This blog was written by Ajeet Raina and Jose De la Rosa

 

The Dell Linux Engineering team has been working with Docker containers and microservices to provide our customers a painless method for easily deploying applications to manage and monitor their Dell infrastructure.

Docker and microservice architecture

Docker is a lightweight container technology which helps build, ship and run distributed applications anywhere ranging from laptops, workstations, servers to cloud platforms. It’s an OS virtualization layer that uses Linux kernel features like namespaces and control groups to provide complete application isolation and greatly simplifies the deployment and management of applications on any platform.

Docker containers can spin up and down in a matter of seconds making it easy to scale up (or down) an application service at any time. Docker provides the freedom to dynamically bring new capabilities and implementation in terms of scale-out architecture.

Docker is an excellent tool for enabling microservice architecture. Unlike monolithic architecture which is built as a single autonomous unit putting all its functionality into a single process, microservice architecture puts each element of functionality into separate services and scales by distributing these services across servers, replicating as needed.

OpenManage Server Administrator in a container

Dell’s OpenManage Server Administrator (OMSA) is an in-band systems management solution that offers a web GUI and CLI interface to fully monitor the health of PowerEdge servers. It contains a sophisticated alerting mechanism that notifies system administrators if a hardware degradation or failure is detected.

We wanted to use containers’ unique characteristics such as environment isolation and ease of deployment and apply them to OMSA. The result is a simple and straight-forward way to deploy OMSA on your servers. In addition to making deployment a breeze, OMSA can now seamlessly run on operating systems for which builds are not available like Ubuntu Server, Debian and container-only operating systems like Atomic Host.

To learn more details about running OMSA in a container, go here.

Nagios + OMSA plugin

Nagios is a widely adopted open source tool that monitors systems, network services and infrastructure resources. It comes with highly sophisticated event scheduler, event processor and alert notification engine to inform administrators to detect system failures. It is beneficial in terms of quick detection of network and server outages, protocol failure, failed servers, services, processes and batch jobs.

Nagios has the capability to monitor and check the physical health of Dell PowerEdge servers using the check_openmanage plugin. The plugin checks the health of the storage subsystem, power supplies, memory modules, temperature probes etc., and throws an alert if any of the components are faulty or operate outside normal parameters. Click here for additional details about the OMSA plugin for Nagios.

How to use

Our OMSA and Nagios container images are available in Docker Hub. We have provided a quick and easy way to deploy them via Docker Compose. Compose is a Docker tool used to launch multiple containers defined via a configuration file where containers properties and relationships between the containers can be easily defined. You can download our Docker Compose files via git:

$ git clone https://github.com/ajeetraina/Dell-System-Monitoring.git

Assuming you have already installed Docker Engine and Compose, run launch_compose.sh to download and start the OMSA and Nagios container images to your host.

  • To access OMSA, go to https://<your-server>:1311; use credentials root / password.
  • To access Nagios, go to http://<your-server>/nagios; use credentials nagiosadmin / nagiosadmin.

If you have a firewall running in your host, be sure to open ports 80/tcp, 1311/tcp and 161/udp.

When you login to the Nagios UI, in the left-hand column under the Current Status section, click on Grid under the Hosts Groups section, then Physical Health to view the status of your host provided by OMSA.

Support

Please note these images are provided as-is and are not supported by Dell. If you find our container images useful, if you’d like to see new features added or would like to report a bug, please contact our mailing list Linux-PowerEdge, we welcome your participation and feedback.