The State of Ceph Support in openATTIC (August 2016)

In May, I posted an update on the state of the Ceph support in openATTIC.

Since then, we released openATTIC 2.0.12 and 2.0.13 and are currently working on the next release, 2.0.14.

With each release, we have added more Ceph management and monitoring functionality or refined existing features.

In this post, I'd like to summarize these changes as well as giving an update on what we're currently working on.

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One Year in the openATTIC Team: A Summary

A month ago, I concluded my first year in the openATTIC team. How time flies when you're having fun!

One of my goals early on was to make openATTIC more open and accessible for community contributors and early adopters. There were a few barriers that had to be removed for this to happen.

In this post, I'd like to recapitulate some noteworthy changes that took place in the openATTIC project during the last 12 months. I also would like to summarize some highlights and achievements.

I realized that I speak about many of these when I give presentations or talk with people about openATTIC, but I think it makes sense to also put them in writing in this blog.

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openATTIC 2.0.13 beta has been released

openATTIC 2.0.13 beta has been released

We're happy to announce the availability of openATTIC version 2.0.13!

In this release, we have made further improvements regarding the Ceph RBD handling in our user interface. We cleaned up many Ceph related detail-information tabs in order to display only useful data, especially on the Ceph RBD Page. We've also made some usability improvements on our dashboard - unfinished wizard steps have been removed and share paths will be set automatically at the end of the wizard instead of bothering the user with that. We also added a new dialog for creating new RBDs and integrated the functionality to delete RBDs within the UI. See our Sneak preview of additional Ceph RBD management functions for details.

The Nagios monitoring has been improved by adding performance data for Ceph pools. Also, we are constantly tracking the responsiveness of a Ceph cluster now.

In our Ceph-related backend part, we made some performance improvements, by running only the commands which are actually used by the REST API.

You may want to make/store the REST-API accessible on another host. In 2.0.13 it's possible to configure the url of the API globally. So, you don't need to customize every service which calls the api.

For those of you, who want to use openATTIC on a preconfigured VM, we're now providing VMs for KVM and VirtualBox, which can be found at

If you already run the check_cephcluster Nagios plugin, you might receive the following error in your PNP4Nagios log (/var/log/pnp4nagios/perfdata.log):

2016-07-22 14:15:14 [22939] [0] RRDs::update ERROR <path to the RRD file>: found extra data on update argument: 13.67

This is because of the new parameter exec_time. In that case you will have to remove all existing RRD and XML files of your Ceph clusters. This can be done by running:

rm /var/lib/pnp4nagios/perfdata/<host_name>/Check_CephCluster_*

Note, After removing these files all collected performance data for your Ceph clusters so far are gone!

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Sneak preview of additional Ceph RBD management functions

The upcoming 2.0.13 release will see a number of new Ceph management and monitoring features. While several of them aren't directly visible on the WebUI (yet), Stephan has just submitted a pull request (to be merged shortly) that gives you access to functionality that Sebastian (Wagner) added to the backend in version 2.0.12: this pull request will add first Ceph RBD management capabilities.

This slide show gives you a preview of the upcoming changes:

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Unlock Geli-encrypted ZFS Volume - FreeNAS

Today an old friend of mine wrote me a message and asked me if I could help him with his home nas. His problem was that his FreeNAS system could no longer mount and decrypt his disks. He wasn't quite familiar with the commandline and storage tools, so he asked me for help.

After 15 minutes of frustrating and testing with my first FreeBSD I found a solution. For everybody how wants toor needs to decrypt a Geli-encrypted ZFS volume on FreeNAS - here's what I did:

To decrypt the volumes - first find out which one is the geli crypted - just testing every fu**ing partition:

geli attach -k [geli_key_file] [dev_to_unlock]

HINT: FreeNAS key-file location /data/geli/masterkeyofdoom.key

After that you have to import the zpool:

zpool import -> list all existing zpools

zpool import $POOLNAME -> import the named pool from above

In our scenario it wasn't possible to mount the zfs volumes after the zpool import, because the default mountpath was wrong and the main path is read-only within FreeNAS. To change the default mount path from zfs:

zfs set mountpoint=/mnt poolname

Afterwards we could mount all existing zfs volumes to /mnt. To mount all existing volumes at a time:

zfs mount -a

That's it. Now we could access his data again. I learned alot and now waiting for my crate beer as a reward :-).

Low hanging fruit tasks

Becoming familar with an open source project's code base can be quite overwhelming, especially for new developers.

While we tried our best to document the steps required for setting up a development environment and our contribution process, the next question usually is "where do I start?".

In the past days, we went through our Jira bug tracker and tried to identify a number of relatively easy tasks that would be suitable for new developers to become familar with the code base and processes involved. We've collected them on a dedicated Wiki page titled Low hanging fruit tasks.

These should be fairly simple and isolated tasks, so they would be ideal for someone to dip his toes into the water.

If you're looking for something to hone your skills and expertise, these might be a good start. If you're interested on working on any of these, please let us know!

Thunderbird Profiles and PhoneLite

I have found two really useful things this morning.

  1. I didn't know that I can configure profiles within Thunderbird. Just start Thunderbird with -p to create several profiles:

    thunderbird -p
  2. With PhoneLite it's possible to connect to your Fritzbox and use all the "phone" functionality at your computer. Now there's no need for a mobile device at the home office any more.

Meet the openATTIC Team at FrOSCon 2016

FrOSCon, the annual Free and Open Source Conference, takes place on August 20th and 21st in St. Augustin, Germany.

It is our great pleasure to be present there again - the openATTIC team will have a booth in the exhibition area. it-novum, the company that sponsors the openATTIC development, is also a proud Silver Sponsor of the event.

We'll be showcasing the latest development version of openATTIC, including the latest Ceph management features.

You will also be able to participate in a quiz contest for two Raspberry Pi 3 Model B single board computers, so please stop by at our exhibition desk if you want to join!

I will also give an overview talk about openATTIC 2.0 (in German), highlighting the latest changes and features as well as an outlook into future development plans.

We look forward to being there again!