The first Avamar grid I installed was an Avamar Gen 3 grid with different storage nodes connected to each other and an Avamar version 5 installation on top of it. When searching online for installation guides, there is not really much to find about installing Avamar. The reason is that you have to be a certified EMC partner to be authorized for installing the grid.
In this blogpost I will specify all the steps necessary for installing a “fresh out of the box” Avamar single node configuration into your environment.
Hardware and software
For installing the Avamar single node configuration I used the following hardware configuration:
- Avamar ADS Gen4 7.8TB Storage Node
The software packages that I used are the following:
- AvamarInstallSles-6.0.1-65.avp including AvamarInstallSles-6.0.1-65.avp.md5sum
The software packages need to be downloaded first from a central EMC Avamar FTP location that start with “ftp://avamar_ftp:firstname.lastname@example.org/software”. Because I don’t want to get in any trouble with EMC, I will not specify the subfolder of the 6.0.1-65 software packages in this blogpost.
Preparing the node
When preparing the node for installation of the Avamar software, you will prepare several things:
- Physical networking
- Configuring OS level networking
- Configuring Avamar level networking
- Installing the web interface
- Prepare the package for installation
First we will connect the eth0 (Gb1 at the back) and eth2 (Gb3 at the back) to two different switches. They will be bonded later for failover purpose. You can also connect the iDRAC mgmt port the the network as you wish. iDRAC is the optional Dell Remote Access Feature, just like HP with ILO and Cisco with CIMC.
Now we start configuring the OS level networking. Connect your monitor / keyboard to the node and logon using root, using the default password “changeme”. Since ADS Gen4 is running on Suse Linux, we can use Yast to configure the OS level networking part. When you want to be sure which exact version of Linux you are running, use the command “cat /proc/version”.
Note: The eth1 (Gb2 at the back) port needs to be pre-configured with the IP address 10.99.99.5, so you can also use this port for connection using SSH. At several times, I received a node where this was not configured yet, so I configured is myself, while EMC tells you it is factory default.
Started Yast yet? Now go to Network Devices > Network Settings.
There are 3 different parts where to configure stuff:
- Overview: Make sure you configure only eth0 (Gb1 at the back) which will be bonded later with eth2 (Gb3 at the back) using dpnnetutil. Specify the IP address, subnet mask and FQDN of the host. This FQDN will be the hostname where clients connect to
- Hostname / DNS: Configure the hostname, domain suffix and fill in the DNS servers that are used inside your organization. Now you can also add the hostname / IP address you specified to eth0 to your organization DNS server(s)
- Routing: Make sure the correct gateway is configured
Now we configured the networking part of the OS, so test the connectivity to the rest of the network using eth0. eth0 is the only port configured at this point.
Now upload the three software packages I specified earlier to the “/usr/local/avamar/src/” location using WinSCP for example. After uploading, check the integrity of the Avamar package by using the following command:
“md5sum -c /usr/local/avamar/src/AvamarInstallSles-6.0.1-65.avp.md5sum”
After the upload, also make sure you have permissions to use the packages by using the command “chmod 777 /usr/local/avamar/src/*”. There is no danger in adding all the permissions on this file.
You just uploaded the different packages and verified the integrity of the Avamar software bundle. Now we can install the dpnnetutil tool. This is the tool that will prepare the networking part of the Avamar installation. Simply browse to the /usr/local/avamar/src/ location and install the dpnnetutil tool using “./dpnnetutil-6.0.1-65.run”. After the installation we will start the dpnnetutil using the OS level root account by simply using “dpnnetutil”.
You will now get into a wizard where you have to specify the following settings:
- Choose for Gen4 Single, where AVE will be used when configuring the Avamar virtual appliance for VMware
- Set the time zone
- Set an SMTP host that can relay messages from the node to EMC. Make sure the eth0 configured IP address is allowed for relaying on this SMTP host
- Set the hostname without domain name, which will be taken from the Yast configuration, but can be changed
- Set the domain suffix
- Set the DNS servers used for name resolving
- Set the default gateway. This is the same as specified in Yast
- Set the configuration for the to be created bond0. This will be created out of eth0 and eth2. This will be the same settings as specified earlier for the eth0 port
- Check the overview and choose to accept
When you connect the Avamar to a 100Mbit connection during the installation, dpnnetutil will create a message which you can ignore, but make sure you are connected to a 1Gb connection when installing the Avamar software later or else you will receive an error later telling you this is not a Gen2 or higher node and the installation will fail.
When the dpnnetutil is running now, you can follow the process using the “tail -f /usr/local/avamar/var/log/dpnnetutilbgaux.log” command. Only when the output is “done” as you can see in the screenshot below, you are ready to reboot the system. So after dpnnetutil is completely done, reboot the system. When rebooting, while dpnnetutil is still working, you can start over the dpnnetutil tool.
Now reboot the entire system by simply using the command “reboot”.
Now we are ready to start the Avamar installation, but first we have to install the web interface for installing the Avamar software. First install the avinstaller by using the following command: “/usr/local/avamar/src/avinstaller-bootstrap-6.0.1-65.sles11_64.x86_64.run”. After the web service is started, you can browse to the interface using the path: https://your-bond-0-IP:8543/avi, logon using the root / changeme account and you are now looking at the packages repository. To be able to the Avamar software here, you first have to unlock your account by using the lock button on the screenshot below:
The password for unlocking is “Supp0rt0nly” where the o’s are replaced by zero’s. Now move the “AvamarInstallSles-6.0.1-65.avp” package from the /usr/local/avamar/src location to the /data01/avamar/repo/packages location and refresh the web interface a couple of time until the package is visible now. After installation this package will be automatically removed from the packages location.
When the package is visible, you can click on “Install” for the installation to initialize using the specified package. When the initialization has been done, you can specify some options before starting the installation. Make sure you do not change the passwords yet, because this can lead to problems. The only stuff you specify now are:
- ConnectEMC settings
- NTP servers (unfortunately IP only)
- Time zone
Keep the rest as default, click on Save and Continue. Now the installation will start. This can take like half an hour and sometimes a little longer. After the installation, most services will be started automatically and the first checkpoint will be created. You can check the checkpoint by using the “status.dpn” command. The only services you have to start yourself are the scheduler and maintenance scheduler. This can be started using the following commands:
“dpnctl start sched”
“dpnctl start maint”
Post installation tasks
After the installation, you can configure some settings. Here I will specify the stuff that I think is necessary:
- Change the default passwords
- License the Avamar
- Register the Avamar with EMC
- Configure ConnectEMC
- Optional: Configure LDAP integration for Active Directory authentication
First we will change the passwords. Change to the account called dpn by using “su dpn”. Now load the SSH keys by using the following commands:
Now run the command “Change-Passwords”. There is no need to change the SSH keys, so only choose to change the OS passwords and the Avamar server passwords. To be able to change the Avamar server passwords, you need the default Avamar server OS password, which is “8RttoTriz”. The default OS passwords are “changeme” and this seems to be a hint, doesn’t it?
After changing the passwords, make sure to logon a complete new SSH session with the new passwords to be able to create no problems when using the existing SSH sessions that was initially logged on using the default passwords.
Licensing the Avamar
First of all, the Avamar licensing is a little bit strange. As long you have a license, you are protected. By this, I mean on having a license that covers 10TB of space, you are still able to have about 20TB of data on the Avamar grid. The Avamar only checks for a valid license and not the amount of space covered by this License. Besides this, licensing is the most expensive part of Avamar, so when having a 20TB grid, you are not obligated to purchase 20TB of licenses immediately.
First of all you will receive the following items from EMC by e-mail when licenses are purchased:
- Customer Account ID
- Asset Reference ID
On the Avamar, using SSH, you browse to the /tmp folder and start the command “gathergsankeydata”. Now you are able to generate a license file using both ID’s and the domain name. When done, simply download the generated XML file from the /tmp location and download the XML using WinSCP for example. Now e-mail the XML file to email@example.com and wait for the definite license file to be sent to you.
When you now receive the license file from EMC, simply upload it to the /tmp location again and use the following command to license the node using the following commands:
“chmod 644 /tmp/licensefile.xml” to change permissions on the file
“avmaint license /tmp/licensefile.xml –avamaronly” to apply the license file
What EMC does with the XML send by us, is simply entering it on the following website “http://www.avamar.com/support1.html”, but unfortunately we do not have an account here.
Register the Avamar
When registering the Avamar, you have to fill in a install audit form which is generated by EMC. you need to send this to EMC and fill in some settings of the Avamar. Here are some commands to use for getting the required info:
- Getting the Serial Number: /usr/bin/ipmitool fru print 0 | grep “Product Asset Tag” | sed “s/^.*: *\(.*\)/\1/”
- Getting the System ID: mccli server show-prop | grep ID
Now you have the up and running Avamar, you can simply download the Admin Guide from the Avamar using the web browser and point to the bond0 IP address. Here you can find how to configure ConnectEMC (important but easy), to be able to alert EMC when necessary. Besides this, you can also configure LDAP integration using the Admin Guide, so it is not really necessary to specify this using this blogpost.
You are now ready to start configuring schedules, retention policies, groups and datasets and start backing up clients!