagnosing service delivery issues than navigating through single metric data points.

In addition to a substantial number of collected metrics there are several alerts that are generated on various appliance thresholds that can occur throughout the operation of target appliances.


Oracle Grid Control gives a fully integrated view of the "Vertical" data center, combining software infrastructure with hardware infrastructure (including storage appliances). Sun Storage 7000 Management Plug-in for Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g Grid Controller 1.0 presents Sun Storage 7000 Appliances within the vertical context and presents metrics and reports tailored specifically towards Sun Storage 7000 Appliances as viewed by a Database Administrator. For more information on the plug-in and software discussed in this entry:

Thursday Dec 17, 2009

Tweeting your Sun Storage 7000 Appliance Alerts

Twitter, Instant Messages, Mobile Alerts have always fascinated me. I truly believe that a Storage Administrator should not have to leave the comfort of their iPhone, Droid or Palm Pre to do 90% of their day to day management tasks. As I was scanning the headlines of I saw this great article on Tweeting from Command Line using Python.

So, leading into how to manage a Sun Storage 7000 Appliance using Alerts (the next article in my series) I thought I would take some time and adapt this script to tweet my received Sun Storage 7000 Appliance Traps. I am going to use the AK MIB traps (to be explained in more detail in the next article) to achieve this.

Writing the Python Trap Handler

First, create the trap handler (this is based on the Python Script presented in the Blog Article: Tweeting from Command Line using Python).

Here is the Python Script:

import sys

from os import popen

def tweet(user,password,message):
print 'Hold on there %s....Your message %s is getting posted....' % (message, user)

url = ''

curl = '/usr/dist/local/sei/tools/SunOS-sparc/curl -s -u %s:%s -d status="%s" %s' % (user,password,message,url)

pipe = popen(curl, 'r')
print 'Done...awesome'

if __name__ == '__main__':
host = sys.stdin.readline()
ip = sys.stdin.readline()
uptime = sys.stdin.readline()
uuid = sys.stdin.readline()
alertclass = sys.stdin.readline()
alertcount = sys.stdin.readline()
alerttype = sys.stdin.readline()
alertseverity = sys.stdin.readline()
alertsresponse = sys.stdin.readline()
messageArray = [host,ip,alerttype]
message = t.join(messageArray)
message = message[0:140]

user = "yourtwitter" #put your username inside these quotes

password = "yourpassword" #put your password inside these quotes

You will have to make the following changes at a minimum

  • Re-insert the missing tabs based on Python formatting
  • Ensure the path to CURL is appropriate
  • Change the user and password variables to your Twitter account

Once that is done you should be set.

Adding the Trap Handler to SNMP

Next, set up your snmptrapd.conf to handle traps from the AK MIB by invoking the Python Script above. My /etc/sma/snmp/snmptrapd.conf looks something like this:

traphandle . /export/home/oracle/

The OID . identifies the sunAkTraps portion of the AK-MIB delivered with the Sun Storage 7000 Appliance.

Now, invoke snmptrapd using the above configuration file (there are many ways to do this but I am doing the way I know will pick up my config file :-)

/usr/sfw/sbin/snmptrapd -c /etc/sma/snmp/snmptrapd.conf -P

Sending Alerts from the Sun Storage 7000

Using the article I posted yesterday, ensure SNMP is enabled with a trapsink identifying the system where your trap receiver is running. Now we have to enable an alert to be sent via SNMP from your Sun Storage 7000 Appliance (this is different from the default Fault Management Traps I discussed yesterday).

For now, trust me on this, I will explain more in my next article, let's enable a simple ARC size threshold to be violated. Go into the Browser User Interface for your system (or the simulator) and go into the Configuration -> Alerts screen. Click through to the "Thresholds" and add one that you know will be violated, like this one:

Each alert that is sent gets posted to the twitter account identified within the Python Script! And as my friends quickly noted, from there it can go to your Facebook account where you can quickly declare "King of the Lab"!

Thanks Sandip for your inspiring post this morning :-)

Wednesday Dec 16, 2009

The SNMP Service on a Sun Storage 7000 Appliance

Without a doubt, SNMP rules the playground in terms of monitoring hardware assets, and many software assets, in a data center monitoring ecosystem. It is the single biggest integration technology I'm asked about and that I've encountered when discussing monitoring with customers.

Why does SNMP have such amazing staying power?

  • It's extensible (vendors can provide MIBs and extend existing MIBs)
  • It's simple (hierarchical data rules and really it boils down to GET, SET, TRAP)
  • It's ubiquitous (monitoring tools accept SNMP, systems deliver SNMP)
  • It operates on two models, real time (traps) and polling (get)
  • It has aged gracefully (security extensions in v4 did not destroy it's propagation)

To keep the SNMP support in the Sun Storage 7000 Appliances relatively succinct, I am going to tackle this in two separate posts. This first post shows how to enable SNMP and what you get "out of the box" once it's enabled. The next post discusses how to deliver more information via SNMP (alerts with more information and threshold violations).

To get more information on SNMP on the Sun Storage 7000 and to download the MIBs that will be discussed here, go to the Help Wiki on a Sun Storage 7000 Appliance (or the simulator):

  • SNMP - https://[hostname]:215/wiki/index.php/Configuration:Services:SNMP

Also, as I work at Sun Microsystems, Inc., all of my examples of walking MIBs on a Sun Storage 7000 Appliance or receiving traps will be from a Solaris-based system. There are plenty of free / open source / trial packages for other Operating System platforms so you will have to adapt this content appropriately for your platform.

One more note as I progress in this series, all of my examples are from the CLI or from scripts, so you won't find many pretty pictures in the series :-)

Enabling SNMP on the Sun Storage 7000 Appliance gives you the ability to:

  • Receive traps (delivered via Sun's Fault Manager (FM) MIB)
  • GET system information (MIB-II System, MIB-II Interfaces, Sun Enterprise MIB)
  • GET information customized to the appliance (using the Sun Storage AK MIB)

Enabling alerts (covered in the next article) extends the SNMP support by delivering targeted alerts via the AK MIB itself.

Enable SNMP

The first thing we'll want to do is log into a target Sun Storage 7000 Appliance via SSH and check if SNMP is enabled.

aie-7110j:> configuration services snmp
aie-7110j:>configuration services snmp> ls
<status> = disabled
community = public
network =
syscontact =
trapsinks =

aie-7110j:configuration services snmp>

Here you can see it is currently disabled and that we have to set up all of the SNMP parameters. The most common community string to this day is "public" and as we will not be changing system information via SNMP we will keep it. The "network" parameter to use for us is, this allows access to the MIB from any network. Finally, I will add a single trapsink so that any traps get sent to my management host. The last step shown is to enable the service once the parameters are committed.

aie-7110j:configuration services snmp> set network=
network = (uncommitted)
aie-7110j:configuration services snmp> set syscontact="Paul Monday"
syscontact = Paul Monday (uncommitted)
aie-7110j:configuration services snmp> set trapsinks=
trapsinks = (uncommitted)
aie-7110j:configuration services snmp> commit
aie-7110j:configuration services snmp> enable
aie-7110j:configuration services snmp> show
<status> = online
community = public
network =
syscontact = Paul Monday
trapsinks =

From the appliance perspective we are now up and running!

Get the MIBs and Install Them

As previously mentioned, all of the MIBs that are unique to the Sun Storage 7000 Appliance are also distributed with the appliance. Go to the Help Wiki and download them, then move them to the appropriate location for monitoring.

On the Solaris system I'm using, that location is /etc/sma/snmp/mibs. Be sure to browse the MIB for appropriate tables or continue to look at the Help Wiki as it identifies relevant OIDs that we'll be using below.

Walking and GETting Information via the MIBs

Using standard SNMP operations, you can retrieve quite a bit of information. As an example from the management station, we will retrieve a list of shares available from the system using snmpwalk:

-bash-3.00# ./snmpwalk -c public -v 2c isv-7110h sunAkShareName
SUN-AK-MIB::sunAkShareName.1 = STRING: pool-0/MMC/deleteme
SUN-AK-MIB::sunAkShareName.2 = STRING: pool-0/MMC/data
SUN-AK-MIB::sunAkShareName.3 = STRING: pool-0/TestVarious/filesystem1
SUN-AK-MIB::sunAkShareName.4 = STRING: pool-0/oracle_embench/oralog
SUN-AK-MIB::sunAkShareName.5 = STRING: pool-0/oracle_embench/oraarchive
SUN-AK-MIB::sunAkShareName.6 = STRING: pool-0/oracle_embench/oradata
SUN-AK-MIB::sunAkShareName.7 = STRING: pool-0/AnotherProject/NoCacheFileSystem
SUN-AK-MIB::sunAkShareName.8 = STRING: pool-0/AnotherProject/simpleFilesystem
SUN-AK-MIB::sunAkShareName.9 = STRING: pool-0/default/test
SUN-AK-MIB::sunAkShareName.10 = STRING: pool-0/default/test2
SUN-AK-MIB::sunAkShareName.11 = STRING: pool-0/EC/tradetest
SUN-AK-MIB::sunAkShareName.12 = STRING: pool-0/OracleWork/simpleExport

Next, I can use snmpget to obtain a mount point for the first share:

-bash-3.00# ./snmpget -c public -v 2c isv-7110h sunAkShareMountpoint.1
SUN-AK-MIB::sunAkShareMountpoint.1 = STRING: /export/deleteme

It is also possible to get a list of problems on the system identified by problem code:

-bash-3.00# ./snmpwalk -c public -v 2c isv-7110h sunFmProblemUUID
SUN-FM-MIB::sunFmProblemUUID."91e97860-f1d1-40ef-8668-dc8fb85679bb" = STRING: "91e97860-f1d1-40ef-8668-dc8fb85679bb"

And then turn around and retrieve the associated knowledge article identifier:

-bash-3.00# ./snmpget -c public -v 2c isv-7110h sunFmProblemCode.\\"91e97860-f1d1-40ef-8668-dc8fb85679bb\\"
SUN-FM-MIB::sunFmProblemCode."91e97860-f1d1-40ef-8668-dc8fb85679bb" = STRING: AK-8000-86

The FM-MIB does not contain information on severity, but using the problem code I can SSH into the system and retrieve that information:

isv-7110h:> maintenance logs select fltlog select uuid="91e97860-f1d1-40ef-8668-dc8fb85679bb"
isv-7110h:maintenance logs fltlog entry-005> ls
timestamp = 2009-12-15 05:55:37
uuid = 91e97860-f1d1-40ef-8668-dc8fb85679bb
desc = The service processor needs to be reset to ensure proper functioning.
type = Major Defect

isv-7110h:maintenance logs fltlog entry-005>

Take time to inspect the MIBs through your MIB Browser to understand all of the information available. I tend to shy away from using SNMP for getting system information and instead write scripts and workflows as much more information is available directly on the system, I'll cover this in a later article.

Receive the Traps

Trap receiving on Solaris is a piece of cake, at least for demonstration purposes. What you choose to do with the traps is a whole different process. Each tool has it's own trap monitoring facilities that will hand you the fields in different ways. For this example, Solaris just dumps the traps to the console.

Locate the "snmptrapd" binary on your Solaris system and start monitoring:

-bash-3.00# cd /usr/sfw/sbin
-bash-3.00# ./snmptrapd -P
2009-12-16 09:27:47 NET-SNMP version 5.0.9 Started.

From there you can wait for something bad to go wrong with your system or you can provoke it yourself. Fault Management can be a bit difficult to provoke intentionally since things one thinks would provoke a fault are actually administrator activites. Pulling a disk drive is very different from a SMART drive error on a disk drive. Similarly, pulling a Power Supply is different from tripping over a power cord and yanking it out. The former is not a fault since it is a complex operation requiring an administrator to unseat the power supply (or disk) whereas the latter occurs out in the wild all the time.

Here are some examples of FM traps I've received through this technique using various "malicious" techniques on a lab system ;-)

Here is an FM Trap when I "accidentally" tripped over a power cord in the lab. Be careful when you do this so you don't pull the system off the shelf if it is not racked properly (note that I formatted this a little bit from the raw output):

2009-11-16 12:25:34 isv-7110h []:
DISMAN-EVENT-MIB::sysUpTimeInstance = Timeticks: (1285895753) 148 days, 19:55:57.53
SNMPv2-MIB::snmpTrapOID.0 = OID: SUN-FM-MIB::sunFmProblemTrap
SUN-FM-MIB::sunFmProblemUUID."2c7ff987-6248-6f40-8dbc-f77f22ce3752" = STRING: "2c7ff987-6248-6f40-8dbc-f77f22ce3752"
SUN-FM-MIB::sunFmProblemCode."2c7ff987-6248-6f40-8dbc-f77f22ce3752" = STRING: SENSOR-8000-3T
SUN-FM-MIB::sunFmProblemURL."2c7ff987-6248-6f40-8dbc-f77f22ce3752" = STRING:

Notice again that I have a SunFmProblemUUID that I can turn around and shell into the system to obtain more details (similarly to what was shown in the last section). Again, the next article will contain an explanation of Alerts. Using the AK MIB and Alerts, we can get many more details pushed out to us via an SNMP Trap, and we have finer granularity as to the alerts that get pushed.

Here, I purchased a very expensive fan stopper-upper device from a fellow tester. It was quite pricey, it turns out it is also known as a "Twist Tie". Do NOT do this at home, seriously, the decreased air flow through the system can cause hiccups in your system.

DISMAN-EVENT-MIB::sysUpTimeInstance = Timeticks: (1285889746) 148 days, 19:54:57.46
SNMPv2-MIB::snmpTrapOID.0 = OID: SUN-FM-MIB::sunFmProblemTrap
SUN-FM-MIB::sunFmProblemUUID."cf480476-51b7-c53a-bd07-c4df59030284" = STRING: "cf480476-51b7-c53a-bd07-c4df59030284"
SUN-FM-MIB::sunFmProblemCode."cf480476-51b7-c53a-bd07-c4df59030284" = STRING: SENSOR-8000-26
SUN-FM-MIB::sunFmProblemURL."cf480476-51b7-c53a-bd07-c4df59030284" = STRING:

You will receive many, many other traps throughout the day including the Enterprise MIB letting us know when the system starts up or any other activities.

Wrap it Up

In this article, I illustrated enabling the SNMP Service on the Sun Storage 7000 Appliance via an SSH session. I also showed some basic MIB walking and traps that you'll receive once SNMP is enabled.

This is really simply the "start" of the information we can push through the SNMP pipe from a system. In the next article I'll show how to use Alerts on the system with the SNMP pipe so you can have more control over the events on a system that you wish to be notified about.

Thursday Dec 10, 2009

Monitoring the Sun Storage 7000 Appliance

Over the past several months I've been working on integrating our Sun Storage 7000 Appliances into monitoring products from other companies. The monitoring work I'm doing is a combination of software writing (via a plug-in for a data center monitoring product that will see it's release in conjunction with our next Sun Storage 7000 Appliance Software Release) and "consulting" with our customers directly about monitoring the appliances they install after purchase.

The Sun Storage 7000 Appliance comes with a variety of mechanisms for monitoring:
- SNMP (via several different MIBs using traps or GETs)
- Email Alerts
- Remote Syslog

A variety of software and hardware faults delivered internal to the system as Fault Management Architecture (FMA) events get pushed to the monitoring environment via the above mechanisms.

As valuable as these capabilities are, customers always have more advanced monitoring needs that require customization of the environment. Some customers want to tune the information available for significant digits, get more significant digits than we surface in the CLI, or gather data from our industry leading analytics capabilities delivered with the appliance. Some may want to integrate with an ITIL-style Configuration Management Database, others may want to create a billing system based on user capacity and accounting for levels of service (guaranteed space, thin-provisioned space, etc...).

All of these customizations can easily be achieved using simple SSH navigation of the appliance's environment or more advanced manipulation of the environment using the embedded JavaScript environment on each Sun Storage 7000 Appliance via scripts or Workflows.

Over the next few weeks, I'm going through my Email Archives (not a pretty sight to be honest) and I'm going to mine the greatest hits as I've sent out information to specific audiences on monitoring boxes and customizing the environment based on specific monitoring application use cases. Other articles will be focused on how I achieved the monitoring environment for the upcoming plug-in that will hit the download center with the next software release.

With all of that lead-in, I am going to kick off my monitoring guidance with what I tell everyone right out of the chute, "Use the Built-in Sun Storage 7000 Appliance Help Wiki to get up to speed on these topics and get the latest information". After all, this blog post will age with each release of the Sun Storage 7000 Appliance whereas the Help Wiki is updated with each release.

On a running Sun Storage 7000 Appliance, use the following URLs (substituting the address of the appliance where I put [hostname]):

  • SNMP - https://[hostname]:215/wiki/index.php/Configuration:Services:SNMP
  • Alerts - https://[hostname]:215/wiki/index.php/Configuration:Alerts
  • Scripting - https://[hostname]:215/wiki/index.php/User_Interface:CLI:Scripting
  • Workflows - https://[hostname]:215/wiki/index.php/Maintenance:Workflows

You can download the latest Sun Storage 7000 Appliance Storage Simulator and follow these instructions as well.

In case the pages have moved, be sure to use the Search feature in the Help Text that comes with the Wiki.

There are always cases that customers want more hardcore examples tailored to environments of each of the above or a slightly different take on learning these topics. And that, my friends, is what the next few weeks will be about. I'll give more examples and approaches, similar to what I did with my Fun with the FMA and SNMP article.

Tuesday Aug 04, 2009

Sun Storage 7000 as an Administrator Development Platform

The Sun Storage 7000 Family of Appliances breaks ground in manageability and transparency through an amazing amount of analytics information provided to administrators as well as a highly customizable and extensible management environment that resides on the system. The "Workflow", delivered in the latest release of appliance software, is of particular interest to those of us responsible for "integrating" the Sun Storage 7000 into a management ecosystem, bundling pieces of management logic for use by our peers and reproducing management logic (such as configuration and environmental setup) on several systems at a time.

A workflow is a parameterized piece of logic that is uploaded to a Sun Storage 7000 where it remains resident and is then run via the BUI, CLI or remotely via a shell. The logic within the workflow is programmed in JavaScript (resident on the Sun Storage 7000) and interacts with the system's management shell via "run" commands or built-ins that interact with the current administrative context.

A workflow can do anything that an administrator could do via the CLI, but in a nicely bundled and parameterized way. Here are a few things I've done with workflows:

  • gather information about the appliance and reformat it to make it digestable by a higher-level tool
  • retrieve sets of analytics data and turn them into different sized chunks (instead of 1 second interval give me a 60 second interval as an average as well as the min and max during the interval) and reformat it to make it easy to digest
  • manage the lifecycle of shares (create, manage settings and delete) that are common across appliances
  • manage network settings
  • create a set of worksheets on every appliance in the network

The opportunities for automation are endless, only bounded by the needs of the administrator in their efforts to integrate the appliances within the management ecosystem.

There is substantial documentation on the appliance's Help Wiki, but for clarity, here is a very simple workflow that will list the attribute of a filesystem that is given as input to the workflow:

  • Input: attribute name (same as the attribute in the CLI)
  • Output: CSV format: project,sharename,attribute (one line for each share)
  • Behavior Notes: a listed attributed that is not valid will return NA in the column (this could be moved to parameter verification but will serve to illustrate exception handling). Also, there are some properties that return empty values as the value was actually inherited from the project context.

Since this is a relatively "short" example, I will simply put the code here with comments and then add additional information afterwords. Note the use of JavaScript functions (such as printToString) as well as the most important element, the definition of the variable "workflow".

/\* The printed headers, one will be added with the property name \*/
var headerList = new Array(

/\* A function to print the array into a string for display \*/
function printToString(csvToPrint){
var csvAsString = "";
for(var i=0 ; i csvAsString = csvAsString + csvToPrint[i];
// do not finish with an end of line marker
if(i!=csvToPrint.length-1) csvAsString = csvAsString + "\\n";
return csvAsString;

/\* This is a required structure for the workflow, it identifies the name, parameters
and the function to execute when it is run \*/
var workflow = {
name: 'Get Filesystem Attribute',
origin: 'Sun Microsystems, Inc.',
description: 'Prints a Property for all Shares',
parameters: {
property : {
label: 'Filesystem Property',
type: 'String'
function (params) {
// prepare the output arrays
var csvContents = new Array();
var currentRow = 0;
headerList[2] =;
csvContents[0] = headerList;

// go to the root context to start navigation
run('cd /');

// get a list of all of the projects on the system
var projects = list();

// navigate through each project
for(var i=0 ; i run('select '+projects[i]);

// get a list of all shares
var shares = list();

// go into the context of each share
for(var j=0 ; j run('select '+shares[j]);
var filesystem = true;
var mountPoint = "";
try {
mountPoint = get('mountpoint');
} catch (err) {
// will end up here if "mountpoint" does not exist, not a filesystem
filesystem = false;
if(filesystem) {
var currentRowContents = new Array();
currentRowContents[0] = projects[i];
currentRowContents[1] = shares[j];
try {
var propertyValue = get(;
currentRowContents[2] = ""+propertyValue;
} catch (err) {
currentRowContents[2] = "NA";
csvContents[currentRow] = currentRowContents;
run('cd ..');

run('cd ..');

var newCsvAsString = printToString(csvContents);

return (newCsvAsString);

While the bulk of the example is standard JavaScript, the workflow structure is where there must be adherence. Here are the important properties:

  • name - The name that the workflow will be identified by within the BUI or CLI
  • origin - The author of the workflow, can also be used to minimize name collisions
  • description - A description of the contents of the workflow, displayed in the BUI or CLI
  • parameters - A list of parameters with types (the types supported are listed in the documentation)
  • execute - The function that gets executed when the workflow is run (there are more advanced ways of identifying the execution code than are shown here)

The code itself interacts with the system to get a list of the projects on the system, then a list of the shares within the system. The mountpoint property is ONLY available on filesystems, so we know if there is a property error that we do not have a filesystem and skip processing of it (it is most likely an iSCSI LUN).

To upload the workflow, cut/paste the text above and put it in a file. Log into a Sun Storage 7000 Appliance with the latest software and go to Maintenance / Workflows. Click the "+" sign to add a workflow and identify the location of the file. The syntax is error checked on upload, then you will see it listed. Workflows can also be uploaded from the CLI.

Here is what a run of the workflow from the CLI looks like:

isv-7110h:maintenance workflows> ls
showhidden = false


workflow-004 Get Filesystem Attribute root false Sun Microsystems, Inc.

isv-7110h:maintenance workflows> select workflow-004
isv-7110h:maintenance workflow-004> ls
name = Get Filesystem Attribute
description = Prints a Property for all Shares
owner = root
origin = Sun Microsystems, Inc.
setid = false

isv-7110h:maintenance workflow-004> execute
isv-7110h:maintenance workflow-004 execute (uncommitted)> ls
property = (unset)

isv-7110h:maintenance workflow-004 execute (uncommitted)> set property=space_total
property = space_total
isv-7110h:maintenance workflow-004 execute (uncommitted)> commit

isv-7110h:maintenance workflow-004>

While the example is simple, hopefully it illustrates that this is the start of workflow capabilities, not the entirety of them. The workflow can create management structures (like new shares and worksheets), delete them, modify them, and even enable and disable services.

Workflows make the Sun Storage 7000 an Administrator Development Platform. Try it out in the Sun Unified Storage Simulator if you don't have an appliance at your fingertips!




« June 2016