Posts Tagged ‘Mondorescue’

MondoRescue 3.2.2 is finally available

2016/04/29

I don’t know you, but I was waiting for this version for a long time. Way too long ! But I’m lucky, I’m not time based for releases. I’m really much more features based. And the one I really needed to catch for this version was UEFI support for RHEL/CentOS 6 & 7. HPE has teams and customers which were really needing that to work correctly, which is, from my series of tests, now the case. And I had confirmation from my colleagues that it was indeed working for them as expected just recently. So it was then time to publish !

While I was at it, I tried to fix at the same time some other annoying issues that were reported by the community on the mailing list, while leaving some other problems for the next time, as it was already too much delayed. So I know the Debian and Ubuntu users won’t get UEFI support working, as I had not enough time to test it (my test infra is now being used for trainings for 2 weeks), similarly for SLES 11 SP4 with UEFI (which uses elilo, while I now support grub, grub2 and syslinux, but this one doesn’t work correctly with UEFI IMO).

In addition to what was already done and reported here previously, I have hopefully fixed the following additional issues:

  • #777: Full UEFI support with grub 0.9 and grub2 configuration generation in addition to syslinux (limited to RHEL6, RHEL7)
  • #778 use dosfslabel/mr-label to recreate labelled FAT or VFAT FS
  • #757, #780 and #781 to fix md support
  • #792 to fix LVM support, by forcing fixed values for LE if percentage calculated for it is 0
  • #787 to fix USB support by cleaning the target dir of its syslinux content

In total 24 bugs have been officially closed and additional features improved or fixed as well. Look at the details in trac for the complete list of changes during these last 8 months of pregnancy of the new version:-)

But, of course, things do not stop here. In addition to fixes which needs to be done as mentioned upper, I’d like to add support for Secure Boot e.g. in the next version to have a full UEFI support, and work again on code refactoring even more.

For now, let’s take time to celebrate and hopefully this will be for you as users the best version possible of MondoRescue available to date !

Time to test what should be the latest beta of MondoRescue 3.2.2

2016/03/25

Well, I thought it could still take more time, but I had the possibility to dedicate enough time to fix and test the UEFI support for RHEL7 so I think it’s worth sharing and hopefully get good feedback from you before tagging it as final.

So a new beta of MondoRescue 3.2. is on its way. Please test it, especially if you try to do a backup/restore of a UEFI based system as this should now work flawlessly, including putting back EPS UUIDs. Should also work for other grub 2.x type of distributions such as Debian 8 e.g.

And share your report on our mailing-list !

I may have time to work on some remaining pretty annoying issues (#757 and #780 which look similar, maybe #781) but can’t promise for sure they will be part of this one which has been delayed way too much.

Current state of the changelogs are at http://trac.project-builder.org/browser/projects/mondorescue/pbconf/branches/3.2/mindi/pbcl, http://trac.project-builder.org/browser/projects/mondorescue/pbconf/branches/3.2/mondo/pbcl and http://trac.project-builder.org/browser/projects/mondorescue/pbconf/branches/3.2/MondoRescue/pbcl

Progresses with MondoRescue 3.2.2

2016/03/22

Of course I’m late. No surprise here😦 I think the only day I’m not will be for my death😉

So 3.2.1 was published the 31st of August 2015.
Version 3.2.2 was supposed to be a maintenance version of that one and was thus planned to be published mid October 2015. However, there were requests from various users to provide a version supporting UEFI boot mode on ProLiant servers. That enhancement request alone accounts for most of the delay encountered while developing this version as it turned out to be way more impacting than I thought.

So some bugs encountered on previous versions have been solved:

However with regards to the single enhancement request in that version to add UEFI support, many tickets were made:

The last one, is the most tricky to solve.
MondoRescue uses since day one a single bootloader, coming from the syslinux project, to manage all boot media it generate :
– isolinux for bootable CD/DVD and tapes
– syslinux for bootable USB devices
– pxelinux for bootable network setup.

This has the advantage of homogeneity and simplifies what the mindi tool has to generate in order to implement that support.

However, when using syslinux.efi to provide a bootable media on HPE ProLiant servers setup in UEFI boot mode, we obtain red screen showing a boot time crash.

Despite many attempts first with various options, then with the help of the syslinux community back in October 2015 (Cf: http://www.syslinux.org/archives/2015-October/024469.html and
the related thread) using beta versions of syslinux or the latest ProLiant Firmware, I never succeeded in obtaining a UEFI bootable syslinux based media😦

I’ve had contacts in December 2015 with the ProLiant Firmware engineering team, but we didn’t had yet a joint work on this issue. My plan would be to first diagnose precisely the origin of that error with this team, and then depending on the results to invite them around the table with the syslinux developers during potentially an upcoming LinuxCon NA (August 2016) to solve it for good.

As all that means we won’t have a final solution with syslinux.efi before end of summer 2016 at the earliest. Therefore, I’ve worked on adding support for other boot
loaders in MondoRescue.

Grub 0.99 support was added in August 2015 before the publication of 3.2.1 and we had success testing a full backup/recovery cycle on RHEL 6, while some other users encountered issues with that. Since November 2015, that should was considered fairly stable, and thus was made the default for RHEL 6 only.

Grub 2.0x support was added very recently (the 22nd of February 2016) with other modifications required to better support correctly mutiple boot loaders on multiple backup media (consolidation of code split into different functions in mindi). This was now tested successfully yesterday and I was able to make a full cycle with mindi on a physical server with RHEL 7. The restore now even present the MondoRescue menu to choose from.

However, while mindi now seems to be working fine for this configuration, this is still not the case for mondoarchive. I’ve started to unify the UEFI support between the 2 tools, and hopefully this week I should see positive results leading to a test version published for the MondoRescue community to try RSN ! And with your retunrs, I should be able to publish that long awaited version rapidly after around start of April probably.

I understand it took much more time than expected initially, and I’ve been myself giving wrong estimates for the delivery of the new version many times. Let’s hope this time I’ll be more accurate.
Hope this explains more the ground reasons why it was so, and the attempt to mitigate the real problem we have with syslinux on UEFI boot mode that may not be solved soon.

Mondoescue 3.2.1 is now available … with effort and pain !

2015/08/31

Believe it or not, it has been one of the most challenging version to produce ! And one which was really awaited by lots of people.

First all those of you who had problems restoring big files with 3.2.0 which had issues with that. Now that’s solved (was already with the beta previously).

Then those of you who had a RHEL 5 system. 3.2.0 wasn’t working, and 3.2.1 should be much better. Similarly for the people using RHEL 7. This is the real first version working for RHEL 7 available of MondoRescue. I’ve made most of my tests with a RHEL 7 VM in order to track all the errors which were remaining for that env (also some smaller but annoying ones). The root cause is that I had a customer wanting to move to that version for RHEL 7, and I wanted them to be happy with the result. Doesn’t mean they won’t encounter issues, despite what I did, but I’m much more comfortable to handle the cases in their support contract (Yes this is a paying customer).

And finally those of you who were trying to have a working environment for a UEFI based machine with RHEL 6. UEFI wasn’t working at all with 3.2.0 (and previous versions) even if EFI was working on Itanium systems. So this time I used a real system to make again lots of different tests, and solving again lots of issues linked to the support of UEFI, and now I’m happy with the result. The media made is recognized by the UEFI shell or the HP ProLiant guided boot menu. And a full backup / restore works also on it. So that other customer (an HP one, but not a paying one from a MondoRescue perspective… yet) should as well be happy and be able to use MondoRescue to perform its clones and installs correctly.

Could it be better ? Of course. RHEL 7 + UEFI are not yet friends. That will be for 3.2.2, as I want to keep my job😉. Few bugs in trac have been addressed during these last 8 months, sorry for that. But a lot not mentioned there have been solved, and that was most of the work. And a lot of work has been put (commit hours are real !) into solving the customers needs and deliver that version on time. That’s probably why I hate time based releases, as it forces you to deliver (which is always good), but not with the serenity which should be part of an OpenSource development. Of course, that’s my fault ! I should have anticipated these requests (UEFI and RHEL 7 are there since a long time). But hey, this is still not my day job at HP. So I can only do my best as time permits. And I have a lot of other hobbies that I’ll be back to now so they can also know some progress. That’s also why I do not make more regular releases. But patches are always welcome.

Anyway, pain is over, a new version is here. Test it, report feedback, try to not break it too much, and remember to do regular backups whatever the tools you use.

Download at

Back to RMLL 5 years after !

2015/07/07

I like that event which is organized by different teams each year and gather thousands of enthusiasts during one week in one city to celebrate Open Source and Free Software.

This year, for the first time since 2010, I have no conflict attending it and also attending the Academy of sacred Music in Etampes, the week after, as I do since the first one.

So this year I’ll give a status of where we are with the MondoRescue project for my tenth anniversary of project leadership and after the last presentation I did 5 years ago.

And as you can’t be in the mood without docker, I’ll deliver a session on docker and project-builder to demonstrate its particular value IMHO in this domain of continuous packaging and also I’ll animate a Lab session on docker to help discover this tool and understand the challenge of containerizing an application such as owncloud. Come prepared with at least a Linux VM or better a Linux laptop to enjoy the tour:-) And start by downloading the Lab document based on Ubuntu 14.04 !

And don’t hesitate to come and talk of whatever topic I’d be able to cover such as AFUL, Mageia, OpenStack, Redfish and Ironic or the beauty of Jean Mouton’s music during the reign of François the first (not our current pope ;-))

Software Defined Compute: Redfish and Ironic at the next OpenStack Summit

2015/04/24

The future is already here !

In fact here ! This is a new specification which is gaining traction to allow hardware configuration of systems through a RESTful interface. All new HP ProLiant Gen9 servers from HP are providing a first version of what is not yet the standard, but looks very near to it, and provide already a rich interface.

This is pretty exciting, as it will allow people like me working on Disaster Recovery e.g., or people like Devananda van der Veen who is the Ironic PTL (OpenSTack bare metal deployment component) or many others to have, when it’s ready, a single interface to configure the servers from different manufacturers following the Redfish Specification (as of now HP, Dell, Emerson, Intel). And it’s much more feature rich than IPMI, so you would be able to go well farer with it and reach a real Software Defined Compute node.

In order to make it usable for Ironic we’ve started to work on a low level python library (python-redfish) on which we’ll be able to build the Ironic driver for Redfish later on. This is work for Liberty and after of course. And as Ironic can be also use alone, I’m more and more thinking of using it as a way to provide MondoRescue images for bare metal deployment as an additional feature over media boot. Especially if there are plans to have a standalone web interface for Ironic !

If you want to learn more on the HP implementation of the RESTful API, there is a webinar organized Wednesday, April 29, 2015 from 10:00 am CDT to 11:00 am CDT. Register from https://h71044.www7.hp.com/campaigns/2013/events/linkandcoordinate/index.php

And if you want to learn a bit more of where we are on this, read the code (easy for now) or come at Vancouver for the upcoming OpenStack Summit to discover it.

MondoRescue 3.2.1 is definitively looking better but will for sure with your help !

2015/03/06

Since a couple of days, I’ve passed quite some time to deal with the various reports that were made on the mondo mailing list with regards to bugs found by users on version 3.2.0. Of course, as every .0 version, not everything was tested, and the help of the community is as usual key to find these cases left appart, and of course find bugs in them !

What has been fixed is available here:
http://trac.mondorescue.org/query?status=closed&group=resolution&milestone=3.2.1

The other BRs I’d like to address before releasing 3.2.1 are:

  • glibc detect an invalid pointer (#766)
  • Smartarray b120i closed drivers not working (#751)

and the older, but really annoying one:

  • Fail to Restore from External Hard Disk (#628)

While I think I can deal with the 2 first one pretty easily, the last one requires more time and will probably end up in 3.2.2 instead, as it’s difficult to delay more 3.2.1 now that the most annoying issues have been solved.

In the mean time, please test the beta of 3.2.1 at ftp://ftp.mondorescue.org/test/ (lots of distros available). That will clearly help me finalizing that version. Hopefully you’ll mostly report successes, but I really need your help to make it much better than 3.2.0.

With the latest devs made on mindi to support again correctly older distributions such as RHEL5 (which wasn’t working anymore in 3.2.0), I think I’ll also being able to make the promised 3.0.5 soon, for those wanting to avoid the risk of using a mondoarchive very different in code with lots of dynamically allocated memory. That will pretty surely be the last one in that serie. The focus is really now on the 3.2 branch.

Thanks for your continuous support on this project !

Merry Christmas, MondoRescue 3.2.0 is out !

2014/12/24

My previous post was to announce I wanted to publish that long overdue 3.2.0 version of MondoRescue beofre Christmas, so here we are !

I finally found the issue I had restoring RHEL7 with 3.2.0. This was due to a cumul of problems:

  • XFS labelling was broken. I fixed it by calling appropriately xfs_admin in label-partitions-as-necessary
  • RHEL7 uses a UUID for / in the grub2 configuration, which is not mentioned in /etc/fstab; so mindi wasn’t recreating that UUID correctly. So now mindi will store in the mountlist.txt the UUID of each partition, if no other LABEL or UUID was explicitely given in /etc/fstab in order to be able to use it at restore time, and label-partitions-as-necessary was also updated to take that in account

And I was with these modifications able to restore fully automatically a RHEL7 VM. So as I had alrady a working RHEL6 and Fedora 20 env, and as no big regression is expected on other supported distros (Mageia, SLES, OpenSuSE, Debian, Ubuntu mainly) I thought it was time to deliver it officially and give you a toy to play with for Christmas ! Am I not a nice guy😉 ?

A lot as changed with regards to 3.0.4. If you want to have all the details, look at the Changelogs available in the trac announce, or read my previous posts about the 3.2 branch development, which started back in October 2013 (or even before in fact).

Is it the end of the 3.0 branch ? No. As I announced it earlier already, I want to at least publish a 3.0.5 with most mindi modifications backported in it (SVN already has such a branch in fact) in order for those of you who don’t like major updates, to stay with a more stable branch for some months, before jumping into 3.2.x. Because 3.2.x is the future, and most of my development time will happen here.

Hopefully that 3.0.5 branch will also work fine with systemd and /usr only based distros as the modifications to support that have all been done in mindi.

As for the 3.2.x branch, please report your findings ! I know I’m far from answering all mails, or answer all bug reports, but I do rad all of these, and as time permit, I try to make the code evolve (typically adding more perl functions) to have a more flexible way of incorporating your requests. Slower, but I have an installed base to maintain, I’m not like Fedora, which will always be followed, I need to keep my sysadmin as happy as possible with the state of the tool, while maintaing as much compatibility as I can with the previous versions.

But all that won’t happen before early January, as I’ll pass time with my kids and my wife to celebrate Christmas, an enjoy being together, which is now not as often as the previous years (yes kids grow up and move sometimes far from home:-), and that’s good !)

As I write packages are still being delivered to the master ftp server. Try it after the 25th !

MondoRescue 3.2.0: last beta before publishing

2014/12/07

I’m probably far from being a good project leader. The lack of time is one of the reason, but I think I could do better anyway, as I was particularly quiet these 2 last months. So I use that time, where I’m waiting before driving to the airport to give a status.

I was quiet, but still working on it as time permitted, and willing to solve the Fedora 18-20 support issues I had for a very long time now. And it seems that with the latest patches pushed this week, I’m good on that side. I’ve been able to do a full backup/restore of my Fedora 20 VM in automatic mode without issue ! That’s the first time, and was particularly happy that after 9 months of development around 3.2, I could achieve that. The other good news, is that it is still working fine for RHEL 6 e.g. as I also did a full cycle this week.

Ok, so life is nice. Well, as you know, nothing’s perfect😉 So I still have an issue with RHEL 7. In fully automatic mode, eveything works fine, except that the restored VM doesn’t start due to an issue on the UUID in the initramfs.

I’ll test by recreating that initramfs after restore, and hopfully, dracut will do the job for me. But as I’ll be travelling in the US all next week, I thought it was good to publish a last beta before leaving, so that the community could also test and report what happens on other distros or on other configurations.

Note that very few other bugs have been fixed. I’m more interested for this first 3.2 version to have it work finally on all new systemd distros as much as I can, even if some features are still not fully working (see trac for details).

Compared to my last post on the subject, some points have been improved:

  • the network stack is now launched as long as a network backup has been done originally, even if you boot from the ISO image directly, and not through PXE. You may still choose from where to restore afterwards, but at least network is up
  • solve some /bin vs /usr/bin issues for pre-fedora 18 and systemd distros which were not working anymore (Cf: #741)
  • fix for a lack of keyboard discovery
  • fix some perl issues in some cases (Cf: #755)
  • force LV creation which on RHEL7 now asks a question in case something was already there before (Cf: #753)
  • Optimize modules list computation between mindi and restore init script and do not load modules list twice anymore
  • Force generation of hardlinks for busybox to avoid package build problem on some distro with inexistant links at build time (recent SLES)
  • Fix busybox 1.21.1 to support back old distributions such as RHEL3 and RHEL4 or SLES9 by avoiding usage of the struct tpacket_auxdata
  • Fix isolinux.bin and ldlinux.c32 locations for recent Debian distro

So maybe even more has been fixed than I considered initially in fact. Anyway, I’ll try to avoid to stay so long without publishing new versions to test. It’s a promise, but will be difficult to keep so don’t hold your breath !

I’d appreciate that you provide feedback on the MondRescue mailing list, create trac entries (even if I know there are already a lot that would need to be solved sooner than later).

The goal is to publish 3.2.0 final before Christmas, and to work on a hopefully final 3.0.5 version backporting some of the previously mentionned fixes coded in 3.2 for those of you who prefer to stay on that branch, which will be maintained a bit in parallel as long as 3.2 is not tested more. I think that you’ve been patient with me, so I also have to be patient myself before more users adopt the new stable branch.

Hopefully you’ll get a new blog article for the announce in less than a month !

Last day at LinuxCon NA 2014

2014/08/27

Today the keynotes were dedicated to Openness and Hardware. The first was from a company, Makerbot, which spoke a lot about Openness, but that I saw more as trying to sell their 3D printers, rather then anything else😦 I even learned later from an attendee that they even tend to block innovation with their patents ! So maybe the LinuxFoundation should take care of not “giving” opportunity to such actors to speak to an Open Source audience if their state of mind is nearer from the closed source business. Having a community sharing 3D design doesn’t sound sufficient to me.

Jonathan Kuniholm

The second keynote was on the topic that even is 3D printing is such a hype at the moment, disallowed people still have a hard time finding useful prothesis, modern ones, les expensive ones, or building their own. I really encourage you to listen to Jonathan Kuniholm (the keynote doesn’t seem to be online, but TED provides one very similar). This was puzzling for me to see how few technology is helping people like him😦 So I think that if you have time, you should look at helping his initiative at openprosthetics.org/ rather than inventing yet another piece of software just because the existing one doesn’t happen to please you.

IBM Keynote

Finally we had the “usual” IBM keynote, showing how Linux on Power was great, and presenting the foundation built around it. But if you look at uses cases, you see that most of them are academics, where probably the hardware was given so it weakened the talk IMO. Of course, I’m working for a competitor, so I’m not completely neutral here. Anyway having a portable Linux is extremely important, but I think it will reveal its capabilities on x86 (well it has of course!) or ARM. It had on Itanium or Sparc or Power (Linux can enable them) but the problem is that market doesn’t want such high-end platforms anymore, as they were representing a closed approach even if that has changed since. Openness is what allows mass distribution today (in processors as those mentionned, or software as Android and hopefully Linux on the desktop ;-))

UEFI Summit

After the break, I passed my day in the UEFI mini-Summit. The goal was different from last year PlugFest during LinuxCon. Instead of targetting developers, the goal was to expain the technology to potential and existing Linux sysadmin or devops. And I think it went pretty well with regards to demystifying how UEFI works woith Linux, including SecureBoot and brought back the discussion at a technical level rather than an emotional one.

An introduction talk by Dong Wei, HP served as positioning the UEFI Forum, the various groups in it (with the inclusion of ACPI), the history of UEFI, current status, and helped put everybody at the same level.

Q&A session

After that we had a (always too short IMO) round table were the audience was given the possibility to ask questions to the panelists. And there were very tough questions asked around the usefulness of UEFI, the lockdown brough by SecureBoot, … and everytime clear and honets answers were given showing why UEFI is useful, why SecureBoot help increasing Linux security without restricting users possibilties and control over their platform. All in all a lot of myths were just addressed during that Q&A session which was really interactive.

After that, we had more formal presentations:

  • UEFI Secure Boot – Strengthening the Chain of Trust – Jeff Bobzin, Insyde Software & Kevin Lane, HP
    This session was mainly about how Secureboot is working from a technology perspective, and the various solutions existing with Linux and its boot loaders to use it, benefit from it as it really increase security by providing a chain of trust from firmware up to the kernel+intrd booted, with either standard UEFI keys or its own ones.
  • Jeff Bobzin & Kevin Lane

  • UEFI Test Tools for Linux Developers – Brian Richardson, Intel & Alex Hung, Canonical
    This session was on FWTS from Canonical which provides a UEFI firmware and ACPI test suite, used alot by manufacturers to check the conformity of their platform with the UEFI and ACPI specifications. Chipsec and LuvOS were also covered which provides other areas of test with regards to respectively security and an integrated Linux distribution calling all these tools and more, both developed by Intel.
  • Brian Richardson

  • Building ARM Servers with UEFI and ACPI – Dong Wei, HP & Roy Franz, Linaro
    This session was to give a status on UEFI support for ARM architecture, and was pretty interesting for me as I had no clue on where we are on this domain. And it seems they are catching up with Intel Architecture now and should be at parity very soon. ACPI is still less advanced, but will be there for ARM servers as requested by customers, whereas device tree will probably remain what will be used on nn server platforms.
  • Dong Wei

  • Self-signing the Linux Kernel (the hobbyist approach) – Zach Bobroff, AMI

    This last session was IMHO the best of the serie, because it was demo oriented (and I like demos !) and more over, it just worked !! The goal was to show how to register its own key used to sign its own kernel with SecureBoot, and rebooting a machine with and without key loaded to demonstrate the increased security brought by that mechanism. Was very clear and illustrative of what was described during the first session of the mini-Summit by Jeff and Kevin. Zach did an excellent job explaining each step and provided great details on how all that works, and finally showed to the audience that we shouldn’t be afraid of the feature, because we have the possibility with the shim bootloade to use our own keys without issue.
  • Zach's pres

You can listen to all these presentations at the UEFI web site. And I think it’s worth doing so for those who still have questions on the SecureBoot topic, as it will enlighten you and remove and barrier you may still see there.

UEFI Summit end

The event was then over, so it was time to benefit from my speaker gift, which was the possibility to use a boat and have a cruise around Chicago, which I did with Dong and it was a very good idea from the organizers to offer that gift. Hope the pictures will give ou a good idea of how we enjoyed it.


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