Solaris 8 DiskSuite's lack of good monitoring

December 27, 2006

One of the things that irritates me about DiskSuite in Solaris 8 is how half-hearted the provisions for automated monitoring and reporting are. I don't necessarily ask that DiskSuite have all of this pre-built, but I would like commands that had output that at least made it relatively easy to build this ourselves, and DiskSuite falls flat on this.

Metastat will tell you all of the necessary information, but it does it in a verbose, human-readable format that is sufficiently complicated and underdocumented that I get very nervous 'parsing' it with grep, awk, and other ad-hoc solutions. (When you have a sufficiently complicated format it is too easy for ad-hoc solutions to not handle some case you didn't know about and blow things up as a result.)

I'm not sure what to make of 'metastat -p'. It doesn't seem quite designed for use by other programs, since it has just enough odd features to make that challenging (like the line continuations it likes to throw in). At the same time, it shows that the DiskSuite people were at least vaguely aware of the whole issue and made some sort of half-hearted stab at dealing with it, making it more annoying that they didn't try to do more.

We have various ad-hoc solutions, of course. I suspect that every site making real use of DiskSuite has built similar ones (and that each has some bugs and oversights, because that is the nature of ad-hoc tools).

(Some casual Googling suggests that Sun's official solution may involve SNMP. Please pardon me while I snort cider.)

I find this irritating partly because Solaris is supposed to be the 'enterprise' operating system, and good monitoring is one of the things that enterprise people traditionally care about. Solaris 8 is lacking enough things as it is, so it would be nice to get something for all of this 'enterprise' minimalism.

Possibly this is improved in Solaris 9 and Solaris 10. Unfortunately we seem unlikely to move to Solaris 10 any time soon (although it would be nice).

Written on 27 December 2006.
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Last modified: Wed Dec 27 23:29:54 2006
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