Making a Little Money

Yes, I have finally broken down and decided to try adding Google Adsense to my blog. In some ways it feels like I am selling out; that I’m not being true to the Internet and what it means to be a blogger. But, at the same time, if I can earn a buck or two, why not give it a try. I’ve tried to configure the ads so that they don’t distract too much from the main content of the site. I’ll give it a try for a couple of weeks and I’ll see how much money I can earn.

In order to simplify the install, I used the AdSense-Deluxe Plugin for WordPress, as well as some of the advice from Stephen Collin’s site on how to edit a template (specifically a K2 template).


Monitoring Dell Hardware with Nagios

We use the excellent Nagios network, host and service monitoring software at the office to track the status of our servers, routers, and network devices and connections. The program works great and we love it. However, the one area that we have wanted to track was the status of Dell PowerEdge servers, particularly those running Windows Server 2003. We’ve installed Dell’s OpenManage software on all the boxes and that works great, but we were not getting notified when something on the server failed (power supply, fan, or a disk in an array).

The status of server can be gotten through SNMP to the OpenManage so I knew that it could be done, I just didn’t want to have to reinvent the wheel. I did some searching, and I came across three plugins. The first is simply called It is checks the overall health of both the system and the array. If either is non-OK then it gives a warning. It is simple, quick, and effective, but I wanted additional reporting so that I know what was component was actually faulty.

The second plugin is called and it checks the overall chassis status. If it is non-OK, it will then check other status indicators in order to create an error message that indicates where the problem lies. It has the ability to check for power supply, voltage, cooling device, temperature, memory, and intrusion issues. It works great, and we now us it!

Now I needed to find a way to report on the status of the drive arrays because the doesn’t do that. I found a couple of plugins that would check the RAID controller locally or would do it for Linux servers. Then I finally found this check_win_perc plugin posted on a Dell mailing list site. It has a number of really good features, like telling which drive in the RAID array was having problems, but it also has some quirks. For one thing it stores baseline information in a temp that must be manually deleted. In order to work in our environment it needed some clean and modification.

I modified the plugin to better handle passing of SNMP community strings. As it was originally written it reported all the disks and their status, no matter to which array controller it might be attached. I modified the code so that you can select which of two controllers you want to monitor and report on only those disks. Because my coding skills are non-existent, it still has some unresolved quirks, like when it reports the number of Global Hot Spares it is still doing it across all controllers which is wrong.

My modified code is listed below. Please use at your own risk! If you make any modifications or enhancements please let me know.