OpsMgr by Example: The Jalasoft Management Pack

This blog entry is the next in a series of Operations Manager-related items which review the steps performed to install, configure and tune management packs in real-world environments.

What is Jalasoft and why would people want to deploy it with Operations Manager 2007? Jalasoft provides extensions which allow OpsMgr to monitor routers & switches as well as Unix based operating systems. The full list includes:

  • APC UPS
  • Availability (ICMP only)
  • Cisco PIX/ASA
  • Cisco Routers
  • Cisco Switches
  • Cisco VPN Concentrators
  • Cisco Wireless
  • F5 Big Ip
  • Generic Network Device
  • HP Procurve Switches
  • Linux MySQL
  • Linux Servers
  • Solaris Servers
  • VMware ESX
  • VMware VirtualCenter

There are a variety of vendors which provide competitive products to the Jalasoft offerings. These vendors include:

  • eXc Software’s management packs and virtual agents
  • Quest’s Management Xtensions
  • nworks VMware Management

For the purposes of this example, we used the standard Jalasoft management packs and the following additional management packs:

  • Cisco Switches & Routers
  • Linux Servers
  • General Availability

Jalasoft Installation:

  • Install and configure Operations Manager 2007, including the reporting components.
  • Read the guides on the Jalasoft products, which are available at: http://www.jalasoft.com/jalasoftweb/jsp/products/xianio/ under the More Information section.
  • Downloaded the Jalasoft evaluation from the same site (http://www.jalasoft.com/jalasoftweb/jsp/products/xianio/).
  • Extracted the files from the XianIo.zip file.
  • Ran the Index.hta and then chose Install Xian Network Manager Io. Installed with a custom installation including all of the programs available.
  • Prerequisite included MSMQ as it is used for communication between the Xian services. This was added through Control Panel Add/Remove programs -> Add/Remove Windows Components -> Application Server -> Details -> Message Queueing.
  • During the installation chose a single server installation, connecting to the existing SQL server in the OpsMgr environment, default database name of XIAN on the default port of 8586, with defaults on the remainder of the configurations.
  • This installs the Xian console which is available on via Start -> Programs -> Xian Network Manager Io -> Xian Network Manager Io. After launching the console, we added the evaluation license provided as part of the download.
  • Installed the management packs for evaluation from the directory where Jalasoft was extracted to within the Management Packs folder. In our case, we added each of the MPs on the top level of the folder but none of the subfolders (APCUPS, Availability, Cisco, F5BigIP, HPProCurveSwitch, NetworkDevice, Solaris, Linux, MySQLServer, and VMWare).
  • Added the management packs (and reporting management packs) for the folders we were implementing: Cisco Routers, Cisco Switches, Linux.
  • Ended up also adding the availability MPs to test with the minimal configuration and impacts to the first sets of clients.

Jalasoft usage:

  • Availability Monitoring: Adding the availability monitoring (IP Test) worked great. We just added the IP address through the Xian console as part of the availability view. The device appeared in the Operations console under Monitoring -> Xian Network Manager -> All Xian Monitored Network Devices. We removed it from the Xian console and it disappeared out of OpsMgr as well. Testing the availability pieces of this included addition of systems which either could not have the agent deployed or were currently not deployed due to network restrictions on the devices. We added several devices, and then configured an ICMP availability rule to create a critical alert if the device was offline (and to create a warning if response time was too slow).
  • Network Monitoring: Deploying network monitoring for Cisco switches and Cisco routers was very straightforward. Adding the IP address and the read-only community string integrated our switches with the Cisco Switches section of the Jalasoft console, which in turn appear within the Operations console -> Monitoring -> Xian Network Manager -> All Xian Monitored Network Devices State. The default configuration provides up/down information only. Addition of rules to the device in the Jalasoft console provided testing for temperature status and device availability.
  • Unix Monitoring: The Unix monitoring component requires installing software on the Unix system (a daemon) (XianServer-3.1.727.5-727.i386.rpm). Once the daemon is deployed, Unix systems are easily added into Jalasoft from a process very similar to the one used for networking devices.

General thoughts on Jalasoft’s solution:

  • The Xian console provides an easy method to integrate with OpsMgr 2007. It is unfortunate however that a separate product needs to be installed on the environment rather than integrating with existing OpsMgr network monitoring functionality.
  • The evaluation version appears to be fully functional and supports up to 10 devices for up to 60 days.
  • Once devices are configured to be monitored by Jalasoft, the actual monitoring does not take place until you configure the specific rules that are active for the device (as an example, adding the ICMP availability active rule to the system being monitored within availability).
  • The integration with OpsMgr was easy to use and was able to provide not only up/down information, but also gather and track performance metrics for the various devices.
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