bityard Blog

// Cacti Monitoring Templates for TMS RamSan and IBM FlashSystem

This is another update to the previous posts about Cacti Monitoring Templates and Nagios Plugin for TMS RamSan-630 and Cacti Monitoring Templates for TMS RamSan-630 and RamSan-810. Three major changes were done in this version of the Cacti templates:

  1. After a report from Mike R. of the templates also working for the TMS RamSan-720, i decided to drop the string “TMS RamSan-630” which was used in several places for the more general string “TMS RamSan”.

  2. Mike R. – who is using TMS RamSan-720 systems with InfiniBand host interfaces – was also kind enough to share his adaptions to the Cacti templates for monitoring of the InfiniBand interfaces. Those adaptions have now been merged and incooperated in Cacti templates in order to allow monitoring of pure InfiniBand-based and mixed (FC and IB) systems.

  3. After getting in touch with TMS – and later on IBM ;-) – over the following questions on my side:

    […]
    While adapting our Cacti templates to include the new SNMP counters provided in recent firmware versions i noticed, some strange behaviour when comparing the SNMP counter values with the live values via the WebGUI:
    - The SNMP counters fcCacheHit, fcCacheMiss and fcCacheLookup seem always to be zero (see example 1 below).
    - The SNMP counter fcRXFrames seem to always stay at the same value (see example 2 below) although the WebGUI shows them increasing. Possibly a counter overflow?
    - The SNMP couters fcWriteSample* seem always to be zero (see example 3 below) although the WebGUI shows them increasing. The fcReadSample* counters don’t show this behaviour.

    […]
    Also, is there some kind of roadmap for other performance counters currently only available via the WebGUI to become accessible via SNMP?
    […]

    i got the following response from Brian Groff over at “IBM TMS RamSan Support”:

    Regarding your inquiry to the SNMP values, here are our findings:

    1. The SNMP counters fcCacheHit, fcCacheMiss and fcCacheLookup are deprecated in the new Flash systems. The cache does not exist in RamSan-6xx and later models.

    2. The SNMP counter fcRXFrames is intended to remain static and historically used for development purposes. Please do not use this counter for performance or usage monitoring.

    3. The SNMP counters fcWriteSample and fcReadSample are also historically used for development purposes and not intended for performance or usage monitoring.

    Your best approach to performance monitoring is using IOPS and bandwidth counters on a system, FC interface card, and FC interface port basis.

    The list of counters in future products has not been released. We expect them to be similar to the RamSan-8xx model and primarily used to monitor IOPS and bandwidth.

    Based on this information i decided to remove the counters fcCacheHit, fcCacheMiss and fcCacheLookup from the templates as well as their InfiniBand counterparts ibCacheHit, ibCacheMiss and ibCacheLookup. I decided to keep fcRXFrames and fcWriteSample* in the templates, since their counterparts fcTXFrames and fcReadSample* seem to produce valid values. This way the users of the Cacti templates can – based on the information provided above – decide on their own whether to graph those counters or not.

To be honest, the contact with TMS/IBM was a bit disappointing and less than enthusiastic. On an otherwise really great product, i'd wish for a bit more open mindedness when it comes to 3rd party monitoring tools through an industry standard like the SNMP protocol. Once again i got the feeling that SNMP was the ugly stepchild, which was only implemented to be able to check it off the “got to have” list in the first place. True, inside the WebGUI all the metrics are there, but that's another one of those beloved isolated monitoring application right there. Is it really that hard to expose the already collected metrics from the WebGUI via SNMP to the outside?

The Nagios plugins and the updated Cacti templates can be downloaded here Nagios Plugin and Cacti Templates.

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