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Minding the store

In the past month Mark-my-unidicted-co-conspriator has been bitten a couple of times by servers under his team's care running short of disk space. I was thinking about this a couple of days ago — something along the lines of "what Mark needs to do is write a little VB [Microsoft Visual Basic] app that uses WMI [the Windows Management Interface] to connect to the servers and pull disk stats". Then I realized that if Mark had the time to write said little VB app he would have done it already.

Well, I don't know next to nothing about VB or WMI programming. But I do know Perl and I have Samba (the package that lets Unix/Linux boxes act like Windows file servers). A quick search on cpan turned up a module that lets me drive the Samba client from within a Perl scrip. Retreiving disk space statistics is one of the basic functions the Samba client can perform.

A couple of hours of hacking later and SpaceCadet was born. It's running once a day through cron on my NMS box. It pleases my sense of guerilla justice that I'm now minding the health of a herd of Windows 2000 servers from my little Linux box.

Mark gets back tomorrow from a couple of days off ; hopefully he'll find this a welcome surprise.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 27th, 2005 02:25 am (UTC)
Several years ago, I was herding a cluster of about 110 machines, about half RS/6000s running AIX, and the other half Alphas running NT4SP3. And statistics on these machines were gathered remotely by an AIX box that I didn't have access to, and yet I was responsible for fixing any problems that showed up in my cluster, even the ones that I wasn't aware of yet. This was further complicated by not having a hardware budget, and being in an environment where any spare machine of any usefulness was likely to get 'claimed' by somebody else. So, if I was going to build a monitoring box, I needed to find the most completely objectionable piece of junk hardware I could, so that nobody could ever possibly want to steal it.

Enter the monitoring box: a 486SLC25 with a whopping 32M of memory (in 4M 30-pin simms) and a 1993-vintage Fujitsu 1.6G hard drive that sounded like a jet plane taking off, and Debian linux. The box gathered statistics on the cluster, massaged them, and served them as an easy-to-read webpage. It also masqueraded an SMBmounted filesystem as nfs, so the non-windows-speaking boxes could write to an NT box. And when the drive started to flake, I said "fuck it" and put remount=fw in the fstab.

It was still running two years later, when I left.
Oct. 27th, 2005 02:52 am (UTC)
Isn't it always the clattering horrors wheezing away in the corner that get the useful stuff done?

...All of my Linux boxes at work are hand-me-downs from the server team: things deemed 'no longer beefy enough' for Win2k. Of course, these Dell PII 400MHz boxes are like greased lightning compared to the P166MMXs that I was running for various things.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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