Monitoring the Enterprise File Fabric with Prometheus and Grafana

Like any server application, to successfully host and operate the Storage Made Easy Enterprise File Fabric™, you have to monitor and maintain your environment.  Together with the latest File Fabric release we are excited to announce the availability of the SME Observe package, that gives you quick relevant stats into your environment. To take advantage of our automatic installer you have to use File Fabric release versions 1705 or 1712, and initially run the SME deployment as an All-in-One, meaning the database runs on the same host as the webserver. Stay tuned for more information on advanced deployment scenarios.

What is Prometheus?
Prometheus is an open-source monitoring toolkit originally built at SoundCloud in 2012. Since then many companies and organizations have adopted Prometheus, and the project has a very active community.
For more elaborate overviews of Prometheus, see the resources linked from the Prometheus media section.

What is Grafana?
Grafana is an open-source visualization suite. It is most commonly used for visualizing time series data for infrastructure and application analytics but is often used anywhere data needs to be graphically visualized. Read more at grafana.com.

Installation
To install software on your SME File Fabric server you need to connect the the linux command line and elevate your privileges to the root user.

# ssh smeconfiguser@you-sme-appliance.com
 < Enter your smeconfiguser password >
# su -
 < Enter your root password >

The rest of this article assumes that you are logged into the appliance with root credentials. We also assume that you have already configured your appliance with the correct IP and DNS names.
If you are running release 1705 or newer you will have access to the SME Enterprise software repository. To make sure it is enabled and configured correctly you can simply update to the latest version, and as good practice update the local package cache at the same time:

# yum install https://download.storagemadeeasy.com/sme-repo-release-latest.rpm
< Answer yes if prompted >
# yum makecache

Now that your environment is in order, let’s start by installing Grafana. To do this, we install the rpm directly from their repository.

yum install https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/grafana-releases/release/grafana-4.6.3-1.x86_64.rpm
< Answer yes if prompted >

Now we are ready to install Prometheus configured for SME, to make this part easier we have create a package that contains all the default settings. Simply run.

yum install sme-ff-observe
< Answer yes if prompted >

When the installation is complete, you are ready to log into the webpage, simply go to https://you-sme-appliance.com/observe
There are 2 default users created, an admin and a regular user. The username and password of the regular user is “filefabric” and “rari2quum”, once entered you should see a screen similar to this:

 

First things first, change your password by going to your profile page.

Here simple click Change Password.

SME Observe comes with six default Dashboards, showing you statistics about different aspects of the running server, some are OS centric, and some are focused on the database. I don’t play favorites, so I will just say please explore them all, and familiarize yourself with the data presented.

For instructions on how to navigate the the Grafana interface, please see grafana.com

 

Security

Default Users
Like mentioned earlier there are two users in grafana, “admin” and “filefabric”. The admin user has full access to the Grafana instance and can Delete, Modify and Create new dashboards, this is not an account you should share. The filefabric user is a read only user. For both users please ensure you update the default passwords as soon as possible. The admin and file fabric default user credentials were initially provided when you downloaded the FileFabric product (although you may/should have subsequently changed them).

Default Access
By default, access to Observe is open to all networks, dependent on your deployment you might want to limit access to LAN networks, the main office, VPN access, or a combination of these. We encourage you to limit exposure by limiting network access to something you are comfortable with. This can of course be done in a modern firewall / load balancer by filtering the “/observe” path, but you can also do it inside the SME platform. To do this, log into the File Fabric appliance as root, and edit the httpd configuration file after you created a backup.

# cp /etc/httpd/conf.d/ssl.conf /etc/httpd/conf.d/ssl.conf.bu
# vi /etc/httpd/conf.d/ssl.conf

Locate the codeblock for observe, by searching for it, in vi simply type  the slash “/” followed by observe <enter>.  You should see the following four lines.

 <Location "/observe">
   ProxyPass http://localhost:3000
 </Location>
 ProxyPassReverse /observe http://localhost:3000

To limit access to the local LAN and maybe one remote public IP, you would add the following 3 lines to the above block, inside the Location directive.

Order allow,deny
 Allow from 10.10.10.0/24
 Allow from 183.12.34.124

Of course update the subnet and IP address above to match your actual values. At the end you want the codeblock to look like this.

<Location "/observe">
 ProxyPass http://localhost:3000
 Order allow,deny
 Allow from 10.10.10.0/24
 Allow from 183.12.34.124
 </Location>
 ProxyPassReverse /observe http://localhost:3000

After the file is updated and saved, you must reload the apache configuration.

systemctl reload httpd

If this command fails, verify your changes above and try again, or simple restore you backed up configuration.

I hope you have enjoyed this article and that you will join me again in subsequent posts as we export more advanced deployment topologies for monitoring and discuss further monitoring updates to the SME Observe feature.

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