OpenNMS 14.0.2 Released

December 11th, 2014

Today we released version 14.0.2 of OpenNMS. It is a recommended upgrade for all OpenNMS 14 users because is addresses a memory leak caused by the version of Vaadin we were using.

Here is a list of all the changes.

Sub-task

  • [NMS-7238] – Citrix Netscaler trap events

Bug

  • [NMS-6551] – Syslog Northbounder throws exceptions on certain alarms
  • [NMS-7073] – ICMP availability with custom packet size doesn't work with JNI
  • [NMS-7092] – Node page for a switch or router is unusable with Enhanced Linkd enabled
  • [NMS-7130] – Vaadin applications show Page Not Found error
  • [NMS-7186] – The XML Collector is not storing the proper data for node-level resources
  • [NMS-7187] – The XML Collection Handler is caching the resourceTypes
  • [NMS-7190] – Edit an existing scheduled outage from node's page doesn't work
  • [NMS-7193] – The report "Total Bytes Transferred By Interface" is not working with RRDtool
  • [NMS-7195] – When the DNS name of a discovered node changes, Provisiond doesn't update the node label.
  • [NMS-7218] – Null pointer exception removing services from node
  • [NMS-7227] – Some GWT pages are not working on IE
  • [NMS-7231] – The downtime model never removes the nodes when it is instructed to do it
  • [NMS-7243] – XML collector in JSON mode assumes all element content is String
  • [NMS-7245] – NPE on "manage and unmanage services and interfaces"
  • [NMS-7250] – Clicking On View Node Link Detailed Info Give java.lang.IllegalArgumentException

Enhancement

  • [NMS-7194] – Move the "Add new outage" to the top of the page.
  • [NMS-7230] – The Wallboard app makes OpenNMS unusable after a few days even if it is not used.
  • [NMS-7237] – Mikrotik RouterOS trap definitions

Meeting the J-Team at opensource.com

December 6th, 2014

This week I was able to visit the Red Hat corporate headquarters in downtown Raleigh for the first time. While I had been on their other campuses in the past, this was my first time in Red Hat Tower, a tall building that they leased from Progress Energy a few years ago to turn into their HQ. While I was using Google Maps to get there (downtown Raleigh has a lot of one way streets that confuse me) it was pretty obvious where I was headed once I turned off the highway and saw the Red Hat logo on the top of a building off in the distance.

I am a huge Red Hat fanboy. First, I love where I live in North Carolina, and this is an NC company. Second, they truly understand open source and are able to help others realize the value it can bring to their business while making money at it. With a market cap greater than US$11.5 billion, this is a real company that is also doing a lot of good (for comparison, note that as I write this CA has a market cap of US$14 billion).

Red Hat gets a lot of disrespect in certain circles because it isn’t headquartered in Silicon Valley. There is a huge “not invented here” complex out west, and I think it is in part because the Valley has been unable to duplicate Red Hat’s success with open source.

When you visit the campus you get a sense of how the idea of open source pervades every aspect of company culture. Open source is about sharing and working together, and that can be applied to many things in addition to software.

Part of that is exemplified in the website opensource.com. I believe it was started in 2010 (prior to that, the URL pointed to Red Hat’s corporate page) as a method for promoting the “open source way“. It is sponsored by Red Hat but does a great job of not being Red Hat centric. This isn’t a marketing platform for Red Hat’s products as much as a platform for marketing the Red Hat philosophy.

Despite being less than an hour away, I don’t get to see the people behind opensource.com often. I used to write for them pretty regularly in the beginning until time constraints made that harder, but we have a healthy e-mail correspondence. I do run into Jason Hibbets (author of The Foundation for an Open Source City) at conferences, but this was the first time I got to meet almost everyone in person.

The J-Team: Jason Baker, Jeff Mackanic, Jen Wike and Jason Hibbets

I didn’t notice until later that a lot of people I know at Red Hat have names that start with the letter “J” – even the CEO is named Jim.

I ended up spending about two hours there and had a great time talking about technology and open source society. Red Hat looks like a great place to work, and the red fedora is pretty much everywhere.

Thanks to a swag trade with my friend Kevin Sonney many years ago (at least a decade), I have an authentic Red Hat fedora and I learned that it is truly “old skool” due to its having a gold Red Hat logo on the inside. Cool.

I am hoping that my schedule will free up enough in 2015 that I can write for them some more. As I was telling stories, Jason B. or Jen would jump in with “that could be an article”.

In any case, with over 400,000 page views per month at opensource.com they are obviously doing something right, and it has earned a prominent place in my RSS feed. I look forward to visiting the Red Hat HQ and seeing them again soon.

Review: The LG G Watch R

December 5th, 2014

This past summer I was lucky enough to be gifted a Samsung Android Wear watch as I don’t always get to play with the new toys. As xkcd pointed out, a lot of people no longer wear watches, but I still do, so I was curious as to what a “smart” watch could do for me.

However, I preferred the look of the round Moto 360 which was going to be released soon versus the Samsung, which was square, so I ended up selling it on eBay. I felt a little bad selling a gift but I rationalized it by earmarking the funds for some sort of Android watch to replace it. I was all set to buy the 360 when LG announced its G Watch R. I loved the way it looked, so that’s what I decided to get. I disagree with the Wired reviewer who prefers the Moto 360 as compared to the G Watch R, as that watch just looks to me like a round slab of glass, but de gustibus non est disputandum.

Having had it for a month now, I find I really like having a watch tied to my phone. I can leave the phone in my pocket and interact with most notices through the watch. Despite my penchant for droning on and on to my three readers, even I would have trouble describing the features of the phone in a post, so I made a little video.

If you view it, the first thing you’ll notice is that I have no future as a hand model. I also did it in one unedited, continuous take, so forgive the pauses. It was really hard to light, since when the watch face switches from dark to light it tended to get washed out, so apologies for the quality.

One of the features I didn’t talk about is the integration with Google Maps. It would be difficult to demo, but when you are using Google Maps, each maneuver is alerted on the watch. It’s pretty cool. It also has a surprisingly good battery life, which seems to be a complaint among smart watch users.

All in all I like having the watch a lot more than I thought I would. It is perfect in social situations where constantly pulling out my phone would be awkward, and I can see the future imagined by Scott Adams where you combine a watch with a smart ring on your other hand to enable gestures and spacial recognition while your phone (or handy or whatever we decide to call it) sits in your pocket.

Wow – CA Knows About OpenNMS

December 3rd, 2014

While we position OpenNMS to compete with products from giants such as HP, IBM and CA, I had doubts that we were on their radar. But yesterday I saw the following in an article on Network World:

While not quoted, it appears that the CTO of CA dropped the name of our project, so one can only assume he is aware of what we are trying to do.

Cool.

I do agree with him that network management, especially at scale, is a “freaking hard problem”. Note that we are both using the term “network management” as an umbrella term for managing anything that is connected to the network, which ranges from traditional networking gear such as routers and switches all the way up the stack to applications and mobile devices – Internet of Things style.

It is the main reason we designed OpenNMS as a platform versus an application. It is a requirement that it be flexible enough to meet the unique needs of our users, and that can only be done by writing OpenNMS to be extensible while also automating as much of the work as possible. It is a complex problem.

It made my day that the CTO of a nearly US$14 billion company mentioned our effort. It means we are on the right track. We definitely don’t have the resources of CA but our team is talented and they understand the network management space.

It was also cool to see 451 Research mentioned in the article. I really like those folks, so much so that we just contracted with them. Perhaps we can get more people talking about us.

2014 Open Source Monitoring Conference

November 26th, 2014

This year I got to return to the Open Source Monitoring Conference hosted by Netways in Nürnberg, Germany.

Netways is one of the sponsors of the Icinga project, and for many years this conference was dedicated to Nagios. It is still pretty Nagios-centric, but now it is focused more on the forks of that project than the project itself. There were presentations on Naemon and Sensu as well as Icinga, and then there are the weirdos (non-check script oriented applications) such as Zabbix and OpenNMS.

I like this conference for a number of reasons. Mainly there really isn’t any other conference dedicated to monitoring, much less one focused on open source. This one brings together pretty much the whole gang. Plus, Netways has a lot of experience in hosting conferences, so it is a nice time: well organized, good food and lots of discussion.

My trip started off with an ominous text from American Airlines telling me that my flight from RDU to DFW was delayed. While flying through DFW is out of the way, it enables me to avoid Heathrow, which is worth the extra time and effort. On the way to the airport I was told my outbound flight was delayed to the point that I wouldn’t be able to make my connection, so I called the airline to ask about options.

With the acquisition by US Airways, I had the option to fly through CLT. That would cut off several hours of the trip and let me ride on an Airbus 330. American flies mainly Boeing equipment, so I was curious to see if the Airbus was any better.

As usual with flights to Europe, you leave late in the evening and arrive early in the morning. Ulf and I settled in for the flight and I was looking forward to meeting up with Ronny when we landed.

The trip was uneventful and we met up with Ronny and took the ICE train from the airport to Nürnberg. The conference is at the Holiday Inn hotel, and with nearly 300 of us there we kind of take over the place. I did think it was funny that on my first trip there the instructions on how to get to the hotel from the train station were not very direct. I found out the reason was that the most direct route takes you by the red light district and I guess they wanted us to avoid that, although I never felt unsafe wandering around the city.

We arrived mid-afternoon and checked in with Daniela to get our badges and other information. She is one of the people who work hard to make sure all attendees have a great time.

I managed to take a short nap and get settled in, and then we met up for dinner. The food at these events is really nice, and I’m always a fan of German beer.

I excused myself after the meal due in part to jet lag and in part due to the fact that I needed to finish my presentation, and I wanted to be ready for the first real day of the conference.

The conference was started by Bernd Erk, who is sort of the master of ceremonies.

He welcomed us and covered some housekeeping issues. The party that night was to be held at a place called Terminal 90, which is actually at the airport. Last time they tried to use buses, but it became pretty hard to organize, so this time they arranged for us to take public transportation via the U-Bahn. After the introduction we then broke into two tracks and I decided to stay to hear Kris Buytaert.

I’ve known Kris through his blog for years now, but this was the first time I got to see him in person. He is probably most famous in my circles for introducing the hashtag #monitoringsucks. Since I use OpenNMS I don’t really agree, but he does raise a number of issues that make monitoring difficult and some of the methods he uses to address them.

The rest of the day saw a number of good presentations. As this conference has a large number of Germans in attendance, a little less than half of the tracks are given in German, but there was also always an English language track at the same time.

One of my favorite talks from the first day was on MQTT, a protocol for monitoring the Internet of Things. It addresses how to deal with devices that might not always be on-line, and was demonstrated via software running on a Raspberry Pi. I especially liked the idea of a “last will and testament” which describes how the device should be treated if it goes offline. I’m certain we’ll be incorporating MQTT into OpenNMS in the future.

Ronny and I missed the subway trip to the restaurant because I discovered a bug in my presentation configuration and it took me a little while to correct it, but I managed to get it done and we just grabbed a taxi. Even though it was in the airport, it was a nice venue and we caught up with Kris and my friend Rihards Olups from Zabbix. I first met Rihards at this conference several years ago and he brought me a couple of presents from Lativa (he lives near Riga). I still have the magnet on my office door.

Ulf, however, wasn’t as pleased to meet them.

We had a lot of fun eating, drinking and talking. The food was good and the staff was attentive. Ulf was much happier with our waitress (so was Ronny):

Since I had to call it an early night because my presentation was the first one on Thursday, a lot of people didn’t. After the restaurant closed they moved to “Checkpoint Jenny” which was right across the street (and under my window) from the hotel. Some were up until 6am.

Needless to say, the crowds were a little lighter for my talk. I think it went well, but next year I might focus more on why you might want to move away from check scripts to something a little more scalable. I did a really cool demo (well, in my mind) about sending events into OpenNMS to monitor the status of scripts running on remote servers, but it probably was hard to understand from a Nagios point of view.

Both Rihards and Kris made it to my talk, and Rihards once again brought gifts. I got a lot of tasty Latvian candy (which is now in the office, my wife ordering me to get it out of the house so it won’t get eaten) as well as a bottle of Black Balsam, a liqueur local to the region.

Rihards spoke after lunch, and most people were mobile by then. I enjoyed his talk and was very impressed to learn that every version of the remote proxy ever written for Zabbix is still supported.

I had to head back to Frankfurt that evening so I could fly home on Friday (my father celebrated his 75th birthday and I didn’t want to miss it) but we did find time to get together for a beer before I left. It was cool to have people from so many different monitoring projects brought together through a love of open source.

Next year the conference is from 16-18 November. I plan to attend and I hope to spend more time in Germany that trip than I had available to me this one.