Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Capacity Planner - uploading to Dashboard without internet access

Over the last couple of weeks, I've been setting up a Capacity Planner at a customer site (not full time, though). There have been the usual complications of not receiving user accounts with the proper access rights but also this time there was trouble uploading data from the Collector to the Dashboard. The customer uses a proxy server and even though we had specified as a requirement that TCP port 80 and 443 outbound should be opened, they weren't. I could register the collector but no files were transferred to the Dashboard and files stayed in the 'outbox'. After a while they found another proxy that could be used, and right away after reconfiguring the proxy from within the collector, I could see files started transferring (It's quite nice to see when the tool actually works as expected - because it doesn't always in my opinion...)

So I was looking around for another way to upload the files and it turns out, that this can be done fairly easily. The process is fairly straight forward. On the primary collector you generate the files to be uploaded but then you leave them in the outbox. Then you copy the files from the outbox and put them in the outbox of another collector that works and has proper internet access. This secondary collector does not need to registered to the specific project or customer as the files have already been tagged with an ID and the Dashboard will know where to put the files. I followed this KB article to move files to another collector.

Another learning point was that if you're unsure that your files are actually uploaded all the way to the Dashboard and you want have a backup, then enable the 'archiving' function on the collector. That way you will keep all info and will be able to re-upload at a later stage. See this KB article for reference. Make sure to have enough disk space available. After one week of collecting data without sending any to the Dashboard for 150 servers - the log files amounted to about 1 GB of data (for a full CA analysis).

And bonus info: After the update to 2.8.0, they have change Dashboard somewhat. Now, data can end up both under a given 'project', which is the default view when you login, or it can end up under the 'customer' tab (there are two different tabs in your customer overview). This, to me, was quite confusing as I was expecting to see data arriving under the 'projects' tab which was reporting 'no data collected' for the customer even though I had been uploading data for almost one week.

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