Log into sftp server with filezilla using ssl key

Prerequisites:

  1. create account on sftp server (optionally in a chroot sftp only environment for safety)
  2. generate an rsa ssl key with puttygen
  3. save the key in both public and private key (.ppk) format
  4. copy the public key to the remote system you’re connecting to in the appropriate location (usually ~username/.ssh/authorized_keys)
  • copy the private .ppk key you created to the local system
  • open filezilla
  • click file -> Site Manager
  • click New Site
    • Host: {address of sftp server}
    • Port: 22
    • Protocol: sftp
    • Logon Type: key file
    • user: {username created on the sftp server}
    • Key file: {browse to location where you saved the .ppk file}
    • click connect
  • In the left pane, cd to the location of the file you want to upload
  • Drag the file you want to upload from the left pane to the right pane and wait for the upload to complete
  • Close the program

 

DONE!

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Log into UNIX servers with key via Putty

  • Create an rsa keypair with no passphrase using puttygen
  • Save the public key
  • Save the private key (.ppk format)
  • Configure PuTTy to use your private key
    • Connection -> SSH -> Auth -> Private key for authentication
  • Configure PuTTy to automatically log you in with your username
    • Connection -> Data -> Auto-login Username
  • Save the profile in PuTTy
  • Copy your public key to ~/.ssh/authorized_hosts on each server you want to connect to

Oracle X7-2 HA ODA fiber interface issues

I was working with a customer to deploy an X7-2HA ODA awhile back.  They opted to use 10gbE fiber (as most customers do) for their public network interface.  One problem I ran into quite early on is what turned out to be a bug in the driver for those onboard SFP ports.  They actually can negotiate up to 25gb in addition to 10gb.  This is what caused my problem- the fiber switch ports couldn’t do 25gb and that’s what the onboard adapters was trying to negotiate.

I applied the updated driver to the NIC and rebooted.  Nothing.  No link no packets.  I verified with ethtool that the NIC was only advertising 10gb as its max speed and not 25 like before.  After some troubleshooting, I disabled autonegotiation and forced each of the two adapters to 10gb.  A few seconds after this the link came up and I was able to ping my default gateway!

After reboot however, same thing- no link.

33

 

I wound up having to put the following lines at the end of /etc/rc.local on each compute node:

# btbond1 - force em2/em3 to 10 gig Ethernet speed
/sbin/ethtool -s em2 autoneg off speed 10000
/sbin/ethtool -s em3 autoned off speed 10000
sleep 10
ping -c 5 {default gateway}
sleep 10
ping -c 5 {default gateway}

This basically ensures the adapters get forced to 10gb and makes them ping to “wake up” the interface at the end of the system boot process.  Make sure you don’t forget to limit the ping to 5 packets or something reasonable, otherwise guess what you’re going to see on your console every second until eternity?

I’ve been assured this has been fixed in future driver releases- and I’m pretty confident that it will be or there are going to be quite a few pissed off Oracle customers out there!

Rescan virtual disk in a VMware linux VM without reboot

I’ve run into this situation a number of times.  I get a request from a user to resize a filesystem and add some space to it.  Thankfully, through the magic of virtualization I can change the size of the disk on the fly (assuming there are no snapshots in effect).

 

Resizing the disk in VMware goes fine, so I log into the VM.  Normally for a physical machine with SAN or even SCSI disks, I’d go to /sys/class/scsi_host/ and figure out which adapter the disk I want to resize is sitting on.  Usually a combination of fdisk and lsscsi will give me the info I need here.  Good to go!  So I cd into the hostX folder that represents the right controller.  Here’s where things go south.  I’ve had luck with sending an all HCTL scan and the disk recognizes the new size:
 

echo "- - -" > scan

 

By the way, when I mentioned sending an all HCTL scan, let me explain what that means. HCTL stands for scsi_Host, Channel, Target and Lun. When you’re looking at the output of lsscsi as you’ll see below shortly, you’ll see some numbers separated by colons like such:

[2:0:3:0] disk VMware Virtual disk 1.0 /dev/sdd

The four numbers here represent the following
2 = scsi_host
    This is the numeric iteration of the host bus adapter that the scsi device is connected to.  Think of a scsi card or fiber channel card here.  The first scsi_host is usually the internal ones built into most servers as they usually get enumerated first during POST.

0 = Channel
    This is the channel on the HBA that is being referred to.  Think of a dual channel SCSI card or a dual port Fiber Channel HBA.  

3 = Target
    This refers to the SCSI target of the device we're looking at.  In this case, a good description would be an internal SCSI card that has a tape drive, CDROM and a couple hard drives attached to it.  Each of those devices would have a separate "target" to address that device specifically.

0 = Logical Unit Number or LUN
    This is the representation of a sub unit of a target.  A good example would be an optical disk library where the drive itself gets a SCSI target and assumes LUN 0, then the optical disks themselves get assigned LUNs so they can be addressed.  This also more commonly comes into play when you have a SAN that is exporting multiple disks (a.k.a. LUNs).  Say you have an EMC SAN that is presenting 30 disks to a server.  Based on conventional SCSI limitations, most cards can only address up to 15 targets per HBA channel (some will do up to 24 but they are extremely rare).  In this scenario you would need a couple SCSI HBAs to see all those disks.  Now picture thousands of disks... You see where I'm going with this.

I’ve always had luck seeing newly presented disks by doing an all HCTL scan, even in VMware.  But I always wound up having to reboot the damn VM just to get it to recognize the new size of the disk.  Well I stumbled upon a slightly different process today that lets me do what I’ve been trying to do.  Here’s the breakdown:

  • Determine which disk you want to resize.  fdisk -l usually does the trick:
[root@iscsi ~]# fdisk -l

Disk /dev/sda: 32.2 GB, 32212254720 bytes
64 heads, 32 sectors/track, 30720 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 2048 * 512 = 1048576 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x0009e4a5

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 * 2 501 512000 83 Linux
Partition 1 does not end on cylinder boundary.
/dev/sda2 502 30720 30944256 8e Linux LVM
Partition 2 does not end on cylinder boundary.

Disk /dev/mapper/VolGroup-lv_root: 27.5 GB, 27455913984 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 3337 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x00000000

Disk /dev/mapper/VolGroup-lv_swap: 4227 MB, 4227858432 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 514 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x00000000

Disk /dev/sdb: 1099.5 GB, 1099511627776 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 133674 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x02020202

Disk /dev/sdc: 12.9 GB, 12884901888 bytes
64 heads, 32 sectors/track, 12288 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 2048 * 512 = 1048576 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x00000000

WARNING: GPT (GUID Partition Table) detected on '/dev/sdd'! The util fdisk doesn't support GPT. Use GNU Parted.

Disk /dev/sdd: 16.6 GB, 32212254720 bytes
256 heads, 63 sectors/track, 3900 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16128 * 512 = 8257536 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x00000000

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sdd1 1 2081 16777215+ ee GPT
[root@iscsi ~]#
  • Ok so /dev/sdd is the disk I want to resize.  I go resize it in VMware and re-run fdisk but still get the same size- no shock there.
  • Now let’s use the lsscsi command to show us some information about the scsi devices that the OS sees.  You may have to install this tool first.
[root@iscsi ~]# lsscsi -v
[1:0:0:0] cd/dvd NECVMWar VMware IDE CDR10 1.00 /dev/sr0
dir: /sys/bus/scsi/devices/1:0:0:0 [/sys/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:07.1/host1/target1:0:0/1:0:0:0]
[2:0:0:0] disk VMware Virtual disk 1.0 /dev/sda
dir: /sys/bus/scsi/devices/2:0:0:0 [/sys/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:15.0/0000:03:00.0/host2/target2:0:0/2:0:0:0]
[2:0:1:0] disk Nimble Server 1.0 /dev/sdb
dir: /sys/bus/scsi/devices/2:0:1:0 [/sys/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:15.0/0000:03:00.0/host2/target2:0:1/2:0:1:0]
[2:0:2:0] disk Nimble Server 1.0 /dev/sdc
dir: /sys/bus/scsi/devices/2:0:2:0 [/sys/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:15.0/0000:03:00.0/host2/target2:0:2/2:0:2:0]
[2:0:3:0] disk VMware Virtual disk 1.0 /dev/sdd
dir: /sys/bus/scsi/devices/2:0:3:0 [/sys/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:15.0/0000:03:00.0/host2/target2:0:3/2:0:3:0]

 

  • I used the -v (verbose) flag to have it tell me more information about each scsi device.  This gives us a great shortcut to decoding where in /sys/class/scsi_device our target resides.
  • To tell the scsi subsystem to rescan the scsi device, we simply echo a 1 to the rescan file which is located inside the folder identified above.  In our case, the folder is /sys/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:15.0/0000:03:00.0/host2/target2:0:3/2:0:3:0.  If you cd into this folder, you see a bunch of entries.  BE CAREFUL here, these file entries represent in most cases a live view of what the system is seeing or doing.  If you do the wrong thing, you could tell the disk to power off, or maybe something even more destructive.  There’s no failsafe, the OS isn’t going to ask you if you’re sure you want to do this- we’re poking around in the live kernel here through the “back door” if you will.  Here’s a listing of what my systems shows:
[root@iscsi 2:0:3:0]# ls -la
total 0
drwxr-xr-x 8 root root 0 Mar 21 09:22 .
drwxr-xr-x 4 root root 0 Mar 21 09:22 ..
drwxr-xr-x 3 root root 0 Mar 21 09:22 block
drwxr-xr-x 3 root root 0 Mar 21 09:33 bsg
--w------- 1 root root 4096 Mar 21 09:33 delete
-r--r--r-- 1 root root 4096 Mar 21 09:33 device_blocked
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 4096 Mar 21 09:33 dh_state
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 0 Mar 21 09:33 driver -> ../../../../../../../bus/scsi/drivers/sd
-r--r--r-- 1 root root 4096 Mar 21 09:33 evt_media_change
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 0 Mar 21 09:30 generic -> scsi_generic/sg4
-r--r--r-- 1 root root 4096 Mar 21 09:33 iocounterbits
-r--r--r-- 1 root root 4096 Mar 21 09:33 iodone_cnt
-r--r--r-- 1 root root 4096 Mar 21 09:33 ioerr_cnt
-r--r--r-- 1 root root 4096 Mar 21 09:33 iorequest_cnt
-r--r--r-- 1 root root 4096 Mar 21 09:33 modalias
-r--r--r-- 1 root root 4096 Mar 21 09:33 model
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 0 Mar 21 09:33 power
-r--r--r-- 1 root root 4096 Mar 21 09:33 queue_depth
-r--r--r-- 1 root root 4096 Mar 21 09:33 queue_type
--w------- 1 root root 4096 Mar 21 09:33 rescan
-r--r--r-- 1 root root 4096 Mar 21 09:30 rev
drwxr-xr-x 3 root root 0 Mar 21 09:22 scsi_device
drwxr-xr-x 3 root root 0 Mar 21 09:33 scsi_disk
drwxr-xr-x 3 root root 0 Mar 21 09:33 scsi_generic
-r--r--r-- 1 root root 4096 Mar 21 09:30 scsi_level
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 4096 Mar 21 09:33 state
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 0 Mar 21 09:33 subsystem -> ../../../../../../../bus/scsi
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 4096 Mar 21 09:33 timeout
-r--r--r-- 1 root root 4096 Mar 21 09:33 type
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 4096 Mar 21 09:33 uevent
-r--r--r-- 1 root root 4096 Mar 21 09:33 vendor
[root@iscsi 2:0:3:0]#
  • The file we’re interested in is called “rescan”.  The way these generally work is you can poke a value into the kernel by echoing that value into the file like you were appending something to a text file.  Depending on the kernel parameter you’re working with, the value you poke into it will determine what action it takes.  They generally take a 1 or 0 for true or false.  In this case, we want the kernel to rescan this device so we echo “1” > rescan.  This tells the kernel to take another look at the device itself and register any changes that have been made since the system first became aware of it at boot time.
[root@iscsi 2:0:3:0]# echo "1" > rescan
[root@iscsi 2:0:3:0]# fdisk -l /dev/sdd

WARNING: GPT (GUID Partition Table) detected on '/dev/sdd'! The util fdisk doesn't support GPT. Use GNU Parted.

Disk /dev/sdd: 32.2 GB, 32212254720 bytes
256 heads, 63 sectors/track, 3900 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16128 * 512 = 8257536 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x00000000

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sdd1 1 2081 16777215+ ee GPT

 

Notice the new size of /dev/sdd is now 32GB where it was 16GB before.  Congratulations!  Ok don’t get all excited just yet, your journey has just begun.  Now you have to update the partition table to reflect the new number of sectors so the OS can use the new space.  Then you have to resize whatever filesystem resides on that disk.  If you’re using LVM or software RAID, you’ll need to make some changes at that level first before messing with the filesystem.  The good news is most if not all of this stuff can be done online without having to reboot.

 

I hope this helps and let me know if you have any questions or input as to how to do this better!

 

Oracle Announcements Coming

With Oracle OpenWorld coming up in a week or so, we’re used to Oracle using this event to make major announcements about new products, features or generally good stuff.  They’ve already quietly announced their next SPARC chip This year- keep your ears peeled for some very impactful but not all that shocking news about one of their current products. There will be a new product in particular that I’m particularly interested in.  It’s called the SuperCluster M8.  From what I’ve heard, it should be able to run circles around the current exadata.  Additionally, there have been announcements about the support life for Solaris as well.

 

I can’t say much more until it’s public knowledge, but I would enjoy some spirited discussion about it after it comes out.

 

 

Stay tuned!!

Oracle VM for x86: Hard Partitioning Hands On

As most of you likely know, Oracle has stringent licensing rules when it comes to running their software in a virtual environment.  With anything other than Oracle VM Server for x86, you basically have to license every core in the cluster (VMware, Hyper-V, etc).  With OVM, Oracle does accept a specific configuration that satisfies their definition of a “hard partition” where processor licensing is concerned.  This means that if you own 2 processor licenses for Oracle Database EE for example, and are running on a platform that has a .5 license multiplier (such as x86), you are entitled to run that software on 4 cores.

 

Here are the requirements to satisfy the hard partition I mentioned above (taken from a document that is linked in InfoDoc 1529408.1):

To conform to the Oracle hard partition licensing requirement, you must follow the instructions described in this white paper to bind vCPUs to physical CPU threads or cores.

<

p style=”padding-left:30px;”>Live migration of CPU pinned virtual machines to another Oracle VM Server is not permitted under the terms of the hard partitioning license. Consequently, for Oracle VM Release 3, any servers running CPU pinned guests must not be included in DRS (Distributed Resource Scheduler) and DPM (Distributed Power Management) policies.
When live migration is used in an Oracle VM server pool, hard partition licensing is not applicable. You must determine the number of virtual machines running the Oracle Software and then license the same number of physical servers (starting with the largest servers based on the CPU core count) up to the total number of the physical servers in the pool. For example, if a customer has a server pool with 32 servers and 20 virtual machines running Oracle Software within the server pool, the customer must license the 20 largest physical servers in the pool. If the customer is running 50 virtual machines with Oracle Software in a pool of 32 physical servers, they need only to license the 32 physical servers in the pool.

Live migration of other virtual machines with non-Oracle software within the server pool is not relevant to Oracle software hard partitioning or has no impact to how Oracle software license is calculated.

“Trusted Partitions” allow subset licensing without limitation on live migration, but only available on the approved Oracle Engineered Systems listed on Oracle licensing policies for partitioned environments.

 

There is more information in that document on how to actually perform the CPU pinning but we don’t need to get into that level of detail just yet.  To summarize- here are the key takeaways you should be aware of when considering using OVM for hard partitioning:

  • The use of hyperthreading or no hyperthreading is irrelevant to Oracle from a licensing perspective
  • vCPUs are bound or “pinned” to physical cores using an OVM Manager utility that must be downloaded and installed on your OVM Manager
  • Live Migration, DRS and DPM is not allowed for pinned VMs
  • You have to choose which vCPUs you want to PIN your VM to.  Be careful that you don’t accidentally pin more than one VM to a given set of vCPUs- it’s a completely valid configuration but your performance will go to hell due to contention in the CPU scheduler.
  • Get in the habit of pinning your secondary workloads (applications that don’t require hard partitions) to a set of unused vCPUs.  This way they can’t potentially run on the same vCPU that you just pinned your production database VM to.
  • Make sure when you bind vCPUs that you don’t accidentally cross core boundaries.  It only takes 1 vCPU running on a separate core to mess up your licensing costs.  See my blog post here to get an idea of what I mean.

 

The Real World

Now I want to show you a few things that they don’t talk about in the licensing documents that you are likely to run across in your life as an OVM administrator.

  • live migrate a pinned VM from one OVM Server to another

Capture 2

As you can see above, we have 4 VMs running in this cluster.  Below is an overview of prod_db1.  Take note of the ID field, we’ll use it later to identify the VM:

Capture1

We’re gonna use prod_db1 as our guinea pig for this experiment.  Currently prod_db1 is running on server OVM1 and is pinned to vCPUs 0-3 as noted in the vm.cfg snippet below:

Capture3

I also have a VM running on server ovm2 that is pinned to the very same vCPUs:

Capture4

One would think you cannot live migrate the VM from ovm1 to ovm2 because of the fact that prod_db3 is already pinned to the same vCPUs on ovm2?

Screenshot (7)

 

You certainly can perform the live migration.  Here’s what will happen:

  • The VM will successfully migrate to ovm2
  • prod_db1 will only run on vCPUs 0-3 on ovm2
  • prod_db3 will only run on vCPUs 0-3 on ovm2
  • your performance in both VMs will likely go down the drain
  • you will be out of compliance with Oracle hard partition licensing requirements

 

I’ve had a LOT of people ask me this question, so here’s your proof:

[root@ovm1 ~]# xm vcpu-list
Name ID VCPU CPU State Time(s) CPU Affinity
0004fb00000600000632b8de1db5a014 3 0 20 -b- 3988.0 any cpu
0004fb00000600000632b8de1db5a014 3 1 21 -b- 133.8 any cpu
0004fb00000600008825773ba1661d01 2 0 0 -b- 3083.6 0-3
0004fb00000600008825773ba1661d01 2 1 3 -b- 308.1 0-3
Domain-0 0 0 0 r-- 63990.1 0
Domain-0 0 1 1 r-- 62421.0 1
Domain-0 0 2 2 -b- 16102.8 2
Domain-0 0 3 3 -b- 10355.7 3
Domain-0 0 4 4 -b- 2718.1 4
Domain-0 0 5 5 -b- 9427.4 5
Domain-0 0 6 6 -b- 5660.8 6
Domain-0 0 7 7 -b- 3932.0 7
Domain-0 0 8 8 -b- 2268.0 8
Domain-0 0 9 9 -b- 8477.9 9
Domain-0 0 10 10 -b- 4950.6 10
Domain-0 0 11 11 -b- 4304.6 11
Domain-0 0 12 12 -b- 2001.5 12
Domain-0 0 13 13 -b- 10321.1 13
Domain-0 0 14 14 -b- 5221.5 14
Domain-0 0 15 15 -b- 3515.0 15
Domain-0 0 16 16 -b- 2408.8 16
Domain-0 0 17 17 -b- 9905.2 17
Domain-0 0 18 18 -b- 6105.3 18
Domain-0 0 19 19 -b- 4504.2 19



[root@ovm2 ~]# xm vcpu-list
Name ID VCPU CPU State Time(s) CPU Affinity
Domain-0 0 0 0 -b- 54065.1 0
Domain-0 0 1 1 -b- 10110.4 1
Domain-0 0 2 2 -b- 4909.4 2
Domain-0 0 3 3 -b- 6344.0 3
Domain-0 0 4 4 -b- 1012.4 4
Domain-0 0 5 5 -b- 6506.3 5
Domain-0 0 6 6 -b- 4163.1 6
Domain-0 0 7 7 -b- 1564.5 7
Domain-0 0 8 8 -b- 1367.5 8
Domain-0 0 9 9 -b- 14307.2 9
Domain-0 0 10 10 -b- 4068.7 10
Domain-0 0 11 11 -b- 1799.4 11
Domain-0 0 12 12 -b- 1731.3 12
Domain-0 0 13 13 -b- 5478.0 13
Domain-0 0 14 14 -b- 6983.5 14
Domain-0 0 15 15 -b- 5781.6 15
Domain-0 0 16 16 -b- 723.4 16
Domain-0 0 17 17 r-- 4922.6 17
Domain-0 0 18 18 r-- 3585.3 18
Domain-0 0 19 19 -b- 1705.8 19
0004fb0000060000c9e5303a8dc2c675 3 0 0 -b- 5556.6 0-3
0004fb0000060000c9e5303a8dc2c675 3 1 3 -b- 144.4 0-3
  • Now I live migrate prod_db1 from ovm1 to ovm2

Screenshot (8)Screenshot (9)

Screenshot (10)

 

Here is the new vcpu-list post-migration:

[root@ovm1 ~]# xm vcpu-list
Name ID VCPU CPU State Time(s) CPU Affinity
0004fb00000600000632b8de1db5a014 3 0 20 -b- 4007.2 any cpu
0004fb00000600000632b8de1db5a014 3 1 21 -b- 134.4 any cpu
Domain-0 0 0 0 r-- 64376.4 0
Domain-0 0 1 1 r-- 62793.1 1
Domain-0 0 2 2 -b- 16201.5 2
Domain-0 0 3 3 -b- 10418.6 3
Domain-0 0 4 4 -b- 2743.2 4
Domain-0 0 5 5 -b- 9486.1 5
Domain-0 0 6 6 -b- 5702.4 6
Domain-0 0 7 7 -b- 3955.7 7
Domain-0 0 8 8 -b- 2279.8 8
Domain-0 0 9 9 -b- 8530.4 9
Domain-0 0 10 10 -b- 4984.4 10
Domain-0 0 11 11 -b- 4328.3 11
Domain-0 0 12 12 -b- 2013.2 12
Domain-0 0 13 13 -b- 10390.7 13
Domain-0 0 14 14 -b- 5257.2 14
Domain-0 0 15 15 -b- 3542.0 15
Domain-0 0 16 16 -b- 2422.3 16
Domain-0 0 17 17 -b- 9969.5 17
Domain-0 0 18 18 -b- 6150.0 18
Domain-0 0 19 19 -b- 4532.5 19



[root@ovm2 ~]# xm vcpu-list
Name ID VCPU CPU State Time(s) CPU Affinity
0004fb00000600008825773ba1661d01 5 0 2 -b- 1.9 0-3
0004fb00000600008825773ba1661d01 5 1 1 -b- 0.2 0-3
Domain-0 0 0 0 -b- 54418.2 0
Domain-0 0 1 1 -b- 10228.5 1
Domain-0 0 2 2 -b- 4939.8 2
Domain-0 0 3 3 -b- 6373.9 3
Domain-0 0 4 4 -b- 1024.7 4
Domain-0 0 5 5 -b- 6547.6 5
Domain-0 0 6 6 -b- 4218.0 6
Domain-0 0 7 7 -b- 1596.2 7
Domain-0 0 8 8 -b- 1374.9 8
Domain-0 0 9 9 -b- 14341.6 9
Domain-0 0 10 10 -b- 4099.5 10
Domain-0 0 11 11 -b- 1822.6 11
Domain-0 0 12 12 -b- 1737.6 12
Domain-0 0 13 13 r-- 5513.4 13
Domain-0 0 14 14 -b- 7016.8 14
Domain-0 0 15 15 -b- 5814.6 15
Domain-0 0 16 16 -b- 731.6 16
Domain-0 0 17 17 -b- 4960.6 17
Domain-0 0 18 18 -b- 3617.2 18
Domain-0 0 19 19 -b- 1714.2 19
0004fb0000060000c9e5303a8dc2c675 3 0 3 -b- 5590.3 0-3
0004fb0000060000c9e5303a8dc2c675 3 1 0 -b- 145.6 0-3

 

You can see that both VMs are pinned to the same vCPUs and they’re still running just fine.  Like I said- it will technically work but you’re shooting yourself in the foot in multiple ways if you do this.  Also keep in mind- if you turn on HA for prod_db1 and ovm1 goes down, the VM will fail to start on ovm2 because of the cpu pinning.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

 

  • Apply CPU pinning to a VM online with no reboot

In OVM 3.2 and 3.3, you were able to apply CPU pinning to a VM live without having to restart it.  A bug emerged in OVM 3.4.1 and 3.4.2 that broke this.  However it was fixed in OVM 3.4.3.  So depending on which version of OVM you’re running, you may be able to pin your VMs without having to take a reboot.  Watch and be amazed!

 

Currently running OVM 3.3.3:

[root@ovm1 ~]# cat /etc/ovs-release
Oracle VM server release 3.3.3

 

ovm_vmcontrol utilities are installed:

[root@ovmm ovm_util]# pwd
/u01/app/oracle/ovm-manager-3/ovm_util
[root@ovmm ovm_util]# ls -la
total 44
drwxrwxr-x 5 root root 4096 Jul 2 2014 .
drwxr-xr-x 11 oracle dba 4096 Aug 29 13:04 ..
drwxrwxr-x 2 root root 4096 Jul 2 2014 class
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 Jul 2 2014 lib
drwxr-xr-x 3 root root 4096 Jul 2 2014 man
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 1229 Jul 2 2014 ovm_reporestore
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 1227 Jul 2 2014 ovm_vmcontrol
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 1245 Jul 2 2014 ovm_vmdisks
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 1245 Jul 2 2014 ovm_vmhostd
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 1246 Jul 2 2014 ovm_vmmessage
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 2854 Jul 2 2014 vm-dump-metrics

 

I have an existing VM that is currently allowed to run on any vCPU on the server:

[root@ovm1 ~]# xm vcpu-list
Name ID VCPU CPU State Time(s) CPU Affinity
0004fb00000600000632b8de1db5a014 3 0 20 -b- 4012.8 any cpu
0004fb00000600000632b8de1db5a014 3 1 21 -b- 134.6 any cpu
Domain-0 0 0 0 -b- 64446.0 0
Domain-0 0 1 1 -b- 62820.1 1
Domain-0 0 2 2 -b- 16213.7 2
Domain-0 0 3 3 -b- 10426.0 3
Domain-0 0 4 4 -b- 2746.1 4
Domain-0 0 5 5 -b- 9499.3 5
Domain-0 0 6 6 -b- 5712.5 6
Domain-0 0 7 7 -b- 3960.2 7
Domain-0 0 8 8 -b- 2282.3 8
Domain-0 0 9 9 -b- 8541.0 9
Domain-0 0 10 10 -b- 4992.0 10
Domain-0 0 11 11 -b- 4334.6 11
Domain-0 0 12 12 -b- 2015.6 12
Domain-0 0 13 13 -b- 10404.4 13
Domain-0 0 14 14 -b- 5265.1 14
Domain-0 0 15 15 -b- 3546.7 15
Domain-0 0 16 16 -b- 2423.7 16
Domain-0 0 17 17 r-- 9983.8 17
Domain-0 0 18 18 -b- 6158.2 18
Domain-0 0 19 19 -b- 4536.8 19

 

Now let’s pin that VM to vcpu 8-11:

[root@ovmm ovm_util]# ./ovm_vmcontrol -u admin -p ******** -h localhost -v prod_db2 -c vcpuset -s 8-11
Oracle VM VM Control utility 2.0.1.
Connecting with a secure connection.
Connected.
Command : vcpuset
Pinning virtual CPUs
Pinning of virtual CPUs to physical threads '8-11' 'prod_db2' completed.

 

And here’s our proof that the pinning is applied immediately with no reboot:

[root@ovm1 ~]# xm vcpu-list
Name ID VCPU CPU State Time(s) CPU Affinity
0004fb00000600000632b8de1db5a014 3 0 10 -b- 4013.6 8-11
0004fb00000600000632b8de1db5a014 3 1 8 -b- 134.6 8-11
Domain-0 0 0 0 -b- 64454.8 0
Domain-0 0 1 1 -b- 62823.2 1
Domain-0 0 2 2 -b- 16215.2 2
Domain-0 0 3 3 -b- 10427.0 3
Domain-0 0 4 4 -b- 2746.3 4
Domain-0 0 5 5 r-- 9500.6 5
Domain-0 0 6 6 -b- 5713.6 6
Domain-0 0 7 7 -b- 3960.6 7
Domain-0 0 8 8 -b- 2282.5 8
Domain-0 0 9 9 -b- 8542.9 9
Domain-0 0 10 10 -b- 4992.8 10
Domain-0 0 11 11 -b- 4335.0 11
Domain-0 0 12 12 -b- 2015.8 12
Domain-0 0 13 13 -b- 10406.7 13
Domain-0 0 14 14 -b- 5266.4 14
Domain-0 0 15 15 -b- 3547.2 15
Domain-0 0 16 16 -b- 2424.2 16
Domain-0 0 17 17 -b- 9984.8 17
Domain-0 0 18 18 -b- 6159.6 18
Domain-0 0 19 19 -b- 4537.6 19

 

You’ll just have to take my word that I didn’t reboot the VM inbetween the steps- which should be validated by the time column for that VM (note that it increased a little, not reset to 0).

 

 

Well- happy hunting for now!

OVM CPU Pinning

shutterstock_90181546

 

Oracle has published a few documents (2240035.1 and 2213691.1 for starters) about CPU pinning in relation to hard partitions for VMs running on OVM.  This is to avoid having to license every core on the server (like you have to with VMware) for Oracle products that are licensed per core or per user.

 

I’m going to provide an excel spreadsheet at the end of this post that will help you visualize which VM is pinned to which CPU and if there is any overlap.  When a VM is not pinned to a given CPU, it is allowed to run on any cpu within the constraints of the Xen scheduler and where it wants the VM to run.  It will take into account things like NUMA and core boundaries to avoid scheduling a VM in a way that is inefficient.

 

You will need to modify this spreadsheet to fit your server configuration.  Use the information in the ovm-hardpart-168217 document to figure out what your systems CPU topology looks like.

 

A couple things to keep in mind:

  • You cannot live migrate a VM that is pinned.  Technically it will work and the VM will migrate. but Oracle does not allow this based on the terms of their hard partitioning license.  See attached document ovm-hardpart-168217 at the end of this post for more information.
  • When you pin a VM to a vCPU or range of vCPUs, that VM can only run on those vCPUs.  However, if you have other VMs that are not pinned, they can run on any vCPU on the system- including the ones that you just pinned your production database to!  If you have a combination of pinned and unpinned VMs, pin all the other VMs to the range of vCPUs that you want to lock them to.  This way, they can’t run on any vCPUs that you’ve already pinned VMs to.
  • Remember that DOM0 has to be scheduled to run just like the other resources.  Based on how big your system is, OVM will run DOM0 on the first few vCPUs.  This shouldn’t be a problem unless your DOM0 is extremely busy doing work such as processing I/O for the VMs that are running and handling interrupts.  In this case, if you have VMs that are pinned to the same vCPUs as DOM0 you might have some performance problems.  I’ve outlined where DOM0 runs by default on the size system in the example.
  • Realize that you can pin more than one VM to a vCPU.  I wouldn’t recommend this for obvious performance reasons but it’s possible to do.  This is where the spreadsheet comes in handy.
  • If you’re installing the ovm utilities which provides ovm_vmcontrol, you may need to enable remote connections first.  If you get an error message stating that there is an error connecting to localhost, perform the steps below.  You have to pay attention to the version of the ovm utilites that you install.  The readme will show you which of the three (currently) versions to install based on the version of OVM you’re running.
  • Below are the steps to enable remote connections (this was taken from Douglas Hawthorne’s blog here).  Note that the steps below should be performed as the root user, not oracle:
[root@melbourne ~]# cd /u01/app/oracle/ovm-manager-3/bin
[root@melbourne bin]# ./secureOvmmTcpGenKeyStore.sh
Generate OVMM TCP over SSH key store by following steps:
Enter keystore password:
Re-enter new password:
What is your first and last name?
 [Unknown]: OVM
What is the name of your organizational unit?
 [Unknown]: melbourne
What is the name of your organization?
 [Unknown]: YAOCM
What is the name of your City or Locality?
 [Unknown]: Melbourne
What is the name of your State or Province?
 [Unknown]: Victoria
What is the two-letter country code for this unit?
 [Unknown]: AU
Is CN=OVM, OU=melbourne, O=YAOCM, L=Melbourne, ST=Victoria, C=AU correct?
 [no]: yes

Enter key password for <ovmm>
 (RETURN if same as keystore password):
Re-enter new password:
[root@melbourne bin]# ./secureOvmmTcp.sh
Enabling OVMM TCP over SSH service

Please enter the Oracle VM manager user name: admin

Please enter the Oracle VM manager user password:

Please enter the password for TCPS key store :

The job of enabling OVMM TCPS service is committed, please restart OVMM to take effect.





[root@melbourne ~]# service ovmm restart
Stopping Oracle VM Manager [ OK ]
Starting Oracle VM Manager [ OK ]

 

If you have any questions- feel free to post them here.  Good luck!

 

 

CPU pinning example

ovm-hardpart-168217

OVM Manager Cipher Mismatch fix

I was installing a virtual OVM 3.3.3 test environment the other day and when I got to logging into OVM Manager for the first time I got this error:

3ssOL

This has to due with the fact that most modern browsers have dropped support for the older RC4 encryption cipher which is what OVM Manager uses.  There is a “fix” until you update to a newer version that has this bug patched.  See InfoDoc 2099148.1 for all the details, but here’s the meat of it:

 

  • Make a backup of the Weblogic config file
# cd /u01/app/oracle/ovm-manager-3/domains/ovm_domain/config
# cp config.xml config.xml.bak

 

  • Add the following line to the cihpersuite section (search for ciphersuite)
<ciphersuite>TLS_RSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA</ciphersuite>

 

  • Restart the ovm manager service and all is well
# service ovmm restart

Configure simple DNS server on RHEL 6

Sometimes when setting up hardware for a customer, it makes things a lot easier if I can simulate their network in our lab.  This allows me to deploy the solution plug and play without having to re-ip a bunch of stuff or wait until I’m on their network to do most of the install.  A couple problems I’ve come across are access to the internet for patches/updates and DNS.

 

I’ve generally used an old netgear or linksys router to front the customer’s internal network inside my lab environment and just connect it to the back of our cable modem.  This solves the first problem- internet access.  The other problem is a bit more involved, since you have to have a DNS server on that network (preferrably on the same IP address as in the real network when it’s deployed) I’ve taken to using Linux as a stepping stone.  It’s really simple to install Linux or grab one that’s already there and plug it into my private sandbox.  Once that’s done, you just need to install and configure a DNS server.  Here is the step by step process (your IP network will be different, just substitute where appropriate). FYI- I’m running Oracle Linux 6.7 with the Red Hat Compatible Kernel for this tutorial. CentOS 6.7 and RHEL 6.7 are no different other than the repositories you point to in order to get your patches.

Let’s install BIND (Berkley Internet Name Domain) better known as DNS

# yum install -y bind bind-utils
[root@tempDNS ~]# yum install -y bind bind-utils
Loaded plugins: refresh-packagekit, security, ulninfo
Setting up Install Process
public_ol6_latest                                                                                            | 1.4 kB     00:00
Resolving Dependencies
--> Running transaction check
---> Package bind.x86_64 32:9.8.2-0.62.rc1.el6_9.2 will be installed
--> Processing Dependency: bind-libs = 32:9.8.2-0.62.rc1.el6_9.2 for package: 32:bind-9.8.2-0.62.rc1.el6_9.2.x86_64
---> Package bind-utils.x86_64 32:9.8.2-0.37.rc1.el6 will be updated
---> Package bind-utils.x86_64 32:9.8.2-0.62.rc1.el6_9.2 will be an update
--> Running transaction check
---> Package bind-libs.x86_64 32:9.8.2-0.37.rc1.el6 will be updated
---> Package bind-libs.x86_64 32:9.8.2-0.62.rc1.el6_9.2 will be an update
--> Finished Dependency Resolution

Dependencies Resolved

====================================================================================================================================
 Package                   Arch                  Version                                     Repository                        Size
====================================================================================================================================
Installing:
 bind                      x86_64                32:9.8.2-0.62.rc1.el6_9.2                   public_ol6_latest                4.0 M
Updating:
 bind-utils                x86_64                32:9.8.2-0.62.rc1.el6_9.2                   public_ol6_latest                188 k
Updating for dependencies:
 bind-libs                 x86_64                32:9.8.2-0.62.rc1.el6_9.2                   public_ol6_latest                891 k

Transaction Summary
====================================================================================================================================
Install       1 Package(s)
Upgrade       2 Package(s)

Total download size: 5.1 M
Downloading Packages:
(1/3): bind-9.8.2-0.62.rc1.el6_9.2.x86_64.rpm                                                                | 4.0 MB     00:00
(2/3): bind-libs-9.8.2-0.62.rc1.el6_9.2.x86_64.rpm                                                           | 891 kB     00:00
(3/3): bind-utils-9.8.2-0.62.rc1.el6_9.2.x86_64.rpm                                                          | 188 kB     00:00
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total                                                                                               3.8 MB/s | 5.1 MB     00:01
warning: rpmts_HdrFromFdno: Header V3 RSA/SHA256 Signature, key ID ec551f03: NOKEY
Retrieving key from file:///etc/pki/rpm-gpg/RPM-GPG-KEY-oracle
Importing GPG key 0xEC551F03:
 Userid : Oracle OSS group (Open Source Software group) 
 Package: 6:oraclelinux-release-6Server-7.0.5.x86_64 (@anaconda-OracleLinuxServer-201507280245.x86_64/6.7)
 From   : /etc/pki/rpm-gpg/RPM-GPG-KEY-oracle
Running rpm_check_debug
Running Transaction Test
Transaction Test Succeeded
Running Transaction
  Updating   : 32:bind-libs-9.8.2-0.62.rc1.el6_9.2.x86_64                                                                       1/5
  Updating   : 32:bind-utils-9.8.2-0.62.rc1.el6_9.2.x86_64                                                                      2/5
  Installing : 32:bind-9.8.2-0.62.rc1.el6_9.2.x86_64                                                                            3/5
  Cleanup    : 32:bind-utils-9.8.2-0.37.rc1.el6.x86_64                                                                          4/5
  Cleanup    : 32:bind-libs-9.8.2-0.37.rc1.el6.x86_64                                                                           5/5
  Verifying  : 32:bind-utils-9.8.2-0.62.rc1.el6_9.2.x86_64                                                                      1/5
  Verifying  : 32:bind-9.8.2-0.62.rc1.el6_9.2.x86_64                                                                            2/5
  Verifying  : 32:bind-libs-9.8.2-0.62.rc1.el6_9.2.x86_64                                                                       3/5
  Verifying  : 32:bind-libs-9.8.2-0.37.rc1.el6.x86_64                                                                           4/5
  Verifying  : 32:bind-utils-9.8.2-0.37.rc1.el6.x86_64                                                                          5/5

Installed:
  bind.x86_64 32:9.8.2-0.62.rc1.el6_9.2

Updated:
  bind-utils.x86_64 32:9.8.2-0.62.rc1.el6_9.2

Dependency Updated:
  bind-libs.x86_64 32:9.8.2-0.62.rc1.el6_9.2

Complete!

Ok, now that we have that done, let’s do a system update to make sure we have all the latest bits and bytes. If this is a production system, consult your companys policy on updates and patches before doing this. I don’t want to be responsible for making the other applications on this server potentially not work for any reason.

[root@tempDNS ~]# yum update -y
Loaded plugins: refresh-packagekit, security, ulninfo
Setting up Update Process
Resolving Dependencies
--> Running transaction check
---> Package ConsoleKit.x86_64 0:0.4.1-3.el6 will be updated
---> Package ConsoleKit.x86_64 0:0.4.1-6.el6 will be an update
---> Package ConsoleKit-libs.x86_64 0:0.4.1-3.el6 will be updated
..
..
..
Complete!

At this point, I generally recommend a reboot so any updates that had prerequisites for a reboot are taken care of. Also it just makes sure the system is at a known good place for our work.

Let’s edit the /etc/named.conf file and replace the options section with our own custom code:

options {
    listen-on port 53 { 127.0.0.1; 192.168.1.50; };
        #listen-on-v6 port 53 { ::1; };
        directory   "/var/named";
        dump-file   "/var/named/data/cache_dump.db";
        statistics-file "/var/named/data/named_stats.txt";
        memstatistics-file "/var/named/data/named_mem_stats.txt";
        allow-query { any; };
        allow-transfer     { localhost; };
        recursion yes;

        dnssec-enable yes;
        dnssec-validation yes;
        dnssec-lookaside auto;

        /* Path to ISC DLV key */
        bindkeys-file "/etc/named.iscdlv.key";

        managed-keys-directory "/var/named/dynamic";
};

Note above that I have added my local IP address to the end of the listen-on line. Now let’s add a couple zone files.

zone "mydomain.com" IN {
                type master;
                file "mydomain.com.zone";
                allow-update { none; };
};

zone "1.168.192.in-addr.arpa" IN {
                type master;
                file "1.168.192.in-addr.arpa";
                allow-update { none; };
};

Obviously change the domain name to your own on the zone line and the file line. Leave the .zone at the end though.

Here are the two files you want to put into /var/named/

mydomain.com

$TTL 86400
@   IN  SOA     ns1.mydomain.com. root.mydomain.com. (
        2017062601  ;Serial
        3600        ;Refresh
        1800        ;Retry
        604800      ;Expire
        86400       ;Minimum TTL
)
; Specify our nameserver
                IN      NS              ns1.mydomain.com.

; Resolve nameserver hostname to IP
ns1             IN      A               192.168.1.50

; Define hostname -> IP pairs which you wish to resolve
gateway         IN      A               192.168.1.1

1.168.192.in-addr.arpa

$TTL 86400
@       IN      SOA     ns1.mydomain.com.        root.mydomain.com. (
                        2017062601
                        21600      ; refresh after 6 hours
                        3600       ; retry after 1 hour
                        604800     ; expire after 1 week
                        86400 )    ; minimum TTL of 1 day
;
@       IN      NS      ns1.mydomain.com.
;
1       IN      PTR     gateway.mydomain.com.

There are a few things I’d like you to note.

1) You have to update the serial number any time you make a change to the zone file (forward or reverse). I usually use the format YYYYMMDD## where ## is a sequential number starting with 01. This way if you make multiple updates on the same day, the root servers on the internet will know which version is current.

2) Take notice of the . at the end of the entries in the reverse zone file. These have to be there- they terminate the domain hierarchy and tell the server that this is the root so it doesn’t try to keep looking any further.

3) In my example above, I also have an entry for gateway.mydomain.com which has an IP address of 192.168.1.1. This is not normally something you would need or want to do but I wanted to show the syntax of how to do it.

4) For every record you want to add to DNS, it’s a good idea to make sure you also add a reverse record. This lets you do an nslookup or dig against the IP address and it will return the name. A lot of stuff will break or at the very least give you problems if it’s not in place so just get in the habit of doing it.

That’s pretty much it. There are a lot of other nuances that I don’t need to get into here. I almost didn’t write this because there are so many tutorials out there that IMHO are written better than mine. Mainly I wanted to keep it for my own use so I know right where to go when I need to install a quick and dirty DNS server. Hopefully one of you will benefit from this.

Enjoy!!

Virtualized ODA X6-2HA – working with VMs

It’s been awhile since I built a virtualized ODA with VMs on a shared repo so I thought I’d go through the basic steps.

  1. install the OS
    1. install Virtual ISO image
    2. configure networking
    3. install ODA_BASE patch
    4. deploy ODA_BASE
    5. configure networking in ODA_BASE
    6. deploy ODA_BASE with configurator
  2. create shared repository.  This is where your specific situation plays out.  Depending on your hardware you may have less or more space in DATA or RECO.  Your DBA will be able to tell you how much they need for each and where you can borrow a few terabytes (or however much you need) for your VMs
  3. (optionally) create a separate shared repository to store your templates.  This all depends on how many of the same kind of VM you’ll be deploying.  If it makes no sense to keep the templates around once you create your VMs then don’t bother with this step
  4. import template into repository
    1. download the assembly file from Oracle (it will unzip into an .ova archive file)
    2. ***CRITICAL*** copy the .ova to /OVS on either nodes’ DOM0, not into ODA_BASE
    3. import the assembly (point it to the file sitting in DOM0 /OVS)
  5. modify template config as needed (# of vCPUs, Memory, etc)
  6. clone the template to a VM
  7. add network to VM (usually net1 for first public network, net2 for second and net3+ for any VLANs you’ve created
  8. boot VM and start console (easiest way is to VNC into ODA_BASE and launch it from there)
  9. set up your hostname, networking, etc the way you want it
  10. reboot VM to ensure changes persist
  11. rinse and repeat as needed

If you need to configure HA, preferred node or any other things, this is the time to do it.

 

ODA Software – Closed for Business!

I’ve deployed a number of these appliances over the last couple years both virtualized and bare metal.  When people realize that Oracle Linux is running under the hood they sometimes think it’s ok to throw rpmforge up in there and have at it.  What’s worse is a customer actually tried to do a yum update on the OS itself from the Oracle public YUM repo!   Ack….

 

I guess I can see wanting to stay patched to the latest available kernel or version of tools, but it needs to be understood that this appliance is a closed ecosystem.  The beauty of patching the ODA is the fact that I don’t have to chase down all the firmware updates for HDD/SSD/NVM disks, ILOM, BIOS, etc…  That legwork has already been done for me.  Plus the fact that all the patches are tested as a unit together on each platform makes me able to sleep better at night.  Sure- the patches take about 4-5 hours all said and done, but when you’re done, you’re done!  I’m actually wondering if Oracle will eventually implement busybox or something like it for the command line interface to hide the OS layer from end users.  With their move to a web interface for provisioning of the ODA X6-2S/M/L it seems they’ve taken a step in that direction.

 

If you decide to add repositories to your ODA in order to install system utilities like sysstat and such, it’s generally ok, but I need to say this:  the Oracle hard line states that no additional software should be installed on the ODA at all.  In support of that statement, I will say that I’ve had problems patching when the Oracle public YUM repo is configured and I also ran into the expired RHN key error that started rearing its ugly head at the beginning of 2017.  Both of these are easily fixed, but why put yourself in that position in the first place?

 

Also, in closing I’d like to recommend to all my customers/readers that you make it a priority to patch your ODA at least once a year.  There are actual ramifications to being out of date that have bitten folks.  I can think of one case where the customers’ ODA hadn’t been updated in 3-4 years.  The customer experienced multiple Hard Drive failures within a week or two and because they had their ODA loaded to the kilt, the ASM rebuild was impacting performance dramatically.  The reason the drives failed so close to eachother and more importantly the way they failed was because of outdated disk firmware.  Newer firmware was available that changed the way disk failure was performed in that it was more sensitive to “blips” and failed out the disk instead of letting it continue to stay in service.  As a result, the disk was dying for awhile and causing degraded performance.  Another reason the disks probably failed early-ish is the amount of load they were placing on the system.  Anywho… just remember to patch ok?

 

 

HPE to acquire Nimble Storage

Nimble Storage Signs Agreement to Be Acquired by Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company, to accelerate the global adoption of Nimble Storage’s Innovative Predictive Analytics and leading next-generation flash storage platform

By Suresh Vasudevan
CEO, Nimble Storage

Today is a significant milestone in our company history, as we have signed a definitive agreement to be acquired by Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company (“HPE”).

When we were founded in 2007, our vision was that we could leverage flash and cloud-based predictive analytics to eliminate infrastructure constraints and accelerate applications.  We believed that we could build a thriving customer community through products that exceeded expectations, integrity in every customer interaction, and by delivering an unmatched support experience. Perhaps most significantly, our aspiration was to bring together an incredibly talented pool of people under one roof working collaboratively as a team to take on audacious goals.

As we look back, we are proud of our accomplishments.  We have built a customer base of 10,000 customers in under 7 years of shipping products.  “Six 9s” of measured availability and predictive support driven by InfoSight have resulted in an extremely happy customer base, as reflected by our Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 85.  Numerous industry awards reflect the long list of innovations and “industry firsts” as part of our Predictive Cloud Platform. We were named a Leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for General Purpose Storage Arrays for the second consecutive year.

As proud as we are of what we have accomplished, we face a challenge of scale and significant exposure as a standalone storage company. Our aspiration has always been to be an innovation leader, and see our technology deployed in organizations around the globe.  But, as we weighed the opportunities and risks, we concluded that an acquisition makes sense at the right price with the right partner. We believe we’ve found both.

Through numerous discussions with HPE’s leadership, it became clear that HPE is a great partner. We believe that the combination of Nimble Storage and HPE creates an industry leader in the fast growing flash storage market, with predictive analytics providing an unmatched operational and support experience.

  • Predictive Analytics. We are excited about extending the power of InfoSight beyond the Nimble Storage product line, to span the entire storage portfolio of the combined company.
  • Global distribution reach. With HPE’s massive scale and global distribution, we see an opportunity to increase our customer base by an order of magnitude within a few years. Our enterprise business outpaced our overall growth last year, driven by the superior value proposition of our platform.  With HPE’s large enterprise relationships, we anticipate further acceleration in this segment.
  • Continued storage innovation. We have an exciting roadmap that goes well beyond flash arrays and our recently announced Nimble Cloud Volumes. The ability to invest behind that roadmap is significantly strengthened by HPE’s scale and financial strength.
  • Continued commitment to customer support. Our reputation for support has been key to our success, and the combined company remains committed to that support experience. The expansion of InfoSight Predictive Analytics adoption, along with a maniacal focus on customer success, will preserve the current proactive support experience.

I would personally like to thank our more than 10,000 devoted customers, strategic alliance partners, and channel ecosystem partners – all of whom have rallied behind our technology and differentiated support experience.  As we look ahead, we are confident that by combining Nimble Storage’s technology leadership with HPE’s global distribution strength, strong brand, and enterprise relationships, we’re creating expansion opportunities for the combined company.

We remain steadfastly focused on our mission of enabling applications to perform without disruption.

Additional Information and Where to Find It

The tender offer for the outstanding shares of Nimble Storage common stock (the “Offer”) has not yet commenced.   This communication  is for informational purposes only and is neither an offer to purchase nor a solicitation of an offer to sell shares, nor is it a substitute for the tender offer materials that Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company (“HPE”) and a subsidiary of HPE (“Merger Sub”) will file with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”).   At the time the tender offer is commenced, HPE and Merger Sub will file tender offer materials on Schedule TO, and thereafter Nimble Storage will file a Solicitation/Recommendation Statement on Schedule 14D-9, with the SEC with respect to the Offer.   THE TENDER OFFER MATERIALS (INCLUDING AN OFFER TO PURCHASE, A RELATED LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL AND CERTAIN OTHER TENDER OFFER DOCUMENTS) AND THE SOLICITATION/RECOMMENDATION STATEMENT WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION.   HOLDERS OF SHARES OF NIMBLE STORAGE COMMON STOCK ARE URGED TO READ THESE DOCUMENTS CAREFULLY WHEN THEY BECOME AVAILABLE (AS EACH MAY BE AMENDED OR SUPPLEMENTED FROM TIME TO TIME) BECAUSE THEY WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION THAT HOLDERS OF SHARES OF NIMBLE STORAGE COMMON STOCK SHOULD CONSIDER BEFORE MAKING ANY DECISION REGARDING TENDERING THEIR SHARES.   The Offer to Purchase, the related Letter of Transmittal and certain other tender offer documents, as well as the Solicitation/Recommendation Statement, will be made available to all holders of shares of Nimble Storage’s common stock at no expense to them.  The tender offer materials and the Solicitation/Recommendation Statement will be made available for free at the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov.   Additional copies of the tender offer materials may be obtained for free by directing a written request to Nimble Storage, Inc., 211 River Oaks Parkway, San Jose, California 95134, Attn: Investor Relations, or by telephone at (408) 514-3475.

In addition to the Offer to Purchase, the related Letter of Transmittal and certain other tender offer documents, as well as the Solicitation/Recommendation Statement, HPE and Nimble Storage file annual, quarterly and current reports and other information with the SEC.  You may read and copy any reports or other information filed by HPE or Nimble Storage at the SEC public reference room at 100 F Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20549.  Please call the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330 for further information on the public reference room.  HPE’s and Nimble Storage’s filings with the SEC are also available to the public from commercial document-retrieval services and at the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov.

Forward-Looking Statements

This document contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  Such statements involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions.  If such risks or uncertainties materialize or such assumptions prove incorrect, the results of Nimble Storage and its consolidated subsidiaries could differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements and assumptions.  All statements other than statements of historical fact are statements that could be deemed forward-looking statements, including any statements regarding the expected benefits and costs of the Offer, the merger and the other transactions contemplated by the definitive agreement relating to the acquisition of Nimble Storage by HPE; the expected timing of the completion of the Offer and the merger; the ability of HPE, Merger Sub and Nimble Storage to complete the Offer and the merger considering the various conditions to the Offer and the merger, some of which are outside the parties’ control, including those conditions related to regulatory approvals; any statements of expectation or belief; and any statements of assumptions underlying any of the foregoing.  Risks, uncertainties and assumptions include the possibility that expected benefits may not materialize as expected; that the Offer and the merger may not be timely completed, if at all; that, prior to the completion of the transaction, Nimble Storage’s business may not perform as expected due to transaction-related uncertainty or other factors; that the parties are unable to successfully implement integration strategies; and other risks that are described in Nimble Storage’s SEC reports, including but not limited to the risks described in Nimble Storage’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for its fiscal year ended January 31, 2016.  Nimble Storage assumes no obligation and does not intend to update these forward-looking statements.

Create VM in Oracle VM for x86 using NFS share

I’m using OVM Manager 3.4.2 and OVM Server 3.3.2 to test an upgrade for one of our customers.  I am using Starwind iSCSI server to present the shared storage to the cluster but in production you should use enterprise grade hardware to do this.  There’s an easier way to do this- create an HVM VM and install from an ISO stored in a repository.  Then power the VM off and change the type to PVM then power on.  This may not work with all operating systems however so I’m going over how to create a new PVM VM from an ISO image shared from an NFS server.

* Download ISO (I'm using Oracle Linux 6.5 64bit for this example)
* Copy ISO image to OVM Manager (any NFS server is fine)
* Mount ISO on the loopback device
# mount -o loop /var/tmp/V41362-01.iso /mnt

* Share the folder via NFS
# service nfs start
Starting NFS services: [ OK ]
Starting NFS quotas: [ OK ]
Starting NFS mountd: [ OK ]
Starting NFS daemon: [ OK ]
Starting RPC idmapd: [ OK ]

# exportfs *:/mnt/

# showmount -e
Export list for ovmm:
/mnt *

* Create new VM in OVM Manager
* Edit VM properties and configure as PVM
* Set additional properties such as memory, cpu and network
* At the boot order tab, enter the network boot path formatted like this:
  nfs:{ip address or FQDN of NFS host}:/{path to ISO image top level directory}

For example, our NFS server is 10.2.3.4 and the path where I mounted the ISO is at /mnt.  Leave the {}'s off of course:

  nfs:10.2.3.4:/mnt 

You should be able to boot your VM at this point and perform the install of the OS.

DevOps – What is it?

devops-teamMy company is starting to be more and more involved in using some of the tools that make up the DevOps stack.  Part of this work involves using tools like Docker natively in combination with hardware solutions such as Nimble Storage to provide a solution to customers that integrates well with their adoption of agile principles and workflows.  Other engagements will be designed to actually educate our customers on the benefits and disciplines of an Agile Workflow and to help them achieve better synergy between the development and operations teams.

 

To that end, I’m going to be writing a series of posts on different components that make up DevOps from the tool perspective as we get more and more exposure to them.  A website called The Agile Admin has done a great job in defining just what DevOps is and what it means.  Below is a snippet from their website that pretty much covers it very well.

 

DevOps is a new term emerging from the collision of two major related trends. The first was also called “agile system administration” or “agile operations”; it sprang from applying newer Agile and Lean approaches to operations work.  The second is a much expanded understanding of the value of collaboration between development and operations staff throughout all stages of the development lifecycle when creating and operating a service, and how important operations has become in our increasingly service-oriented world

 

Having been in the IT industry for over a quarter century, I’ve seen the division between Development and Operations very clearly defined.  They are very distinct pillars of job functions which fall into categories like Storage, Server Ops, Networking, Development/Coding and such.  These pillars have very distinct borders that are enforced by things like policies, request forms, response SLA’s and standardized methods of deployment.  It isn’t too uncommon for projects to enter the planning, architecture and implementation phases and take a terrible amount of time to complete.  More concerning is the concept that each pillar which is responsible for it’s part has very little knowledge or understanding of other pillar’s functions.  This dramatically reduces the effectiveness of the whole project because it eliminates many touch points that could potentially identify a critical flaw in the final product.  It also eliminates the majority of perspectives of the team as a whole that almost always brings value when considered throughout the process.

 

This is somewhat of a learning process for me, but it’s based on observations and involvement in different aspects of the operations side of things.  I’ve seen the trend towards a more DevOps type model being enforced by the pure nature of new converged and hyperconverged systems.  What used to be strictly an operational function such as provisioning a LUN and presenting it to servers, is now being offered to the developer side of the house (think self provisioning).  While this has the effect of moving what used to be an operational function over to the developer making their job much easier and quick, it is by no means true DevOps.

 

I urge spirited conversation on this topic below- there are many contrasting perspectives regarding DevOps and Agile Workflow that I’m interested in hearing about.

Nimble PowerShell Toolkit

I was working on an internal project to test performance of a converged system solution.  The storage component is a Nimble AF7000 from which we’re presenting a number of LUNs.  There are almost 30 LUNs and I’ve had to create, delete and provision them a number of times throughout the project.  It became extremely tedious to do this through the WebUI so I decided to see if it could be scripted.

I know you can log into the nimble via ssh and basically do what I’m trying to do- and I did test this with success.  However I’ve recently had a customer who wanted to use PowerShell to perform some daily snapshot/clone operations for Oracle database running on windows (don’t ask).  We decided to leverage the Nimble PowerShell Toolkit to perform the operations right from the windows server.  The script was fairly straightforward, although we had to learn a little about PowerShell syntax and such.  I’ve included a sanitized script below that basically does what I need to.

$arrayname = "IP address or FQDN of array management address"
$nm_uid = "admin"
$nm_password = ConvertTo-SecureString -String "admin" -AsPlainText -Force
$nm_cred = New-Object -TypeName System.Management.Automation.PSCredential -ArgumentList $nm_uid,$nm_password
$initiatorID = Get-NSInitiatorGroup -name {name of initiator group} | select -expandproperty id

# Import Nimble Tool Kit for PowerShell
import-module NimblePowerShellToolKit

# Connect to the array
Connect-NSGroup -group $arrayname -credential $nm_cred

# Create 10 DATA Disks
for ($i=1; $i -le 10; $i++) {
    New-NSVolume -Name DATADISK$i -Size 1048576 -PerfPolicy_id 036462b75de9a4f69600000000000000000000000e -online $true
    $volumeID = Get-NSVolume -name DATADISK$i | select -expandproperty id
    New-NSAccessControlRecord -initiator_group_id $initiatorID -vol_id $volumeID
}

# Create 10 RECO Disks
for ($i=1; $i -le 10; $i++) {
    New-NSVolume -Name RECODISK$i -Size 1048576 -PerfPolicy_id 036462b75de9a4f69600000000000000000000000e -online $true
    $volumeID = Get-NSVolume -name RECODISK$i | select -expandproperty id
    New-NSAccessControlRecord -initiator_group_id $initiatorID -vol_id $volumeID
}

# Create 3 GRID Disks
for ($i=1; $i -le 3; $i++) {
    New-NSVolume -Name GRIDDISK$i -Size 2048 -PerfPolicy_id 036462b75de9a4f69600000000000000000000000e -online $true
    $volumeID = Get-NSVolume -name GRIDDISK$i | select -expandproperty id
    New-NSAccessControlRecord -initiator_group_id $initiatorID -vol_id $volumeID
}

I also wrote a script to delete the LUNs below:

$arrayname = "IP address or FQDN of array management address"  
$nm_uid = "admin"
$nm_password = ConvertTo-SecureString -String "admin" -AsPlainText -Force
$nm_cred = New-Object -TypeName System.Management.Automation.PSCredential -ArgumentList $nm_uid,$nm_password
$initiatorID = Get-NSInitiatorGroup -name {name of initiator group} | select -expandproperty id

# Import Nimble Tool Kit for PowerShell
import-module NimblePowerShellToolKit

# Connect to the array 
Connect-NSGroup -group $arrayname -credential $nm_cred


# Delete 10 DATA Disks
for ($i=1; $i -le 10; $i++) {
    Set-NSVolume -name DATADISK$i -online $false
    Remove-NSVolume -name DATADISK$i
}

# Delete 10 RECO Disks
for ($i=1; $i -le 10; $i++) {
    Set-NSVolume -name RECODISK$i -online $false
    Remove-NSVolume -name RECODISK$i 
}

# Delete 3 GRID Disks
for ($i=1; $i -le 3; $i++) {
    Set-NSVolume -name GRIDDISK$i -online $false
    Remove-NSVolume -name GRIDDISK$i 
}

Obviously you’ll have to substitute some of the values such as $arrayname, $nm_uid, $nm_password and $initiatorID (make sure you remove the {}’s when you put your value here). This is a very insecure method of storing your password but it was a quick and dirty solution at the time. There are ways to store the value of a password from a highly secured text file and encrypt it into a variable. Or if you don’t mind being interactive, you can skip providing the credentials and it will pop up a password dialog box for you to enter them every time the script runs.

It made the project go a lot faster- hopefully you can use this to model different scripts to do other things. The entire command set of the Nimble array is basically exposed through the toolkit so there’s not a whole lot you can’t do here that you could in the WebUI. When you download the toolkit- there is a README PDF that goes through all the commands. When in PowerShell, you can also get help for each of the commands. For example:

PS C:\Users\esteed> help New-NSVolume

NAME
    New-NSvolume

SYNOPSIS
    Create operation is used to create or clone a volume. Creating volumes requires name and size attributes. Cloning
    volumes requires clone, name and base_snap_id attributes where clone is set to true. Newly created volume will not
    have any access control records, they can be added to the volume by create operation on access_control_records
    object set. Cloned volume inherits access control records from the parent volume.


SYNTAX
    New-NSvolume [-name] <String> [-size] <UInt64> [[-description] <String>] [[-perfpolicy_id] <String>] [[-reserve]
    <UInt64>] [[-warn_level] <UInt64>] [[-limit] <UInt64>] [[-snap_reserve] <UInt64>] [[-snap_warn_level] <UInt64>]
    [[-snap_limit] <UInt64>] [[-online] <Boolean>] [[-multi_initiator] <Boolean>] [[-pool_id] <String>] [[-read_only]
    <Boolean>] [[-block_size] <UInt64>] [[-clone] <Boolean>] [[-base_snap_id] <String>] [[-agent_type] <String>]
    [[-dest_pool_id] <String>] [[-cache_pinned] <Boolean>] [[-encryption_cipher] <String>] [<CommonParameters>]


DESCRIPTION
    Create operation is used to create or clone a volume. Creating volumes requires name and size attributes. Cloning
    volumes requires clone, name and base_snap_id attributes where clone is set to true. Newly created volume will not
    have any access control records, they can be added to the volume by create operation on access_control_records
    object set. Cloned volume inherits access control records from the parent volume.


RELATED LINKS

REMARKS
    To see the examples, type: "get-help New-NSvolume -examples".
    For more information, type: "get-help New-NSvolume -detailed".
    For technical information, type: "get-help New-NSvolume -full".

You can also use the -detail parameter at the end to get a more complete description of each option. Additionally you can use -examples to see the commands used in real world situations. Have fun!