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Recently a customer needed to automatically wipe the disks on hundreds of HP blades that were being returned on lease. To facilitate this HiperLogic created a custom boot Linux CD to wipe the disks that had the following features:

1. Re-configured the RAID from STRIPED to MIRRORED to 1/2 the wiping time.
2. Wiped the disks using the linux shred utility without user intervention.
3. Halted the machine on completion.

This CD is easily mounted across all blades in the chassis via the USB media. A custom solution was developed as some of the popular free wipe utilities were too old to support the latest HP blades.

Here is the guide to creating your own:

Building the SLAX ISO IMAGE

SLAX was chosen because it was simple, had the shred utility installed, and had all the linux drivers needed out of the box. These same principles could be applied to your distro of choice.

Step 1. Download the SLAX iso image, then do the following:

  mount -o loop slax-6.1.2.iso /mnt/loop
  cp -a /mnt/loop /tmp/slax
  cd /tmp/slax

Step 2. Create the following inside the slax directory :

   rootcopy/etc/rc.d/rc.local
   rootcopy/usr/local/sbin/shredit

The contents of this file are like below:
# cat rootcopy/etc/rc.d/rc.local

  #!/bin/sh
   nohup /usr/local/sbin/shredit &
   

#cat rootcopy/usr/local/sbin/shredit

#!/bin/sh 

#delete the existing RAID 0 array. This command is specific to your layout.
echo "Y"  | /opt/compaq/hpacucli/bld/hpacucli ctrl slot=0 ld 1 delete 

#create a RAID 1 array. This command is specific to your layout
/opt/compaq/hpacucli/bld/hpacucli  ctrl slot=0 create type=ld raid=1 

#This says do a one pass overwrite of the device with random data, then follow up with a zero write pass.
shred -n 1 -z -v /dev/cciss/c0d0
#Now halt after completion
halt

Step 3:
Download and install the HP hpacucli RPM. This utility is used to re-create the RAID0 raid to RAID1 to speed up the wipe. SLAX isn’t RPM based, but you can use rpm2cpio on another box to get a CPIO archive to install.
Step 4. Create the ISO
Now just run the

  mkiso_fs.sh

command included with SLAX to build your custom ISO image. Assuming you called it shred.iso, follow the instructions below to mount it on the blades.

Automatically mounting the ISO on the blades

There are a couple ways to mount the ISO image, if you have the ILO Advanced Pack you can use the following method:

Use RIBCL in the OA to download and mount the ISO as a virtual CD drive for one time nooy

1. Put the ISO image somewhere on a webserver on your network.
2. Create this XML in a text file which we will use in the next step via copy/paste, replacing the myloginhere and mypassword here with your admin credentials for the Onboard Administrator (OA). This will mount the shred.iso via http, and configure the blade for a one time boot into this ISO image.

 <RIBCL VERSION="2.0">
  <LOGIN USER_LOGIN="myloginhere" PASSWORD="mypasswordhere">
  <RIB_INFO MODE="write">
    <INSERT_VIRTUAL_MEDIA DEVICE="CDROM" IMAGE_URL="http://someipaddresshere/shred.iso"/>
    <SET_VM_STATUS DEVICE="CDROM">
      <VM_BOOT_OPTION VALUE="BOOT_ONCE"/>
      <VM_WRITE_PROTECT VALUE="YES" />
    </SET_VM_STATUS>
  </RIB_INFO>
  </LOGIN>
 </RIBCL> 

Now copy the above lines, SSH to the OA in the chassis and then type ONE of the following examples depending if you want to shred ALL blades, one blade, or a range of blades.

Applies to All blades in chassis. | is the termination character

  HPONCFG ALL << |

Applies to Bay 1 only

  HPONCFG 1 << |

Applies to Bays 1 through 8

HPONCFG 1-8 << |

Applies to Bays 1, 2, 9 and 10

HPONCFG 1,2,9,10 << |

Now PASTE the XML we copied in the previous step after this.

Finally just type

|

on a line by itself and hit enter to execute the XML string.

Boot the ISO off of a USB key in the OA

The second option works with standard ILO but you need to do the following:

1. Copy the ISO image to a USB key, you should see the file shred.iso on the USB key. The OA will show all files with .ISO to mount.
2. Insert the ISO image into the OA of the chassis
3. Go to the OA web page, go to Enclosure Settings and then DVD drive
4. Mount the image on the blade(s) like in the screenshot below:

connect iso to a blade through the OA

After you power on the blade, it will begin the wiping proceses. It took about 3 hours for the wipe to complete, with each blade having dual 72GB 15k SAS drives. Once the wipe is complete, the blades will shut down.

HiperLogic offers hardware solutions from HP ( and other vendors ), and for Virtualization we are a big fan of the HP DL380 G6/G7. We have noted during our VMware health check service that many DL380 installs that were done by our competitors were not ordered and/or configured for maximum performance. This post is to assist customers in getting it right.

Memory
Not having an optimal memory configuration can drastically reduce performance. HP has engineered the DL380 G6 to support large amounts of RAM and still keep the memory speed at 1333MHz (With 95W CPUs ). The memory configuration on new Nehalem based systems is no longer a simple matter of just picking a capacity and running with it like in the old days. If you want to configure your own memory see www.hp.com/go/ddr3memory-configurator

Disk

Next is disk performance. You should purchase a Battery Backed Write Cache Module with any DL380 G6 for vSphere ESXi or you will have performance problems, see this HP advisory. Even if you are running ESX today, ESXi may in the very near future be the only path forward, so better to spend a few dollars to future proof your investment.

BIOS

Having the wrong BIOS settings can really make a huge difference in performance. For example you may consider setting:

Turbo Boost On
HP Power Profile to Maximum Performance
HP Power Regulator to Static High Performance
Thermal Configuration Increased Cooling

Local Disk

HiperLogic also likes to have some fast local disk, the DL380G6 has plenty of internal storage for putting lots of fast disk. Having fast local disk is great even if you use a SAN as you can always storage vmotion to a local VMFS volume when testing or debugging VM disk I/O or VM disk performance issues, and for temporarily working around SAN issues etc. Disk is cheap, and it is nice to have the flexibility.

Finally always check the VMware HCL, for the DL380 G6 that is here

There is also a HP VMware HCL and vSphere 5 for HP Servers

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ILO is a management port on HP servers that allow you to power nodes on and off, obtain sensor information, and other useful management tasks. You can save a lot of time when trying to configure the ILO management port on HP cluster nodes by scripting the ILO configuration with HP tools.

At a high level, to automatically configure ILO you feed the HP hponcfg.exe tool XML fragments which automatically configure ILO to your specifications.

I typically like the ILO management port to be configured to use DHCP, set the ILO hostname to be -ilo, and have SSH enabled. I normally set the username and password to be the same on each cluster blade.
First, download the hponcfg.exe tool from the HP website and put it on a share accessible to the compute nodes.

The first item it to set all compute nodes to have the same ILO name and password. In this example, I will just set them to Administrator/Administrator ( obviously you will want to change that!)

To reset the password create a file named reset_pass.xml on a share accessible from the compute nodes with the following contents:

&lt;RIBCL VERSION=&quot;2.0&quot;&gt;
 &lt;LOGIN USER_LOGIN=&quot;Administrator&quot; PASSWORD=&quot;Administrator&quot;&gt;
  &lt;USER_INFO MODE=&quot;write&quot;&gt;
   &lt;MOD_USER USER_LOGIN=&quot;Administrator&quot;&gt;
    &lt;PASSWORD value=&quot;Administrator&quot;/&gt;
   &lt;/MOD_USER&gt;
  &lt;/USER_INFO&gt;
 &lt;/LOGIN&gt;
&lt;/RIBCL&gt;

Then run this command to execute the password reset on all nodes, via clusrun or other mechanism ( psexec if you are not on HPC Server 2008):

hponcfg /f reset_pass.xml

Next, lets reset the ILO hostname to -ilo and enable DHCP. Create a batch file with the following contents, copy it to the temp directory on each node, and execute it on each node via clusrun.

for /f &quot;delims=&quot; %%a in ('hostname') do @set HOSTNAME=%%a
echo ^&lt;RIBCL VERSION=&quot;2.1&quot;^&gt; &gt;&gt; network.xml &gt; network.xml
echo ^&lt;LOGIN USER_LOGIN=&quot;Administrator&quot; PASSWORD=&quot;Administrator&quot;^&gt; &gt;&gt; network.xml
echo   ^&lt;DIR_INFO MODE=&quot;write&quot;^&gt; &gt;&gt; network.xml
echo   ^&lt;MOD_DIR_CONFIG^&gt; &gt;&gt; network.xml
echo     ^&lt;DIR_AUTHENTICATION_ENABLED VALUE = &quot;N&quot;/^&gt; &gt;&gt; network.xml
echo     ^&lt;DIR_LOCAL_USER_ACCT VALUE = &quot;Y&quot;/^&gt; &gt;&gt; network.xml
echo     ^&lt;DIR_SERVER_ADDRESS VALUE = &quot;&quot;/^&gt; &gt;&gt; network.xml
echo     ^&lt;DIR_SERVER_PORT VALUE = &quot;636&quot;/^&gt; &gt;&gt; network.xml
echo     ^&lt;DIR_OBJECT_DN VALUE = &quot;&quot;/^&gt; &gt;&gt; network.xml
echo     ^&lt;DIR_OBJECT_PASSWORD VALUE = &quot;&quot;/^&gt; &gt;&gt; network.xml
echo     ^&lt;DIR_USER_CONTEXT_1 VALUE = &quot;&quot;/^&gt; &gt;&gt; network.xml
echo     ^&lt;DIR_USER_CONTEXT_2 VALUE = &quot;&quot;/^&gt; &gt;&gt; network.xml
echo     ^&lt;DIR_USER_CONTEXT_3 VALUE = &quot;&quot;/^&gt; &gt;&gt; network.xml
echo   ^&lt;/MOD_DIR_CONFIG^&gt; &gt;&gt; network.xml
echo   ^&lt;/DIR_INFO^&gt; &gt;&gt; network.xml
echo   ^&lt;RIB_INFO MODE=&quot;write&quot;^&gt; &gt;&gt; network.xml
echo   ^&lt;MOD_NETWORK_SETTINGS^&gt; &gt;&gt; network.xml
echo     ^&lt;SPEED_AUTOSELECT VALUE = &quot;Y&quot;/^&gt; &gt;&gt; network.xml
echo     ^&lt;NIC_SPEED VALUE = &quot;10&quot;/^&gt; &gt;&gt; network.xml
echo     ^&lt;FULL_DUPLEX VALUE = &quot;N&quot;/^&gt; &gt;&gt; network.xml
echo     ^&lt;DHCP_ENABLE VALUE = &quot;Y&quot;/^&gt; &gt;&gt; network.xml
echo     ^&lt;DHCP_GATEWAY VALUE = &quot;Y&quot;/^&gt; &gt;&gt; network.xml
echo     ^&lt;DHCP_DNS_SERVER VALUE = &quot;Y&quot;/^&gt; &gt;&gt; network.xml
echo     ^&lt;DHCP_STATIC_ROUTE VALUE = &quot;Y&quot;/^&gt; &gt;&gt; network.xml
echo     ^&lt;DHCP_WINS_SERVER VALUE = &quot;Y&quot;/^&gt; &gt;&gt; network.xml
echo     ^&lt;REG_WINS_SERVER VALUE = &quot;Y&quot;/^&gt; &gt;&gt; network.xml
echo     ^&lt;DNS_NAME VALUE = &quot;%HOSTNAME%&quot;/^&gt; &gt;&gt; network.xml
echo     ^&lt;DOMAIN_NAME VALUE = &quot;mydomainname.com&quot;/^&gt; &gt;&gt; network.xml
echo     ^&lt;SEC_WINS_SERVER value = &quot;0.0.0.0&quot;/^&gt; &gt;&gt; network.xml
echo     ^&lt;STATIC_ROUTE_1 DEST = &quot;0.0.0.0&quot; GATEWAY = &quot;0.0.0.0&quot;/^&gt; &gt;&gt; network.xml
echo     ^&lt;STATIC_ROUTE_2 DEST = &quot;0.0.0.0&quot; GATEWAY = &quot;0.0.0.0&quot;/^&gt; &gt;&gt; network.xml
echo     ^&lt;STATIC_ROUTE_3 DEST = &quot;0.0.0.0&quot; GATEWAY = &quot;0.0.0.0&quot;/^&gt; &gt;&gt; network.xml
echo   ^&lt;/MOD_NETWORK_SETTINGS^&gt; &gt;&gt; network.xml
echo   ^&lt;/RIB_INFO^&gt; &gt;&gt; network.xml
echo  ^&lt;/LOGIN^&gt; &gt;&gt; network.xml
echo ^&lt;/RIBCL^&gt; &gt;&gt; network.xml

hponcfg /f network.xml

Finally, lets enable SSH for ILO. Put the following contents in a file called ssh.xml, copy it to a share and run hponcfg /f ssh.xml via clusrun

&lt;RIBCL VERSION=&quot;2.0&quot;&gt;
  &lt;LOGIN USER_LOGIN=&quot;Administrator&quot; PASSWORD=&quot;Password&quot;&gt;
  &lt;RIB_INFO MODE=&quot;write&quot;&gt;
    &lt;MOD_GLOBAL_SETTINGS&gt;
      &lt;SSH_PORT value=&quot;22&quot;/&gt;
      &lt;SSH_STATUS value=&quot;Yes&quot;/&gt;
    &lt;/MOD_GLOBAL_SETTINGS&gt;
  &lt;/RIB_INFO&gt;
  &lt;/LOGIN&gt;
&lt;/RIBCL&gt;

For more information, read the extensive HP documentation and examples.

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