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GUI-Based Asset-Tracking Tools For a Datacenter? 113

Posted by timothy
from the your-gigantic-whiteboard dept.
toruonu writes "How do you keep track of what's in your datacenter, where it is, what it's connected to and what is it doing right now? I mean I have built a datacenter from scratch over the years and I have machines from Sun, IBM, HP, Supermicro. I have machines that are simple workernodes and machines that are heavy grade storage consolidation machines. Then there are tens of switches, some for interconnect, some for management and don't get me started on the UPSs etc. So how does one keep any kind of decent track of such a system as the current form of twiki pages with various tables just doesn't cut it anymore and I'm looking for a freeware solution that could actually show me a visual representation of the various nodes in the racks, their connections and dependencies. Just to give a simple example, if I'm going to disconnect UPS #3 right now and swap switch #5, which machines should I even consider taking offline?" (The best-looking such system I've seen was being used at OSCON at a display booth for the Open Source Lab, and I think it was home-grown. Anyone who can shed light on that system?)
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GUI-Based Asset-Tracking Tools For a Datacenter?

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  • by Dice (109560) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @04:30PM (#31945274)

    Rows for hosts, columns for PDU, switch and console ports. Additional rows for asset tag information, unit manufacturer, model number, serial number. Last row for notes on the system, e.g. any historical hardware issues that may be relevant.

    • Re:A spreadsheet (Score:4, Insightful)

      by MisterFuRR (311169) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @04:32PM (#31945298) Journal

      Rows for hosts, columns for PDU, switch and console ports. Additional rows for asset tag information, unit manufacturer, model number, serial number. Last row for notes on the system, e.g. any historical hardware issues that may be relevant.

      Because *that* scales well...

      • Rows for hosts, columns for PDU, switch and console ports. Additional rows for asset tag information, unit manufacturer, model number, serial number. Last row for notes on the system, e.g. any historical hardware issues that may be relevant.

        Because *that* scales well...

        Modded troll by someone who has never had to work with a messed up and out of date spreadsheet designed for a 10 node system that has now grown to well over 100 nodes.

    • Re:A spreadsheet (Score:4, Insightful)

      by MBGMorden (803437) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @04:32PM (#31945308)

      And gets limited to a single user, or passing around the file and worrying about who has the latest copy, etc.

      Spreadsheets make piss-poor databases. You could code up a simple app + database system to do that in less than 2 days.

      • by Colin Smith (2679)

        You could code up a simple app + database system to do that in less than 2 days.

        Go on then. Show us how good you are.

         

        • CRUD.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PhpCodeGenie [wikipedia.org]

          1. Download, extract.
          2. Twiddle bits
          3. Create table space
          4. ??
          5. Profit

          Total time depends on your skills, but really, most of the real work has been done.

        • by MBGMorden (803437)

          If you're willing to pay me for my time, sure I'll develop it. Unless you honestly think I'm going to donate 12-16 hours of development time to some random guy on Slashdot for the heck of it?

          The reality is it takes all of 20 minutes to setup a database that keeps track of as much info as the GP's spreadsheet idea does. If you can't wrap an interface around that in 2 days then I just pity you.

          A full fledged application? Yeah, it'll take a bit longer. But something small in place of a half-assed spreadshe

      • by Dice (109560)

        It works fine for a single digit thousands of hosts and three sysadmins, which is what I use it for. Concurrent write access isn't really an issue since updates are fairly infrequent and it's obvious who should have the write lock on the spreadsheet, that being the guy in the datacenter who's installing or removing equipment.

        An app would be nice, but it wouldn't provide any real benefit over the spreadsheet model until it was extended to touch on other areas of datacenter operations. Something like RedHat's

    • The best part about this is that you can translate Serial numbers and service tags into quantifiable units and create some pretty good line graphs and pie charts.

  • Not free or open source. I think IBM Tivoli Application Dependency Discovery Manager or TADDM (what a name) can help you discover the machines and dependencis you had there. http://www-01.ibm.com/software/tivoli/products/taddm/ [ibm.com] But i don't know if it will help ou with your example of the UPS. And it will cost you the left nut and half of the other.
  • by sznupi (719324) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @04:36PM (#31945380) Homepage

    Might be close enough, I guess...since that's essentially what you want to do, map some aspects of the "electronic mind" that's under your care.

    Wikipedia seems to hava a list perfectly adequate as a starting point
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mind_mapping_software [wikipedia.org]

    • by andr00oo (915001)
      Mindmap? Its a nice idea, but Mindmaps are really a hierarchy and datacentres aren't really. Lets say you started with your Datacentre in the middle and you had a bunch of branches for the racks and a bunch of branches for the switches. The servers in the racks need to connect to the switches as well. The model doesn't fit that well. Andr00oo
      • by sznupi (719324)

        You mean datacenters have several interconnected hierarchies? Mind maps always could model that - apart from the "iconic" tree/star you could set particular shapes or colors for each box, you have another two hierarchies right there. Two trees can sensibly branch from opposing sides of the screen and connect to common boxes. Or the map can simply have a bit of depth, with you choosing which group of connections to show, and which to make more "translucent".

        I do not know if available free software can do it

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by andr00oo (915001)
          You might be right, but my concept of mind maps (and I shamelessly copied the wording from Wikipedia) is that a mind map "is based on radial hierarchies and tree structures denoting relationships with a central governing concept". You might be thinking of a Concept Map: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concept_mapping [wikipedia.org]
      • by sznupi (719324)

        And how could I forget to mention that, at least to some degree (where it makes sense), distribution of boxes on a mind map can follow quite closely physical arrangement of you datacenter.

  • Racktables (Score:5, Informative)

    by MBGMorden (803437) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @04:37PM (#31945384)

    Not sure if it meets his needs exactly, but I've used http://racktables.org/ [racktables.org] in the past and it's worked well for keeping track of a small-ish datacenter (about 400 sqft with 7 full size racks and a couple dozen servers).

  • by middlemen (765373) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @04:38PM (#31945418) Homepage
    A couple of weeks ago there was this company called Bright Computing, that was pitching their software called Cluster Manager, which looked very cool as they had an excellent interface and could keep track of everything from machines, to routers, switches, power usage etc. Something to look into.

    http://www.brightcomputing.com/ [brightcomputing.com]
  • I use Nagios (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ircmaxell (1117387) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @04:39PM (#31945424) Homepage
    I use Nagios for that kind of thing. Don't get me wrong, it isn't "perfect" at it, but it does a decent job once setup. If you use parenting in the configuration files, you can click on "network map", and immediately see each hosts' dependencies. And IIRC there are comment fields that you can write misc information (such as rack position, switch position, model, make, etc)... And it's free...
    • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary.yahoo@com> on Thursday April 22, 2010 @04:48PM (#31945540) Journal

      It does automated network scanning for assets, asset tracking, alerts and notifications, SNMP data collection, reporting, and yes, it has a .svg based network mapper that you can customize with your own graphics. It comes with MIBS for hundreds of devices, but you can easily import your own MIBS for unsupported devices. It's open source, of course. Nagios is just a bunch of disassembled parts. You have to wire it together for each device. Adding new devices is a pain: you have to install the Nagios monitors on each new device. Nagios does not speak SNMP! OpenNMS does speak SNMP, and it will autoscan networks for devices, and devices for capabilities. Adding thousands of devices at a time is a snap. Plus, OpenNMS uses a modular architecture that scales well. We use it on a network consisting of over 2,000 clients at 50 offices, 30 IBM Blade servers hosting hundreds of VMWare virtual hosts, and innumerable network devices, printers, etc.

      • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

        I'll second this. Once upon a time I spent weeks trying to get a Nagios setup working the way I wanted until I eventually abandoned it. Recently discovered OpenNMS, and while it's far from perfect it is a huge step up from Nagios. One thing I will warn though, it's a bit of a beast. Full SNMP collection on a few hundred devices requires some decent processing power and a boatload of I/O.

      • Wow, does that ever read like a sales pitch...

        I've heard horror stories setting up Nagios, but to be honest, my setup was a breeze. I did the smart thing, and wrote templates for each kind of device I'd be using, and then setup Puppet to push new Linux servers into Nagios (and set them up properly) automatically. For my windows computers, AD automatically sets everything up for me (with the exception of adding the server to Nagios, which is done via a shell script). Granted, I have a small system now (
        • by mu51c10rd (187182)

          I switched from Nagios to OpenNMS as well. With OpenNMS, I ran the yum install, put in my IP ranges and community strings, and that was it. It discovered, monitored, and graphed Cisco, Windows, and Linux boxes common services after 2 minutes of configuration (literally). No horror story about Nagios, OpenNMS just scaled better and required no shell scripts or setup really.

        • by dissy (172727)

          And for the record, Nagios does do SNMP

          What the parent was referring to is the fact Nagios itself internally does NOT do SNMP, nor see any SNMP data what so ever outside of a preprocessed result code.
          Nagios uses external programs (Mosty perl, but anything that can spit out exit codes and stdout text will work) which are what uses SNMP.

          All of my SNMP monitored devices are polled by perl scripts that came with Nagios. All Nagios sees from them is a return code with one of three states, not the SNMP data.

          While most people tell you to setup MRTG or

      • by PhrstBrn (751463)
        Nagios + Check_Mk + PNP + NagVis has worked well for us as a platform.
        • Nagios for notifications
        • Check_MK is a monitoring plugin for Nagios. It does a bit better job than something like NRPE, it creates only one active check per server, and all the other services become passive checks. Increases performance, and does a lot of auto configuration for you.
        • PNP4Nagios for RRD graphs/trending. It integrates well with nagios for performance data.

        • NagVis is what the OP might be looking for. It allows you to upl
    • I use Zabbix (Score:2, Interesting)

      by ObscureCoder (678815)
      Since others are adding their "I use $product" I might as well do the same...

      I use Zabbix to monitor everything. It will monitor just about everything out there and isn't just limited to SNMP like OpenNMS. It is much easier to install, configure, and maintain then Nagios and it has much prettier graphs and management tools then Cacti.

      The reason why Zabbix stands out from the others to me is because of how well it functions in the server room for monitoring, alerting, and self healing plus when managemen

  • Pay for it. (Score:5, Funny)

    by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @04:39PM (#31945426)

    This problem has several paid solutions, all of which work fairly well, and make maintaining a data center the job of one person, instead of 20 people looking at a spreadsheet and log files. I haven't found an open-source package that is nearly as competent as the integrated solutions offered by HP, IBM and others. Warning: sticker-shock is included. Bonus: PHBs like looking at pretty pictures, and all the commercial tracking software produces pretty pictures. Your PHB looks like a super-hero to his PHBs, and you become an invaluable asset to your PHB for making him look good.

    • I finally just wrote my own system for tracking all the connections in the datacenter at my last job, unfotunately that former boss did not wish to OSS it, nor sell the product to outsiders. I wish I had it at my current job.

      That being said, it is actually suprisingly simple to write your own system, the only difficult part at all is creating the different templates for all the different objects you use, other than that, its a very simple database of objects, and connections.

  • Human input (Score:3, Interesting)

    by spaceman375 (780812) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @04:39PM (#31945440)
    I don't know your solution, but I can tell you it will involve automatic network mapping and polling of services. You need to find a solution that relies on human input as little as possible. Otherwise documentation gets out of date, no longer trustworthy, leading to lack of incentive to update it, ... With a big budget, I'd go for RFID on everything, with local readers doing triangulation. That's the only way to really track physical objects. Add that to the maps that network discovery makes and you've got what you need.
  • I've been trying to find something for over a year to do just that.

    Nothing meets all my needs yet.

    Right now I'm using racktables [racktables.org],Open-AudIT [open-audit.org] and some stuff I wrote to fill in the gaps.

    The real problem of course is getting all the techs to actually update stuff when they move it.

    • I was very intrigued by Open-AudIT. So much so, that I downloaded it. I looked at the source. And then I promptly deleted it. The few files I looked into could be used in a book for how NOT to program PHP. Too bad too. It looked like it had potential...
      • by Lennie (16154)

        Yeah shocking.

        I do think if someone took the time to clean that up it would be a big improvement.

        The advantage is, almost anyone could do it, with some directions, it just takes time.

  • Rackview (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The system used to visualize the OSUOSL lab is called Rackview.

    http://rackview.sourceforge.net/

  • Rackmonkey (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tigerknight (305542) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @04:44PM (#31945494) Homepage

    http://flux.org.uk/projects/rackmonkey/

    This is what I use to keep track of the racks in my work's facility. It allows you to put in a whole lot more than just simple rack location. It's a wonderful tool.

  • Many of the older IBMs (and probably the newer ones?) came with (by default or as an option) asset tracking capabilities - I know all of my smaller ones had them by default (including the RFID unit) - though my bigger ones do not come with them (I guess because you'd need a few people or a forklift to move them). You may want to look into that for your IBM servers. It included (among other features) RFID tracking to know when/if a machine was moved, moving, being removed, etc.
  • Pen and paper has been proven to be have the highest ROI, ease of use, enterprise scalability, and most importantly, security, of any inventory solution. It is also an extremely dynamic application, allowing an unprecedented degree of freedom in the form of sketches, diagrams, language flexibility, etc. Also, since manufacturers conform to the process of using ink and paper to print ID tags and model numbers on their equipment, this application will seamlessly integrate. It is extensible with self-adhes
    • by Em Emalb (452530)

      NOOB! Everyone knows PENCIL and paper is so much more efficient than pen and paper.

      Sheesh. Pen and Paper. LAWLS.

  • We wrote our own... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Fallen Kell (165468) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @04:47PM (#31945522)
    Seriously, we looked all over for something, but nothing fit. Grant it, we did this back in 2000-2001 timeframe. We setup a mysql database, and wrote up a website with php which was the interface. We scanned in floor plans of the buildings and setup an image clickmap for all the cubicles/locations on the floor plans and had them all point to a unique location_id. The location_id's were one of the keys in the datbase to track the hardware.

    So you could litterally navigate to a particular building/floor, and then click on the cube/location and it will then show a list of all the equipment in that area. You can add new hardware to that location or click on a piece of hardware and view its information (CPU type/speed, hostname, IP address, MAC address, RAM, etc..) and if it moved to a new location, you click on a "move" button, and it opens up the list of buildings/floor plans and you simply navigate and click on the place where it moved to, and then update the database record.

    We add some more sophisticated features like barcodes to cubicles and to the systems themselves and you can go around with a barcode scanner hooked up to a laptop and simply scan the barcode on a cubicle, and then scan all the barcodes of equipment in the cubicle and it would automatically associate all that equipment with that particular location (and if it was a new piece of equipment, it would open the form to add the equipment into the database).
    • Another vote for the home-brew option.

      I built the web interface that we are using at work to track server information. Due to the fact that it was built completely from scratch (using Perl, that language that so many people claim is dying a slow painful death), we were able to customize it to integrate into a number of other systems such as equipment locations, IP address management, Nagios service monitoring (currently monitoring over 13000 services), server bandwidth usage tracking, internal issue trackin

      • by Lennie (16154)

        The problem with home-brew is, we are all inventing the same wheels, over and over again. And what for ?

        • The problem with home-brew is, we are all inventing the same wheels, over and over again. And what for ?

          Because we were told to "make it work". We weren't given a budget so we couldn't go out and buy something off the shelf. And we didn't see an open source tool that could combine all of those functions into a single easy-to-use interface. Regardless of what existing tool we started with, we would have to hack on several other systems just to make it work. Rather than reverse engineering 4-5 different software tools and hacking them all together into one interface, then figuring out how to connect it to our b

  • I used Numara Track-It! [numarasoftware.com] for a few years while doing desktop/server admin. There are some nice auditing tools in there which grab all the hardware and software info automatically. It is highly configurable too. I'm sure there are better solutions out there, but that is what I used.
  • I work for a descent size bank and we tried Mercury Application Mapping (bought out my HP). It uses nmap which security freaked out over. Once it goes out and finds everything, it draws lines to and from each component. It does this by looking at certain config files in each app (web, app, db, etc.) which was cool but permissions were a hassle. In the long run it took quite a lot of effort to get anything out of the package and we eventually scrapped it completely. It costs big bucks or at least it did for

  • GLPI [glpi-project.org], works well for us, and it's GPL, what more can you ask ?
  • We use a wiki (XWiki) with various tables to match machines to replacement FRUs, diagrams done in Dia (or OmniGraffle), and a homegrown inventory DB in MySQL to track parts & other equipment availability. There's no magic solution. You just need to pick a tool and make your staff stick to it. Here, what works well is distributing responsbility for various subsystems to different admins, so that no one admin is overwhelmed with administrative work. You need an FC controller board, you go talk to the
  • by ramereth (752738) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @05:08PM (#31945828)

    The project you saw at OSCON was called RAIV (Rack And Inventory Viewer). Unfortunately it ran into a dead-end and is currently vapor-ware. Currently we're using an internal CakePHP webapp for basic inventory and customer tracking, but its very buggy and lacks many features.

    We are in the midst of working on a completely new project that will cover many of the problems mentioned in this article and beyond. Think of it like an open source datacenter management webapp and backend. Its still in the planning stages, but the intent is to have a plugin based system where you can use the inventory plugin, DNS/DHCP plugin (to replace maintain), virtualization management (deployment and console access), etc all in one interface. The idea is to create an admin interface and a customer interface so that they can access and see information about their environment. We're far from having a demoed project but we hope to have something soon.

    • by timothy (36799) * Works for Slashdot

      Interesting! Thanks for the reply.

      What I liked, being a visual person, was the way that things on-screen were easily matched w/ their physical counterparts. I'm in charge (for good reason) of *nobody's* data center, but I was taken by that system's use of graphics. I would imagine not being impressed by abstract representations and cute names if a certain machine is on the fritz at 3:31 a.m.

      timothy

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by size1one (630807)

        RAIV wasn't graphical at all, so you must be thinking of the virtual server room tour we put together 2 years ago.

        The code for that is here: http://git.osuosl.org/?p=rackview.git [osuosl.org]

        however theres no documentation, and likely doesn't work with the latest version of openlaszlo. It wasn't tied into our inventory system at all. I manually merged several different sources into a single xml file. We've since moved away from laszlo in favor of html+css+javascript+svg. Eventually we might rewrite this, but hav

    • by charlesnw (843045)
      Have you ever heard of OpenQRM? It sounds almost exactly like what you mentioned. :)
      • by ramereth (752738)
        No I hadn't. Thanks for the tip! We'll certainly check it out and see how viable it is.
  • I looked at this solution -> We will probably get it:

    IT Asset Management (ITAM) is becoming an increasingly important, yet difficult responsibility as the number of IT assets increases exponentially. Trying to keep track of mobile assets adds to the complexity. Surprisingly many organizations still use time-consuming manual pencil and paper, or barcode processes to track IT assets. Not only are these processes extremely labor intensive, they are often prone to human error. RFID technology can be leverage

  • We took measurements of everything and put it in visio to scale. An overhead view and at least a front view of each rack works well. That's for the visual part. For the connections, use a database so it can be easily queried and traced. Full dependency reports may take some SQL wizardry, but can be accomplished if the DB is carefully designed.
  • Automated inventory programs seem like the answer to a prayer. Unfortunately, the reality is that they're kinda disappointing. The big problem with this stuff is that it isn't psychic. Some very important pieces of information (like the physical location of the machine) can't be automatically determined. I see someone getting ready to reply with something about IP addresses; that's not as useful as you might imagine - IP addresses tend to change over time. The best you can do with IP addresses is determini

    • So if you know the network topology to anchor to and enforce discipline in wiring, you can derive specific location from the network (i.e. this is the way xCAT correlates physical location to a logical entity). If you use near-rack edge switches, even if you are weak in your discipline, it at least narrows it down to the rack.

      xCAT's approach is straightforward, it tracks either what is attached to an ethernet port or a physical blade bay.

      It is by no means a complete 'answer' to the whole problem (it will c

    • You've got three problems:

      1. Physical.
      1a. Location. Could be a room number, a ceiling space in a hall. (leaf switches tend to live here in many buildings) If it's a server room you need rack and level information.

      1b. What it is. Size, maker, asset tag number, Stuff you can't find from an ssh login.

      2. Topological:
      2a. Network connectivity. What wires to what. Some of this can be mapped automatically. Ping, followed by arp gives you the MAC/IP mapping. Most managed switches can give you a MAC/Port m

  • I used a somewhat customized version of nVentory http://sourceforge.net/projects/nventory/ to manage my data center. The nice thing about it is that you can build clients that connect, update and register themselves through a RESTful interface. It comes with a working linux client, other clients are pretty trivial to make using the linux client as an example.

  • by hwk_br (570932)
    I'm testing Zenoss which tracks SNMP events, SSH commands to linux and darwin nodes like df and ifconfig, and WMI. If you are organized on the switches and hostnames, it can really help! \m/
  • http://opennetadmin.com/ [opennetadmin.com] OpenNetAdmin provides a database managed inventory of your IP network. Each host can be tracked via a centralized AJAX enabled web interface that can help reduce tracking errors. A full CLI interface is available as well to use for scripting and bulk work. We hope to provide a useful Network Management application for managing your IP subnets and hosts. Stop using spreadsheets to manage your network! Start doing proper IP address management!
  • by nurb432 (527695)

    Not graphical mapping but does do inventory.. Hook it to OCS and it will collect some data for you automatically.

  • Give this a try. It very good at tracking physical assets such as rack/server. It doesn't doe a whole datacenter but we modified the code to give just back rows of racks.

    http://flux.org.uk/projects/rackmonkey/ [flux.org.uk]

    Now the physical asset track is in one place, for inter-dependency, I create an diagram of the interconnect at a more logical level since I know the physical will be correct. This could be say a set of switches connecting to a distribution switch and etc..

  • Price out a full-on Maximo or Altiris implementation, complete with vendor visit. Take this quote and determine how many hours of your workers' time can be covered with that payment.

    Define some OSS components to do what you want to do - Monitoring, clickable representations, database connection, provisioning, etc., and write some code to glue them together. Don't forget to version control, and write documentation as you go.

    I've done this before, and I've also found a way to make it happen using Visio and A

  • I'm not sure if there is a good free open source tool kit for this sort of thing. I do know that IBM offers a product to handle this sort of thing called TPC. The keyword you'll want to use when searching for a graphical representation of this stuff is "topology viewer".

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_Tivoli_Storage_Productivity_Center [wikipedia.org]
  • Racktables.org is a very good, Free / Open Source solution to your problem. From the SourceForge description:

    Racktables is a nifty and robust solution for datacenter and server room asset management. It helps document hardware assets, network addresses, space in racks, networks configuration and much, much more!

    It lets you lay out racks, assign IP Address to assets, yadda yadda. Live Demo here:
    http://racktables.org/demo.php [racktables.org]

    Last code update was 2010-02-17, and the guy seems to be good about maintaining it

  • VMware's Capacity Planner will find all of the computers on your network and tell you what's inside of them. While it won't inventory UPSes, it can help you inventory your servers. http://www.vmware.com/products/capacity-planner/ [vmware.com]
  • When working for a big three letter IT company I was tasked to design and implement HW/SW asset tracking system. It's a complex task and my team grew to include about 4 programmers. We automated much of the process as it is the only reliable way to gather the data. In time it also read data from other asset and configuration systems like Zenworks, TCM, TLM and even Citrix (though that was an odd fit).

    After I left I decided that it would be a good idea for an Open Source project. I encapsulated and refined

    • I think java swing is a very good way to handle this. PHP is very powerful and probably could handle everything you need it to do. Fox Toolkit or QT would work well if you don't mind C++. Not sure about licensing issues mixing QT with an open source project, I haven't had need to research that before.
      • by MrKaos (858439)

        I think java swing is a very good way to handle this.

        Thank you for your feed back.

  • The phrasing at least makes it sound like you have some lack of discipline in how it has grown and possibly how it will continue to grow. For some topologies (SAN, network), there are technologies (the best 'generally' scoped ones aren't free) that can mitigate even without sticking to one vendor, but for bulk power topology, you have nothing but discipline to do it. At the end of the day, no matter how fancy, the basic principle will be akin to a relational database that is manually maintained for that.

  • by Nathan (2717)

    I wrote MachDB for this exact purpose. Had a datacenter of a few hundred machines and needed to keep track of them in a better way than a wiki page. http://www.machdb.org./ [www.machdb.org] It's automated on the back end and presents a web GUI.

  • Then there are tens of switches...

    That's not a Data Center, it's a wiring closet.

    Come back when you have hundreds or thousands of switches.

  • Its still in its early days but you might wanna have a look at http://racksmith.net/ [racksmith.net]. Its aiming help you map multiple datacenters spread over a campus. (servers, patches, cables....) I'm working on it with a group I knew at uni & we're looking to make a stable release within 1 month. Theres an online demo (which is the latest build) and also a screencast of out old alpha release. http://racksmith.net/demo/ [racksmith.net]
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I have used and researched this topic for years, and have been largely unsatisfied. Hopefully my trials will save you some time.

    Basic Asset Management tracks the things you usually can't ping or poll -- like rack units, power strips, cables, barcode stickers, purchase and warranty information, etc. Without automation you need discipline to keep these up to date, and that usually means sticking to a process. You also need a way to audit your dataset, including tracking who performed the audit and when, to re

  • Bottom line is that asset management can be a huge undertaking to accomplish. You need to find out the most important items you need to keep track of and track them well. It will probably be hard to find one application that will do it all. While primarily an IPAM (IP address management) solution, I would suggest http://opennetadmin.com./ [opennetadmin.com.] It will track subnets, IPs, DNS etc and build DNS and DHCP server configurations. There is also a plugin for managing rack allocations in a fairly basic way (no conne
  • Five years ago I started developing OpenCabling ( http://sourceforge.net/projects/opencabling/ [sourceforge.net] ) with your needs in mind. It helps me document my network, take care of every fibre, cable and port. It still needs some development, but it can solve your problems. Leandro http://visittuscany.dardini.it/ [dardini.it]
  • Asset Tracker [chaka.net] works nice for us and is integrated inside Request Tracker [bestpractical.com]. The web site only has the download item and the software is a little old but it runs surprisingly well.
  • I'm working to develop a tracking system (web based) with client for all Unix systems, this is version 2 of an internal application we use it to track our servers. The system is very powerful and fully customizable to collect whatever you want and when you want. if you are interested to test it and to help me in the testing phase, contact me at (ahmad .@. altwaijiry.com) PS: version 2 will be release as Open source project, I expect this within 2 months.
  • It was on their blog just the other day, coincidentally: clusto@digg [digg.com]

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