Bill Arlofski's blog

Automatically enabling/disabling removable vchanger volumes in Bacula database based on current availability

20130418 - Script re-written to utilize bconsole's "sqlquery" command to increase efficiency

Thanks to Josh Fisher for vchanger, and for recently sharing a few scripts on the Bacula mailing list which allow you to easily enable or disable all volumes in a pool, or all volumes on a vchanger magazine.

Making sure that only currently available volumes are enabled in Bacula's database solves a few issues - especially when using multiple removable magazines with vchanger.

The following script may be run manually when you swap removable media, or as a RunScript in an "Admin" type Bacula job. It will automatically determine which vchanger magazine(s) are inserted and available and will use bconsole's sqlquery command to to set the "Enabled" field in the Bacula database for all available volumes accordingly.

Encrypted offsite backups on auto-mounted media with Bacula & vchanger

Since backups are the most important process regardless of what industry you are in, it pays to put a lot of thought into creating a reliable, easy-to-use, scalable, and secure backup solution.

Why reliable?
This should be pretty obvious. Without a reliable backup solution that "just works" you can not be 100% sure that you will be able to restore any data at any time, and this clearly a bad thing. Files are lost or accidentally deleted by users and there is no excuse for not being able to restore this data.

Why easy-to-use?
If your backup process is not simple and painless for the end users (eg: the person or persons responsible for rotating the backup media) then sooner or later shortcuts will be taken, steps will be skipped, errors or warnings will be ignored, and you will not have the data you need when disaster strikes - and it will strike, it's just a matter of time.

Why Scalable?
How much data are you backing up today? Tomorrow? Next week, month, year? If you build a backup system to only handle your current needs, it will surely need to be replaced sooner than you'd think. You want to make sure that the backup solution you build will take care of your needs now and will continue to work into the future with minor adjustments rather than needing to be completely replaced in a year or two

Why Secure?
The only thing more important than having good offsite backups of your data is making sure that someone else does not have access to your data. This is where encryption comes in. If your backups are written to an encrypted device (hard drive, tape drive, CDROM, etc) then you can safely transport your backup media on a regular schedule to an off-site location without the fear of your data being compromised.

Monitoring Quantum Superloader Tape Libraries with Xymon

For the past several years Quantum's "Superloader3" tape libraries have been our device of choice when specifying a tape backup library solution for our clients.

The Superloaders are easy to set up and have proven to be one of the most reliable devices we have had the pleasure of working with - and when it comes to backups, reliability is key.

Regardless of the reliability of the tape library itself, there are other factors that can adversely affect your backups, including drives that require cleaning, bad or broken tapes or other miscellaneous issues.

When these issues occur it pays to be proctive by monitoring your tape library so that you may be made aware of these types of things as quickly as possible.

With Xymon being our preferred monitoring solution, naturally we would write a Xymon script to monitor our Superloader tape libraries. Our xymon_quantumsuperloader_check.sh script reports quite a bit of information about the Superloader including the library's time, autoloader & drive status and firmware versions.

In addition to this basic informational reporting, the script can also report the barcodes of the tapes in each slot of the Superloader's two removable magazines and can set an alert on any drive or tape errors reported.

The latest version of this script and instructions to install it on your Xymon server may be found HERE.

posted from my Nokia N900

Monitoring m0n0wall firewalls with Xymon

At Reverse Polarity, we have been installing, configuring, managing and supporting m0n0wall firewalls since we found the m0n0wall firewall project in 2005.

From the m0n0wall website: "m0n0wall is a project aimed at creating a complete, embedded firewall software package that, when used together with an embedded PC, provides all the important features of commercial firewall boxes (including ease of use) at a fraction of the price (free software)."

With so many of our managed m0n0wall firewalls installed it is only sensible to assume that we would know the status (including version, platform and uptime) of them. That would be a good assumption. :)

For quite some time now, we have been monitoring our clients' networks and servers with Xymon so it only makes sense that we would use Xymon to monitor our clients' firewalls as well.

We have recently posted our xymon_m0n0CFG.rb script which reports back to our Xymon server the version, platform, uptime, last config change, and notes fields of each of our managed m0n0wall firewalls. In addition to simply reporting back these informational fields, the script will also set a yellow alert if a firewall has been up for less than 24 hours, or if the configuration has been recently modified.

Instructions for installing the xymon_m0n0CFG.rb script, as well as the latest version of the script may be found HERE.

posted from my Nokia N900