How to obtain a Brocade SupportSave without BNA or DCFM

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In some of my previous articles here and here I explained how to obtain a supportsave via BNA (Brocade Network Advisor) and/or DCFM (Data Centre Fabric Manager) and which one to grab. But what happens if you don’t have BNA or are not able to manage these switches via BNA. The best way to do this is to implement the “supportftp”  settings.

supportftp is a little utility in FOS which allows you to configure predefined settings to simplify the collection of supportsaves, FFDC’s (First Failure Data Collections) and tracedumps. When you receive a request from your support provider to collect a supportsave from all switches in your fabric it can be a daunting task to login each switch, remember all settings and trying to figure out why it doesn’t work for one reason or another. As always being prepared is the best way to prevent this.

The first thing you need is an FTP server. On Unix or Linux these are easily installed with an apt-get or “yum install”. On windows you can use the native FTP facility that comes when you create a webserver role for your server or use Filezilla. On that ftp server create a  new account with a long and secure password in order to set and forget it on the switches later on. On the same ftpserver create a directory structure per fabric and switch where each switch will upload its own files such as this:

 |-- fabric1
 |   |-- switch1
 |   |-- switch2
 |   `-- switch3
 |-- fabric2
 |   |-- switch1
 |   |-- switch2
 |   `-- switch3
 `-- fabric3
     |-- switch1
     |-- switch2
     `-- switch3

Provide the appropriate upload permissions for that account on the root of that tree and you’re good to go on the switch side.

On the switch use the command “supportftp -S” to show the current settings. If anything is configured check if these settings are still valid. If not, reconfigure these accordingly by first clearing them via “supportftp -R“.

In short you’ll use the following command:

supportftp -s -h <hosname|ipaddress> -u <ftp username> -p <password> -d </fabric1/switch1> -l <protocol (ftp in this case)>

Obviously the upload path after the -d parameter should reflect the directory in the tree you created on the ftp server.

Verify with “supportftp -S” if the settings are correctly registered. As a best practice it is advised to enable the auto-tracedump via “supportftp -e“. This allows the switch to automatically transfer the tracedump files to the ftp server in case a process crashes and creates a core-dump. This dump is then safeguarded so that analysis by Brocade support can be done.

Now if you log into the switch and issue the command “supportsave -n -c” you’ll see that the process starts off immediately without asking for confirmation or any other parameters. The -n omits the confirmation question and the -c parameter tells the supportsave command to use the settings previously configured via supportftp. When you now look on the ftp server you’ll see that the folders will be filling up with the logfiles of each individual switch and these can then be easily compressed in a zip or tar.gz file and sent to support. This process saves time and could therefore prevent important logs from being wrapped. As an example a portlogdump can wrap in just a few minutes depending on how busy a fabric is and how many events are logged. It does contain such a great value to us troubleshooters that on many occasions we might be able to spot a problem just by looking at this log. If this log is wrapped and the events are overwritten (its a circular log) we might have missed to opportunity to spot the problem.



About Erwin van Londen

Master Technical Analyst at Hitachi Data Systems
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