Archive for the 'OpenNMS – general' Category

STUIv2: Focus on the Network

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

One of the things that really makes me angry is when critics of open source claim that open source doesn’t innovate, despite the fact that the very business model is incredibly innovative and probably the most disruptive thing to happen to the software industry since its inception.

Another example of innovation is in the new network visualization (mapping) software coming in the next release of OpenNMS.

I have been a vocal critic of maps for years. It stems from a time when I was working at a client during the first Internet bubble and my job was pretty much to spend several hours a day moving icons into container objects on the OpenView map. It was mind-numbingly dull work that returned little value. Most experienced network and systems managers move away from maps early on, but often the bosses who tend to make the buying decisions demand it as part of any solution.

Now, I’ve seen “cool” maps so it’s not that maps aren’t cool, it’s just that they tend to require more work to make cool than they save by being useful.

That is about to change with the new OpenNMS Semantic Topology User Interface (STUI).

Before I talk about that, I should mention that OpenNMS has a map. In fact it has a number of them. The first one was built for the Carabinieri in Italy who liked OpenNMS but wanted it to have something like OpenView’s map. Now called the “SVG” map, and it does its job well, as well as any map of that type can.

Then when we built the remote poller we needed a way to represent the pollers’ location geographically, and thus the “distributed” map was born. People liked the geographical representation, so we made it available to all nodes and not just remote pollers with the “geographical” map.

None of this work was really innovative, map-wise. But we started to depart from the norm with the topology map introduced in 1.12.

The topology map was novel in that it lets the user determine the topology to view. By default OpenNMS ships two different topology APIS. One is based on level 2 connections discovered by the “linkd” process, and the other is based on VMWare data showing the relationship between a host machine and its guest operating systems, as well as any network attached storage.

But it doesn’t have to stop there. In JunOS Space, Juniper is able to show connection data through all of its devices by using the API. Any other source of topology data and business intelligence can be added to the OpenNMS system.

However, me, the map hater, still wasn’t sold. While it is fine for smaller networks, what happens when you enter into the realm of tens of thousands of devices? We eventually see OpenNMS as being the platform for managing the Internet of Things, and any type of map we create will have to scale to huge numbers of devices.

Thus the team created the new topology map (STUIv2), available in 1.13 and coming in the next stable OpenNMS release. The key to this implementation is that you can add and remove “focus” from the map. This lets you quickly zoom in to the area of the map that is actually of interest, and then you can navigate around it quickly to both understand network outages as well as to see their impact.

While I like words, it’s probably better if you just check out the video that David created. It’s 20 minutes long and the first ten minutes cover “what has gone before” so if you are pressed for time, jump to the ten minute mark and follow it from there.


I like the fact that the video shows you the workflow from the main UI to the map, but then shows you how you can manage things from the map back to the main UI.

Note that I had nothing to do with this map. I often say that my only true talent is attracting amazing people to work with me, and this just drives that point home.

While I’m still not sold on maps, I am warming up to this one. I got goose bumps around minute 16:45 and then again at 17:30.

It’s great, innovative work and I’m excited to see what the community will do with this new tool.

OpenNMS, RANCID and Juniper

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

Just a quick note that I was about to get the RANCID integration working on my OpenNMS instance with our Juniper SRX router.

We used to use a Cisco router but switched to Juniper last year. I hadn’t had time to mess with the integration but a client asked to see it so I decided to see what was involved in making the change.

I changed the password but while it connected, the logs just complained about timing out. I found this helpful post that pointed out that the “root” user in JunOS is dropped into the BSD interface and not the CLI interface.

To fix that, I created a new “rancid” user:

set system login user rancid class super-user authentication plain-text-password

and entered in a new password. Once committed, I edited .cloginrc with the new credentials and then RANCID was able to successfully talk to the SRX.

OpenNMS Users Conference Call for Papers

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

In case you missed it, the Call for Papers for next year’s OpenNMS Users Conference is now open.

In my ten plus years of working on OpenNMS, I think the thing I am most proud of is the formation of the non-profit OpenNMS Foundation Europe e.V.. This was organized totally by people not on the payroll of The OpenNMS Group and their inaugural conference in Fulda, Germany, last year was a lot of fun.

Their sophomore effort will take place is Southampton, UK a little later in the year so perhaps we’ll miss the snow. It is one of my favorite events of the year and I hope to see a lot of people there. OpenNMS is created in something of a bubble. Since we don’t require any form of registration to get the software we have no idea who is using it, and we are often pleasantly surprised to find out where OpenNMS ends up. I can’t wait to see who shows up in April.

Registration is not yet open, but they are interested in hearing from you. The users conference is about users by users and your stories are what’s in demand.

Linuxquestions Poll

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

The annual Network Management Application poll is up at We tend not to do well in polls like this, but if you feel the spirit move you we’d love your vote.

Note that you’ll need to register as a user to vote in this poll. Vote early and often. (grin)

OpenNMS: Esencial Para Redes de ComunicaciĆ³n

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

One thing I love about the OpenNMS community is its global reach. I never know from which new country I’ll learn about people using OpenNMS.

Votar en los Premios PortalProgramas al software libre

For example, I just learned that OpenNMS has been nominated for an award on PortalPrograms, a Spanish website promoting free software.

While OpenNMS doesn’t have the wide appeal of programs like Nagios, it is still cool to be nominated. Plus, I think other nominees like Debian and the Tor Project are more important to the free software movement (and freedom in general) than we are, but since it is sometimes hard to know when working in free software if anyone finds what you do valuable, it’s nice to get this sort of validation.

Voting is pretty easy – just enter in your e-mail address and click on the confirmation link when it arrives. I’d welcome your vote for OpenNMS and be sure to check out the other categories and nominees.