Installing Zabbix 1.8.x on CentOS The Easy Way!

Update: This has been updated for 2.2.x. Follow this link.

Original Posting and Script

This is an updated script to install Zabbix 1.8.x on CentOS/Red Hat 5. I have tested it on CentOS 5.4. The script was made for Zabbix 1.8.0, but if you modify the ZBX_VER variable in the script, it should work on any version in the 1.8 series.

Basically, the script tries to do a few things and assumes some things:

  • Only run this for NEW installations, you will lose data if you run on an existing installation
  • Run at your own risk
  • Installs Zabbix 1.8.x on CentOS 5
  • Do not corrupt an existing system
  • Be able to run the script over and over in the event that it errors
  • Be somewhat flexible
  • The database server, web server, and zabbix server all run on one box

Click here to download it

Posted in UNIX | Tagged | 31 Comments

Excluding .svn from Windows Search in Windows 7

As I see it, its not possible to exclude .svn directories from Windows Search. At least not in Windows 7. Before Windows 7, I was using Copernic to index my data, but I thought I’d give the Microsoft solution a try. Hours later after modifying the registry and group policy in various ways, I have given up!

Group policy doesn’t seem to accept the syntax file:///\.svn\* and modifying the registry HKLM\HKEY_LM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Search\CrawlScopeManager\Windows\SystemIndex\DefaultRules\x seems to break Windows Search for whatever reason.

I would love to store some data from a subversion repository on my computer and index it nicely, but apparently Microsoft didn’t think this one through. Anyone have success?

Posted in General | Tagged | 1 Comment

ZFS = Amazing Disk Based Backups

A project I was recently involved with was basically revamping a failing Backup system due to the environment outgrowing Symantec Backup Exec. The environment was mostly UNIX. Backups were inconsistent and a lot of administration and babysitting had to occur for a good set of tapes to get ready for the off-site vault.

Again, the recommended solution wasn’t approved. This time, it was clear NetBackup was needed for the ailments at hand. The hardware on-hand was great, but the Backup Exec software couldn’t compete. The $30k-$40k for the NetBackup software was no where to be found.

The final solution may have actually turned out better. That is, cheap storage + ZFS + rsync scripts.

The project was completed with 15 TBs of Linux servers backed up to one Solaris server with about 60 days of daily snapshots. Backup Exec manages the tape rotation from the backups on the Solaris/ZFS box and doesn’t touch any other hosts.

Users are happy because they can recover what they delete, management is happy because the price is right, and IT is happy because its reliable.

Mission accomplished!

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The Landmark Forum Experience… why not?

Recently I attended The Landmark Forum and had a very positive experience. Luckily, I took the advice of my friend to take the class and did ZERO research before signing up. If I had done some research, I think I would have NOT signed up. I believed his word that The Landmark Forum was a positive experience and a few days before attending I heard it was a cult, nothing much else. I thought oh well, I signed up on a good recommendation.

The day after the class, I didn’t think about it much except when I talked to a friend who also took it about the impact it had and what we both saw after taking it. Our conversation went very well because the combination of friendship and both of us have had taken The Forum.

Later that day, I had another discussion with good friend who I thought might take it. I talked to him briefly on the weekend and I thought he would come to the “Tuesday” meeting after, but since he has changed his mind. We had a discussion about it on IM and I attempted to convince him it was a good idea to attend the Forum, but in the end he sent me links and ideas of how it was bad (pyramid scheme, religion, etc.) and he wouldn’t be attending. It was interesting to see how the phrasing and concepts of the forum could be applied to the discussion. I’m not going to get into that, but I found it very powerful.

This discussion was good and bad. It was good because I think I understand how The Landmark Forum operates as a business and as a perceived cult and why people are so fearful. It was a bad conversation because my friend isn’t interested because of what he read online.

Now I must ask the question to myself of why The Forum is received online so negatively. 1) I’m not a worse person after attending, 2) I feel I received my money’s worth, 3) No one has told me I’m not me today 4) I did not experience amazing results, 5) I experienced others experience amazing results.

How is The Forum perceived to get new students? Brain washing!

How does The Forum actually get new students in a way that is miss-interpreted as being negative? I’ll make it very simple; it works like a drug… Person goes to Forum, person experiences amazing thing, person feels high from the amazing things, person is excited for self and friends to experience amazing things, person wants friend to attend, friend feels pressured because person is high from amazing things. Friend doesn’t go because the combination of the stupid things online and the person telling him he should attend which friend misinterprets because he read it’s a cult and now thinks person is brain-washed.

Although I compare it to a drug, I’m not addicted, but I bet some people get addicted to their amazing results. Is The Forum bad? Well, if the person received something bad, then yes, it would be bad. But I’m sorry to tell you, there is no voodoo, brain washing, etc. It’s just a positive experience.

My feeling is that over-all, I think the forum is a great opportunity. A caveat of caution is that if you’re very vulnerable, you will probably get a good experience from it, but you may also not understand what happened to you because (a) you’re too busy having major breakthroughs and (b) you’re so high and excited from these you’re brain will be buzzing and lead to a non-realization. I would imagine after a few days you’d get it, but who knows.

Posted in General | Tagged | 5 Comments

Installing Zabbix The Easy Way

Update: This has been updated for 1.8.x. Follow this link.

I was following the Zabbix forums and people are constantly having problems installing Zabbix.

To make things easier, I wrote a magic install script for CentOS/Red Hat 5. I have tested it on CentOS 5.2.

Basically, the script tries to do a few things and assumes some things:

  • Only run this for NEW installations, you will lose data if you run on an existing installation
  • Run at your own risk
  • Installs Zabbix 1.6.1 on CentOS 5.2
  • Do not corrupt an existing system
  • Be able to run the script over and over in the event that it errors
  • Be somewhat flexible
  • The database server, web server, and zabbix server all run on one box

One final note, I did peruse a few other CentOS install guides, all of which will probably work, but all of them follow many bad practices. The magic script does a far better job and requires less effort, go figure.

Click here to download it

Posted in UNIX | Tagged | 22 Comments

Installing Zabbix v1.6.1 on Debian Etch

As of this writing, Etch is the current “stable” version of Debian.

This is how to install Zabbix!

  1. Add an unstable deb-src repository to your sources.list. If you have problems later, make sure the following deb-src line is the only deb-src line in your sources.list file.
    echo "deb-src unstable main contrib non-free" >> /etc/apt/sources.list
  2. Update your package repository
    apt-get update
  3. Install necessary packages for this compiling project
    apt-get install libcurl3-dev build-essential automake1.9  libsnmp9-dev libiksemel-dev libopenipmi-dev libpq-dev
  4. Download source
    cd /tmp
    apt-get source zabbix
    cd zabbix-1.6.1
  5. Modify source because etch doesn’t have libcurl4. Modify the control file (line 6) where it says “libcurl4-gnutls-dev” with “libcurl3-dev”
    vi debian/control
  6. Compile source. If you’re missing packages, this command will tell you what other packages you need to install before this command works properly.
    dpkg-buildpackage -rfakeroot
  7. Install fresh packages
    cd ..
    ls -l *deb
    dpkg -i ./<zabbix package of your choice>.deb

All done. Remember, this guide doesn’t tell you how to use Zabbix. I suggest you look in the /usr/share/doc/zabbix* directories that the packages created. Also, read the documentation, forums, wiki, etc.


Posted in UNIX | Tagged | 2 Comments

Box Backup, the unknown remote backup gem

Box Backup specs:

  • Server: UNIX (probably Linux), with a lot of hard disk space
  • Clients: UNIX or windows. Clients can be configured as lazy (CDP) or snapshot mode

What it does well:

  • File level backups from UNIX or Windows hosts

What it doesn’t do:

  • Application level backups such as MS Exchange, Active Directory, MySQL, etc. Although it doesn’t do this, it may be worth paying the developers to add Windows VSS support and popular application intelligence. You can also script around it and add this functionality (rudimentary) yourself.

I’m always looking for better way to back up my and others’ data. I must have tried it all by now. Other than the big names, I’ve used a mix of:

DLO, rsync v2, rsync v3, ssh, tar, gzip, ZFS, snapshots, S3, and more…

to backup data. Like everything else, they all do something better or worse. There is always a goal or target backup application in mind with backup tools/software. Some of those might be:

  • offsite recovery
  • continuous data protection
  • tape archival
  • desktop users
  • laptop/remote users

I would summarize Box Backup as continuous data proction for remote systems. You can obviously use it for non-remote backups, but its design makes it powerful for remote backups.

Box Backup’s design is simple and elegant. A server daemon is setup where remote agents initiate connections to and store their data.

There are not a lot of options to configure for retention, upload speeds, etc. Most of this is handled by the intelligence of the agent. You basically configure a few options and let it run.

Also, there doesn’t seem to be much community and activity in the project. There is a long history of steady activity, but I’m very surprised at level of disinterest. It seems like a dynamte piece of software! Maybe nobody knows about it?

So far I have setup two UNIX agents and one Windows agent. I’ve been impressed by the results and depending on how the next week goes, I may deploy it further or recommend others to use it.

Posted in Backups | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Open-E Review, Not a Storage Server

About a year ago, a client needed a NetApp (NFS server), but the IPO wasn’t there yet, and the startup’s balance sheet was still in the Red. Needless to say after a few trials, we ended up with Open-E DSS because of budget constraints.

Oh what a roller-coaster it has been…

Open-E is NOT a viable NFS solution as they claim. Based on our initial performance tests and configurations, everything went well, but the more we tried to use the system as a production NFS server, the more bugs we found and the more frustrated we became. After my experiences, I think Open-E may have a life as an iSCSI or basic Samba server, but if you’re looking for reliable, production level NFS storage, you’d be better off installing something like CentOS/Solaris and rolling your own. Open-E has it’s market, but their target market is obviously much too broad.

Some of the serious issues with Open-E as of about 2 months ago:

  • Support – Their US support staff doesn’t know much about UNIX or NFS
  • UPS connection – If configured with apcupsd, a UPS self-test causes the system to shutdown
  • NFS locking – After going through two releases claiming to have NFS locking patched, it wasn’t and required a separate patch from Germany. I reported it to Open-E Jan 08 and one year later, people are still complaining its not fixed (because its not).
  • Backup – If you want to backup this unit, you’re best bet is NFS mounting it and not using the included agents
  • NFS root squash options – They don’t work with certain path configurations
  • YP/NIS – No useful support. Forget it
  • Quotas – It supports quotas, but they have to be modified by using the web UI
  • Web UI – For a few production software releases, the web UI was unusable
  • Monitoring – No SNMP or monitoring is possible
  • Active Directory Integration – Partial integration. Does not work with services for UNIX

Based on the above, I don’t think anything needs to be said other than: Do you think their users are the QA team?

The current status of the Open-E box is “don’t touch”. We’re looking to dump the Open-E software as soon a feasible. Its an unfortunate lesson, but luckily Sun has a solution. Since the Open-E debacle, ZFS has been given a similar run through and has passed with mostly ooo’s and aww’s. Migrating 5 TB server to a new filesystem and operating system is not a quick-and-dirty project.

Sometime in the near future you’ll see an Open-E DSS module on ebay. $1 is all I ask 🙂

Posted in Storage | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

My First Entry… What’s the point of blogging and why I’m here

I’m constantly online reading, writing, and more reading. When I have a problem I’m trying to solve, I start googling. I start skimming the search results, weeding out the bogus entries in my head. We all know that a URL says a lot about the quality of the search result. Ahhh, but then there are the blog search results. These can be a mixed blessing. I’ll tell you now that I will generally click on the blog search results if the title and keywords all check out.

But how many times have you read a blog about something you’re looking for information about, to only actually find out later the blogger was an idiot?

Wow! It just happened to me again! …about 10 minutes ago. I read something on a blog where the person sounded like he knew what he was talking about, but it was actually bad advice! I decided right then, on this beautiful Sunday, I’m going to finally setup a blog.

I know I’m not an expert at everything, but I believe I’m well informed enough to know what I should write about and to not try and sound authoritative on a topic I indeed know nothing or very little about. Also, don’t think that is the only reason I setup a blog. I’m constantly using products and doing things where I know my knowledge will be useful to someone. The information I post is here to use as you like. If you don’t like it, well, I guess thats too bad, Google can take you to many other places, be gone!

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