Posts Tagged ‘IBM’

Forcing hardware power on state with IBM Director

Thursday, December 28th, 2006

Okie.. so I am totally bored at work, lets see what fun I can have with IBM Director and some spare servers lying around.

I thought it might be cool to try and make a rule that checked if a server had been turned off, and then brought it back up.

This would be usefull for us, as we cannot physically administer all the servers we are responsible for, and there are always overzealos ‘admins’ walking about in remote locations who have a tendency to sometimes turn off servers instread of just logging out.

Above you see 2 IBM xseries 306m servers on the bench. They both contain the PCI version of the IBM RSA-II remote management card.

This card gives you a nice web-based management interface for your server, even if its powered down. You can, for example, turn on the server from here, or monitor its vital statistics, and take control of the console.

You can also set up the RSA card to report to a central IBM Director management server. Here you see the server listed as a “physical platform”, and as you can see, it has been associated with the IBM Director Agent component running in windows.

We can do a lot of stuff with the object here, same as via the web interface, as much more, as you can see from the menu.

As you can see above, one of the things we can do from here is turn the power on and off remotely, as with the web interface.

We now have all the bits we need to build a solution.

We have an Alert source: The RSA-II card, and a management server to interpret the alerts, the IBM Director Server
We have an eventing engine that can bind the alert to some actions, and the IBM director server itself is capable of actually performing the actions too.

To start, we create a rule in the IBM Director Event Action Plan builder tool.

It consists of 2 components.. an event filter.. or ‘trigger’ as I like to call it, and then some actions to perform once the trigger is tripped.

In the IBM world, servers and software (such as agents) generate alerts using a bunch of different languages or protocols. You can read about some of them here.

The one we are looking for here is a so-called MPA Alert. Its sent out by hardware like the RSA card, or the xseries BMC (Baseboard Management Controller), or in our case by the RSA-II card.

We are gonna respond to the MPA.Component.Server.Power.Off event, here you see it occuring in the IBM director eventlog:

In our event action plan, we make a Threshold Filter that looks specifically for this event occuring.

We assign a 10 second timeout to the filter, and the Count field is set to 1, it only needs to occur once for the filter to trigger the actions.

Actions are pretty straitforward. We want the server in question to be turned back on when the event is triggered, and we want to recieve some kind of alert of this happening.

As you could see before, the IBM director server itself gives various power options for servers.

Luckily for us, when building events, the Event Action Plan Builder provides an interface to many of these controls for the Eventing engine to use

The last bit we need is a neato mail to be sent to us admins when this event is triggered.

So, now we can take our finished Event Action Plan, and apply it to some objects.

For this to work, you need to apply the Action Plan to the physical platform, not the Agent Object of the server.

Ok.. thats about it.

If all goes well, you will find you can no longer turn off the server, whahah. 😀 (unless you unplug the Ethernet of the RSA card of course).  It will turn itself on every time within 10 seconds of being turned off. Talk about uptime!

And to boot, you get a nice mail in your inbox:

My bladecenter pics on Wikimedia

Tuesday, March 28th, 2006

I was approached by a contributer of the Wikimedia group, if they could use some of the pictures I had uploaded of Bladecenters, for the official Wikipedia article on them.

I of course said it was oke, and now 3 of my pictures have become part of the Wikimedia archive as offical resources under the GNU FDL licence.

I was very very impressed with the way I was approached and this was handled.
They now seem to use ‘official’ standard emails for request of usage of pictures and other media, and the email exchange was very well and professionally handled.

Here is a copy paste of the original mail I recieved.

Hi Jeminus,

my name is G.P. and I’m writing to ask you a permission to include some of your blade server images in Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia you may browse at:

I think these three images would be a great addition to our blade server article:

I have listed them in order of personal preference. As you might know, Wikipedia is a free encyclopedia that is collaboratively edited by volunteers from around the world.

Our goal is to create a comprehensive knowledge base that may be freely distributed and available at no charge.

Normally we ask permission for material to be used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License. This means that although you retain the copyright and authorship of your own work, you are granting permission for all others (not just Wikipedia) to use, copy, and share your materials freely — and even potentially use them commercially — so long as they do not try to claim the copyright themselves, nor prevent others from using or copying them freely.

You can read this license in full at:

This license expressly protects creators from being considered responsible for modifications made by others, while ensuring that creators are credited for their work.

There is more information on our copyright policy at:

We choose the GFDL because we consider it the best available tool for ensuring our encyclopedia can remain free for all to use, while providing credit to everyone who donates text and images. This may or may not be compatible with your goals in creating the materials available on your website. Please be assured that if permission is not granted, your materials will not be used at Wikipedia — we have a very strict policy against copyright violations.

With your permission, we will credit you for your work in the image’s permanent description page, noting that it is your work and is used with your permission, and we will provide a link back to your website.

We invite your collaboration in writing and editing articles on this subject and any others that might interest you. Please see the following article for more information.,_newcomers

Thank you for your time.



New IBM xSeries 346 servers

Friday, December 30th, 2005

As part of a new global Active directory roleout, we recieved 4 xSeries 346 servers today, which will function as domain controllers.

Here are some pictures I made (also on my Flickr! work page)

IBM xSeries 346 server, with a 5 disks in the front. Mark is placing the controller.

The Blower-array of the IBM xSeries 346 server. Each fan can be taken out seperately, or you can take the entire rack of fans out in one go.

This little module that looks much like a memory stick, is in fact the Adaptec/IBM ServeRAID 7k SCSI controller.

IBM Bladecenter Pics 2

Saturday, December 17th, 2005

Here are some pics of the Bladecenter now that its been installed. (click on pics for way more detail and additional notes)

(This post is also a test of the new Blogjet, which has some really fantastic new features)

The front of our two bladecenters, with an HS20 server partially removed. The top media tray can be switched between all blades

The 2 bladecenters, large fans at the back. Check the flickr notes for more details. Normally the Noise Autenuation modules would cover the back.

The rack we use for the Bladecenters, we have a switch in the top, that is basicly our management network for the bladecenters. The blue cables go directly to our distribution switches for the production lan, 4 trunked 1gb links per Bladecenter, spread over 2 switches per bladecenter

Our distribution switches for the second server room.

Building IBM Bladecenters – A foto journal

Thursday, November 24th, 2005

2 x xSeries 366 Servers, unpacked, and ready to recieve options

So much stuff to build, so much to unpack!!

Over 100.000 dollar worth of components on the table here. Extra CPU’s, Harddisks, Option cards, even

Acoustic Attenuation Modules .. all to be built into our Blades, Bladecenters, and xSeries 366’s

21 HS20 Blade Servers, still in Box.

One of the 2 IBM 366 servers, they will be running Windows 2003 and SQL 2000.

The 2 Bladecenter Chassis waiting to be unpacked.

Way way waaaaaay to many boxes to unpack. Thank goed we got these 2 guys to do it 🙂  And to actually put the stuff together!

Pile o’ Blades.  IBM HS20’s to be exact, each has 2 2.8Ghz Xeon’s and 2 x 36gb scsi 3.5″ Disks, and 2gb of memory.

These two guys from BPSolutions are helping us putting it all together.  Here they are working on equiping 2 IBM xSeries 366 servers that will function as database servers.

Placing 3 additional CPU’s, 2.8Ghz Xeons

Figuring out how to move 280kg of IBM Enterprise Rack into the server room

An IBM HS20 Bladeserver. 14 of these go into a single chassis. Notice the slots of 2 x 3.5″ SCSI harddrives. Click here for a closeup

View more pictures of cool server hardware here.