30 Years

June 11th, 2014

I missed noting it, but 30 years ago on Saturday, June 9th, 1984 I graduated in the third graduating class of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. It was an amazing two years and I’m happy to say that I’m still in touch with many of the people I met there.

The speaker at my graduation was Ron McNair, the first African-American astronaut. Earlier that year, in February, I got to see him launched into space on Space Shuttle mission STS-41-B. Unfortunately, he was one of the seven people killed in the Challenger disaster a couple of year later.

While most people, I would assume, don’t remember the speech given at their high school graduation, I remember him talking about daring to be “a flea weight in a heavy weight world”. I took those words to heart and it is one of the reasons OpenNMS is able to challenge products from the likes of HP and IBM.

I should note that on Sunday, June 10th, 1984, I started working as a machine operator in a plastics injection molding plant in Asheboro, NC. In retrospect, it wouldn’t have hurt me to take a day off but I guess that just how we open source geeks roll.

(grin)

2014 Dev Jam – Day 6

June 7th, 2014

Friday was pretty much the “Dev Jam Results Show”. Mike suggested that the various teams get together and present their work. He recorded it live from his iPhone using Ustream and the raw (and I mean raw) video is available for your viewing pleasure.

The first stream covered the following topics.

Ben, Ron and Matt R. – AngularJS based webUI

That OpenNMS could use a new user interface is a given, and the decision was made to base it on a technology called AngularJS. The first demo shows off some of the work that was done to build a framework for the new GUI.

This includes a “plugin” architecture that will make it easy to add functionality to the system as well as to embed existing code that, while not written in Angular, is still useful. Ron even managed to get KSC reports to run under the new code, complete with dynamic updates.

Work that still remains to be done include formal authentication (currently the new GUI just gets a session cookie from the old one) as well as a greater granularity for ReST permissions, as now normal users get a lot of data and admin users get all the data. This would be very useful for things like multi-tenancy.

Alejandro – Requistion Manager

When we wrote the provisioner, we knew we had something special as no other management system seems to take discovery as seriously as OpenNMS. As more and more people find novel ways of using this system, we realized that the user interface could use some improvement. In this section Alejandro demonstrates the changes he has made to the interface for creating and managing requisitions, also built on Angular.

Craig Gallen – High Frequency Trader GUI

Those of you that follow OpenNMS in the news might have seen a press release a couple of weeks ago from a financial trading services company called TMX Atrium Networks. Dr. Gallen, our man in the UK, worked with them to build an interface for monitoring latency across the network.

Matt and Eric – newts

Yesterday I talked about the New Time Series database that we are building as the data storage backend for OpenNMS. I lifted a lot of that from this portion of the demonstrations. The ability to have an incredibly fast and highly scalable data store is key for our goal of making OpenNMS the de facto network management platform of choice.

The second video stream features a talk about “snee-po”

Seth – SNMnepO

SNMnepO, or OpenNMS spelled backwards, is a project to create a distributed data collector with horizontal scalability. The idea is to add data collection to our remote poller, and Seth’s demonstration shows data collection being performed with the collectd process disabled.

Coupled with the newts data storage backend, this new distributed collector will insure that OpenNMS can scale to meet any data collection needs in the future.

The final stream focuses on work being done by our German team.

Christian – Outage Timeline

Christian demonstrates the new outage timeline that I talked about earlier in the week.

Dustin – RRDtool export via ReST

Dustin shows a new feature that exposes collected data from the RRD files via ReST. This can allow for another integration point where collected data can easily be used by other applications.

Ronny – PRIS

The last demo was done by Ronny (presenting work that was also done by Dustin) on the Provisioning Integration Server (PRIS). As mentioned above, the ability to tightly integrate OpenNMS with provisioning systems is a key feature of the platform. Originally done to integrate with OCS Inventory NG, the system has been extended to allow for integration with pretty much any system.

Considering that these demonstrations were pretty much ad hoc, I was delighted to see how much was accomplished in just a week. It is one of the main reasons I look forward to Dev Jam every year.

We celebrated that evening with a trip to Republic.

Let’s just say the evening went a little downhill from there, but I did manage to make it back to the dorm.

2014 Dev Jam – Day 5

June 6th, 2014

Thursday turned out to be picture day. We had some people leaving a little early so we decided to get our group picture done in the morning. Recently the school added a new Goldy Gopher statue near our dorm, so it was the logical place for a photo.

It also worked out that Goldy would fit in a 3XL OpenNMS shirt (grin)

I even took the opportunity for one of them there “selfie” thingies:

Don’t expect to see many more, but I was told it would be “ironic” (grin).

There was some real work done as well. We are getting much closer to a 1.0 release of newts (http://www.newts.io), the NEW Time Series database built on Cassandra. The speed is pretty amazing, with sustained writes of 50K+ data points per second.

For testing we’ve been using some weather data that contains 1.2 billion data points, but even at 50K per second it takes six hours to import.

Note that this was done on Matt’s laptop and one Cassandra node. On server hardware it should be much faster, and Matt and Eric have worked very hard to make it linearly scalable: two nodes are twice as fast, four nodes are four times as fast, etc.

The whole Internet of Things paradigm requires the ability to manage massive amounts of time series data and we are getting close to making it a reality.

I am also dealing with the reality that I ate way too much pizza in the last 24 hours. Thanks to Chris Rodman and the good people at Papa John’s Pizza, we had a pizza feast:

(burp)

Order of the Blue Polo Update

June 6th, 2014

It has been awhile since we had an entry into the Order of the Blue Polo, so I thought it would be cool to blog about it.

While the Order of the Green Polo (OGP) is the governing body of the OpenNMS Project, we wanted to find a way to recognize users who didn’t quite have the time necessary to dedicate to the project for OGP membership. It also solves a problem for us: we have lots of amazing users of OpenNMS, but we can’t always talk about them.

Membership in the Order of the Blue Polo is pretty straightforward. Simply send us an e-mail on why you like OpenNMS, preferably with a quick list of the number of devices/interfaces/services you are monitoring. If we can publish it on the wiki along with your name and your company’s name, we’ll send you a limited edition blue OpenNMS polo. So please, no gmail.com or yahoo.com e-mails – we really need to be able to verify your company.

This helps us because like attracts like, and perhaps someone will read about how you are using OpenNMS and decide that it fits in with their needs.

The latest entry into the Order comes from Paul Cole, a contractor and Environment Canada. He writes:

I am a contractor working currently for Environment Canada (under Shared services Canada).

It was a beautiful thing to be given the OpenNMS project in order to map out and bring together teams to monitor and work on the very large LAN. A multitude of tools and scripts were used custom to each area, and we are now moving towards unification.

The visibility and baseline abilities of OpenNMS are fantastic, and the new topo-mapping/geo-mapping features are looking fantastic come version 1.14!

Our network size is larger than the current scope of nodes we are testing with, but OpenNMS is managing it pretty smoothly and seamlessly.

I have released some of the scripts I wrote to contribute back to the community that are based on version 1.10-1.12 and hope they help more people realise the power and scalability of the product.

Currently our OpenNMS build is monitoring over 15k nodes and 20k interfaces and 25k or more services (exact numbers can be extracted but it grows every quarter), on an 8 core server with 16GB of RAM using the discovery method.

It is keyed to discover every IP and node it can, and monitor switches/UPSs and routers and select key devices for management, to send email alerts to the appropriate regional teams when a device is down or a specific threshold or alert is received.

I can’t of course send out network diagrams , but I can send a screenshot of the geo-map to give an idea of how it goes.

Anarchy OpenNMS in the UK

June 5th, 2014

OpenNMS has a strong presence in both Europe and the UK, and much of the UK effort is driven by Dr. Craig Gallen.

He has created a new website and newsletter aimed at OpenNMS users in the United Kingdom and Ireland (but, of course, it is open to anyone).

The new website can be found at opennms.co.uk and I think it is pretty spiffy (“spiffy” is a proper English word, correct?). There is also an occasional newletter list focusing on OpenNMS events in the region, so if you are interested in such things please register.

The first big push to raise awareness of OpenNMS as well as provide training is a series of OpenNMS workshops to be held around the area. In Craigs words:

Don’t just expect to be lectured to. This will be a participative event. These workshops will stretch your understanding of Operational Support systems and help you to begin thinking through how you can adapt OpenNMS to address some of the key problems in Network and Service Management.

London – Monday 30 June 2014

Location: University of London Union, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HY

Birmingham – Tuesday 1 July 2014

Location: IET Aston Court, 80 Cambridge Street, Birmingham, B1 2NP

Rochdale (near Manchester) – Wednesday 2 July 2014

Location: Zen Interent Ltd. Sandbrook Park, Sandbrook Way, Rochdale, OL11 1RY

Glasgow – Friday 4 July 2014

Location: IET Glasgow: Teacher Building, 14 St Enoch Square, Glasgow, G1 4DB

There is a cost associated with the workshops, but there are a number of discounts available. There is an early bird discount of 10% if you book before 13 June, and if you are a current commercial support customer or a non-profit there is a further reduction in cost. Also, sending more than one person creates even more discounts.

So if you are a non-profit, buy a commercial support contract and then book a whole bunch of people before 13 June and you’ll be saving money hand over fist (grin).

Visit the Registration Page for more details.

This is a wondeful way to get up to speed on OpenNMS and I appreciate the effort Craig put into making these workshops available.