Wednesday, 14 October 2009

How To Create Linux LVM In 3 Minutes

What’s LVM? Why using Linux Logical Volume Manager or LVM?

These questions are not the scope here. But in brief, the most attractive feature of Logical Volume Manager is to make disk management easier in Linux! Basically, LVM allows users to dynamically extend or shrink Linux “partition” or file system in online mode! The LVM can resize volume groups (VG) online by adding new physical volumes (PV) or rejecting those existing PVs attached to VG.

A visualized concept diagram of the Linux Logical Volume Manager or LVM.

A visualized concept diagram of the Linux Logical Volume Manager or LVM

In this 3-minutes Linux LVM guide, let’s assume that
  • The LVM is not currently configured or in used. Having say that, this is the LVM tutorial if you’re going to setup LVM from the ground up on a production Linux server with a new SATA / SCSI hard disk.
  • Without a luxury server hardware, I tested this LVM tutorial on PC with the secondary hard disk dedicated for LVM setup. So, the Linux dev file of secondary IDE hard disk will be /dev/hdb (or /dev/sdb for SCSI hard disk).
  • This guide is fully tested in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 with Logical Volume Manager 2 (LVM2) run-time environment (LVM version 2.00.31 2004-12-12, Library version 1.00.19-ioctl 2004-07-03, Driver version 4.1.0)!

How to setup Linux LVM in 3 minutes at command line?
  1. Login with root user ID and try to avoid using sudo command for simplicity reason.
  2. Using the whole secondary hard disk for LVM partition:
    fdisk /dev/hdb

    At the Linux fdisk command prompt,
    1. press n to create a new disk partition,
    2. press p to create a primary disk partition,
    3. press 1 to denote it as 1st disk partition,
    4. press ENTER twice to accept the default of 1st and last cylinder – to convert the whole secondary hard disk to a single disk partition,
    5. press t (will automatically select the only partition – partition 1) to change the default Linux partition type (0×83) to LVM partition type (0×8e),
    6. press L to list all the currently supported partition type,
    7. press 8e (as per the L listing) to change partition 1 to 8e, i.e. Linux LVM partition type,
    8. press p to display the secondary hard disk partition setup. Please take note that the first partition is denoted as /dev/hdb1 in Linux,
    9. press w to write the partition table and exit fdisk upon completion.

  3. Next, this LVM command will create a LVM physical volume (PV) on a regular hard disk or partition:
    pvcreate /dev/hdb1
  4. Now, another LVM command to create a LVM volume group (VG) called vg0 with a physical extent size (PE size) of 16MB:
    vgcreate -s 16M vg0 /dev/hdb1

    Be properly planning ahead of PE size before creating a volume group with vgcreate -s option!
  5. Create a 400MB logical volume (LV) called lvol0 on volume group vg0:
    lvcreate -L 400M -n lvol0 vg0

    This lvcreate command will create a softlink /dev/vg0/lvol0 point to a correspondence block device file called /dev/mapper/vg0-lvol0.
  6. The Linux LVM setup is almost done. Now is the time to format logical volume lvol0 to create a Red Hat Linux supported file system, i.e. EXT3 file system, with 1% reserved block count:
    mkfs -t ext3 -m 1 -v /dev/vg0/lvol0
  7. Create a mount point before mounting the new EXT3 file system:
    mkdir /mnt/vfs
  8. The last step of this LVM tutorial – mount the new EXT3 file system created on logical volume lvol0 of LVM to /mnt/vfs mount point:
    mount -t ext3 /dev/vg0/lvol0 /mnt/vfs

To confirm the LVM setup has been completed successfully, the df -h command should display these similar message:

/dev/mapper/vg0-lvol0 388M 11M 374M 3% /mnt/vfs

Some of the useful LVM commands reference:
vgdisplay vg0
To check or display volume group setting, such as physical size (PE Size), volume group name (VG name), maximum logical volumes (Max LV), maximum physical volume (Max PV), etc.
To check or list all physical volumes (PV) created for volume group (VG) in the current system.
To dynamically adding more physical volume (PV), i.e. through new hard disk or disk partition, to an existing volume group (VG) in online mode. You’ll have to manually execute vgextend after pvcreate command that create LVM physical volume (PV).

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Snmpd filling up /var/log/messages

Update May 2009: This post has generated lots of alternative ideas in the comments so make sure you read through them to see what might work for your server.
At work we have a central monitoring system for servers called Solarwinds Orion Network Manager, this uses standard snmp connections to servers to get their status, disk usage, CPU performance.
On my RHEL5 linux servers the standard snmpd daemon works well with Solarwinds but the monitoring server seems to make a lot of connections to the system and each one gets logged via the syslog daemon to /var/log/messages giving rise to lots of lines saying things like

snmpd[345435]: Connection from UDP: []:135

last message repeated 8 times

last message repeated 13 times

These are only information messages saying a connection has been established. This is rather annoying when you are trying to read other things in /var/log/messages. The way to turn off these messages is to change the logging options of the snmpd daemons.

On Redhat ( and Ubuntu) the default logging ( the -L options ) show:–

-Ls d

Meaning log to syslog using the facility of daemon ( see syslogd and syslog.conf for more information on what that means in detail, for now suffice it to say it means all messages are written to /var/log/messages ).

The man pages for snmpcmd ( common to all net-snmp programmes ) explain you can set this to only log messages above a certain priority.

Using priorities 0-4 means warning messages, errors, alerts and critical etc messages are logged but notice info and debug level messages are ignored.

The manual pages are not that clear, to me at least at first, hence this blog.

So if we change the -Ls d to the following this will stop those messages but still allow important messages to get through:–

LS 0-4 d

The capital S is crucial to the syntax.

So where and how do we set these options? Well the snmpd daemon is started by a standard init script /etc/init.d/snmpd

In both RHEL5 and Ubuntu the scripts have some default options but also read in settings from a config file. In Ubuntu the relevant portion of the script is:-

SNMPDOPTS=’-Lsd -Lf /dev/null -p /var/run/’
TRAPDOPTS=’-Lsd -p /var/run/’
#Reads config file (will override defaults above)
[ -r /etc/default/snmpd] && . /etc/default/snmpd

So this sets the variable SNMPDOPTS to the default value and then if the file /etc/default/snmpd is readable it “sources” the content of that file.

Thus if /etc/default/snmpd contains the line

SNMPDOPTS='-LS 0-4 d -Lf /dev/null -p /var/run/'

Then stopping and starting the snmpd daemon will make it run with the new logging options we want.

sudo /etc/init.d/snmpd restart

In RHEL5 the equivalent file is /etc/snmp/snmpd.options and the equivalent variable is OPTIONS rather than SNMPDOPTS

Now there could be security implications to not recording the IP address of every SNMP request on your server in case some other system is connecting that shouldn’t be, but there are ways with community strings and other authentication options for SNMP to reduce the risk of that.

All in all the I think the risk of missing an important message in /var/log/messages outweighs the risks from not logging the snmpd messages.

Hey look a whole post and I never mentioned FTP once :o )