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AppNote: How to Use the View Builder Framework

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By Alok Panda

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Posted: 20 Aug 2004
 

Alok Panda
Software Engineer
PAlok@novell.com

This AppNote discusses the configuration of different types of views using the View Builder framework. Also explains how the View Builder framework is useful in monitoring and managing a typical heterogeneous network environment.

Contents

Introduction
Understanding View Builder
Name-Value Pair View
Alarm View
Tabular View
Graph View
Major Components of View Builder Framework
Configuring View Builder
Where to Start
Configuring Name-Value Pair View
Configuring Alarm View
Configuring Tabular View
Configuring the Graph View
Conclusion

Introduction

Novell's ZENworks 6.5 Management Monitoring Services (MMS) is a comprehensive Network management solution that provides SNMP-based network management and monitoring capabilities with a full-featured SNMP management console.

In a typical corporate network there are various types of servers or devices which run different types of services and applications on different platforms. Each of them may have a different set of parameters for monitoring and managing themselves.

The Management and Monitoring Service provides various views suitable for monitoring different parameters of nodes and segments.

The View Builder along with Advanced Trending Agent provides a framework which enables users to create their own customized views for managing & monitoring any SNMP instrumented device in the network.

The AppNote is divided into 2 sections.

  1. Understanding View Builder section explains the features available in View Builder. Also a brief architectural overview of the View Builder is presented.


  2. Configuring the View Builder section explains about the various aspects of configuring different views in View Builder framework.

Understanding View Builder

The View Builder is a framework which facilitates in creating and modifying customized views. This enables the user to create their own views for monitoring any device or service (SNMP instrumented) in the network.

The View Builder framework constitutes one or more of following type of views.

  • Name - Value Pair View
  • Alarm View
  • Tabular View
  • Graph View

Name-Value Pair View

As the name suggests this view contains the name and the value corresponding to the name. This is useful in such cases where the static information needs to be displayed. For example, suppose you want to display the name of the Node, system description, Server uptime, etc, then the Name-Value pair view would be well suited for this.

The scalar MIB variables are represented in this type of view.

The following figure illustrates the Name-Value Pair view.


Figure -1

Alarm View

The Alarm View lists all the alarms generated for a specific node. This is useful for monitoring any events that may be generated on this node and gives a snapshot of the current alarms active on the node.

The following figure illustrates the Alarm view for a Specific Node.


Figure -2

Tabular View

The tabular view displays the values in a table format with multiple rows and columns. This is well suited for displaying MIB tables. For example, suppose you have 2 interfaces in your node and you want to see the statistics of both the interfaces. In this case, you need to create the table view of both the interfaces.

You also can perform certain basic calculations on the MIB variables like addition, subtraction, multiplication, division etc to get the appropriate result.

The following figure illustrates the Tabular view.


Figure -3

Graph View

This view displays the Trend of any SNMP instrumented parameter from any agent in a graph. This is useful for monitoring the behavior of certain parameters over the period of time. For example, suppose you want to monitor the pattern of the Processor load for one day, then the Trend View would be useful.

This Graph view uses Advanced Trending Agent for getting the trend data. Advanced Trending Agent provides a framework that helps in generating the trend data for any SNMP parameter on any device.

The following figure illustrates the Graph view.


Figure -4

The user can create as many views from the above mentioned category of views and save them in the MMS database. Once the views are created, they can be used for any node. They will appear as menu options in the node level.

The View Builder also provides the facility of combining one or more of the above views to create a single view.

You also can perform certain basic calculations on the MIB variables like addition, subtraction, multiplication, division etc to get the appropriate result.

Note: All the views created above can be viewed in the node or any level below the node; like devices, operating systems, services and so on. The views can be created or modified at any level.

Major Components of View Builder Framework

The following section explains in brief an overview of the architecture of the View Builder and the interdependency between various related componets.

All the views gather the MIB information from the MIB Database which contains the information regarding the compiled MIBs. If you need any other MIB (other than the shipping MIBs), then the MIB needs to be compiled before it can be used in View Builder.

The various views in the View Builder depend upon the following components of MMS.

  • MIB database - While creating or editing the views the View Builder uses the MIB database for available MIBs which is part of the MMS database.
  • View Builder database - This is used by the View Builder for keeping the various view related information and is part of the MMS database. It also keeps track of the association of various MIBs with the corresponding views.
  • Alarm Manager - This is referred by the View Builder for showing the Alarms in the Alarm View for any specific node.
  • Advanced Trending Agent - This is used only by the Graph view for generating Trend charts. The Advanced Trending Agent gathers the trending information of any MIB variable.
  • SNMP instrumented agent - These agents may or may not be part of the MMS. It can also be any 3rd party agents. The views use these agents for getting values for the respective MIBs.

All the views depend on View Builder database for retrieving and storing the MIB-related information (association of views and corresponding MIBs) and the view layouts (columns to be displayed, order of different columns, order of the different views, etc).

Graph View - When the Graph View is invoked, it interacts with Advanced Trending Agent for getting the trend data.

Table View & Name-Value Pair View - These views interact with the respective agents for retrieving the MIB data.

Alarm View - The Alarm View contacts the Alarm Manager for getting the alarms for the specific node.

Configuring View Builder

This section discusses the configuration aspect of various views in brief. For details of steps about configuring the View Builder refer to the Administration guide of MMS.

For configuring different views, suitable examples are provided for better understanding.

Where to Start

A MMS snapin is provided for creating and modifying the views. This is available in the menu Tool > View Builder. This will display the list of existing custom views. These existing views can be edited and new views can be created.

For creating or editing the views, the following steps must be followed:

  1. The correct MIBs need to be identified.
  2. The required MIBs, if not in the MIB Database, should be compiled using the MIB Compiler. In the following examples the MIB oids and selected SNMP Traps are available as part of the precompiled MIBs and shipped with ZENworks 6.5.
  3. An agent must be running on the managed device which implements the selected MIBs.
  4. The Alarm Manager server is required if you are using the Alarms view.
  5. Create the view by providing appropriate MIB information.

In the following sections we will provide examples and use these steps for configuring different views using the View Builder editor.

Configuring Name-Value Pair View

Suppose you want to view the following information for your managed devices.

  • System Name
  • Up time
  • The incoming packets and the rate of incoming
  • The outgoing packets and the rate of outgoing
  • The total number of good IP packets handled
  • The % of incoming UDP packets (of total IP packets received)

We will follow the above mentioned 5 steps to configure the Name Value pair view in the View Builder editor.

Step-1   Now we need to identify the scalar MIBs which represent the above values.

System Name - 1.3.6.1.2.1.1.5
Server UP Time - 1.3.6.1.2.1.1.3
Outgoing packets - 1.3.6.1.2.1.4.10
Incoming Packets - 1.3.6.1.2.1.4.3
Incoming UDP Packets - 1.3.6.1.2.1.7.1

Step-2   There is no need to recompile these MIBs because they are available as part of the precompiled MIB database.

Step-3   The View Builder requires an agent running at the managed server which has implemented the above mentioned MIBs. In this case, the SNMP module implements all these MIBs.

Step-4   We don't require this step because we are not interested in the Alarms.

Step-5   Now, we need to create the Name-Value pair view by providing the appropriate MIB information to the View Builder editor.

Use the search mechanism to locate the appropriate MIB oids in the MIB Browser for providing the MIB related information. Refer to figure-5 for the search option.


Figure -5

In the View Builder editor, add these MIB oids and corresponding names. Here we have the option of choosing the absolute value of the MIB or the rate at which the value is varying. To get the rate choose the Type as rate for the MIB oid.

We can also perform certain basic arithmetic operations on the MIB values before displaying them in the view. For this type of information, the View Builder editor provides a Math type. There we can specify multiple MIB oids and perform certain basic arithmetic operations on their values. The result of the arithmetic operation is displayed in the customized view.

In one of the examples we are calculating the % of incoming UDP packets to the total no of incoming IP packets.

    The arithmetic operation we have adopted for this is as follows:

(total no of incoming UDP Packets / total no of incoming IP packets) * 100.
i.e ( 1.3.6.1.2.1.7.1 / 1.3.6.1.2.1.4.3 ) * 100

If we specify the above 2 MIB oids (figure - 6), then the arithmetic expression would look like (v0 / v1) * 100. The order of the MIB oids specified is important here because the v0, V1 notation depends on the order. Refer to Help or the Administrator Guide for more details.


Figure -6

Refer to figure-1 for the snapshot of the Name-Value pair view resulted from above configuration.

Configuring Alarm View

In a typical scenario, the administrator would be interested in the events generated for a particular node. Suppose we are interested in the Volume mount and volume dismount alarm of a specific NetWare box.

We will follow the same 5 steps to configure the Alarm view.

Step-1  Unlike earlier examples, we are not interested in the MIB Oids, instead we are interested in the corresponding Trap definition which defines the volume mount and volume dismount Traps.

The Trap definition volAnyDismounted represents the volume dismounted Trap and the definition volAnyMounted represents the volume mounted Trap.

Step-2   There is no need to recompile these MIBs because they are available as part of the precompiled MIB database.

If the Trap definition is part of some other MIB file (which is not part of the shipping precompiled MIB definitions), the corresponding MIB file with proper annotation needs to be successfully compiled using ZfS MIB Compiler.

Step-3   The agent who is responsible of generating these Traps must be running at the specified device. In this example, the Server Management Agent for NetWare needs to be running at the specified NetWare server.

Step-4   Since we are interested in the Alarm View, the Alarm Manager component of MMS must be running at the Site Server. Also the specified node (in this case NetWare Server) must send the Traps to the Site Server running Alarm Manager.

Step-5   We need to configure the Alarm View using the View Builder editor.

When the Alarm View is selected, all the available alarms are arranged in a tree structure. The organization of the tree structure is as follows.

  • The Generator Type is at the Root of the Tree.
  • All the categories of alarms are available inside the Generator Type. Expanding the generator type displays all the Categories available under this.
  • Expanding the category reveals all the Alarms applicable for that category.

Here, you have the option of choosing one or more specific Alarms, one or more category of Alarms or all the alarms.

Since we are interested in the Volume mount and dismount alarms, we would select only these two alarms. The 'FileSys: Vol dismounted" and "FileSys: Vol mounted" alarms are available inside the category "NetWare-Server-Alarm-MIB".

The following figure - 7 illustrates the Alarm configuration.


Figure -7

Refer to figure-2 for the snapshot of the Alarm view resulted from above configuration.

Configuring Tabular View

Suppose you want to see the statistics of top-N nodes in conversation in a particular segment. This example illustrates how the tabular view can be used to display the statistical data.

Step-1   Now we need to identify proper MIBs which have these data.

The required MIBs are distributed across 2 MIB tables and we need to join the 2 tables to show the required information.

  • One of the tables is the Host table in RMON group. The table OID is 1.3.6.1.2.1.16.4.2. This table has the statistical data for all the nodes in a segment.


  • The other table is the HostTopN table in the same RMON group. The table OID is 1.3.6.1.2.1.16.5.2. This table keeps track of the same top N nodes in conversation.

Step-2   There is no need to recompile these MIBs because they are available as part of the precompiled MIB database.

Step-3   We need a RMON agent which implements these tables. In this case, we have selected Traffic Analysis Agent on NetWare since this implements the RMON-II and the above-mentioned tables.

Step-4   Not required, because this is not an Alarm View.

Step-5   The creation of the Tabular View is as follows:

In the View Builder editor, we need to select the Table view for representing both the tables.

We need to identify the primary MIB table OID because based on the value of this OID, the contents of the 2nd table will get selected. In this case, the HostTopN table (table oid 1.3.6.1.2.1.16.5.2) will be the primary table with the MAC address in this table being the primary key. The secondary table is the Host table (table oid 1.3.6.1.2.1.16.4.2) because we need only those MAC addresses which appear in the primary table.

In this scenario, since two tables are required for getting the information we need to choose the join option.

The primary table column (the primary key) of the HostTopN table is 1.3.6.1.2.1.16.5.2.1.3 which represents the MAC address of the HostTopN table.

The secondary table column which represents the MAC address of the HostTable is 1.3.6.1.2.1.16.4.2.1.1.

Then we need to specify the columns we want from both the MIB tables. Here also we can specify the rate or math as type depending upon the requirement. The following figure (figure-8) represents the above configuration.


Figure -8

Refer to figure-3 for the snapshot of the Tabular view resulted from the above configuration.

Configuring the Graph View

In some cases, it is useful to have a trend chart for monitoring certain critical parameters for a device. The following example illustrates the configuration of the Graph View in the View Builder editor.

Suppose we want to monitor the number of incoming SNMP packets and number of the incoming packets at the Interface.

Refer to figure-4 for the snapshot of the Graph view that resulted from the following configuration.

Step-1   We need to identify the MIBs corresponding to the above parameters.

The OID of the Incoming SNMP Packets is 1.3.6.1.2.1.11.1. This is a scalar MIB variable.
The OID for number of incoming packets at the interface is 1.3.6.1.2.1.2.2.1.11. This is a columnar MIB variable.

Step-2   There is no need to recompile these MIBs because they are available as part of the precompiled MIB database.

Step-3
In case of the Graph View, we need a specific agent called Advanced Trending Agent which will trend on the above specified MIB values. Of course, we need to have the agent which implements the above 2 oids.

Also in this case, to trend on any MIB oids, the Advanced Trending Agent needs to be configured. We have used the sample configuration provided in the advtrend.ini. For details on configuring the Advanced Trending Agent refer to the Admin guide.

Step-4   This can also be ignored because we are not using any Alarm View.

Step-5   The creation of the Graph View.

As discussed in the previous sections, we need to select the MIB oids for the above two parameters. This is enough for creating the Graph view for a node.

We can have 2 separate graphs for the above parameters or these separate graphs can be combined into a single graph.

Refer to figure-4 for the snapshot of the Graph view resulted from the above configuration.

Conclusion

In this AppNote, we have discussed the configuration of the various views using the View Builder framework. In a heterogeneous network environment, this framework is useful for advanced administrators because all the SNMP instrumented devices can be monitored from a centralized location.

Advanced Trending Agent is also a framework which provides trending capability to any SNMP instrumented parameter on any device. The details about this will be discussed in a subsequent AppNote.


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