Nagios Plugin to Check Extreme Networks Devices

Over at INEX we’ve embarked on a forklift upgrade of the primary peering LAN using Extreme Networks Summit x670’s and x460’s. As usual, we need to monitor these 24/7 and we have just written a new Extreme Networks chassis monitoring script which should work with most Extreme devices.

It will check and generate alerts on the following items:

  • a warning if the device was recently rebooted;
  • a warning / critical if any found temperature sensors are in a non-normal state;
  • a warning / critical if any found fans are in a non-normal state;
  • a warning / critical if any found PSUs are in a non-normal state (or missing);
  • a warning / critical if the 5 sec CPU utilisation is above set thresholds;
  • a warning / critical if the memory utilisation is above set thresholds.

You’ll find the script in this Github repository: barryo/nagios-plugins.

A some verbose output follows:

./check_chassis_extreme.php -c  -h 10.11.12.13 -v 
 
CPU: 5sec - 4% 
Last reboot: 4007.7666666667 minutes ago 
Uptime: 2.8 days. 
PSU: 1 - presentOK (Serial: 1429W-xxxxx; Source: ac) 
PSU: 2 - presentOK (Serial: 1429W-xxxxx; Source: ac) 
Fan: 101 - OK (4388 RPM) 
Fan: 102 - OK (9273 RPM) 
Fan: 103 - OK (4428 RPM) 
Fan: 104 - OK (9273 RPM) 
Fan: 105 - OK (4551 RPM) 
Fan: 106 - OK (9452 RPM) 
Temp: 39'C 
Over temp alert: NO 
Memory used in slot 1: 29% 
OK - CPU: 5sec - 4%. Uptime: 2.8 days.  PSUs: 1 - presentOK; 
  2 - presentOK;. Overall system power state: redundant power 
  available. Fans: [101 - OK (4388 RPM)]; [102 - OK (9273 RPM)];
  [103 - OK (4428 RPM)]; [104 - OK (9273 RPM)]; [105 - OK (4551 
  RPM)]; [106 - OK (9452 RPM)];. Temp: 39'C. 
  Memory (slot:usage%): 1:29%.
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OS X Built-in tftp Server

Turned out to be very useful during a recent RMA maintenance window:

sudo launchctl load -F /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/tftp.plist
sudo launchctl start com.apple.tftpd

The default tftp file path is /private/tftpboot. [Original source]

And, speaking of tftp – there are some interesting projects on GitHub: hooktftp, php-tftpserver and ptftpd.

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5 Days in Dubai

A review of our recent trip to Dubai (‘our’ being myself, my wife and our daughter Emily – 5yo). Now, I’ll be honest, Dubai was not high on my hit list of places to visit – mainly due to a roaring sun and many preconceptions (mostly proven wrong). However, my brother-in-law has been living and working there for the past year so the trip became inevitable. If you want to skip the review, I can sum it up as follows: I’d go back in a heartbeat.

The flight out with Emirates was perfectly timed: departing Dublin T2 on Monday evening at 20:20 for a 7 hours 30 minutes flight and landing, with a +4 hour time difference, at 07:50 local time. I was never going to sleep much on this but Emily slept almost the entire way and Cherrie nabbed 40 winks.

Tuesday

Arrival into Dubai International Airport (DXB) T3 was easy. There was a Costa coffee outlet in baggage claim and immigration was painless (no visa required for Irish passport holders on a holiday). We knew taxis were cheap but, having time to kill while hoping for an early check-in, we decided to take the metro. We knew our hotel, the Conrad, was situated near World Trade Centre stop but, as it turned out, it’s right at the stop.

Emily looking down on Dubai

View from the 46th floor.

This convenience sold us on the metro for the week. We picked up two Nol cards (translates as fare cards – equivalent to Leap cards) and loaded them up with 40 dirhams each (~€8.80). We took 2 – 3 return metro trips a day from Tuesday to Saturday and didn’t need to top them up again. Great value and very convenient. But also one of the best ways to get a real sense of the people of Dubai.

Some quick facts: Dubai is both the name of the emirate and the city. It has a population of ~2m which has doubled in 10 years. Only 15% are Emirati nationals, the rest are expatriates and about 85% of those are Asian.

We arrived into the hotel at 9AM and, thankfully, they had a room available on the 46th floor – the top floor! We unpacked, washed the stench of travel off, refreshed and headed back out. The plan was to meet Cherrie’s brother Conor later that afternoon and plan the week. We decided Dubai Mall was an easy target being only four metro stops away.

Waterfall in Dubai Mall.

Waterfall in Dubai Mall.

Dubai Mall will be on everyone’s todo list – it’s situated next to the tallest building in the world – the Burj Khalifa. At this point it’s important to mention that Emily was extraordinary every day in the kilometres of walking she had to do without complaining. We pretty much metro’d and walked wherever we could. Arriving at the Dubai Mall metro stop, you have to walk 1.7Km along a huge enclosed and air conditioned gangway to reach the mall. The entrance is a geeks delight – about 10 electronic / gadget / computer stores.

The aquarium in Dubai mall.

The aquarium in Dubai mall.

It’s impossible to over exaggerate the size and scale of Dubai Mall. It is the world’s largest mall based on total area with 1,200 shops. Forget Dundrum Town Centre with its 100 and odd shops! I won’t claim we got our bearings but we had a wander around, grabbed lunch in a food court where all of the world’s cuisines were available and took in some sights such as the indoor waterfall, the built in aquarium and grabbed some essentials in the Waitrose supermarket.

Then it was back to the hotel to meet Conor (who was working nights this week) and plan an itinerary for the week. Followed by a swim in the hotel pool – a favourite of Emily’s and the perfect cool tonic to the heat.

By the evening we were crashing fast. Understandably. Conor guided us to an Irish bar with good food across the road from the hotel. Probably the last place in Dubai I’d have chosen pre-arrival but, after a long day of walking after a sleepless overnight flight, something close, convenient and familiar fit the bill in the moment. McGettigan’s served up some good burgers, Guinness but a poor fish’n’chips.

Wednesday

Crossing the creek on an abbra.

Crossing the creek on an abbra.

We decided to hit the Dubai City Souks around Deira (Al Ras metro stop) – we didn’t get around to the fish market unfortunately but we were enveloped in the aromas of the Spice Souk and the Perfume Souk, marvelled at the Gold Souk and dodged offers of fake handbags and watches in the Covered Souk (that was kept for later!). We then took an abbras (small wooden dhows) – water taxi – across the creek to Bur Dubai Souk.

 

Looking back a Deira.

Looking back at Deira.

Despite being told that you don’t walk anywhere in Dubai before leaving, this was part of the original Dubai with plenty of streets to meander around. There’s also lots of small food stalls and – if you don’t have hygiene phobias – you’ll easily pick up a chicken shawarma for about 50cent.

Back to the hotel then to meet Conor via the Al Ghubaiba metro stop.

 

Cruising around a lake in Safa Park.

Cruising around a lake in Safa Park.

We decided to take a walk around Safa Park with Conor – grab an ice cream and spin around a lake on a boat. It’s a 64 hectare urban park with three lakes, over 200 species of birds, and 16,924 different trees and bushes. It’s also one of the few places you’ll find grass rather than sand.

We finished up Tuesday by heading back to Dubai mall to get our dinner and to check out the famous fountainsset on the 30-acre Burj Khalifa Lake, the fountain shoots water jets as high as 150 metres, equivalent to that of a 50-storey building. The fountain is 275 metres long and has five circles of varying sizes and two central arcs. It has been designed by California-based WET, the creators of the Fountains of Bellagio in Las Vegas.

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We found a nice Italian but no alcohol on sale here. You can get a drink, just mainly in hotels and other licensed places.

Thursday

2014-10-30 12.12.51After two days on the Northern end of the city, we decided to head south to Jumeirah via the Dubai Marina metro stop (which interestingly, for me, brought us past Dubai Internet City). There’s a lovely marina here but the more interesting walk is to head towards Jumeirah Open Beach and Walk – a couple of kilometres of a pedestrianised zone of boutique shops, cafes and beach. The heat at this time of year is not unbearable but a Starbucks Frappuccino has never tasted so good! Back to the hotel for lunch and a quick dip to cool off.

2014-10-30 16.35.01The afternoon heralded a complete change of scenery as our guide, Umar, collected us in his Land Rover jeep for a desert safari (with two others). This took us out of Dubai – which quickly changed from metropolis to desert – for about 6 hours. Our first stop was quad biking which was exhilarating – dune bashing at speed over and into sand dunes. Emily even got a spin on the quad around the flatter areas.

Little did we realise that after a bit of dune bashing on a quad, we were about to do it for real. These images look pretty tame compared to our experience. Umar was taking no prisoners and Emily – who enjoyed the first five minutes – turned quickly grey while breaking out in a cold sweat for the next ten minutes. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t sweat a bit myself as I glanced parts of cars left behind whizzing past the window!

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After some photo ops in the dessert, we were brought to a dessert campsite for a traditional dinner, belly dancing, camel rides, henna tattoos and more.

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Friday (Holy Day – our Sunday)

We kicked the morning off with a water taxi from Al Ghubaiba on one end of the the city to Dubai Mall Marina on the other. We taxi’d to Al Ghubaiba when we realised the Metro doesn’t kick off until 1PM. Taxis, by the way, are also very cheap. The boat ride took about 1 hour 30 minutes and gave a fantastic view of all of Dubai from the see as well as the (incomplete) The World, the Burj Al Arab and Jumeirah Palm.

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A quick bit of shopping in our destination – the much more manageable Dubai Mall Marina – with a spot of brunch and then the metro back to the hotel. The afternoon was spent with Conor in a suburb known for its vast quantities of high quality but fake handbags and watches. The girls wrapped up their Christmas shopping here.

2014-10-31 19.33.11Conor and his girlfriend Laura took Emily home for the night leaving myself and Cherrie to head out ‘properly’. Conor directed us to Madinat Jumeirah – a hotel resort – which reminded me a lot of the Venetian in Las Vegas. We had a lovely meal here (take your pick of many restaurants) and, importantly, a bottle of wine!

We taxi’d from there to the Burj Kahilfa where our destination was At.Mosphere on the 122 floor. A bar with some lovely looking tapas – alas my food quota had been reached. We may have thought we were high on the 46th floor of the hotel, but 122 floors up is something entirely different. And that was only just over half way up the building. There’s no entry fee but a minimum spend of 300 dirhams per person applies (~€65). This is easy to reach with about 3 – 4 drinks each. Reservations aren’t required but I’d strongly recommend it. This place is at it’s best if you can ring ahead to get a window seat looking down on the city.

Saturday

wild-wadi-rides-jumeirah-sceirah-final-heroConor, Laura and Emily collected us Saturday morning to head to Wild Wadi Waterpark. Conor’s residency card got us a good 40% discount on the expensive headline rates but it’s well worth the cost – even if you’re just a party of adults. We spent a good few hours here enjoying the slow streams to being scared witless on the Jumeirah Sceirah.

One question was also answered here – what do women who normally wear a Hijab do in a place like Wild Wadi? Well, they wear a burqini. A swimsuit equivalent of the Hijab. Dubai is very much a melting pot of cultures and we had no issues anywhere we went in terms of culture or clothing. Cherrie, Laura and many other non-Islamic girls in their bikinis co-mingled without issue / stares / comment with Islamic women in their burqini’s. There just was no issue here. I, however, will confess to being somewhat jealous of the burqini from a purely sun protection point of view!

The evening was spent with a return trip to Dubai mall for a last supper with Conor and Laura and a final spot of shopping.

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Then early to bed for a 4AM rise to get to the airport for the trip home.

Notes / Comments / Takeaways

  • We all loved Dubai and would happily go back. We wouldn’t want to live our lives there but would happily spend a few years working there (under a different life path!).
  • Forget whatever you’ve been told about dress code / covering up. We saw all fashion types form skimpy to Nijab co-exist in all places we visited. Don’t assume that that extends outside Dubai though.
  • Also forget the rumours of the UAE’s big firewall blocking access to (or download of) social media apps. One of their biggest mobile companies were running an offer of unlimited social data for x dirham a month where two of the four sample apps were Facebook and Twitter. Both of which seem to be in widespread usage there.
  • If you dash for the metro and, after catching your breath, look around and notice a lot of women looking at you with a smirk on their faces with no other men in sight, you’re most likely in the women and children only carriage. You won’t be arrested for this! And don’t worry, you’ll find women and children in all carriages, this is just for those who prefer to travel without men under whatever traditions / beliefs they have.
  • We booked the flights and hotel as a package via Expedia. We stayed in the Conrad Dubai but, with the way we travelled, any hotel near a metro would have been fine.
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IXP Manager – Planning for v4

A lot has changed in the 3 to 5 years that the decision was made to use certain libraries / technologies / methods on IXP Manager.

In previous major version changes we made some serious architecture changes in one sweep. For example v2 -> v3 saw the complete migration from Doctrine ORM v1 to v2 (which was a change from the Active Record pattern to the Data Mapper pattern).

Today, IXP Manager is a very large project and to do such a sweeping migration in one go would stifle development, break something that isn’t actually broken and take a lot of time.

But, sticking with older technologies and libraries has negative effects also. It creates developer apathy (for which I can personally vouch for). It also provides a major stumbling block for bringing on new developers and contributors (who wants to learn Zend Framework 1 now which has been EOL’d for sometime?).

So, our plan for v4 is to bring in new technologies without throwing away or rewriting everything we have.

IXP Manager is a MVC application that currently uses Doctrine2 as the Model, Smarty as the View and ZF1 as the Controller. Doctrine2 is still current and won’t be changing.

Smarty will remain as the view engine for current / unmigrated functionality. But Smarty is… oh my God… soooooo bad. v4 will default to Twig which is more modern and far better structured from a programming point of view. Coupled with the new framework, it will also allow for a nicer means of skinning. For the interested, Twig has some very nice features including layouts, macros and also some nice security features.

ZF1 has served us well but it’s been EOL’d and is now quite outdated. The new hotness in PHP is Laravel, which I’ve been using to great effect for a while now. Laravel show cases some of the new and best functionality of PHP and using very modern techniques (such as IoC).

But more importantly, Laravel will let us do things in a much different and much more flexible manner for the IXPs using IXP Manager. Some of these include:

  •  Job queues: built-in and simple (to use) support for job queues via Beanstalkd and others. Queuing jobs will provide functionality that we at INEX have been looking for (and it’s also an FAQ from other IXPs) -> reconfiguring services on demand (or, at least quicker than a twice daily cronjob).

Put this together with:

  • Events: Laravel allows us to trigger events and subscribe to them.

A key example of queue and event functionality would be that a change to a VLAN interface (such as checking the route server client box) would trigger a vlan interface changed event. One subscriber to this event would be the route server configuration manager. Based on the VLAN change, this event handler can then queue events. The route servers themselves would monitor these queues and rebuild / reconfigure the route servers appropriately on demand.

Similar handlers for route collectors, DNS ARPA changes, etc. can offer much more real time control of all the services at an IXP.

IoC decouples logic from the controller. What this means is that IXPs who want to do things differently than INEX (let’s say use Cacti instead of MRTG as an example), can swap out MRTG with Cacti with one line of code (that’s assuming we write contracts – interfaces – for such handlers and a Cacti version is coded of course!). But that’s the kind of power and flexibility we’re looking to bring in.

Other features Laravel provides includes:

  • Much improved unit testing on controller actions. Right now, we spin up Apache and MySQL to test controller actions. This is no longer required with Laravel making tests easier to write, more robust and more focused with built in support for mock objects.
  • A much nicer and more structured way of creating command line interfaces rather than the quite clunky way we have of doing it currently.
  • A much more natural way to develop REST API endpoints with json:api compatible responses.

And that leads us to the front end. Right now, the front end and the back end are tightly coupled. During the development lifetime of v4, we want to move more towards an API is Everything back end with a decoupled front end.

This separation will again aid unit testing providing a more reliable and robust IXP Manager. It will allow other IXPs to create their own front end on member facing portals or, even, move to IXP Manager as their back end system but retaining investment of current member portals by adding new features from IXP Manager through API endpoints. It will also allow existing systems in IXPs to integrate with IXP Manager to provision services and ports for example.

One of the bigger tests of this plan will be the (long awaited and badly needed) revamp of the member facing area. We’re currently planning the UI / UX of this to deliver key information to members in the best way possible. This will include Bootstrap v3 which is fluid from the ground up so mobile browsers to wide screen browsers should be supported naturally.

During the early stages of v4, we’ll create the API endpoints necessary to support the member portal functions and then create a front end on that using Ember.js.

Other changes in v4 will include:

  • A switch from package management via Git sub-modules to composer and Packagist as is current standard practice.
  • Introduction of Bower for front end asset management.
  • And we’ll need a task runner for pulling everything together – for that we’ll use Grunt (although that’ll mostly be a development / release prep tool rather than an end user requirement).

So, that’s what we’re looking at! It won’t happen overnight but we’ll continue our policy of release early, release often and we’ll update the documentation and provide complete upgrade instructions at the appropriate times. Some of the above is also subject to change depending on practical experience / issues as we move towards it.

Comments, ideas, etc. are all welcome.

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ViMbAdmin and Vacation / Out of Office Auto-responders

An FAQ post for future reference because, well, it’s a FAQ!

ViMbAdmin is primarily a database frontend for managing virtual mailboxes with mail services such as Postfix and Dovecot.

A frequently asked question is does it / can it support vacation / out of office auto-responders. The short answer is no.

The main way to handle OOO responders is via SIEVE (e.g. Dovecot’s version). To put a front end on this, you need a server configured for external SIEVE management and a client with SIEVE support (which ViMbAdmin does not have).

I’ve done it in three ways in the past:

  1. directly editing the .dovecot.sieve file. This is only really good for people with access to the server and some clue.
  2. Using a Thunderbird plugin allowing editing of SIEVE files. Again, clue required.
  3. For one customer, they can do it via the SoGO web interface we installed for them. This is a very nice interface for people migrating from Exchange.

We did look at fixing a Thunderbird Out of Office plugin but didn’t get very far.

What we all need here is for someone for write / sponsor a decent SIEVE based Thunderbird OOO plugin. Here’s some prior art: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/addon/sieve.

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Cordova, Facebook, Android and no Eclipse

This post relates to creating an Android application with Facebook support (via phonegap-facebook-plugin using Cordova 3.5 and, specifically, without Eclipse. Most existing documentation expects you to spin up Eclipse to link the Facebook libraries – but, we’re using an automated build system with Grunt so that’s not a possibility.

Firstly – the steps to get it working:

  1. Add the Cordova Facebook plugin:
    cordova plugin add https://github.com/phonegap/phonegap-facebook-plugin \
        --variable APP_ID="1234567890" 
        --variable APP_NAME="Test App"
  2. Edit platforms/android/project.properties and add:
    android.library.reference.2=FacebookLib
    

    where n is the next available reference index. Also note the target parameter here as you’ll need it next:

  3. Update the Android project for the plugin:
    cd platforms/andoird/FacebookLib
    android update project --target android-19 -p .
    

     where android-19 should match the target parameter from above.

  4. Prepare and build your application:
    cordova prepare android
    cordova compile android
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