Fan Speed monitoring

January 18, 2015 by · 1 Comment 

Recently I moved a server into a proper cabinet with doors. After a few days I noticed the fans were spinning up and down. So I started investigating ways to monitor the fan speed. I figured having a graph of them long term would give me a nice way to show changes in the environment, beyond the temperature monitoring I am already doing.

I was not having much luck searching the Internet. Luckily, Darius on IRC pointed me to a project called bsdhwmon by Jeremy Chadwick, a fellow FreeBSD Developer. The server is running an older Supermicro X7SBi motherboard with a Winbond 83627HG chip which is listed on the supported page of bsdhwmon.

It was easy to setup:

  • Install bsdhwmon: pkg install bsdhwmon
  • Load the SMBus Controller driver for my motherboard: kldload ichsmb
  • Load the Generic SMB I/O Device driver: kldload smb

All I had to do from that point was run bsdhwmon:
# bsdhwmon
CPU1 Temperature 46 C
System Temperature 29 C
FAN1 10975 RPM
FAN2 11344 RPM
FAN3 7219 RPM
FAN4 7068 RPM
FAN6 11065 RPM
VcoreA 1.122 V
MCH Core 1.508 V
-12V -12.672 V
V_DIMM 1.808 V
+3.3V 3.296 V
+12V 11.904 V
5Vsb 5.046 V
5VDD 4.998 V
P_VTT 1.228 V
Vbat 3.312 V

It is important to remember to add the kernel modules to be loaded at boot. Adding the following to /boot/loader.conf will take care of that:

Note that ichsmb will load smbus, but not the smb kernel driver.

Now that I have the tools, I can monitor it at will.

The Importance of Serial Console

January 16, 2013 by · 2 Comments 

I have long been a huge fan of having serial console on my servers–it can really save the day when a mistake is made. Yesterday, one of my coworkers botched the sshd_config in an upgrade of a server, so the server came up fine, but without sshd. As a result, the system was not accessible for remote login via the network.

Over the years, I have done serial console in many ways. I began with a single null modem cable between the back of two servers. Next, I utilized a RocketPort multi-port serial card with 8 serial ports on it. These days, I have moved on to employing big serial console servers such as those made by OpenGear, providing up to 48 ports. They also have ancillary features such as providing a Nagios platform and Environmental monitoring.

No matter your physical connectivity, I recommend using Conserver. This helps by logging what is happening on the console, which can be very handy if you need to see what happened in the past whether it be a function of the system, or to see who did what. It also provides multi-user access, so you can watch while someone else is working and both of you can collaborate on fixing a problem.

In order for the previous technologies to be useful, the servers require configuration as well. The first step is to configure the BIOS for serial console redirection. Once this has been performed, the OS will need to be configured to present a console login via the serial port. The FreeBSD Handbook explains how to do this Here.