Petter Reinholdtsen

Checking server hardware support status for Dell, HP and IBM servers
28th February 2009

At work, we have a few hundred Linux servers, and with that amount of hardware it is important to keep track of when the hardware support contract expire for each server. We have a machine (and service) register, which until recently did not contain much useful besides the machine room location and contact information for the system owner for each machine. To make it easier for us to track support contract status, I've recently spent time on extending the machine register to include information about when the support contract expire, and to tag machines with expired contracts to make it easy to get a list of such machines. I extended a perl script already being used to import information about machines into the register, to also do some screen scraping off the sites of Dell, HP and IBM (our majority of machines are from these vendors), and automatically check the support status for the relevant machines. This make the support status information easily available and I hope it will make it easier for the computer owner to know when to get new hardware or renew the support contract. The result of this work documented that 27% of the machines in the registry is without a support contract, and made it very easy to find them. 27% might seem like a lot, but I see it more as the case of us using machines a bit longer than the 3 years a normal support contract last, to have test machines and a platform for less important services. After all, the machines without a contract are working fine at the moment and the lack of contract is only a problem if any of them break down. When that happen, we can either fix it using spare parts from other machines or move the service to another old machine.

I believe the code for screen scraping the Dell site was originally written by Trond Hasle Amundsen, and later adjusted by me and Morten Werner Forsbring. The HP scraping was written by me after reading a nice article in ;login: about how to use WWW::Mechanize, and the IBM scraping was written by me based on the Dell code. I know the HTML parsing could be done using nice libraries, but did not want to introduce more dependencies. This is the current incarnation:

use LWP::Simple;
use POSIX;
use WWW::Mechanize;
use Date::Parse;
sub get_support_info {
    my ($machine, $model, $serial, $productnumber) = @_;
    my $str;

    if ( $model =~ m/^Dell / ) {
        # fetch website from Dell support
        my $url = "$serial";
        my $webpage = get($url);
        return undef unless ($webpage);

        my $daysleft = -1;
        my @lines = split(/\n/, $webpage);
        foreach my $line (@lines) {
            next unless ($line =~ m/Beskrivelse/);
            $line =~ s/<[^>]+?>/;/gm;
            $line =~ s/^.+?;(Beskrivelse;)/$1/;

            my @f = split(/\;/, $line);
            @f = @f[13 .. $#f];
            my $lastend = "";
            while ($f[3] eq "DELL") {
                my ($type, $startstr, $endstr, $days) = @f[0, 5, 7, 10];

                my $start = POSIX::strftime("%Y-%m-%d",
                my $end = POSIX::strftime("%Y-%m-%d",
                $str .= "$type $start -> $end ";
                @f = @f[14 .. $#f];
                $lastend = $end if ($end gt $lastend);
            my $today = POSIX::strftime("%Y-%m-%d", localtime(time));
                if ($lastend lt $today);
    } elsif ( $model =~ m/^HP / ) {
        my $mech = WWW::Mechanize->new();
        my $url =
        my $fields = {
            'BODServiceID' => 'NA',
            'RegisteredPurchaseDate' => '',
            'country' => 'NO',
            'productNumber' => $productnumber,
            'serialNumber1' => $serial,
        $mech->submit_form( form_number => 2,
                            fields      => $fields );
        # Next step is screen scraping
        my $content = $mech->content();

        $content =~ s/<[^>]+?>/;/gm;
        $content =~ s/\s+/ /gm;
        $content =~ s/;\s*;/;;/gm;
        $content =~ s/;[\s;]+/;/gm;

        my $today = POSIX::strftime("%Y-%m-%d", localtime(time));

        while ($content =~ m/;Warranty Type;/) {
            my ($type, $status, $startstr, $stopstr) = $content =~
                m/;Warranty Type;([^;]+);.+?;Status;(\w+);Start Date;([^;]+);End Date;([^;]+);/;
            $content =~ s/^.+?;Warranty Type;//;
            my $start = POSIX::strftime("%Y-%m-%d",
            my $end = POSIX::strftime("%Y-%m-%d",

            $str .= "$type ($status) $start -> $end ";

                if ($end lt $today);
    } elsif ( $model =~ m/^IBM / ) {
        # This code ignore extended support contracts.
        my ($producttype) = $model =~ m/.*-\[(.{4}).+\]-/;
        if ($producttype && $serial) {
            my $content =
            if ($content) {
                $content =~ s/<[^>]+?>/;/gm;
                $content =~ s/\s+/ /gm;
                $content =~ s/;\s*;/;;/gm;
                $content =~ s/;[\s;]+/;/gm;

                $content =~ s/^.+?;Warranty status;//;
                my ($status, $end) = $content =~ m/;Warranty status;([^;]+)\s*;Expiration date;(\S+) ;/;

                $str .= "($status) -> $end ";

                my $today = POSIX::strftime("%Y-%m-%d", localtime(time));
                    if ($end lt $today);
    return $str;

Here are some examples on how to use the function, using fake serial numbers. The information passed in as arguments are fetched from dmidecode.

print get_support_info("", "HP ProLiant BL460c G1", "1234567890"
print get_support_info("", "Dell Inc. PowerEdge 2950", "1234567");
print get_support_info("", "IBM eserver xSeries 345 -[867061X]-",

I would recommend this approach for tracking support contracts for everyone with more than a few computers to administer. :)

Update 2009-03-06: The IBM page do not include extended support contracts, so it is useless in that case. The original Dell code do not handle extended support contracts either, but has been updated to do so.

Tags: english, nuug.

Created by Chronicle v4.6