UNIX Consulting and Expertise
Golden Apple Enterprises Ltd. » Archive of 'Jan, 2010'

Rough guide to BIND logging – keeping an eye on DNS Comments Off on Rough guide to BIND logging – keeping an eye on DNS

At lots of sites I see people configuring BIND, setting up their zones, but then missing out a critical part of the configuration – logging. BIND logging is easy enough to configure, and it gives you a useful insight into potential issues with your DNS and zone files.

BIND logging is managed in /etc/named.conf and is split into two parts.

First of all, configure BIND to store PIDs, statistics files etc. in a dedicated directory. In this case, I’m using /var/named/log:

options {
        directory "/var/named/log";
        pid-file "/var/named/log/named.pid";
        dump-file "/var/named/log/named_dump.db";
        memstatistics-file "/var/named/log/named.memstats";
        statistics-file "/var/named/log/named.stats";

That’s all pretty straightforward. Armed with this we can write some scripts to plug BIND statistics into RRDTool or similar, and get some nice graphs of performance.

Next, we can use the logging directive to configure log files and the streams of events we want to log:

logging {
        channel default_log {
                file "/var/named/log/named.log" versions 3 size 10m;
                print-time yes;
                print-category yes;
                severity info;
        channel security_log {
                file "/var/named/log/named.security.log" versions 3 size 5m;
                print-time yes;
                print-category yes;
                severity notice;
        category default { default_log; };
        category security { security_log; };
        category lame-servers { null; };

You can see I’ve configured a default log of INFO events, which will by cycled when it reaches 10mb, with 3 copies being kept. I’m also logging security events with a priority of NOTICE and higher – 3 versions of this are kept, and the security log gets cycled when it reaches 5mb.

For all the log events I want to print the time stamp and the category – without these it can be difficult to work out what happened and when, which makes the logs pretty much worthless.

The syntax to configure logging in BIND is pretty straightforward and is very similar to how you’d configure your zones in named.conf.

If you want to be slack you can just cut and paste this into /etc/named.conf and restart BIND – instant logging. I run BIND under a non-root user, and the BIND logging directory is owned by that user and group and locked down – I’d suggest doing the same at a minimum.

HPC Benchmarking Comments Off on HPC Benchmarking

Some videos are available from Sun’s HPC Consortium which was held last year in Portland, next to the SC09 conference.

On the more interesting ones is by of the presentation by Yan Fisher, who is Benchmark Lead in Sun’s Technical Marketing Systems Group. His presentation is an update on benchmarking in HPC.

Head on over to Sun’s HPC Watercooler to watch it.

SuCLE lives: Oracle/Sun merger approved by the EU Comments Off on SuCLE lives: Oracle/Sun merger approved by the EU

The Oracle takeover of Sun has finally been approved by the EU, after a long delay while the EU competition folks had to discover that, in fact, MySQL wasn’t the only open source database on the planet. Shocking discovery, I know.

Oracle are holding a webcast next Wednesday 27th, where Mad Larry will be laying out his stalls and plotting the roadmap to world domination. You can sign up here – well worth a listen, if only because now Oracle are fully off the leash they’re free to really put the boot in to IBM and HP.

On a related note, I find Monty Widenius’ objections to the merger/takeover/sale bizarre. Sun paid the shareholders a cool $1 billion for MySQL AB – a ridiculous amount. They can do what they want with it. Surely if that caused you problems, you shouldn’t have sold it in the first place?

Selling something, then trying to force the new owners to let you have back control so you can build a competing commercial business off it – for free – is, quite frankly, greedy and deeply shady. And in the meantime, the delay has damaged Sun, their customers, partners – oh, and the career prospects of all those MySQL AB guys who now work for Sun. I’m sure Monty will be crying them all a river as he rolls around in the big stack of cash he got from Sun.

It’s a strange contrast to the behaviour of the Jboss folks, where after the sale the application server has been transformed via RedHat cash into a credible platform that’s met with some solid commercial success.

The management side of IT Comments Off on The management side of IT

I freely admit to being a technologist – in the old school, hardcore “this stuff is cool” sense. Management of IT is not where my skills lie, and compared to the lure of shiny complex IT infrastructure, it’s just not that interesting. In the words of Austin Powers, that’s just not my bag, baby.

Which makes it all the more important that I can work with IT managers and CTOs who don’t just ‘get’ technology, but are also accomplished and skilled managers. I’ve worked with a number of people who excel at those roles (to the immense benefit of their business).

One of the best is someone I worked with at a dot-com a decade ago. The planets have aligned and we’re working together again at the moment, on some complex IT issues that are just as interesting as they were years ago.

This time round, though, he’s blogging about IT management issues (and online gambling). Head on over to Transmissions From a Free Ranging Agent of Kaos for a read – it’s informative and useful stuff.

Optimising performance for parallel processing Comments Off on Optimising performance for parallel processing

Over at the Sun HPC Watercooler there’s a great video from Acumen CTO Professor Erik Hagersten about how to migrate legacy code to multicore architectures, and how to optimise performance for parallel architectures.

Finding single core processors in servers is almost impossible now, and with processors like Sun’s UltraSPARC T2+ and NVidia’s GPU solutions, parallel processing (and the associated performance issues) are going to be a hot topic over the next few years.

The full video can be viewed here – well worth a watch.

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