Archive for the ‘Linux and FreeBSD Desktop’ Category

How to test RAM Memory for errors in Linux / UNIX OS servers. Find broken memory RAM banks

Friday, December 3rd, 2021

test-ram-memory-for-errors-linux-unix-find-broken-memory-logo

 

1. Testing the memory with motherboard integrated tools
 

Memory testing has been integral part of Computers for the last 50 years. In the dawn of computers those older perhaps remember memory testing was part of the computer initialization boot. And this memory testing was delaying the boot with some seconds and the user could see the memory numbers being counted up to the amount of memory. With the increased memory modern computers started to have and the annoyance to wait for a memory check program to check the computer hardware memory on modern computers this check has been mitigated or completely removed on some hardware.
Thus under some circumstances sysadmins or advanced computer users might need to check the memory, especially if there is some suspicion for memory damages or if for example a home PC starts crashing with Blue screens of Death on Windows without reason or simply the PC or some old arcane Linux / UNIX servers gets restarted every now and then for now apparent reason. When such circumstances occur it is an idea to start debugging the hardware issue with a simple memory check.

There are multiple ways to test installed memory banks on a server laptop or local home PC both integrated and using external programs.
On servers that is usually easily done from ILO or IPMI or IDRAC access (usually web) interface of the vendor, on laptops and home usage from BIOS or UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) acces interface on system boot that is possible as well.

memtest-hp
HP BIOS Setup

An old but gold TIP, more younger people might not know is the

 

Prolonged SHIFT key press which once held with the user instructs the machine to initiate a memory test before the computer starts reading what is written in the boot loader.

So before anything else from below article it might be a good idea to just try HOLD SHIFT for 15-20 seconds after a complete Shut and ON from the POWER button.

If this test does not triggered or it is triggered and you end up with some corrupted memory but you're not sure which exact Memory bank is really crashing and want to know more on what memory Bank and segments are breaking up you might want to do a more thorough testing. In below article I'll try to explain shortly how this can be done.


2. Test the memory using a boot USB Flash Drive / DVD / CD 
 

Say hello to memtest86+. It is a Linux GRUB boot loader bootable utility that tests physical memory by writing various patterns to it and reading them back. Since memtest86+ runs directly off the hardware it does not require any operating system support for execution. Perhaps it is important to mention that memtest86 (is PassMark memtest86)and memtest86+ (An Advanced Memory diagnostic tool) are different tools, the first is freeware and second one is FOSS software.

To use it all you'll need is some version of Linux. If you don't already have some burned in somewhere at your closet, you might want to burn one.
For Linux / Mac users this is as downloading a Linux distribution ISO file and burning it with

# dd if=/path/to/iso of=/dev/sdbX bs=80M status=progress


Windows users can burn a Live USB with whatever Linux distro or download and burn the latest versionof memtest86+ from https://www.memtest.org/  on Windows Desktop with some proggie like lets say UnetBootIn.
 

2.1. Run memtest86+ on Ubuntu

Many Linux distributions such as Ubuntu 20.0 comes together with memtest86+, which can be easily invoked from GRUB / GRUB2 Kernel boot loader.
Ubuntu has a separate menu pointer for a Memtest.

ubuntu-grub-2-04-boot-loader-memtest86-menu-screenshot

Other distributions RPM based distributions such as CentOS, Fedora Linux, Redhat things differ.

2.2. memtest86+ on Fedora


Fedora used to have the memtest86+ menu at the GRUB boot selection prompt, but for some reason removed it and in newest Fedora releases as of time such as Fedora 35 memtest86+ is preinstalled and available but not visible, to start on  already and to start a memtest memory test tool:

  •   Boot a Fedora installation or Rescue CD / USB. At the prompt, type "memtest86".

boot: memtest86

2.3 memtest86+ on RHEL Linux

The memtest86+tool is available as an RPM package from Red Hat Network (RHN) as well as a boot option from the Red Hat Enterprise Linux rescue disk.
And nowadays Red Hat Enterprise Linux ships by default with the tool.

Prior redhat (now legacy) releases such as on RHEL 5.0 it has to be installed and configure it with below 3 commands.

[root@rhel ~]# yum install memtest86+
[root@rhel ~]# memtest-setup
[root@rhel ~]# grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub2/grub.cfg


    Again as with CentOS to boot memtest86+ from the rescue disk, you will need to boot your system from CD 1 of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux installation media, and type the following at the boot prompt (before the Linux kernel is started):

boot: memtest86

memtestx86-8gigabytes-of-memory-boot-screenshot
memtest86+ testing 5 memory slots

As you see all on above screenshot the Memory banks are listed as Slots. There are a number of Tests to be completed until
it can be said for sure memory does not have any faulty cells. 
The

Pass: 0
Errors: 0 

Indicates no errors, so in the end if memtest86 does not find anything this values should stay at zero.
memtest86+ is also usable to detecting issues with temperature of CPU. Just recently I've tested a PC thinking that some memory has defects but it turned out the issue on the Computer was at the CPU's temperature which was topping up at 80 – 82 Celsius.

If you're unfortunate and happen to get some corrupted memory segments you will get some red fields with the memory addresses found to have corrupted on Read / Write test operations:

memtest86-returning-memory-address-errors-screenshot


2.4. Install and use memtest and memtest86+ on Debian / Mint Linux

You can install either memtest86+ or just for the fun put both of them and play around with both of them as they have a .deb package provided out of debian non-free /etc/apt/sources.list repositories.


root@jeremiah:/home/hipo# apt-cache show memtest86 memtest86+
Package: memtest86
Version: 4.3.7-3
Installed-Size: 302
Maintainer: Yann Dirson <dirson@debian.org>
Architecture: amd64
Depends: debconf (>= 0.5) | debconf-2.0
Recommends: memtest86+
Suggests: hwtools, memtester, kernel-patch-badram, grub2 (>= 1.96+20090523-1) | grub (>= 0.95+cvs20040624), mtools
Description-en: thorough real-mode memory tester
 Memtest86 scans your RAM for errors.
 .
 This tester runs independently of any OS – it is run at computer
 boot-up, so that it can test *all* of your memory.  You may want to
 look at `memtester', which allows testing your memory within Linux,
 but this one won't be able to test your whole RAM.
 .
 It can output a list of bad RAM regions usable by the BadRAM kernel
 patch, so that you can still use you old RAM with one or two bad bits.
 .
 This is the last DFSG-compliant version of this software, upstream
 has opted for a proprietary development model starting with 5.0.  You
 may want to consider using memtest86+, which has been forked from an
 earlier version of memtest86, and provides a different set of
 features.  It is available in the memtest86+ package.
 .
 A convenience script is also provided to make a grub-legacy-based
 floppy or image.

Description-md5: 0ad381a54d59a7d7f012972f613d7759
Homepage: http://www.memtest86.com/
Section: misc
Priority: optional
Filename: pool/main/m/memtest86/memtest86_4.3.7-3_amd64.deb
Size: 45470
MD5sum: 8dd2a4c52910498d711fbf6b5753bca9
SHA256: 09178eca21f8fd562806ccaa759d0261a2d3bb23190aaebc8cd99071d431aeb6

Package: memtest86+
Version: 5.01-3
Installed-Size: 2391
Maintainer: Yann Dirson <dirson@debian.org>
Architecture: amd64
Depends: debconf (>= 0.5) | debconf-2.0
Suggests: hwtools, memtester, kernel-patch-badram, memtest86, grub-pc | grub-legacy, mtools
Description-en: thorough real-mode memory tester
 Memtest86+ scans your RAM for errors.
 .
 This tester runs independently of any OS – it is run at computer
 boot-up, so that it can test *all* of your memory.  You may want to
 look at `memtester', which allows to test your memory within Linux,
 but this one won't be able to test your whole RAM.
 .
 It can output a list of bad RAM regions usable by the BadRAM kernel
 patch, so that you can still use your old RAM with one or two bad bits.
 .
 Memtest86+ is based on memtest86 3.0, and adds support for recent
 hardware, as well as a number of general-purpose improvements,
 including many patches to memtest86 available from various sources.
 .
 Both memtest86 and memtest86+ are being worked on in parallel.
Description-md5: aa685f84801773ef97fdaba8eb26436a
Homepage: http://www.memtest.org/

Tag: admin::benchmarking, admin::boot, hardware::storage:floppy,
 interface::text-mode, role::program, scope::utility, use::checking
Section: misc
Priority: optional
Filename: pool/main/m/memtest86+/memtest86+_5.01-3_amd64.deb
Size: 75142
MD5sum: 4f06523532ddfca0222ba6c55a80c433
SHA256: ad42816e0b17e882713cc6f699b988e73e580e38876cebe975891f5904828005
 

 

root@jeremiah:/home/hipo# apt-get install –yes memtest86+

root@jeremiah:/home/hipo# apt-get install –yes memtest86

Reading package lists… Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information… Done
Suggested packages:
  hwtools kernel-patch-badram grub2 | grub
The following NEW packages will be installed:
  memtest86
0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 21 not upgraded.
Need to get 45.5 kB of archives.
After this operation, 309 kB of additional disk space will be used.
Get:1 http://ftp.de.debian.org/debian buster/main amd64 memtest86 amd64 4.3.7-3 [45.5 kB]
Fetched 45.5 kB in 0s (181 kB/s)     
Preconfiguring packages …
Selecting previously unselected package memtest86.
(Reading database … 519985 files and directories currently installed.)
Preparing to unpack …/memtest86_4.3.7-3_amd64.deb …
Unpacking memtest86 (4.3.7-3) …
Setting up memtest86 (4.3.7-3) …
Generating grub configuration file …
Found background image: saint-John-of-Rila-grub.jpg
Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-4.19.0-18-amd64
Found initrd image: /boot/initrd.img-4.19.0-18-amd64
Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-4.19.0-17-amd64
Found initrd image: /boot/initrd.img-4.19.0-17-amd64
Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-4.19.0-8-amd64
Found initrd image: /boot/initrd.img-4.19.0-8-amd64
Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-4.19.0-6-amd64
Found initrd image: /boot/initrd.img-4.19.0-6-amd64
Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-4.19.0-5-amd64
Found initrd image: /boot/initrd.img-4.19.0-5-amd64
Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-4.9.0-8-amd64
Found initrd image: /boot/initrd.img-4.9.0-8-amd64
Found memtest86 image: /boot/memtest86.bin
Found memtest86+ image: /boot/memtest86+.bin
Found memtest86+ multiboot image: /boot/memtest86+_multiboot.bin
File descriptor 3 (pipe:[66049]) leaked on lvs invocation. Parent PID 22581: /bin/sh
done
Processing triggers for man-db (2.8.5-2) …

 

After this both memory testers memtest86+ and memtest86 will appear next to the option of booting a different version kernels and the Advanced recovery kernels, that you usually get in the GRUB boot prompt.

2.5. Use memtest embedded tool on any Linux by adding a kernel variable

Edit-Grub-Parameters-add-memtest-4-to-kernel-boot

2.4.1. Reboot your computer

# reboot

2.4.2. At the GRUB boot screen (with UEFI, press Esc).

2.4.3 For 4 passes add temporarily the memtest=4 kernel parameter.
 

memtest=        [KNL,X86,ARM,PPC,RISCV] Enable memtest
                Format: <integer>
                default : 0 <disable>
                Specifies the number of memtest passes to be
                performed. Each pass selects another test
                pattern from a given set of patterns. Memtest
                fills the memory with this pattern, validates
                memory contents and reserves bad memory
                regions that are detected.


3. Install and use memtester Linux tool
 

At some condition, memory is the one of the suspcious part, or you just want have a quick test. memtester  is an effective userspace tester for stress-testing the memory subsystem.  It is very effective at finding intermittent and non-deterministic faults.

The advantage of memtester "live system check tool is", you can check your system for errors while it's still running. No need for a restart, just run that application, the downside is that some segments of memory cannot be thoroughfully tested as you already have much preloaded data in it to have the Operating Sytstem running, thus always when possible try to stick to rule to test the memory using memtest86+  from OS Boot Loader, after a clean Machine restart in order to clean up whole memory heap.

Anyhow for a general memory test on a Critical Legacy Server  (if you lets say don't have access to Remote Console Board, or don't trust the ILO / IPMI Hardware reported integrity statistics), running memtester from already booted is still a good idea.


3.1. Install memtester on any Linux distribution from source

wget http://pyropus.ca/software/memtester/old-versions/memtester-4.2.2.tar.gz
# tar zxvf memtester-4.2.2.tar.gz
# cd memtester-4.2.2
# make && make install

3.2 Install on RPM based distros

 

On Fedora memtester is available from repositories however on many other RPM based distros it is not so you have to install it from source.

[root@fedora ]# yum install -y memtester

 

3.3. Install memtester on Deb based Linux distributions from source
 

To install it on Debian / Ubuntu / Mint etc. , open a terminal and type:
 

root@linux:/ #  apt install –yes memtester

The general run syntax is:

memtester [-p PHYSADDR] [ITERATIONS]


You can hence use it like so:

hipo@linux:/ $ sudo memtester 1024 5

This should allocate 1024MB of memory, and repeat the test 5 times. The more repeats you run the better, but as a memtester run places a great overall load on the system you either don't increment the runs too much or at least run it with  lowered process importance e.g. by nicing the PID:

hipo@linux:/ $ nice -n 15 sudo memtester 1024 5

 

  • If you have more RAM like 4GB or 8GB, it is upto you how much memory you want to allocate for testing.
  • As your operating system, current running process might take some amount of RAM, Please check available Free RAM and assign that too memtester.
  • If you are using a 32 Bit System, you cant test more than 4 GB even though you have more RAM( 32 bit systems doesnt support more than 3.5 GB RAM as you all know).
  • If your system is very busy and you still assigned higher than available amount of RAM, then the test might get your system into a deadlock, leads to system to halt, be aware of this.
  • Run the memtester as root user, so that memtester process can malloc the memory, once its gets hold on that memory it will try to apply lock. if specified memory is not available, it will try to reduce required RAM automatically and try to lock it with mlock.
  • if you run it as a regular user, it cant auto reduce the required amount of RAM, so it cant lock it, so it tries to get hold on that specified memory and starts exhausting all system resources.


If you have 8 Gigas of RAM plugged into the PC motherboard you have to multiple 1024*8 this is easily done with bc (An arbitrary precision calculator language) tool:

root@linux:/ # bc -l
bc 1.07.1
Copyright 1991-1994, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2012-2017 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
This is free software with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY.
For details type `warranty'. 
8*1024
8192


 for example you should run:

root@linux:/ # memtester 8192 5

memtester version 4.3.0 (64-bit)
Copyright (C) 2001-2012 Charles Cazabon.
Licensed under the GNU General Public License version 2 (only).

pagesize is 4096
pagesizemask is 0xfffffffffffff000
want 8192MB (2083520512 bytes)
got  8192MB (2083520512 bytes), trying mlock …Loop 1/1:
  Stuck Address       : ok        
  Random Value        : ok
  Compare XOR         : ok
  Compare SUB         : ok
  Compare MUL         : ok
  Compare DIV         : ok
  Compare OR          : ok
  Compare AND         : ok
  Sequential Increment: ok
  Solid Bits          : ok        
  Block Sequential    : ok        
  Checkerboard        : ok        
  Bit Spread          : ok        
  Bit Flip            : ok        
  Walking Ones        : ok        
  Walking Zeroes      : ok        
  8-bit Writes        : ok
  16-bit Writes       : ok

Done.

 

4. Shell Script to test server memory for corruptions
 

If for some reason the machine you want to run a memory test doesn't have connection to the external network such as the internet and therefore you cannot configure a package repository server and install memtester, the other approach is to use a simple memory test script such as memtestlinux.sh
 

#!/bin/bash
# Downloaded from https://www.srv24x7.com/memtest-linux/
echo "ByteOnSite Memory Test"
cpus=`cat /proc/cpuinfo | grep processor | wc -l`
if [ $cpus -lt 6 ]; then
threads=2
else
threads=$(($cpus / 2))
fi
echo "Detected $cpus CPUs, using $threads threads.."
memory=`free | grep 'Mem:' | awk {'print $2'}`
memoryper=$(($memory / $threads))
echo "Detected ${memory}K of RAM ($memoryper per thread).."
freespace=`df -B1024 . | tail -n1 | awk {'print $4'}`
if [ $freespace -le $memory ]; then
echo You do not have enough free space on the current partition. Minimum: $memory bytes
exit 1
fi
echo "Clearing RAM Cache.."
sync; echo 3 > /proc/sys/vm/drop_cachesfile
echo > dump.memtest.img
echo "Writing to dump file (dump.memtest.img).."
for i in `seq 1 $threads`;
do
# 1044 is used in place of 1024 to ensure full RAM usage (2% over allocation)
dd if=/dev/urandom bs=$memoryper count=1044 >> dump.memtest.img 2>/dev/null &
pids[$i]=$!
echo $i
done
for pid in "${pids[@]}"
do
wait $pid
done

echo "Reading and analyzing dump file…"
echo "Pass 1.."
md51=`md5sum dump.memtest.img | awk {'print $1'}`
echo "Pass 2.."
md52=`md5sum dump.memtest.img | awk {'print $1'}`
echo "Pass 3.."
md53=`md5sum dump.memtest.img | awk {'print $1'}`
if [ “$md51” != “$md52” ]; then
fail=1
elif [ “$md51” != “$md53” ]; then
fail=1
elif [ “$md52” != “$md53” ]; then
fail=1
else
fail=0
fi
if [ $fail -eq 0 ]; then
echo "Memory test PASSED."
else
echo "Memory test FAILED. Bad memory detected."
fi
rm -f dump.memtest.img
exit $fail

Nota Bene !: Again consider the restults might not always be 100% trustable if possible restart the server and test with memtest86+

Consider also its important to make sure prior to script run,  you''ll have enough disk space to produce the dump.memtest.img file – file is created as a test bed for the memory tests and if not scaled properly you might end up with a full ( / ) root directory!

 

4.1 Other memory test script with dd and md5sum checksum

I found this solution on the well known sysadmin site nixCraft cyberciti.biz, I think it makes sense and quicker.

First find out memory site using free command.
 

# free
             total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
Mem:      32867436   32574160     293276          0      16652   31194340
-/+ buffers/cache:    1363168   31504268
Swap:            0          0          0


It shows that this server has 32GB memory,
 

# dd if=/dev/urandom bs=32867436 count=1050 of=/home/memtest


free reports by k and use 1050 is to make sure file memtest is bigger than physical memory.  To get better performance, use proper bs size, for example 2048 or 4096, depends on your local disk i/o,  the rule is to make bs * count > 32 GB.
run

# md5sum /home/memtest; md5sum /home/memtest; md5sum /home/memtest


If you see md5sum mismatch in different run, you have faulty memory guaranteed.
The theory is simple, the file /home/memtest will cache data in memory by filling up all available memory during read operation. Using md5sum command you are reading same data from memory.


5. Other ways to test memory / do a machine stress test

Other good tools you might want to check for memory testing is mprime – ftp://mersenne.org/gimps/ 
(https://www.mersenne.org/ftp_root/gimps/)

  •  (mprime can also be used to stress test your CPU)

Alternatively, use the package stress-ng to run all kind of stress tests (including memory test) on your machine.
Perhaps there are other interesting tools for a diagnosis of memory if you know other ones I miss, let me know in the comment section.

How to Recover deleted /var/lib/dpkg directory on Debian / Ubuntu Linux server

Wednesday, October 6th, 2021

how-to-recover-accidently-deleted-var-lib-dpkg-directory-on-debian-gnu-linux

Sometimes you might do something stupid, in the hurry like running the wrong rm  command and ending up deleting /var/lib/dpkg on your Debian / Ubuntu system.

by either wrongly issuing the rm to a directory or mistyping rm -r /var/lib/dpkg.
I know this is pretty dumb but sometimes we're all dumb, if you do so and you try to do the regular

root@debian:/ # apt update && apt upgrade

or try to install some random package onwards you will end up with error message:

E: Could not open lock file /var/lib/dpkg/lock – open (2: No such file or directory)

Ending up with this error, does totally blocks your further system administration activities with both apt / aptitude / apt-get as well as with dpkg package management tool.

 

1. The /var/backups recovery directory

Thankfully, by Gods mercy some of Debian Linux system architects has foreseen such issues might occur and have integrated into it the automatic periodic creation of some important files into directory /var/backups/

Hence the next step is to check what kind of backups are available, there:

root@debian:/ # ls -al /var/backups/
total 19892
drwxr-xr-x  7 root root      4096 Sep 24 06:25 ./
drwxr-xr-x 22 root root      4096 Dec 21  2020 ../
-rw-r–r–  1 root root    245760 Aug 20 06:25 alternatives.tar.0
-rw-r–r–  1 root root     15910 Aug 14 06:25 alternatives.tar.1.gz
-rw-r–r–  1 root root     15914 May 29 06:25 alternatives.tar.2.gz
-rw-r–r–  1 root root     15783 Jan 29  2021 alternatives.tar.3.gz
-rw-r–r–  1 root root     15825 Nov 20  2020 alternatives.tar.4.gz
-rw-r–r–  1 root root     15778 Jul 16  2020 alternatives.tar.5.gz
-rw-r–r–  1 root root     15799 Jul  4  2020 alternatives.tar.6.gz
-rw-r–r–  1 root root     80417 Aug 19 14:48 apt.extended_states.0
-rw-r–r–  1 root root      8693 Apr 27 22:40 apt.extended_states.1.gz
-rw-r–r–  1 root root      8658 Apr 17 19:45 apt.extended_states.2.gz
-rw-r–r–  1 root root      8601 Apr 15 00:52 apt.extended_states.3.gz
-rw-r–r–  1 root root      8599 Apr  9 00:26 apt.extended_states.4.gz
-rw-r–r–  1 root root      8542 Mar 18  2021 apt.extended_states.5.gz
-rw-r–r–  1 root root      8549 Mar 18  2021 apt.extended_states.6.gz
-rw-r–r–  1 root root   9030483 Jul  4  2020 aptitude.pkgstates.0
-rw-r–r–  1 root root    628958 May  7  2019 aptitude.pkgstates.1.gz
-rw-r–r–  1 root root    534758 Oct 21  2017 aptitude.pkgstates.2.gz
-rw-r–r–  1 root root    503877 Oct 19  2017 aptitude.pkgstates.3.gz
-rw-r–r–  1 root root    423277 Oct 15  2017 aptitude.pkgstates.4.gz
-rw-r–r–  1 root root    420899 Oct 14  2017 aptitude.pkgstates.5.gz
-rw-r–r–  1 root root    229508 May  5  2015 aptitude.pkgstates.6.gz
-rw-r–r–  1 root root        11 Oct 14  2017 dpkg.arch.0
-rw-r–r–  1 root root        43 Oct 14  2017 dpkg.arch.1.gz
-rw-r–r–  1 root root        43 Oct 14  2017 dpkg.arch.2.gz
-rw-r–r–  1 root root        43 Oct 14  2017 dpkg.arch.3.gz
-rw-r–r–  1 root root        43 Oct 14  2017 dpkg.arch.4.gz
-rw-r–r–  1 root root        43 Oct 14  2017 dpkg.arch.5.gz
-rw-r–r–  1 root root        43 Oct 14  2017 dpkg.arch.6.gz
-rw-r–r–  1 root root      1319 Apr 27 22:28 dpkg.diversions.0
-rw-r–r–  1 root root       387 Apr 27 22:28 dpkg.diversions.1.gz
-rw-r–r–  1 root root       387 Apr 27 22:28 dpkg.diversions.2.gz
-rw-r–r–  1 root root       387 Apr 27 22:28 dpkg.diversions.3.gz
-rw-r–r–  1 root root       387 Apr 27 22:28 dpkg.diversions.4.gz
-rw-r–r–  1 root root       387 Apr 27 22:28 dpkg.diversions.5.gz
-rw-r–r–  1 root root       387 Apr 27 22:28 dpkg.diversions.6.gz
-rw-r–r–  1 root root       375 Aug 23  2018 dpkg.statoverride.0
-rw-r–r–  1 root root       247 Aug 23  2018 dpkg.statoverride.1.gz
-rw-r–r–  1 root root       247 Aug 23  2018 dpkg.statoverride.2.gz
-rw-r–r–  1 root root       247 Aug 23  2018 dpkg.statoverride.3.gz
-rw-r–r–  1 root root       247 Aug 23  2018 dpkg.statoverride.4.gz
-rw-r–r–  1 root root       247 Aug 23  2018 dpkg.statoverride.5.gz
-rw-r–r–  1 root root       247 Aug 23  2018 dpkg.statoverride.6.gz
-rw-r–r–  1 root root   3363749 Sep 23 14:32 dpkg.status.0
-rw-r–r–  1 root root    763524 Aug 19 14:48 dpkg.status.1.gz
-rw-r–r–  1 root root    760198 Aug 17 19:41 dpkg.status.2.gz
-rw-r–r–  1 root root    760176 Aug 13 12:48 dpkg.status.3.gz
-rw-r–r–  1 root root    760105 Jul 16 15:25 dpkg.status.4.gz
-rw-r–r–  1 root root    759807 Jun 28 15:18 dpkg.status.5.gz
-rw-r–r–  1 root root    759554 May 28 16:22 dpkg.status.6.gz

drwx——  2 root root      4096 Oct 15  2017 ejabberd-2017-10-15T00:22:30.p1e5J8/
drwx——  2 root root      4096 Oct 15  2017 ejabberd-2017-10-15T00:24:02.dAUgDs/
drwx——  2 root root      4096 Oct 15  2017 ejabberd-2017-10-15T12:29:51.FX27WJ/
drwx——  2 root root      4096 Oct 15  2017 ejabberd-2017-10-15T21:18:26.bPQWlW/
drwx——  2 root root      4096 Jul 16  2019 ejabberd-2019-07-16T00:49:52.Gy3sus/
-rw——-  1 root root      2512 Oct 20  2020 group.bak
-rw——-  1 root shadow    1415 Oct 20  2020 gshadow.bak
-rw——-  1 root root      7395 May 11 22:56 passwd.bak
-rw——-  1 root shadow    7476 May 11 22:56 shadow.bak

Considering the situation the important files for us that could, help us restore our previous list of packages, we had installed on the Debian are files under /var/backups/dpkg.status*

Luckily debian based systems keeps backups of its important files that can be used later on for system recovery activities.
Below is a common structure of /var/lib/dpkg on a deb based system.

hipo@debian:/home/hipo$ ls -l /var/lib/dpkg/
total 11504
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root    4096 Aug 19 14:33 alternatives/
-rw-r–r– 1 root root      11 Oct 14  2017 arch
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 2199402 Oct 19  2017 available
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 2197483 Oct 19  2017 available-old
-rw-r–r– 1 root root       8 Sep  6  2012 cmethopt
-rw-r–r– 1 root root    1319 Apr 27 22:28 diversions
-rw-r–r– 1 root root    1266 Nov 18  2020 diversions-old
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root  606208 Sep 23 14:32 info/
-rw-r—– 1 root root       0 Sep 23 14:32 lock
-rw-r—– 1 root root       0 Mar 18  2021 lock-frontend
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root    4096 Sep 17  2012 parts/
-rw-r–r– 1 root root     375 Aug 23  2018 statoverride
-rw-r–r– 1 root root     337 Aug 13  2018 statoverride-old
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 3363749 Sep 23 14:32 status
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 3363788 Sep 23 14:32 status-old
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root    4096 Aug 19 14:48 triggers/
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root    4096 Sep 23 14:32 updates/

 

2. Recreate basic /var/lib/dpkg directory and files structures

As you can see, there are 5 directories and the status file and some other files. 
Hence the first step is to restore the lost directory structure.

hipo@debian: ~$ sudo mkdir -p /var/lib/dpkg/{alternatives,info,parts,triggers,updates}


3. Recover /var/lib/dpkg/status file

Further on recover the dpkg status file from backup

hipo@debian: ~$  sudo cp /var/backups/dpkg.status.0 /var/lib/dpkg/status


4. Check dpkg package installation works again and reinstall base-files

Next check if dpkg – debian package manager is now working, by simply trying to download dpkg*.deb reinstalling it.

root@debian:/root # apt-get download dpkg
# sudo dpkg -i dpkg*.deb

If you get no errors next step is to reinstall base-files which is important package on which dpkg depends.

root@debian:/root # apt-get download base-files

root@debian:/root # sudo dpkg -i base-files*.deb

 

5. Update deb system package list and db consistency

Onwards try to update system package list and check dpkg / apt database consistency.

root@debian:/root # dpkg –audit

root@debian:/root # sudo apt-get update

root@debian:/root # sudo apt-get check


The result should be more of the files in /var/lib/dpkg should appear, thus list the directory again and compare to the earlier given list of it, they should be similar.

root@debian:/root # ls -l /var/lib/dpkg

6. Reinstall completely from source code dpkg, if nothing else works
 

If some files are missing they should get created with a normal daily sysadmin package management tasks so no worries.

In case if after attempting to upgrade the system or install a package with apt, you get some nasty error like:
 

'/usr/local/var/lib/dpkg/status' for reading: No such file or directory


Then the next and final thing to try as a recovery is to download compile from a new and reinstall dpkg from source code!

 

root@debian:/ # wget https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/+archive/primary/+files/dpkg_1.16.1.2ubuntu7.2.tar.bz2
root@debian:/ # tar -xvf dpkg_1.16*

root@debian:/ # cd dpkg-1.16*

root@debian:/ # ./configure

root@debian:/ # make

root@debian:/ # make install


Hopefully you'll have gcc and development tools provided by build-essential .deb package otherwise you have to download and compile this ones as well 🙂
If this doesn't bring you back the installed packages you had priorly (hopefully not), then waste no more time and do a backup of the main things on the server, and reinstall it completely.

The moral out of this incident is always to implement always to your system a good back up system and regularly create backups of /var/lib/dpkg , /etc/ , /usr/local* and other important files on a remote backup server, to be able to easily recover if you do by mistake something whacky.
 

Hope that helped anyone. Cheers 🙂

Defining multiple short Server Hostname aliases via SSH config files and defining multiple ssh options for it, Use passwordless authentication via public keys

Thursday, September 16th, 2021

using-ssh-host-acronym-aliases-ssh-client-explained-openssh-logo

In case you have to access multiple servers from your terminal client such as gnome-terminal, kterminal (if on Linux) or something such as mobaxterm + cygwin (if on Windows) with an opens ssh client (ssh command). There is a nifty trick to save time and keyboard typing through creating shortcuts aliases by adding few definitions inside your $HOME/.ssh/config ( ~/.ssh/config ) for your local non root user or even make the configuration system wide (for all existing local /etc/passwd users) via /etc/ssh/ssh_config.
By adding a pseudonym alias for each server it makes sysadmin life much easier as you don't have to type in each time the FQDN (Fully Qualified Domain Name) hostname of remote accessed Linux / Unix / BSD / Mac OS or even Windows sshd ready hosts accessible via remote TCP/IP port 22.


1. Adding local user remote server pointer aliases via ~/.ssh/config


The file ~/.ssh/config is read by the ssh client part of the openssh-client (Linux OS package) on each invokement of the client, and besides defining a pseudonym for the hosts you like to save you time when accessing remote host and hence increase your productivity. Moreover you can also define various other nice options through it to define specifics of remote ssh session for each desired host such as remote host default SSH port (for example if your OpenSSHD is configured to run on non-standard SSH port as lets say 2022 instead of default port TCP 22 for some reason, e.g. security through obscurity etc.).

 

The general syntax of .ssh/config file si simplistic, it goes like this:
 

Host MACHNE_HOSTNAME

SSH_OPTION1 value1
SSH_OPTION1 value1 value2
SSH_OPTION2 value1 value2

 

Host MACHNE_HOSTNAME

SSH_OPTION value
SSH_OPTION1 value1 value2

  • Another understood syntax if you prefer to not have empty whitespaces is to use ( = )
    between the parameter name and values.

Host MACHINE_HOSTNAME
SSH_config=value
SSH_config1=value1 value2

  • All empty lines and lines starting with the hash shebang sign ( # ) would be ignored.
  • All values are case-sensitive, but parameter names are not.

If you have never so far used the $HOME/.ssh/config you would have to create the file and set the proper permissions to it like so:

mkdir -p $HOME/.ssh
chmod 0700 $HOME/.ssh


Below are examples taken from my .ssh/config configuration for all subdomains for my pcfreak.org domain

 

# Ask for password for every subdomain under pc-freak.net for security
Host *.pcfreak.org
user hipopo
passwordauthentication yes
StrictHostKeyChecking no

# ssh public Key authentication automatic login
Host www1.pc-freak.net
user hipopo
Port 22
passwordauthentication no
StrictHostKeyChecking no

UserKnownHostsFile /dev/null

Host haproxy2
    Hostname 213.91.190.233
    User root
    Port 2218
    PubkeyAuthentication yes
    IdentityFile ~/.ssh/haproxy2.pub    
    StrictHostKeyChecking no
    LogLevel INFO     

Host pcfrxenweb
    Hostname 83.228.93.76
    User root
    Port 2218

    PubkeyAuthentication yes
    IdentityFile ~/.ssh/pcfrxenweb.key    
    StrictHostKeyChecking no

Host pcfreak-sf
    Hostname 91.92.15.51
    User root
    Port 2209
    PreferredAuthentications password
    StrictHostKeyChecking no

    Compression yes


As you can see from above configuration the Hostname could be referring either to IP address or to Hostname.

Now to connect to defined IP 91.92.15.51 you can simply refer to its alias

$ ssh pcfreak-sf -v

and you end up into the machine ssh on port 2209 and you will be prompted for a password.

$ ssh pcfrxenweb -v


would lead to IP 83.228.93.76 SSH on Port 2218 and will use the defined public key for a passwordless login and will save you the password typing each time.

Above ssh command is a short alias you can further use instead of every time typing:

$ ssh -i ~/.ssh/pcfrxenweb.key -p 2218 root@83.228.93.76

There is another nifty trick worthy to mention, if you have a defined hostname such as the above config haproxy2 to use a certain variables, but you would like to override some option for example you don't want to connet by default with User root, but some other local account, lets say ssh as devuser@haproxy2 you can type:

$ ssh -o "User=dev" devuser

StrictHostKeyChecking no

– variable will instruct the ssh to not check if the finger print of remote host has changed. Usually this finger print check sum changes in case if for example for some reason the opensshd gets updated or the default /etc/ssh/ssh_host_dsa_key /etc/ssh/sshd_host_dsa_* files have changed due to some reason.
Of course you should use this option only if you tend to access your remote host via a secured VPN or local network, otherwise the Host Key change could be an indicator someone is trying to intercept your ssh session.

 

Compression yes


– variable  enables compression of connection saves few bits was useful in the old modem telephone lines but still could save you few bits
It is also possible to define a full range of IP addresses to be accessed with one single public rsa / dsa key

Below .ssh/config
 

Host 192.168.5.?
     Hostname 192.168.2.18
     User admin
     IdentityFile ~/.ssh/id_ed25519.pub


Would instruct each host attemted to be reached in the IP range of 192.168.2.1-254 to be automatically reachable by default with ssh client with admin user and the respective ed25519.pub key.
 

$ ssh 192.168.1.[1-254] -v

 

2. Adding ssh client options system wide for all existing local or remote LDAP login users


The way to add any Host block is absolutely the same as with a default user except you need to add the configuration to /etc/ssh/ssh_config. Here is a confiugaration from mine Latest Debian Linux

$ cat /etc/ssh/ssh_config

# This is the ssh client system-wide configuration file.  See
# ssh_config(5) for more information.  This file provides defaults for
# users, and the values can be changed in per-user configuration files
# or on the command line.

# Configuration data is parsed as follows:
#  1. command line options
#  2. user-specific file
#  3. system-wide file
# Any configuration value is only changed the first time it is set.
# Thus, host-specific definitions should be at the beginning of the
# configuration file, and defaults at the end.

# Site-wide defaults for some commonly used options.  For a comprehensive
# list of available options, their meanings and defaults, please see the
# ssh_config(5) man page.

Host *
#   ForwardAgent no
#   ForwardX11 no
#   ForwardX11Trusted yes
#   PasswordAuthentication yes
#   HostbasedAuthentication no
#   GSSAPIAuthentication no
#   GSSAPIDelegateCredentials no
#   GSSAPIKeyExchange no
#   GSSAPITrustDNS no
#   BatchMode no
#   CheckHostIP yes
#   AddressFamily any
#   ConnectTimeout 0
#   StrictHostKeyChecking ask
#   IdentityFile ~/.ssh/id_rsa
#   IdentityFile ~/.ssh/id_dsa
#   IdentityFile ~/.ssh/id_ecdsa
#   IdentityFile ~/.ssh/id_ed25519
#   Port 22
#   Protocol 2
#   Ciphers aes128-ctr,aes192-ctr,aes256-ctr,aes128-cbc,3des-cbc
#   MACs hmac-md5,hmac-sha1,umac-64@openssh.com
#   EscapeChar ~
#   Tunnel no
#   TunnelDevice any:any
#   PermitLocalCommand no
#   VisualHostKey no
#   ProxyCommand ssh -q -W %h:%p gateway.example.com
#   RekeyLimit 1G 1h
    SendEnv LANG LC_*
    HashKnownHosts yes
    GSSAPIAuthentication yes

As you can see pretty much can be enabled by default such as the forwarding of the Authentication agent option ( -A ) option, necessery for some Company server environments to be anbled. So if you have to connect to remote host with enabled Agent Forwarding instead of typing

ssh -A user@remotehostname


To enable Agent Forwarding instead of

ssh -X user@remotehostname


Simply uncomment and set to yes
 

ForwardX11 yes
ForwardX11Trusted yes


Just simply uncomment above's config ForwardAgent no

As you can see ssh could do pretty much, you can configure enable SSH Tunneling or run via a Proxy with the ProxyCommand (If it is the first time you hear about ProxyCommand I warmly recommend you check my previous article – How to pass SSH traffic through a secured Corporate Proxy Server with corkscrew).

Sometimes for a defines hostname, due to changes on remote server ssh configuration, SSH encryption type or a host key removal you might end up with issues connecting, therefore to override all the previously defined options inside .ssh/config by ignoring the configuration with -F /dev/null

$ ssh -F /dev/null user@freak -v


What we learned ?

To sum it up In this article, we have learned how to easify the stressed sysadmin life, by adding Aliases with certain port numbering and configurations for different remote SSH administrated Linux / Unix, hosts via local ~/.ssh/config or global wide /etc/ssh/ssh_config configuration options, as well as how already applied configuration from ~/.ssh/config affecting each user ssh command execution, could be overriden.

Stop haproxy log requests to /var/log/messages / Disable haproxy double logging

Friday, June 25th, 2021

haproxy-logo

On a CentOS Linux release 7.9.2009 (Core) I've running haproxies on two KVM virtual machines that are configured in a High Avaialability cluster with Corosync and Pacemaker, the machines are inherited from another admin (I did not install the servers hardware) and OS but have been received the system for support.
The old sysadmins seems to not care much about the system so they've left the haprxoy with Double logging one time under separate configured log in /var/log/haproxy/haproxyprod.log and each Haproxy TCP mode flown request has been double logged to /var/log/messages as well. As you can guess this shouldn't be so because we're wasting Hard drive space so to fix that I had to stop haproxy doble logging to /var/log/messages.

The logging is done under a separate local pointer local6 the /etc/haproxy/haproxyprod.cfg goes as follows:
 

[root@haproxy01 ~]# cat /etc/haproxy/haproxyprod.cfg

global
    # log <address> [len ] [max level [min level]]
    log 127.0.0.1 local6 debug

 

The logging is handled by rsyslog via the local6, so obviously to keep out the logging from /var/log/messages
The logging to the separate log file configuration in rsyslog is as follows:

local6.*                                                /var/log/haproxy/haproxyprod.log

It turned to be really easy to prevent haproxy get its requests log to /var/log/messages all I had to change is under /etc/rsyslogd.conf

local6.none config has to be placed for /var/log/messages the full line configuration in /etc/rsyslog.conf that stopped double logging is:

# Don't log private authentication messages!
*.info;mail.none;authpriv.none;cron.none;local5.none;local6.none                /var/log/messages

 

How to automate open xen Hypervisor Virtual Machines backups shell script

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2021

openxen-backup-logo As a sysadmin that have my own Open Xen Debian Hypervisor running on a Lenovo ThinkServer few months ago due to a human error I managed to mess up one of my virtual machines and rebuild the Operating System from scratch and restore files service and MySQl data from backup that really pissed me of and this brought the need for having a decent Virtual Machine OpenXen backup solution I can implement on the Debian ( Buster) 10.10 running the free community Open Xen version 4.11.4+107-gef32c7afa2-1. The Hypervisor is a relative small one holding just 7 VM s:

HypervisorHost:~#  xl list
Name                                        ID   Mem VCPUs      State   Time(s)
Domain-0                                     0 11102    24     r—–  214176.4
pcfrxenweb                                  11 12288     4     -b—-  247425.5
pcfrxen                                     12 16384    10     -b—-  1371621.4
windows7                                    20  4096     2     -b—-   97887.2
haproxy2                                    21  4096     2     -b—-   11806.9
jitsi-meet                                  22  2048     2     -b—-   12843.9
zabbix                                      23  2048     2     -b—-   20275.1
centos7                                     24  2040     2     -b—-   10898.2

HypervisorHost:~# xl list|grep -v 'Name ' |grep  -v 'Domain-0'  |wc -l
7


The backup strategy of the script is very simple to shutdown the running VM machine, make a copy with rsync to a backup location the image of each of the Virtual Machines in a bash shell loop for each virtual machine shown in output of xl command and backup to a preset local directory in my case this is /backups/ the backup of each virtual machine is produced within a separate backup directory with a respective timestamp. Backup VM .img files are produced in my case to mounted 2x external attached hard drives each of which is a 4 Terabyte Seagate Plus Backup (Storage). The original version of the script was made to be a slightly different by Zhiqiang Ma whose script I used for a template to come up with my xen VM backup solution. To prevent the Hypervisor's load the script is made to do it with a nice of (nice -n 10) this might be not required or you might want to modify it to better suit your needs. Below is the script itself you can fetch a copy of it /usr/sbin/xen_vm_backups.sh :

#!/bin/bash

# Author: Zhiqiang Ma (http://www.ericzma.com/)
# Modified to work with xl and OpenXen by Georgi Georgiev – https://pc-freak.net
# Original creation dateDec. 27, 2010
# Script takes all defined vms under xen_name_list and prepares backup of each
# after shutting down the machine prepares archive and copies archive in externally attached mounted /backup/disk1 HDD
# Latest update: 08.06.2021 G. Georgiev – hipo@pc-freak.net

mark_file=/backups/disk1/tmp/xen-bak-marker
log_file=/var/log/xen/backups/bak-$(date +%Y_%m_%d).log
err_log_file=/var/log/xen/backups/bak_err-$(date +%H_%M_%Y_%m_%d).log
xen_dir=/xen/domains
xen_vmconfig_dir=/etc/xen/
local_bak_dir=/backups/disk1/tmp
#bak_dir=xenbak@backup_host1:/lhome/xenbak
bak_dir=/backups/disk1/xen-backups/xen_images/$(date +%Y_%m_%d)/xen/domains
#xen_name_list="haproxy2 pcfrxenweb jitsi-meet zabbix windows7 centos7 pcfrxenweb pcfrxen"
xen_name_list="windows7 haproxy2 jitsi-meet zabbix centos7"

if [ ! -d /var/log/xen/backups ]; then
echo mkdir -p /var/log/xen/backups
 mkdir -p /var/log/xen/backups
fi

if [ ! -d $bak_dir ]; then
echo mkdir -p $bak_dir
 mkdir -p $bak_dir

fi


# check whether bak runned last week
if [ -e $mark_file ] ; then
        echo  rm -f $mark_file
 rm -f $mark_file
else
        echo  touch $mark_file
 touch $mark_file
  # exit 0
fi

# set std and stderr to log file
        echo mv $log_file $log_file.old
       mv $log_file $log_file.old
        echo mv $err_log_file $err_log_file.old
       mv $err_log_file $err_log_file.old
        echo "exec 2> $err_log_file"
       exec 2> $err_log_file
        echo "exec > $log_file"
       exec > $log_file


# check whether the VM is running
# We only backup running VMs

echo "*** Check alive VMs"

xen_name_list_tmp=""

for i in $xen_name_list
do
        echo "/usr/sbin/xl list > /tmp/tmp-xen-list"
        /usr/sbin/xl list > /tmp/tmp-xen-list
  grepinlist=`grep $i" " /tmp/tmp-xen-list`;
  if [[ “$grepinlist” == “” ]]
  then
    echo $i is not alive.
  else
    echo $i is alive.
    xen_name_list_tmp=$xen_name_list_tmp" "$i
  fi
done

xen_name_list=$xen_name_list_tmp

echo "Alive VM list:"

for i in $xen_name_list
do
   echo $i
done

echo "End alive VM list."

###############################
date
echo "*** Backup starts"

###############################
date
echo "*** Copy VMs to local disk"

for i in $xen_name_list
do
  date
  echo "Shutdown $i"
        echo  /usr/sbin/xl shutdown $i
        /usr/sbin/xl shutdown $i
        if [ $? != ‘0’ ]; then
                echo 'Not Xen Disk image destroying …';
                /usr/sbin/xl destroy $i
        fi
  sleep 30

  echo "Copy $i"
  echo "Copy to local_bak_dir: $local_bak_dir"
      echo /usr/bin/rsync -avhW –no-compress –progress $xen_dir/$i/{disk.img,swap.img} $local_bak_dir/$i/
     time /usr/bin/rsync -avhW –no-compress –progress $xen_dir/$i/{disk.img,swap.img} $local_bak_dir/$i/
      echo /usr/bin/rsync -avhW –no-compress –progress $xen_vmconfig_dir/$i.cfg $local_bak_dir/$i.cfg
     time /usr/bin/rsync -avhW –no-compress –progress $xen_vmconfig_dir/$i.cfg $local_bak_dir/$i.cfg
  date
  echo "Create $i"
  # with vmmem=1024"
  # /usr/sbin/xm create $xen_dir/vm.run vmid=$i vmmem=1024
          echo /usr/sbin/xl create $xen_vmconfig_dir/$i.cfg
          /usr/sbin/xl create $xen_vmconfig_dir/$i.cfg
## Uncomment if you need to copy with scp somewhere
###       echo scp $log_file $bak_dir/xen-bak-111.log
###      echo  /usr/bin/rsync -avhW –no-compress –progress $log_file $local_bak_dir/xen-bak-111.log
done

####################
date
echo "*** Compress local bak vmdisks"

for i in $xen_name_list
do
  date
  echo "Compress $i"
      echo tar -z -cfv $bak_dir/$i-$(date +%Y_%m_%d).tar.gz $local_bak_dir/$i-$(date +%Y_%m_%d) $local_bak_dir/$i.cfg
     time nice -n 10 tar -z -cvf $bak_dir/$i-$(date +%Y_%m_%d).tar.gz $local_bak_dir/$i/ $local_bak_dir/$i.cfg
    echo rm -vf $local_bak_dir/$i/ $local_bak_dir/$i.cfg
    rm -vrf $local_bak_dir/$i/{disk.img,swap.img}  $local_bak_dir/$i.cfg
done

####################
date
echo "*** Copy local bak vmdisks to remote machines"

copy_remote () {
for i in $xen_name_list
do
  date
  echo "Copy to remote: vm$i"
        echo  scp $local_bak_dir/vmdisk0-$i.tar.gz $bak_dir/vmdisk0-$i.tar.gz
done

#####################
date
echo "Backup finishes"
        echo scp $log_file $bak_dir/bak-111.log

}

date
echo "Backup finished"

 

Things to configure before start using using the script to prepare backups for you is the xen_name_list variable

#  directory skele where to store already prepared backups
bak_dir=/backups/disk1/xen-backups/xen_images/$(date +%Y_%m_%d)/xen/domains

# The configurations of the running Xen Virtual Machines
xen_vmconfig_dir=/etc/xen/
# a local directory that will be used for backup creation ( I prefer this directory to be on the backup storage location )
local_bak_dir=/backups/disk1/tmp
#bak_dir=xenbak@backup_host1:/lhome/xenbak
# the structure on the backup location where daily .img backups with be produced with rsync and tar archived with bzip2
bak_dir=/backups/disk1/xen-backups/xen_images/$(date +%Y_%m_%d)/xen/domains

# list here all the Virtual Machines you want the script to create backups of
xen_name_list="windows7 haproxy2 jitsi-meet zabbix centos7"

If you need the script to copy the backup of Virtual Machine images to external Backup server via Local Lan or to a remote Internet located encrypted connection with a passwordless ssh authentication (once you have prepared the Machines to automatically login without pass over ssh with specific user), you can uncomment the script commented section to adapt it to copy to remote host.

Once you have placed at place /usr/sbin/xen_vm_backups.sh use a cronjob to prepare backups on a regular basis, for example I use the following cron to produce a working copy of the Virtual Machine backups everyday.
 

# crontab -u root -l 

# create windows7 haproxy2 jitsi-meet centos7 zabbix VMs backup once a month
00 06 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12 * * /usr/sbin/xen_vm_backups.sh 2>&1 >/dev/null


I do clean up virtual machines Images that are older than 95 days with another cron job

# crontab -u root -l

# Delete xen image files older than 95 days to clear up space from backup HDD
45 06 17 * * find /backups/disk1/xen-backups/xen_images* -type f -mtime +95 -exec rm {} \; 2>&1 >/dev/null

#### Delete xen config backups older than 1 year+3 days (368 days)
45 06 17 * * find /backups/disk1/xen-backups/xen_config* -type f -mtime +368 -exec rm {} \; 2>&1 >/dev/null

 

# Delete xen image files older than 95 days to clear up space from backup HDD
45 06 17 * * find /backups/disk1/xen-backups/xen_images* -type f -mtime +95 -exec rm {} \; 2>&1 >/dev/null

#### Delete xen config backups older than 1 year+3 days (368 days)
45 06 17 * * find /backups/disk1/xen-backups/xen_config* -type f -mtime +368 -exec rm {} \; 2>&1 >/dev/null

Howto install Google Chrome web browser on CentOS Linux 7

Friday, December 11th, 2020

After installing CentOS 7 Linux testing Virtual Machine in Oracle Virtualbox 6.1 to conduct some testing with php / html / javascript web script pages and use the VM for other work stuff that I later plan to deploy on production CentOS systems, I came to requirement of having a working Google Chrome browser.

In that regards, next to Firefox, I needed to test the web applications in commercial Google Chrome to see what its usercan expect. For those who don't know it Google Chrome is based on Chromium Open source browser (https://chromium.org) which is available by default via default CentOS EPEL repositories.

One remark to make here is before installing Google Chrome, I've also test my web scripts first with chromium, to install Chromium free browser on CentOS:

[root@localhost mozilla_test0]# yum install chromium
Loaded plugins: fastestmirror, langpacks
Loading mirror speeds from cached hostfile
 * base: mirror.wwfx.net
 * epel: mirror.t-home.mk
 * extras: mirror.wwfx.net
 * updates: mirror.wwfx.net
Resolving Dependencies
–> Running transaction check
—> Package chromium.x86_64 0:85.0.4183.121-1.el7 will be installed
–> Processing Dependency: chromium-common(x86-64) = 85.0.4183.121-1.el7 for package: chromium-85.0.4183.121-1.el7.x86_64
–> Processing Dependency: nss-mdns(x86-64) for package: chromium-85.0.4183.121-1.el7.x86_64
–> Processing Dependency: libminizip.so.1()(64bit) for package: chromium-85.0.4183.121-1.el7.x86_64
–> Running transaction check
—> Package chromium-common.x86_64 0:85.0.4183.121-1.el7 will be installed
—> Package minizip.x86_64 0:1.2.7-18.el7 will be installed
—> Package nss-mdns.x86_64 0:0.14.1-9.el7 will be installed
–> Finished Dependency Resolution

 

Dependencies Resolved

============================================================================================================================================
 Package                              Arch                        Version                                   Repository                 Size
============================================================================================================================================
Installing:
 chromium                             x86_64                      85.0.4183.121-1.el7                       epel                       97 M
Installing for dependencies:
 chromium-common                      x86_64                      85.0.4183.121-1.el7                       epel                       16 M
 minizip                              x86_64                      1.2.7-18.el7                              base                       34 k
 nss-mdns                             x86_64                      0.14.1-9.el7                              epel                       43 k

Transaction Summary
============================================================================================================================================
Install  1 Package (+3 Dependent packages)

Total download size: 113 M
Installed size: 400 M
Is this ok [y/d/N]: y
Downloading packages:
(1/4): minizip-1.2.7-18.el7.x86_64.rpm                                                                               |  34 kB  00:00:00     
(2/4): chromium-common-85.0.4183.121-1.el7.x86_64.rpm                                                                |  16 MB  00:00:08     
(3/4): chromium-85.0.4183.121-1.el7.x86_64.rpm                                                                       |  97 MB  00:00:11     
(4/4): nss-mdns-0.14.1-9.el7.x86_64.rpm                                                                              |  43 kB  00:00:00     
——————————————————————————————————————————————–
Total                                                                                                       9.4 MB/s | 113 MB  00:00:12     
Running transaction check
Running transaction test
Transaction test succeeded
Running transaction
  Installing : minizip-1.2.7-18.el7.x86_64                                                                                              1/4
  Installing : chromium-common-85.0.4183.121-1.el7.x86_64                                                                               2/4
  Installing : nss-mdns-0.14.1-9.el7.x86_64                                                                                             3/4
  Installing : chromium-85.0.4183.121-1.el7.x86_64                                                                                      4/4
  Verifying  : chromium-common-85.0.4183.121-1.el7.x86_64                                                                               1/4
  Verifying  : minizip-1.2.7-18.el7.x86_64                                                                                              2/4
  Verifying  : chromium-85.0.4183.121-1.el7.x86_64                                                                                      3/4
  Verifying  : nss-mdns-0.14.1-9.el7.x86_64                                                                                             4/4

Installed:
  chromium.x86_64 0:85.0.4183.121-1.el7                                                                                                     

Dependency Installed:
  chromium-common.x86_64 0:85.0.4183.121-1.el7            minizip.x86_64 0:1.2.7-18.el7            nss-mdns.x86_64 0:0.14.1-9.el7           

Complete!

Chromium browser worked however it is much more buggy than Google Chrome and the load it puts on the machine as well as resources it consumes is terrible if compared to Proprietary G. Chrome.

Usually I don't like google chrome as it is a proprietary product and I don't even install it on my Linux Desktops, neither use as using is against any secure wise practice and but I needed this time ..

Thus to save myself some pains therefore proceeded and installed Google Chromium.
Installion  of Google Chrome is a straight forward process you download the latest rpm run below command to resolve all library dependencies and you're in:

chromium-open-source-browser-on-centos-7-screenshot

 

[root@localhost mozilla_test0]# rpm -ivh google-chrome-stable_current_x86_64.rpm
warning: google-chrome-stable_current_x86_64.rpm: Header V4 DSA/SHA1 Signature, key ID 7fac5991: NOKEY
error: Failed dependencies:
    liberation-fonts is needed by google-chrome-stable-87.0.4280.88-1.x86_64
    libvulkan.so.1()(64bit) is needed by google-chrome-stable-87.0.4280.88-1.x86_64
[root@localhost mozilla_test0]# wget https://dl.google.com/linux/direct/google-chrome-stable_current_x86_64.rpm
–2020-12-11 07:03:02–  https://dl.google.com/linux/direct/google-chrome-stable_current_x86_64.rpm
Resolving dl.google.com (dl.google.com)… 172.217.17.238, 2a00:1450:4017:802::200e
Connecting to dl.google.com (dl.google.com)|172.217.17.238|:443… connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response… 200 OK
Length: 72280700 (69M) [application/x-rpm]
Saving to: ‘google-chrome-stable_current_x86_64.rpm

 

100%[==================================================================================================>] 72,280,700  11.0MB/s   in 6.6s   

2020-12-11 07:03:09 (10.4 MB/s) – ‘google-chrome-stable_current_x86_64.rpm’ saved [72280700/72280700]

[root@localhost mozilla_test0]# yum localinstall google-chrome-stable_current_x86_64.rpm
Loaded plugins: fastestmirror, langpacks
Examining google-chrome-stable_current_x86_64.rpm: google-chrome-stable-87.0.4280.88-1.x86_64
Marking google-chrome-stable_current_x86_64.rpm to be installed
Resolving Dependencies
–> Running transaction check
—> Package google-chrome-stable.x86_64 0:87.0.4280.88-1 will be installed
–> Processing Dependency: liberation-fonts for package: google-chrome-stable-87.0.4280.88-1.x86_64
Loading mirror speeds from cached hostfile
 * base: mirror.wwfx.net
 * epel: mirrors.uni-ruse.bg
 * extras: mirror.wwfx.net
 * updates: mirror.wwfx.net
–> Processing Dependency: libvulkan.so.1()(64bit) for package: google-chrome-stable-87.0.4280.88-1.x86_64
–> Running transaction check
—> Package liberation-fonts.noarch 1:1.07.2-16.el7 will be installed
–> Processing Dependency: liberation-narrow-fonts = 1:1.07.2-16.el7 for package: 1:liberation-fonts-1.07.2-16.el7.noarch
—> Package vulkan.x86_64 0:1.1.97.0-1.el7 will be installed
–> Processing Dependency: vulkan-filesystem = 1.1.97.0-1.el7 for package: vulkan-1.1.97.0-1.el7.x86_64
–> Running transaction check
—> Package liberation-narrow-fonts.noarch 1:1.07.2-16.el7 will be installed
—> Package vulkan-filesystem.noarch 0:1.1.97.0-1.el7 will be installed
–> Finished Dependency Resolution

Dependencies Resolved

============================================================================================================================================
 Package                             Arch               Version                      Repository                                        Size
============================================================================================================================================
Installing:
 google-chrome-stable                x86_64             87.0.4280.88-1               /google-chrome-stable_current_x86_64             227 M
Installing for dependencies:
 liberation-fonts                    noarch             1:1.07.2-16.el7              base                                              13 k
 liberation-narrow-fonts             noarch             1:1.07.2-16.el7              base                                             202 k
 vulkan                              x86_64             1.1.97.0-1.el7               base                                             3.6 M
 vulkan-filesystem                   noarch             1.1.97.0-1.el7               base                                             6.3 k

Transaction Summary
============================================================================================================================================
Install  1 Package (+4 Dependent packages)

Total size: 231 M
Total download size: 3.8 M
Installed size: 249 M
Is this ok [y/d/N]: y
Downloading packages:
(1/4): liberation-fonts-1.07.2-16.el7.noarch.rpm                                                                     |  13 kB  00:00:00     
(2/4): liberation-narrow-fonts-1.07.2-16.el7.noarch.rpm                                                              | 202 kB  00:00:00     
(3/4): vulkan-filesystem-1.1.97.0-1.el7.noarch.rpm                                                                   | 6.3 kB  00:00:00     
(4/4): vulkan-1.1.97.0-1.el7.x86_64.rpm                                                                              | 3.6 MB  00:00:01     
——————————————————————————————————————————————–
Total                                                                                                       1.9 MB/s | 3.8 MB  00:00:02     
Running transaction check
Running transaction test
Transaction test succeeded
Running transaction
Warning: RPMDB altered outside of yum.
  Installing : vulkan-filesystem-1.1.97.0-1.el7.noarch                                                                                  1/5
  Installing : vulkan-1.1.97.0-1.el7.x86_64                                                                                             2/5
  Installing : 1:liberation-narrow-fonts-1.07.2-16.el7.noarch                                                                           3/5
  Installing : 1:liberation-fonts-1.07.2-16.el7.noarch                                                                                  4/5
  Installing : google-chrome-stable-87.0.4280.88-1.x86_64                                                                               5/5
Redirecting to /bin/systemctl start atd.service
  Verifying  : vulkan-1.1.97.0-1.el7.x86_64                                                                                             1/5
  Verifying  : 1:liberation-narrow-fonts-1.07.2-16.el7.noarch                                                                           2/5
  Verifying  : 1:liberation-fonts-1.07.2-16.el7.noarch                                                                                  3/5
  Verifying  : google-chrome-stable-87.0.4280.88-1.x86_64                                                                               4/5
  Verifying  : vulkan-filesystem-1.1.97.0-1.el7.noarch                                                                                  5/5

Installed:
  google-chrome-stable.x86_64 0:87.0.4280.88-1                                                                                              

Dependency Installed:
  liberation-fonts.noarch 1:1.07.2-16.el7         liberation-narrow-fonts.noarch 1:1.07.2-16.el7       vulkan.x86_64 0:1.1.97.0-1.el7      
  vulkan-filesystem.noarch 0:1.1.97.0-1.el7      

Complete!
 

Once Chrome is installed you can either run it from gnome-terminal
 

[test@localhost ~]$ gnome-terminal &


Google-chrome-screenshot-on-centos-linux

Or find it in the list of CentOS programs:

Applications → Internet → Google Chrome

google-chrome-programs-list-internet-cetnos

Last step to do is to make Google Chrome easily updatable to keep up VM level on high security and let it get updated every time when apply security updates with yum check-update && yum upgrade
for that its necessery to create new custom repo file
/etc/yum.repos.d/google-chrome.repo

[root@localhost mozilla_test0]# vim /etc/yum.repos.d/google-chrome.repo
[google-chrome]
name=google-chrome
baseurl=http://dl.google.com/linux/chrome/rpm/stable/x86_64
enabled=1
gpgcheck=1
gpgkey=https://dl.google.com/linux/linux_signing_key.pub

Now letes import the gpg checksum key

[root@localhost mozilla_test0]# rpmkeys –import https://dl.google.com/linux/linux_signing_key.pub

That's all folks google-chrome is at your disposal.

Howto Upgrade IBM Spectrum Protect Backup Client TSM 7.X to 8.1.8, Update Tivoli 8.1.8 to 8.1.11 on CentOS and Redhat Linux

Thursday, December 3rd, 2020

 

IBM-spectrum-protect-backup-logo-tivoli-tsm-logo

Having another day of a system administrator boredom, we had a task to upgrade some Tivoli TSM Backup clients running on a 20+ machines powered by CentOS and RHEL Linux to prepare the systems to be on the latest patched IBM Spectrum Backup client version available from IBM. For the task of patching I've used a central server where, I've initially downloaded the provided TSM client binaries archives. From this machine, we have copied TivSM*.tar to each and every system that needs to be patched and then patched. The task is not too complex as the running TSM in the machines are all at the same version and all running a recent patched version of Linux. Hence to make sure all works as expected we have tested TSM is upgraded from 7.X.X to 8.X.X on one machine and then test 8.1.8 to 8.1.11 upgrade on another one. Once having confirmed that Backups works as expected after upgrade. We have proceeded to do it massively on each of the rest 20+ hosts.
Below article's goal is to help some lazy sysadmin with the task to prepare an TSM Backup upgrade procedure to standartize TSM Upgrade, which as many of the IBM's softwares is very specific and its upgrade requires, a bit of manual work and extra cautious as there seems to be no easy way (or at least I don't know it), to do the upgrade by simply adding an RPM repository and doing, something like yum install tivsm*.


0. Check if there is at least 2G free of space

According to documentation the minimum space you need to a functional install without having it half installed or filling up your filesystem is 2 Gigabytes of Free Memory on a filesystem where the .tar and rpms will be living.

Thus check what is the situation with your filesystem where you wills store the .tar archice and extract .RPM files / install the RPM files.

# df -h

1. Download the correct tarball with 8.1 Client

On one central machine you would need to download the Tivoli you can do that via wget / curl / lynx whatever is at hand on the Linux server.

As of time of writting this article TSM's 8.1.11 location is at
URL:

http://public.dhe.ibm.com/storage/tivoli-storage-management/maintenance/client/v8r1/Linux/LinuxX86/BA/v8111/

I've made a local download mirror of Tivoli TSM 8.1.11 here.
In case you need to install IBM Spectrum Backup Client to a PCI secured environment to a DMZ-ed LAN network from a work PC you can Download it first from your local PC and via Citrix client upload program or WinSCP upload it to a central replication host from where you will later copy to each of the other server nodes that needs to be upgraded.

Lets Copy archive to all Server hosts where you want it later installed, using a small hack

Assuming you already have an Excel document or a Plain text document with all the IPs of the affected hosts where you will need to get TSM upgraded. Extract this data and from it create a plain text file /home/user/hosts.txt containing all the machine IPs lined up separated with carriage return separations (\n), so you can loop over each one and use scp to send the files.

– Replicate Tivoli tar to all machine hosts where you want to get IBM Spectrum installed or upgraded.
Do it with a loop like this:

# for i in $(cat hosts.txt); do scp 8.1.11.0-TIV-TSMBAC-LinuxX86.tar user@$i:/home/user/; done

 Copy to a Copy buffer temporary your server password assuming all your passwords to each machine are identical and paste your login user pass for each host to initiate transfer
 

2. SSH to each of the Machine hosts IPs

Once you login to the host you want to upgrade
Go to your user $HOME /home/user and create files where we'll temporary store Tivoli archive files and extract RPMs

[root@linux-server user]# mkdir -p ~/tsm/TSM_BCK/
[root@linux-server user]# mv 8.1.11.0-TIV-TSMBAC-LinuxX86.tar ~/tsm
[root@linux-server user]# cd tsm
[root@linux-server user]# tar -xvvf 8.1.11.0-TIV-TSMBAC-LinuxX86.tar
gskcrypt64-8.0.55.17.linux.x86_64.rpm
GSKit.pub.pgp
gskssl64-8.0.55.17.linux.x86_64.rpm
README_api.htm
README.htm
RPM-GPG-KEY-ibmpkg
TIVsm-API64.x86_64.rpm
TIVsm-APIcit.x86_64.rpm
TIVsm-BAcit.x86_64.rpm
TIVsm-BAhdw.x86_64.rpm
TIVsm-BA.x86_64.rpm
TIVsm-filepath-source.tar.gz
TIVsm-JBB.x86_64.rpm
TIVsm-WEBGUI.x86_64.rpm
update.txt

3. Create backup of old backup files

It is always a good idea to keep old backup files

[root@linux-server tsm]# cp -av /opt/tivoli/tsm/client/ba/bin/dsm.opt ~/tsm/TSM_BCK/dsm.opt_bak_$(date +'%Y_%M_%H')
[root@linux-server tsm]# cp -av /opt/tivoli/tsm/client/ba/bin/dsm.sys ~/tsm/TSM_BCK/dsm.sys_bak_$(date +'%Y_%M_%H')

[root@linux-server tsm]# [[ -f /etc/adsm/TSM.PWD ]] && cp -av /etc/adsm/TSM.PWD ~/TSM_BCK/ || echo 'file doesnt exist'

/etc/adsm/TSM.PWD this file is only there as legacy for TSM it contained encrypted passwords inver 7 for updates. In TSM v.8 encryption file is not there as new mechanism for sensitive data was introduced.
Be aware that from Tivoli 8.X it will return error
exist'

!! Note – if dsm.opt , dsm.sys files are on different locations – please use correct full path locations !!

4. Stop  dsmcad – TSM Service daemon

[root@linux-server tsm]# systemctl stop dsmcad

5. Locate and deinstall all old Clients

Depending on the version to upgrade if you're upgrading from TSM version 7 to 8, you will get output like.

[root@linux-server tsm]# rpm -qa | grep 'TIVsm-'
TIVsm-BA-7.1.6-2.x86_64
TIVsm-API64-7.1.6-2.x86_64

If you're one of this paranoid admins you can remove TIVsm packs  one by one.

[root@linux-server tsm]# rpm -e TIVsm-BA-7.1.6-2.x86_64
[root@linux-server tsm]# rpm -e TIVsm-API64-7.1.6-2.x86_64

Instead if upgrading from version 8.1.8 to 8.1.11 due to the Security CVE advisory recently published by IBM e.g. (IBM Runtime Vulnerability affects IBM Spectrum Backup archive Client) and  vulnerability in Apache Commons Log4J affecting IBM Spectrum Protect Backup Archive Client.

[root@linux-server tsm]# rpm -qa | grep 'TIVsm-'
TIVsm-API64-8.1.8-0.x86_64
TIVsm-BA-8.1.8-0.x86_64

Assuming you're not scared of a bit automation you can straight do it with below one liner too 🙂

# rpm -e $(rpm -qa | grep TIVsm)

[root@linux-server tsm]# rpm -qa | grep gsk
[root@linux-server tsm]# rpm -e gskcrypt64 gskssl64

6. Check uninstallation success:

[root@linux-server tsm]# rpm -qa | grep TIVsm
[root@linux-server tsm]# rpm -qa | grep gsk

Here you should an Empty output, if packages are not on the system, e.g. Empty output is good output ! 🙂

7. Install new client IBM Spectrum Client (Tivoli Storage Manager) and lib dependencies

[root@linux-server tsm]# rpm -ivh gskcrypt64-8.0.55.4.linux.x86_64.rpm
[root@linux-server tsm]# rpm -ivh gskssl64-8.0.55.4.linux.x86_64.rpm

 If you're lazy to type you can do as well

[root@linux-server tsm]# rpm -Uvh gsk*

Next step is to install main Tivoli SM components the the API files and BA (The Backup Archive Client)

[root@linux-server tsm]# rpm -ivh TIVsm-API64.x86_64.rpm
[root@linux-server tsm]# rpm -ivh TIVsm-BA.x86_64.rpm

If you have to do it on multiple servers and you do it manually following a guide like this, you might instead want to install them with one liner.

[root@linux-server tsm]# rpm -ivh TIVsm-API64.x86_64.rpm TIVsm-BA.x86_64.rpm

There are some Not mandatory "Common Inventory Technology" components (at some cases if you're using the API install it we did not need that), just for the sake if you need them on your servers due to backup architecture, install also below commented rpm files.

## rpm -ivh TIVsm-APIcit.x86_64.rpm

## rpm -ivh TIVsm-BAcit.x86_64.rpm

These packages not needed only for operation WebGUI TSM GUI management, (JBB) Journal Based Backup, BAhdw (the ONTAP library)


— TIVsm-WEBGUI.x86_64.rpm
— TIVsm-JBB.x86_64.rpm
— TIVsm-BAhdw.x86_64.rpm

8. Start and enable dsmcad service

[root@linux-server tsm]# systemctl stop dsmcad

You will get

##Warning: dsmcad.service changed on disk. Run 'systemctl daemon-reload' to reload units.

[root@linux-server tsm]# systemctl daemon-reload

[root@linux-server tsm]# systemctl start dsmcad


## enable dsmcad – it is disabled by default after install

[root@linux-server ~]# systemctl enable dsmcad

[root@linux-server tsm]# systemctl status dsmcad

9. Check dmscad service is really running

Once enabled IBM TSM will spawn a process in the bacground dmscad if it started properly you should have the process backgrounded.

[root@linux-server tsm]# ps -ef|grep -i dsm|grep -v grep
root      2881     1  0 18:05 ?        00:00:01 /usr/bin/dsmcad

If process is not there there might be some library or something not at place preventing the process to start …

10. Check DSMCAD /var/tsm logs for errors

After having dsmcad process enabled and running in background

[root@linux-server tsm]# grep -i Version /var/tsm/sched.log|tail -1
12/03/2020 18:06:29   Server Version 8, Release 1, Level 10.000

 

[root@linux-server tsm]# cat /var/tsm/dsmerror.log

To see the current TSM configuration files we can  grep out comments *

[root@linux-server tsm]# grep -v '*' /opt/tivoli/tsm/client/ba/bin/dsm.sys

Example Configuration of the agent:
—————————————————-
   *TSM SERVER NODE Location
   Servername           tsm_server
   COMMmethod           TCPip
   TCPPort              1400
   TCPServeraddress     tsmserver2.backuphost.com
   NodeName             NODE.SERVER-TO-BACKUP-HOSTNAME.COM
   Passwordaccess       generate
   SCHEDLOGNAME         /var/tsm/sched.log
   SCHEDLOGRETENTION    21 D
   SCHEDMODE            POLLING
   MANAGEDServices      schedule
   ERRORLOGNAME         /var/tsm/dsmerror.log
   ERRORLOGRETENTION    30 D
   INCLEXCL             /opt/tivoli/tsm/client/ba/bin/inclexcl.tsm

11. Remove tsm install directory tar ball and rpms to save space on system

The current version of Tivoli service manager is 586 Megabytes.

[root@linux-server tsm]# du -hsc 8.1.11.0-TIV-TSMBAC-LinuxX86.tar
586M    8.1.11.0-TIV-TSMBAC-LinuxX86.tar

Some systems are on purpose configured to have less space under their /home directory,
hence it is a good idea to clear up unnecessery files after completion.

Lets get rid of all the IBM Spectrum archive source files and the rest of RPMs used for installation.

[root@linux-server tsm]# rm -rf ~/tsm/{*.tar,*.rpm,*.gpg,*.htm,*.txt}

12. Check backups are really created on the configured remote Central backup server

To make sure after the upgrade the backups are continuously created and properly stored on the IBM Tivoly remote central backup server, either manually initiate a backup or wait for lets say a day and run dsmc client to show all created backups from previous day. To make sure you'll not get empty output you can on purpose modify some file by simply opening it and writting over without chaning anything e.g. modify your ~/.bashrc or ~/.bash_profile

## List all backups for '/' root directory from -fromdate='DD/MM/YY'

[root@linux-server tsm]# dsmc
Protect>
IBM Spectrum Protect
Command Line Backup-Archive Client Interface
  Client Version 8, Release 1, Level 11.0
  Client date/time: 12/03/2020 18:14:03
(c) Copyright by IBM Corporation and other(s) 1990, 2020. All Rights Reserved.

Node Name: NODE.SERVER-TO-BACKUP-HOSTNAME.COM
Session established with server TSM2_SERVER: AIX
  Server Version 8, Release 1, Level 10.000
  Server date/time: 12/03/2020 18:14:04  Last access: 12/03/2020 18:06:29
 
Protect> query backup -subdir=yes "/" -fromdate=12/3/2020
           Size        Backup Date                Mgmt Class           A/I File
           —-        ———–                ———-           — —-
         6,776  B  12/03/2020 01:26:53             DEFAULT              A  /etc/freshclam.conf
         6,685  B  12/03/2020 01:26:53             DEFAULT              A  /etc/freshclam.conf-2020-12-02
         5,602  B  12/03/2020 01:26:53             DEFAULT              A  /etc/hosts
         5,506  B  12/03/2020 01:26:53             DEFAULT              A  /etc/hosts-2020-12-02
           398  B  12/03/2020 01:26:53             DEFAULT              A  /opt/tivoli/tsm/client/ba/bin/tsmstats.ini
       114,328  B  12/03/2020 01:26:53             DEFAULT              A  /root/.bash_history
           403  B  12/03/2020 01:26:53             DEFAULT              A  /root/.lesshst

VIM Project (VI Improvied IDE Editor extension to facilitate web development with vi enhanced editor

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

I use VIM as an editor of choice for many years already.
Yet it's until recently I use it for a PHP ZF (Zend Framework) web development.

Few days ago I've blogged How to configure vimrc for a php syntax highlightning (A Nicely pre-configured vimrc to imrpove the daily text editing experience

This enhancements significantly improves the overall PHP code editing with VIM. However I felt something is yet missing because I didn't have the power and functunality of a complete IDE like for instance The Eclipse IDE

I was pretty sure that VIM has to have a way to be used in a similar fashion to a fully functional IDE and looked around the net to find for any VIM plugins that will add vim an IDE like coding interface.

I then come accross a vim plugin called VIM Prokject : Organize/Navigate projects of files (like IDE/buffer explorer)

The latest VIM Project as of time of writting is 1.4.1 and I've mirrored it here

The installation of the VIM Project VIM extension is pretty straight forward to install it and start using it on your PC issue commands:

1. Install the project VIM add-on

debian:~$ wget https://www.pc-freak.net/files/project-1.4.1.tar.gz
debian:~$ mv project-1.4.1.tar.gz ~/.vim/
debian:~$ cd ~/.vim/
debian:~$ tar -zxvvf project-1.4.1.tar.gz

2. Load the plugin

Launch your vim editor and type : Project(without the space between : and P)
You will further see a screen like:

vim project entry screen

3. You will have to press C within the Project window to load a new project

Then you will have to type a directory to use to load a project sources files from:

vim project enter file source directory screen

You will be prompted with to type a project name like in the screenshot below:

vim project load test project

4. Next you will have to type a CD (Current Dir) parameter
To see more about the CD parameter consult vim project documentation by typing in main vim pane :help project

The appearing screen will be something like:

vim project extension cd parameter screen

5. Thereafter you will have to type a file filter

File filter is necessary and will instruct the vim project plugin to load all files with the specified extension within vim project pane window

You will experience a screen like:


vim project plugin file filter screen

Following will be a short interval in which all specified files by the filter type will get loaded in VIM project pane and your Zend Framework, PHP or any other source files will be listed in a directory tree structure like in the picture shown below:

vim project successful loaded project screen

6. Saving loaded project hierarchy state

In order to save a state of a loaded project within the VIM project window pane you will have to type in vim, let's say:

:saveas .projects/someproject

Later on to load back the saved project state you will have to type in vim :r .projects/someproject

You will now have almost fully functional development IDE on top of your simple vim text editor.

You can navigate within the Project files loaded with the Project extension pane easily and select a file you would like to open up, whenever a source file is opened and you work on it to switch in between the Project file listing pane and the opened source code file you will have to type twice CTRL+w or in vim language C-w

To even further sophisticate your web development in PHP with vim you can add within your ~/.vimrc file the following two lines:

" run file with PHP CLI (CTRL-M)
:autocmd FileType php noremap <C-M> :w!<CR>:!/usr/bin/php %<CR>
" PHP parser check (CTRL-L)
:autocmd FileType php noremap <C-L> :!/usr/bin/php -l %>CR>

In the above vim configuration directovies the " character is a comment line and the autocmd is actually vim declarations.
The first :autocmd … declaration will instruct vim to execute your current opened php source file with the php cli interpreter whenever a key press of CTRL+M (C-m) occurs.

The second :autocmd … will add to your vim a shortcut, so whenever a CTRL+L (C-l) key combination is pressed VIM editor will check your current edited source file for syntax errors.
Therefore this will enable you to very easily periodically check if your file syntax is correct.

Well this things were really helpful to me, so I hope they will be profitable for you as well.
Cheers 🙂

Set all logs to log to to physical console /dev/tty12 (tty12) on Linux

Wednesday, August 12th, 2020

tty linux-logo how to log everything to last console terminal tty12

Those who administer servers from the days of birth of Linux and who used actively GNU / Linux over the years or any other UNIX knows how practical could be to configure logging of all running services / kernel messages / errors and warnings on a physical console.

Traditionally from the days I was learning Linux basics I was shown how to do this on an old Debian Sarge 3.0 Linux without systemd and on all Linux distributions Redhat 9.0 / Calderas and Mandrakes I've used either as a home systems or for servers. I've always configured output of all messages to go to the last easy to access console /dev/tty12 (for those who never use it console switching under Linux plain text console mode is done with key combination of CTRL + ALT + F1 .. F12.

In recent times however with the introduction of systemd pretty much things changed as messages to console are not handled by /etc/inittab which was used to add and refresh physical consoles tty1, tty2 … tty7 (the default added one on Linux were usually 7), but I had to manually include more respawn lines for each console in /etc/inittab.
Nowadays as of year 2020 Linux distros /etc/inittab is no longer there being obsoleted and console print out of INPUT / OUTPUT messages are handled by systemd.
 

1. Enable Physical TTYs from TTY8 till TTY12 etc.


The number of default consoles existing in most Linux distributions I've seen is still from tty1 to tty7. Hence to add more tty consoles and be ready to be able to switch out  not only towards tty7 but towards tty12 once you're connected to the server via a remote ILO (Integrated Lights Out) / IdRAC (Dell Remote Access Controller) / IPMI / IMM (Imtegrated Management Module), you have to do it by telling systemd issuing below systemctl commands:
 

 

 # systemctl enable getty@tty8.service Created symlink /etc/systemd/system/getty.target.wants/getty@tty8.service -> /lib/systemd/system/getty@.service.

systemctl enable getty@tty9.service

Created symlink /etc/systemd/system/getty.target.wants/getty@tty9.service -> /lib/systemd/system/getty@.service.

systemctl enable getty@tty10.service

Created symlink /etc/systemd/system/getty.target.wants/getty@tty10.service -> /lib/systemd/system/getty@.service.

systemctl enable getty@tty11.service

Created symlink /etc/systemd/system/getty.target.wants/getty@tty11.service -> /lib/systemd/system/getty@.service.

systemctl enable getty@tty12.service

Created symlink /etc/systemd/system/getty.target.wants/getty@tty12.service -> /lib/systemd/system/getty@.service.


Once the TTYS tty7 to tty12 are enabled you will be able to switch to this consoles either if you have a physical LCD / CRT monitor or KVM switch connected to the machine mounted on the Rack shelf once you're in the Data Center or will be able to see it once connected remotely via the Management IP Interface (ILO) remote console.
 

2. Taking screenshot of the physical console TTY with fbcat


For example below is a screenshot of the 10th enabled tty10:

tty10-linux-screenshot-fbcat-how-to-screenshot-console

As you can in the screenshot I've used the nice tool fbcat that can be used to make a screenshot of remote console. This is very useful especially if remote access via a SSH client such as PuTTY / MobaXterm is not there but you have only a physical attached monitor access on a DCs that are under a heavy firewall that is preventing anyone to get to the system remotely. For example screenshotting the physical console in case if there is a major hardware failure occurs and you need to dump a hardware error message to a flash drive that will be used to later be handled to technicians to analyize it and exchange the broken server hardware part.

Screenshots of the CLI with fbcat is possible across most Linux distributions where as usual.

In Debian you have to first instal the tool via :
 

# apt install –yes fbcat


and on RedHats / CentOS / Fedoras

# yum install -y fbcat


Taking screenshot once tool is on the server of whatever you have printed on console is as easy as

# fbcat > tty_name.ppm


Note that you might want to convert the .ppm created picture to png with any converter such as imagemagick's convert command or if you have a GUI perhaps with GNU Image Manipulation Tool (GIMP).

3. Enabling every rsyslog handled message to log to Physical TTY12


To make everything such as errors, notices, debug, warning messages  become instantly logging towards above added new /dev/tty12.

Open /etc/rsyslog.conf and to the end of the file append below line :
 

daemon,mail.*;\
   news.=crit;news.=err;news.=notice;\
   *.=debug;*.=info;\
   *.=notice;*.=warn   /dev/tty12


To make rsyslog load its new config restart it:

 

# systemctl status rsyslog

 

 

 

rsyslog.service – System Logging Service
   Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/rsyslog.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled)
   Active: active (running) since Mon 2020-08-10 04:09:36 EEST; 2 days ago
     Docs: man:rsyslogd(8)
           https://www.rsyslog.com/doc/
 Main PID: 671 (rsyslogd)
    Tasks: 4 (limit: 4915)
   Memory: 12.5M
   CGroup: /system.slice/rsyslog.service
           └─671 /usr/sbin/rsyslogd -n -iNONE

 

авг 12 00:00:05 pcfreak rsyslogd[671]:  [origin software="rsyslogd" swVersion="8.1901.0" x-pid="671" x-info="https://www.rsyslo
Warning: Journal has been rotated since unit was started. Log output is incomplete or unavailable.

 

systemctl restart rsyslog


That's all folks navigate by pressing simultaneously CTRL + ALT + F12 to get to TTY12 or use ALT + LEFT / ALT + RIGHT ARROW (console switch commands) till you get to the console where everything should be now logged.

Enjoy and if you like this article share to tell your sysadmin friends about this nice hack  ! 🙂