Monitoring IBM BladeCenter Systems with Hardware Sentry
KB1042 - Sep 17, 2010 - Last reviewed on Aug 01, 2013
Type: Best Practice
Description: This article covers the basic IBM© BladeCenter Servers hardware components and the supported communication protocols and provides detailed instructions for installing and configuring Hardware Sentry KM for PATROL to properly monitor IBM© BladeCenter Servers.
Additional Keywords: IBM, BladeCenter
- The Hardware Instrumentation section covers the basic IBM© BladeCenter Servers hardware components and the supported communication protocols.
- The Setting up... section provides detailed instructions for installing and configuring Hardware Sentry KM for PATROL to properly monitor IBM© BladeCenter Servers.
- The Discovered Components and Monitored Parameters section lists the components automatically discovered and monitored by Hardware Sentry KM for PATROL as well as the connectors required to ensure a proper monitoring.
- The Troubleshooting section gathers the most frequently asked questions related to issues that stem from installation or configuration issues.
About IBM BladeCenter
IBM was a pioneer in the “blade” servers area when they released their BladeCenter architecture. The BladeCenter system is an enclosure that provides power, cooling, networking, media devices and some management features to a set of “blades”, small-factor servers that are literally inserted in the chassis.
An IBM BladeCenter chassis can hold several types of blade servers: Intel processor based, IBM POWER-based and even IBM Cell processor based.
The IBM BladeCenter is not a computer per se and nothing can be installed on it. It is equipped with a Management Module which offers a Web-based and SNMP interface to configure and manage the chassis and its blades.
Because of this design, the IBM BladeCenter enclosure must be monitored as a separate system:
- The hardware components of each blade in the chassis need to be monitored as if the blade was a normal server (processors, memory modules, internal disks, environment sensors, etc.). This means that a proper hardware monitoring solution has to be setup for each blade, exactly as if it was an IBM xSeries server (see the article “Monitoring IBMxSeries Servers with Hardware Sentry”).
- The hardware components of the chassis itself also need to be monitored through its management interface (power supplies, network interfaces, fans and environment sensors)
In a monitoring environment like BMC PATROL, this would be implemented with a PATROL Agent and Hardware Sentry KM on each blade, with one of them also monitoring the shared enclosure over the network.
In a BMC Portal environment, each blade would naturally be monitored as a “Managed Element” and the BladeCenter chassis would also constitute a separate “Managed Element”, with its own IP address (actually the IP address of the Management Module) and its own credentials.
The Management Module
IBM BladeCenter is equipped with a management interface, named the “Management Module”. The Management Module allows administrators to configure, set up, manage and monitor the BladeCenter chassis as well as the blade servers inside.
The Management Module is connected to the network as an independent device with its own IP address. It features a Web-based interface but it can also be accessed through SNMP.
SNMP on the Management Module needs to be specifically enabled and properly configured to allow another host to send SNMP requests.
As Hardware Sentry cannot be installed on the Management Module, the monitoring is performed remotely.
Hardware Sentry connects to the Management Module remotely by using the SNMP protocol.
As no software can be installed on the shared enclosure, Hardware Sentry needs to be installed on a separate system and then configured to poll the Management Module of the chassis over the network.
Most often, Hardware Sentry is installed on a blade in the chassis to be monitored. The advantage is that the hardware monitoring solution is running on the platform itself and there is no need for an external independent system to monitor the IBM BladeCenter chassis. The down side is that the hardware monitoring solution would stop as soon as the blade would be taken down.
- The Management Module of the IBM BladeCenter enclosure must have been configured to operate on the network. The SNMPv1 protocol must have been enabled, and the IP address of the host (where the PATROL Agent and Hardware Sentry will be running) must have been allowed to send SNMP requests to the Management Module.
- The system from which the blade chassis will be monitored must be able to communicate with the Management Module of the chassis. It can run any operating system supported by Hardware Sentry KM.
The PATROL Agent (and thus Hardware Sentry KM) does not support version 2 and 3 of the SNMP protocol. It is recommended to allow “read only” communications only in SNMP v1 on the Management Module. The agent-less version of the solution does however support SNMP v2 and v3.
- Install the PATROL Agent on the system in charge of monitoring the shared chassis if it has not been already done.
- Install Hardware Sentry KM for PATROL on the server (this can be done at the same time as the PATROL Agent). Please follow the instructions of the Installation Guide of Hardware Sentry.
Normally, once installed and properly loaded, Hardware Sentry should monitor the hardware of the local system. If Hardware Sentry has been installed on a blade in the chassis and if the installation procedure for IBM xSeries servers has been carefully followed, it should show the model of the blade (IBM HS20 or HS21, for example) as well as its internal components under an icon simply named “Hardware”.
In order to monitor the BladeCenter chassis:
- right-click on the main “Hardware” icon › KM Commands › Add a Remote System or An External Device…
- Enter a display name for the shared chassis as well as the IP address of the Management Module.
- Select System Type "Management Card/Chip, Blade Chassis, ESXi”.
- Select Manually choose which connectors to use and click Next.
- Select “IBM BladeCenter Management Module” in the connector list and click Next.
- Enter the (read-only) SNMP community string that has been configured on the Management Module, click Next and Finish.
The single “Hardware” icon is renamed “Hardware on localhost” and another icon is created next to it: “Hardware on name of the IBM BladeCenter”.
The following components and parameters are discovered and monitored:
- Chassis model and serial (tag) number
- Temperature sensors, actual temperature
- Fans, speed of each fan in percentage
- Voltage sensors, actual voltage
- Power supplies, status
- Blades, model, serial number, status
Hardware Sentry cannot connect to the IBM BladeCenter Management Module card
- The SNMP v1 protocol is not enabled on the Management Module
- The IP address of the system with the PATROL Agent and Hardware Sentry has not been specifically allowed to perform SNMP requests on the Management Module
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