Petter Reinholdtsen

Entries tagged "sitesummary".

Setting up a new school with Debian Edu/Squeeze
25th January 2012

The next version of Debian Edu / Skolelinux will include a new tool sitesummary2ldapdhcp, which can be used to quickly set up all the computers in a school without much manual labour. Here is a short summary on how to use it to set up a new school.

First, install a combined Main Server and Thin Client Server as the central server in the network. Next, PXE boot all the client machines as thin clients and wait 5 minutes after the last client booted to allow the clients to report their existence to the central server. When this is done, log on to the central server and run sitesummary2ldapdhcp -a in the konsole to use the collected information to generate system objects in LDAP. The output will look similar to this:

% sitesummary2ldapdhcp -a
info: Updating machine tjener.intern [] id ether-00:01:02:03:04:05.
info: Create GOsa machine for auto-mac-00-01-02-03-04-06 [] id ether-00:01:02:03:04:06.

Enter password if you want to activate these changes, and ^c to abort.

Connecting to LDAP as cn=admin,ou=ldap-access,dc=skole,dc=skolelinux,dc=no
enter password: *******

After providing the LDAP administrative password (the same as the root password set during installation), the LDAP database will be populated with system objects for each PXE booted machine with automatically generated names. The final step to set up the school is then to log into GOsa, the web based user, group and system administration system to change system names, add systems to the correct host groups and finally enable DHCP and DNS for the systems. All clients that should be used as diskless workstations should be added to the workstation-hosts group. After this is done, all computers can be booted again via PXE and get their assigned names and group based configuration automatically.

We plan to release beta3 with the updated version of this feature enabled this weekend. You might want to give it a try.

Update 2012-01-28: When calling sitesummary2ldapdhcp to add new hosts, one need to add the option -a. I forgot to mention this in my original text, and have added it to the text now.

Tags: debian edu, english, sitesummary.
Sitesummary tip: Listing computer hardware models used at site
3rd June 2010

When using sitesummary at a site to track machines, it is possible to get a list of the machine types in use thanks to the DMI information extracted from each machine. The script to do so is included in the sitesummary package, and here is example output from the Skolelinux build servers:

maintainer:~# /usr/lib/sitesummary/hardware-model-summary
  vendor                    count
  Dell Computer Corporation     1
    PowerEdge 1750              1
  IBM                           1
    eserver xSeries 345 -[8670M1X]-     1
  Intel                         2
  [no-dmi-info]                 3

The quality of the report depend on the quality of the DMI tables provided in each machine. Here there are Intel machines without model information listed with Intel as vendor and no model, and virtual Xen machines listed as [no-dmi-info]. One can add -l as a command line option to list the individual machines.

A larger list is available from the the city of Narvik, which uses Skolelinux on all their shools and also provide the basic sitesummary report publicly. In their report there are ~1400 machines. I know they use both Ubuntu and Skolelinux on their machines, and as sitesummary is available in both distributions, it is trivial to get all of them to report to the same central collector.

Tags: debian, debian edu, english, sitesummary.
Sitesummary tip: Listing MAC address of all clients
14th May 2010

In the recent Debian Edu versions, the sitesummary system is used to keep track of the machines in the school network. Each machine will automatically report its status to the central server after boot and once per night. The network setup is also reported, and using this information it is possible to get the MAC address of all network interfaces in the machines. This is useful to update the DHCP configuration.

To give some idea how to use sitesummary, here is a one-liner to ist all MAC addresses of all machines reporting to sitesummary. Run this on the collector host:

perl -MSiteSummary -e 'for_all_hosts(sub { print join(" ", get_macaddresses(shift)), "\n"; });'

This will list all MAC addresses assosiated with all machine, one line per machine and with space between the MAC addresses.

To allow system administrators easier job at adding static DHCP addresses for hosts, it would be possible to extend this to fetch machine information from sitesummary and update the DHCP and DNS tables in LDAP using this information. Such tool is unfortunately not written yet.

Tags: debian, debian edu, english, sitesummary.
Automatic Munin and Nagios configuration
27th January 2010

One of the new features in the next Debian/Lenny based release of Debian Edu/Skolelinux, which is scheduled for release in the next few days, is automatic configuration of the service monitoring system Nagios. The previous release had automatic configuration of trend analysis using Munin, and this Lenny based release take that a step further.

When installing a Debian Edu Main-server, it is automatically configured as a Munin and Nagios server. In addition, it is configured to be a server for the SiteSummary system I have written for use in Debian Edu. The SiteSummary system is inspired by a system used by the University of Oslo where I work. In short, the system provide a centralised collector of information about the computers on the network, and a client on each computer submitting information to this collector. This allow for automatic information on which packages are installed on each machine, which kernel the machines are using, what kind of configuration the packages got etc. This also allow us to automatically generate Munin and Nagios configuration.

All computers reporting to the sitesummary collector with the munin-node package installed is automatically enabled as a Munin client and graphs from the statistics collected from that machine show up automatically on http://www/munin/ on the Main-server.

All non-laptop computers reporting to the sitesummary collector are automatically monitored for network presence (ping and any network services detected). In addition, all computers (also laptops) with the nagios-nrpe-server package installed and configured the way sitesummary would configure it, are monitored for full disks, software raid status, swap free and other checks that need to run locally on the machine.

The result is that the administrator on a school using Debian Edu based on Lenny will be able to check the health of his installation with one look at the Nagios settings, without having to spend any time keeping the Nagios configuration up-to-date.

The only configuration one need to do to get Nagios up and running is to set the password used to get access via HTTP. The system administrator need to run "htpasswd /etc/nagios3/htpasswd.users nagiosadmin" to create a nagiosadmin user and set a password for it to be able to log into the Nagios web pages. After that, everything is taken care of.

Tags: debian edu, english, nuug, sitesummary.

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