Net-SNMP SMUX Fails on Ubuntu: A Fix

When trying to set up Dell OpenManage on some servers, I found that SMUX was not working. SMUX is a protocol that allows agents to connect to a SNMP daemon and provide answers to SNMP queries in a portion of the tree.

When working, SNMP should generate this log message in /var/log/daemon.log:

May 11 17:14:18 serverx snmpd[29678]: accepted smux peer: oid SNMPv2-SMI::enterprises.674.10892.1, descr Systems Management SNMP MIB Plug-in Manager

In my case, I saw this instead:

May 11 17:06:59 serverx snmpd[29471]: /etc/snmp/snmpd.conf: line 370: Warning: Unknown token: smuxpeer.

After a long time fussing with SNMP and Dell OpenManage, it turned out that the problem was that the SMUX subsystem was being disabled at daemon startup by an option set in /etc/default/snmpd. Using the -I option will turn on (or off) a particular module used by snmpd. In this case, the line looked like this:

SNMPDOPTS='-Lsd -Lf /dev/null -u snmp -g snmp -I -smux -p /var/run/'

With this configuration, the SMUX module is disabled. For snmpd to support SMUX, the line should look like this instead (removing the -I option and its argument):

SNMPDOPTS='-Lsd -Lf /dev/null -u snmp -g snmp -p /var/run/'

After making the change, restart the daemon:

service snmpd restart

This should then fix problems in using Dell OpenManage (or other SMUX agents). You don’t have to restart Dell OpenManage to make this work, but it should have SNMP enabled (which provides the smuxpeer line in snmpd.conf).

To enable SNMP for Dell OpenManage, use this:

service dataeng enablesnmp

To restart the Dell OpenManage services, don’t use the usual services; use this command instead (which takes care of all Dell OpenManage services): restart

Why SMUX should be disabled I couldn’t say. The system is running Ubuntu 10.04.2 LTS with snmpd

Installing Dell OpenManage with Ubuntu and Red Hat Linux

Dell OpenManage Server Administrator is a program for managing Dell machines. Dell provides support for Windows, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES), and Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).

There is, however, no support for Ubuntu whatsoever and no support for a Red Hat Yum Repository. Both of these failings are somewhat rectified by kind people working for Dell. Instructions from Dell regarding the Ubuntu APT repository and the Red Hat Yum Repository are available. The Dell wiki has more details on the Red Hat repository as well.

Over at Keith’s Code there is a fantastic tutorial on how to get Dell OMSA running on Ubuntu.

To get the yum repository loaded into Red Hat Enterprise Linux, just pull this file from the web and execute it:

wget -q -O - | bash

Note that these directions come from Dell’s repository page and the file itself comes from It pulls in some RPMs that load the repository and update the cache with the available files. This is what the execution looked like for me:

Downloading GPG key:
    Key already exists in RPM, skipping
Downloading GPG key:
    Importing key into RPM.
Write repository configuration
Downloading repository RPM
Installing repository rpm:
Installing yum plugins for system id
Loaded plugins: rhnplugin, security
This system is not subscribed to any channels.
RHN channel support will be disabled.
dell-omsa-indep                                                                                                                       | 1.9 kB     00:00
dell-omsa-indep/primary                                                                                                               |  87 kB     00:00
dell-omsa-indep                                                                                                                                      655/655
dell-omsa-specific                                                                                                                    | 1.9 kB     00:00
dell-omsa-specific/primary                                                                                                            |  87 kB     00:00
dell-omsa-specific                                                                                                                                   655/655
Setting up Install Process
Resolving Dependencies
--> Running transaction check
---> Package yum-dellsysid.x86_64 0:2.2.26-6.2.el5 set to be updated
--> Processing Dependency: smbios-utils-python >= 2.2.0 for package: yum-dellsysid
--> Running transaction check
---> Package smbios-utils-python.x86_64 0:2.2.26-6.2.el5 set to be updated
--> Processing Dependency: python-smbios = 2.2.26-6.2.el5 for package: smbios-utils-python
--> Running transaction check
---> Package python-smbios.x86_64 0:2.2.26-6.2.el5 set to be updated
--> Processing Dependency: libsmbios = 2.2.26-6.2.el5 for package: python-smbios
--> Processing Dependency: python-ctypes for package: python-smbios
--> Running transaction check
---> Package libsmbios.x86_64 0:2.2.26-6.2.el5 set to be updated
---> Package python-ctypes.x86_64 0:1.0.2-1.1.el5 set to be updated
--> Finished Dependency Resolution
Dependencies Resolved
Package                                   Arch                         Version                               Repository                                Size
 yum-dellsysid                             x86_64                       2.2.26-6.2.el5                        dell-omsa-indep                           16 k
Installing for dependencies:
 libsmbios                                 x86_64                       2.2.26-6.2.el5                        dell-omsa-specific                       1.5 M
 python-ctypes                             x86_64                       1.0.2-1.1.el5                         dell-omsa-specific                       215 k
 python-smbios                             x86_64                       2.2.26-6.2.el5                        dell-omsa-specific                        71 k
 smbios-utils-python                       x86_64                       2.2.26-6.2.el5                        dell-omsa-specific                        63 k
Transaction Summary
Install      5 Package(s)
Update       0 Package(s)
Remove       0 Package(s)
Total download size: 1.9 M
Downloading Packages:
(1/5): yum-dellsysid-2.2.26-6.2.el5.x86_64.rpm                                                                                        |  16 kB     00:00
(2/5): smbios-utils-python-2.2.26-6.2.el5.x86_64.rpm                                                                                  |  63 kB     00:00
(3/5): python-smbios-2.2.26-6.2.el5.x86_64.rpm                                                                                        |  71 kB     00:00
(4/5): python-ctypes-1.0.2-1.1.el5.x86_64.rpm                                                                                         | 215 kB     00:00
(5/5): libsmbios-2.2.26-6.2.el5.x86_64.rpm                                                                                            | 1.5 MB     00:06
Total                                                                                                                        222 kB/s | 1.9 MB     00:08
Running rpm_check_debug
Running Transaction Test
Finished Transaction Test
Transaction Test Succeeded
Running Transaction
  Installing     : python-ctypes                                                                                                                         1/5
  Installing     : libsmbios                                                                                                                             2/5
  Installing     : python-smbios                                                                                                                         3/5
  Installing     : smbios-utils-python                                                                                                                   4/5
  Installing     : yum-dellsysid                                                                                                                         5/5
  yum-dellsysid.x86_64 0:2.2.26-6.2.el5
Dependency Installed:
  libsmbios.x86_64 0:2.2.26-6.2.el5 python-ctypes.x86_64 0:1.0.2-1.1.el5 python-smbios.x86_64 0:2.2.26-6.2.el5 smbios-utils-python.x86_64 0:2.2.26-6.2.el5
Loaded plugins: dellsysid, security
Cleaning up Everything

Activating the APT repository on an Ubuntu system is even easier; add this file to /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ and do an apt-get update:

# Get latest Dell OpenManage software
deb /

Dell’s OMSA works with SNMP traps and with IPMI, so make sure that these are fully supported and enabled. There is a good introduction to IPMI from Intel that is often referenced, but is missing: it is available here (and is referenced as 25133701.pdf in links elsewhere). There’s also a good quick overview of IPMI from Terry Gleidt.

A Book Review: “Green IT”

The book Green IT: Reduce Your Information System’s Environmental Impact While Adding to the Bottom Line by Velte, Velte, and Elsenpeter is extremely interesting. Unlike some other books that might go in this direction, this is not a book of theory, nor of political change, nor of persuasion. This is a book for IT staff about how to create a “green” data center and more.

Because of the nature of IT, going “green” can mostly be summed up in one word: electricity. A vast amount of what makes an IT department “green” consists of using less electricity wherever possible. This includes such areas as the corporate data center, the corporate desktops, and much more.

However, the book also gives significant attention to the other big environmental impact of computing: paper. There are a lot of ways to reduce paper use, and this book seems to cover all of them.

The book is in five parts: part I explains why to implement conservation in IT; part II talks about consumption; part III discusses what we as IT users can do individually to help the environment; part IV covers several corporate case studies; and part V expounds on the process of becoming “green” and how to stay that way.

It would have been nice to see more information about how the authors exemplified their suggestions during the creation of the book. The only hint of any environmentally sound practices is the recycled paper logo on the back cover (100% post-consumer fiber). That leaves more questions: did they use thin clients? Did they work from home? Did they use soy ink? Perhaps lastly, where is the e-book?

There is a web site that is set up for the book, but the current breadth of the site is disappointingly anemic. Some of the best web sites for Green IT would be Dell Earth, Intel, as well as IBM’s Green IT and Energy, the Environment, and IBM web sites.

It was interesting to note that HP’s Eco Solutions web site is “heavy” compared to the others – that is, it requires much more processing power to display, and requires a lot more time to download – which translates into more power consumption to view the web site. In addition, IBM and HP are the #1 and #2 in Computerworld’s list of Top Green-IT Vendors – whereas Dell is #6… HP also topped Newsweek’s 2009 list of Greenest Big Companies in America (along with IBM, Intel, and Dell in the top 5).

Data Center Resources (and the Data Center in a Box)

There is an excellent resource (blog?) titled The Server Rack FAQ which has excellent articles, many complete with videos. The writing is excellent and the site appears to be quite comprehensive.

There is another blog called Data Center Links which has lots of good news as well as a good but not overwhelming set of links. Go check the links out!

There is also the Data Center Knowledge web site which seems to be an excellent and frequently updated news source relating to data center topics.

One topic seems to be hot: data centers in a container. Sun came out a while ago with the Sun Modular Datacenter (also known as Project Blackbox). HP has the Performance Optimized Datacenter (POD). Data Center Knowledge has a nice video about the HP POD. There’s also a nice discussion with HP about the POD from NetworkWorld. Dell announced that they will be powering Microsoft’s cloud initiative with data center containers.

Sun Microsystems has a lot of videos, including many about their data center in a box – including a tour or two, as well as an intriguing test of the durability and operational capability of the data center in a box.

Even IBM is in the market with their Enterprise Modular Data Center (EMDC). CNET had a nice article on IBM’s EMDC, as did DataKnowledge.

This is definitely an exciting area to watch.

An up-coming conference is the Data Center World conference in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 8-12, 2009. I can’t speak authoritatively to whether it is good or bad, but I would say given the presenters and topics and so forth, it sounds like a conference to consider.

There are a couple of journals that might be worth checking out: the Data Centre Management journal from the United Kingdom and the Data Center Journal in the United States.