Posts Tagged ‘PuTTY’

NetApp SSH Connection Times Out

May 31, 2013

PuTTYPortable_128There is one tricky thing about SSH connections to NetApp filers. If you use PuTTY or PuTTY Connection Manager and you experience frequent timeouts from ssh sessions, you might need to fiddle around with PuTTY configuration options. It seems that there is some issue with how Data ONTAP implements SSH key exchanges, which results in frequent annoying disconnections.

In order to fix that, on PuTTY Configuration screen go to Connection -> SSH -> Bugs and change “Handles SSH2 key re-exchange badly” to ‘On’. That should fix it.


USB to serial adapters

September 28, 2012

Modern workstations do not have COM ports these days. So if you need to configure something like Brocade SAN switch which has RS-232 connector you need to use USB to serial adapater. One example of such device is ST-Lab U-224. It has USB connector on one end to plug it into a workstation and COM connector on the other end to join it with a console cable.

To start using it you need to install a driver which you can get from the manufacturer site. Then you will find a COM port under Ports (COM an LPT) in Device Manager. Use this port number to connect to your device with PuTTY or whatever terminal you use.

Configuring remote access to AIX

May 16, 2012

I work on an old AIX 5.1:

# oslevel -r

By default it has only telnet preinstalled. Which works out of the box without additional configuration. However, there are several recommended steps to do.


Firstly check if you have stable network connection. I had problems connecting to AIX box after connection timeout. It seemed that telnet session somehow hang on the OS side and didn’t allow me to reconnect. To prevent that, you have two options. If you use PuTTY then go to Settings->Connection and set amount of seconds between keepalive packets to say 60 seconds. And PuTTY will maintain connection automatically. Another workaround is to edit TMOUT variable in /etc/profile. By default AIX uses ksh shell which uses this parameter to detect idle sessions. If set this variable to 120, then after two minutes ksh will throw a warning that session will be closed in 60 seconds. This means that if your telnet session breaks, ksh will automatically terminate its shell. (I checked that and it turned out that TMOUT doesn’t help here.)

TCP Wrapper

By default telnet access in AIX is opened for everyone. It’s not what you want for sure. AIX has built-in firewall (called AIX TCP/IP Filters) but it’s rather cumbersome to use it just to restrict telnet access. I’d prefer TCP Wrapper, which is standard for Linux, but optional for AIX. You can get AIX LPP package from Bull AIX freeware site here: Then simply:

chmod +x tcp_wrappers-

Extract package contents by running the executable. Then run smit from directory where you extracted files and go to Software Installation and Maintenance -> Install and Update Software ->  Install Software. Set current directory in “INPUT device / directory for software”. You can view software available, if you press F4 in “SOFTWARE to install” field. Change “ACCEPT new license agreements?” to yes and press Enter.

When package is installed, edit /etc/inetd.conf. Find telnet line and change it:

#telnet stream tcp6 nowait root /usr/sbin/telnetd telnetd -a
telnet stream tcp6 nowait root /usr/local/bin/tcpd telnetd -a

And restart inetd service:

stopsrc -s inetd && startsrc -s inetd

Now to limit telnet access create /etc/hosts.allow:


and /etc/hosts.deny:


Secure Shell

Telnet is completely outdated and insecure protocol. So you’d probably prefer ssh on the server side. I believe SSH is bundled with AIX 5.1, but I simply downloaded it from Bull site. Additionally to OpenSSH package you will have to setup OpenSSL prerequisite. Here are the links:

Install OpenSSL simply by:

rpm -i openssl-0.9.7l-1.aix5.1.ppc.rpm

In case of OpenSSH you will need to gunzip it, untar it and setup using smit. But if you work on AIX with old maintenance level (ML3 in my case) you can run into the following error when running ssh service:

getnameinfo failed: Invalid argument

You can see it if you run sshd with -D and -d flags. Solution here is to download AIX 5.1 ML9 and POSTML9 fixes from IBM Fix Central, extract them and setup in Software Installation and Maintenance -> Install and Update Software ->  Update Installed Software to Latest Level (Update All).

SSH is a standalone service, so you do not need to edit /etc/inetd.conf. Just add new sshd line to /etc/hosts.allow and you are good to go. However, if your ssh was built without wrapper support, then you have a problem. You can check that by calling:

# dump -H /usr/sbin/sshd


                        ***Loader Section***
                      Loader Header Information
VERSION#         #SYMtableENT     #RELOCent        LENidSTR
0x00000001       0x00000115       0x00000601       0x00000096

#IMPfilID        OFFidSTR         LENstrTBL        OFFstrTBL
0x00000006       0x00006224       0x0000075a       0x000062ba

                        ***Import File Strings***
INDEX  PATH                          BASE                MEMBER
0      /usr/lib:/lib:/opt/freeware/lib
1                                    libc.a              shr.o
2                                    libpthreads.a       shr_comm.o
3                                    libpthreads.a       shr_xpg5.o
4                                    libcrypto.a
5                                    libz.a    

If there is no libwrap.a, then the only option you have is to run sshd under tcpd which is run by inetd. To accomplish that add the first line into /etc/services and second into /etc/inetd.conf:

ssh 22/tcp
ssh stream tcp6 nowait root /usr/local/bin/tcpd sshd -i

Switch ‘-i’ tells sshd to generate smaller keys. Otherwise you will wait significant amount of time for login prompts. Also don’t forget to remove sshd startup and shutdown scripts from /etc/rc.d/rc2.d.

Consistent VMware snapshots on NetApp

March 16, 2012

If you use NetApp as a storage for you VMware hard drives, it’s wise to utilize NetApp’s powerful snapshot capabilities as an instant backup tool. I shortly mentioned in my previous post that you should disable default snapshot schedule. Snapshot is done very quickly on NetApp, but still it’s not instantaneous. If VM is running you can get .vmdks which have inconsistent data. Here I’d like to describe how you can perform consistent snapshots of VM hard drives which sit on NetApp volumes exported via NFS. Obviously it won’t work for iSCSI LUNs since you will have LUNs snapshots which are almost useless for backups.

What makes VMware virtualization platform far superior to other well-known solutions in the market is VI APIs. VI API is a set of Web services hosted on Virtual Center and ESX hosts that provides interfaces for all components and operations. Particularly, there is a Perl interface for VI API which is called VMware Infrastructure Perl Toolkit. You can download and install it for free. Using VI Perl Toolkit you can write a script which will every day put your VMs in a so called hot backup mode and make NetApp snapshots as well. Practically, hot backup mode is also a snapshot. When you create a VM snapshot, original VM hard drive is left intact and VMware starts to write delta in another file. It means that VM hard drive won’t change when making NetApp snapshot and you will get consistent .vmdk files. Now lets move to implementation.

I will write excerpts from the actual script here, because lines in the script are quite long and everything will be messed up on the blog page. I uploaded full script on FileDen. Here is the link. I apologize if you read this blog entry far later than it was published and my account or the FileDen service itself no longer exist.

VI Perl Toolkit is effectively a set of Perl scripts which you run as ready to use utilities. We will use which lets you create VMware VM snapshots. In the first step you make snapshots of all VMs:

\”$perl_path\perl\” -w \”$perl_toolkit_path\\” –server vc_ip –url https://vc_ip/sdk/vimService –username snapuser –password 123456  –operation create –snapshotname \”Daily Backup Shapshot\”

For the sake of security I created Snapshot Manager role and respective user account in Virtual Center with only two allowed operations: Create Snapshot and Remove Snapshot. Run line is self explanatory. I execute it using system($run_line) command.

After VM snapshots are created you make a NetApp snapshot:

“\$plink_path” -ssh -2 -batch -i \”private_key_path\” -l root netapp_ip snap create vm_sata snap_name

To connect to NetApp terminal I use PuTTY ssh client. putty.exe itself has a GUI and plink.exe is for batch scripting. Using this command you create snapshot of particular NetApp volume. Those which hold .vmdks in our case.

To get all VMs from hot backup mode run:

\”$perl_path\perl\” -w \”$perl_toolkit_path\\” –server vc_ip –url https://vc_ip/sdk/vimService –username snapuser –password 123456  –operation remove –snapshotname \”Daily Backup Shapshot\”  –children 0

By –children 0 here we tell not to remove all children snapshots.

After we familiarized ourselves with main commands, lets move on to the script logic. Apparently you will want to have several snapshots. For example 7 of them for each day of the week. It means each day, before making new snapshot you will need to remove oldest and rename others. Renaming is just for clarity. You can name your snapshots vmsnap.1, vmsnap.2, … , vmsnap.7. Where vmsnap.7 is the oldest. Each night you put your VMs in hot backup mode and delete the oldest snapshot:

“\$plink_path” -ssh -2 -batch -i \”private_key_path\” -l root netapp_ip snap delete vm_sata vmsnap.7

Then you rename other snapshots:

“\$plink_path” -ssh -2 -batch -i \”private_key_path\” -l root netapp_ip snap rename vm_sata vmsnap.6 vmsnap.7
“\$plink_path” -ssh -2 -batch -i \”private_key_path\” -l root netapp_ip snap rename vm_sata vmsnap.5 vmsnap.6
“\$plink_path” -ssh -2 -batch -i \”private_key_path\” -l root netapp_ip snap rename vm_sata vmsnap.4 vmsnap.5
“\$plink_path” -ssh -2 -batch -i \”private_key_path\” -l root netapp_ip snap rename vm_sata vmsnap.3 vmsnap.4
“\$plink_path” -ssh -2 -batch -i \”private_key_path\” -l root netapp_ip snap rename vm_sata vmsnap.2 vmsnap.3

And create the new one:

“\$plink_path” -ssh -2 -batch -i \”private_key_path\” -l root netapp_ip snap create vm_sata vmsnap.1

As a last step you bring your VMs out of hot backup mode.

Using this technique you can create short term backups of your virtual infrastructure and use them for long term retention with help of standalone backup solutions. Like backing up data from snapshots to tape library using Symantec BackupExec. I’m gonna talk about this in my later posts.