Friday, July 15, 2016

DELL Force10 : DNS, Time and Syslog server configuration

It is generally good practice to have time synchronized on all network devices and configure remote logging (syslog) to centralized syslog server for proper troubleshooting and problem management. Force10 switches are not exceptions therefore let's configure time synchronization and remote logging to my central syslog server - VMware LogInsight in my case.

I would like to use hostnames instead of IP addresses so let's start with DNS resolution, continue with time settings and finalize the mission with remote syslog configuration.

Below are my environment details:

  • My DNS server is 192.168.4.21
  • DNS domain name is home.uw.cz
  • I will use internet following three NTP servers/pools - ntp.cesnet.cz, ntp.gts.cz and cz.pool.ntp.org
  • My syslog server is at syslog.home.uw.cz 

Step 1/ DNS resolution configuration
f10-s60#conf
f10-s60(conf)#ip name-server 192.168.4.21
f10-s60(conf)#ip domain-name home.uw.cz
f10-s60(conf)#ip domain-lookup
f10-s60(conf)#exit
Don't forget to configure "ip domain-lookup" because it is the command which enables domain name resolution.

Now let's test name resolution by ping www.google.com
f10-s60#ping www.google.com            Translating "www.google.com"...domain server (192.168.4.21) [OK]
Type Ctrl-C to abort.
Sending 5, 100-byte ICMP Echos to 172.217.16.164, timeout is 2 seconds:!!!!!Success rate is 100.0 percent (5/5), round-trip min/avg/max = 40/44/60 (ms)
We should also test some local hostname in long format
f10-s60#ping esx01.home.uw.cz        
Translating "esx01.home.uw.cz"
...domain server (192.168.4.21) [OK]
Type Ctrl-C to abort.
Sending 5, 100-byte ICMP Echos to 192.168.4.101, timeout is 2 seconds:
!!!!!
Success rate is 100.0 percent (5/5), round-trip min/avg/max = 0/0/0 (ms)
and short format
f10-s60#ping esx01
Translating "esx01"
...domain server (192.168.4.21) [OK]
Type Ctrl-C to abort.
Sending 5, 100-byte ICMP Echos to 192.168.4.101, timeout is 2 seconds:
!!!!!
Success rate is 100.0 percent (5/5), round-trip min/avg/max = 0/0/0 (ms)
Step 2/ Set current date, time and NTP synchronization

You have to decide if you want to use GMT or local time. The hardware time should be always set to GMT and you can configure timezone and summer-time if you wish. So let's configure GMT time in the first place.
f10-s60#calendar set 15:12:46 july 15 2016
and test it
f10-s60#sho calendar
15:12:39  Fri Jul 15 2016
Ok, so hardware time is set correctly to GMT.

If you really want to play with timezone and summer-time you can do it in conf mode with following commands.

f10-s60(conf)#clock ?
summer-time         Configure summer (daylight savings) time
timezone             Configure time zone   
I prefer to keep GMT time everywhere because it, in my opinion, simplifies troubleshooting, problem management and capacity planning.

Step 3/ Configuration of remote logging

FTOS by default doesn't use date and time for log messages. It uses uptime (time from last boot) therefore you can see when something happened since last system boot. However, because we already have time configured properly it is good idea to change this default behavior to use date and time.
f10-s60(conf)#service timestamps log datetime
To be honest, you generally don't need date and time on log messages because remote syslog server will add date and time to messages but I generally prefer to have both times - time from device and time when message arrived to syslog server. If you want to disable time stamping on syslog messages, use no service timestamps [log | debug].

And now, finally, let's configure remote syslog server by single configuration command
f10-s60(conf)#logging syslog.home.uw.cz
Translating "syslog.home.uw.cz"
Translating "syslog.home.uw.cz"
...domain server (192.168.4.21) [OK]
And we are done. Now you can see incoming log messages in your syslog server. See screenshot of my VMware Log Insight syslog server.

VMware Log Insight with Force10 log messages.
Hope you find it useful and as always - any comment is very appreciated.

No comments: