Upgrading RHN Satellite 5.4.1 to 5.5

Red Hat has released RHN Satellite version 5.5. It is a release that is mainly a bug-fix release, but has some interesting new features as well. Here comes a brief guide how to update your RHN Satellite to the latest version. It is not a official guide, so if you trash your Satellite, it is not my fault…

Preparation
As always, before you upgrade the RHN Satellite, you need to order a new certificate. Open a Support case at Red Hat and tell them you need a new certificate for Version .5.5.

You also need to download the ISO file for the upgrade as the packages are only available in the software channel after the upgrade and activation. You can download the ISO at Red Hats download site. Of course you need to choose the architecture that matches your environment. Note that there is only one ISO available for each architecture, not two as it was before. The ISO comes with the embedded database. If you need to use an external database, use the --external-db parameter with install.pl

Ensure you have a working backup of your database before starting with the upgrade. Do this as follows:

su - oracle
db-control backup /your/back/up/directory
db-control verify /your/back/up/directory

A backup of your /etc/rhn directory is also a good idea, just for the case something is going wrong: cp -rp /etc/rhn /etc/rhn-$(date +"%F")

Ensure your database has enough free table space left. For the DATA_TBS and the UNDO_TBS it should be at least 1Gbyte, better are 2Gbyte. The following example shows an example:

[root@rhns ~]# su - oracle
-bash-4.1$ db-control report
Tablespace                  Size    Used   Avail   Use%
DATA_TBS                   16.1G   12.6G    3.5G    78%
SYSAUX                      500M  182.6M  317.3M    37%
SYSTEM                      400M  254.1M  145.8M    64%
TEMP_TBS                   1000M      0B   1000M     0%
UNDO_TBS                    3.9G  474.7M    3.4G    12%
USERS                       128M     64K  127.9M     0%
-bash-4.1$ 

You can grow the table spaces if needed by fire db-control extend UNDO_TBS.

It is also very important to have enoght free space in the /rhnsat filesystem, db-control gather-stats needs some extra space. At least 2 Gbyte to be on the safe side.

Having a look to the official upgrade guide is strongly recommended.

First you need to loop-back mount the ISO image and cd into the mountpoint:

[root@rhns ~]# mount satellite-5.5.0-20120911-rhel-6-x86_64.iso /mnt -o loop
[root@rhns ~]# cd /mnt
[root@rhns mnt]# 

Next step is to install the rhn-upgrade package.

[root@rhns mnt]# yum -y install rhn-upgrade
Loaded plugins: product-id, rhnplugin, subscription-manager
Updating certificate-based repositories.
Unable to read consumer identity
Setting up Install Process
Resolving Dependencies
--> Running transaction check
---> Package rhn-upgrade.noarch 0:5.5.0.16-1.el6sat will be installed
--> Finished Dependency Resolution

Dependencies Resolved

=====================================================================================================
 Package         Arch       Version               Repository                                    Size
=====================================================================================================
Installing:
 rhn-upgrade     noarch     5.5.0.16-1.el6sat     redhat-rhn-satellite-5.4-server-x86_64-6      38 k

Transaction Summary
=====================================================================================================
Install       1 Package(s)

Total download size: 38 k
Installed size: 0  
Downloading Packages:
rhn-upgrade-5.5.0.16-1.el6sat.noarch.rpm                                      |  38 kB     00:00     
Running rpm_check_debug
Running Transaction Test
Transaction Test Succeeded
Running Transaction
  Installing : rhn-upgrade-5.5.0.16-1.el6sat.noarch                                              1/1 
Installed products updated.
  Verifying  : rhn-upgrade-5.5.0.16-1.el6sat.noarch                                              1/1 

Installed:
  rhn-upgrade.noarch 0:5.5.0.16-1.el6sat                                                             

Complete!
[root@rhns mnt]# 

The package contains documents and scripts to help you with the upgrade. They are located in the directory /etc/sysconfig/rhn/satellite-upgrade. Read those documents carefully before proceeding with the upgrade.

Upgrading
Lets do it… run the installer script with the --upgrade parameter, bold red letters are interactive input.

[root@rhns mnt]# ./install.pl --upgrade
* Starting the Red Hat Network Satellite installer.
* Performing pre-install checks.
* Pre-install checks complete.  Beginning installation.
* RHN Registration.
** Registration: System is already registered with RHN.  Not re-registering.
* Upgrade flag passed.  Stopping necessary services.
* Purging conflicting packages.
* Checking for uninstalled prerequisites.
** Checking if yum is available ...
There are some packages from Red Hat Enterprise Linux that are not part
of the @base group that Satellite will require to be installed on this
system. The installer will try resolve the dependencies automatically.
However, you may want to install these prerequisites manually.
Do you want the installer to resolve dependencies [y/N]? y
* Applying updates.
* Installing RHN packages.
Warning: yum did not install the following packages:
	geronimo-specs-compat
* Now running spacewalk-setup.
* Setting up Oracle environment.
* Setting up database.
** Database: Upgrading the database server to latest Oracle 10g:
** Database: This is a long process that is logged in:
** Database: /var/log/rhn/upgrade_db.log
*** Progress: ##############################################################
** Database: Setting up database connection for Oracle backend.
** Database: Testing database connection.
** Database: Populating database.
** Database: Skipping database population.
* Setting up users and groups.
** GPG: Initializing GPG and importing key.
* Performing initial configuration.
* Activating RHN Satellite.
** Certificate not activated.
** Upgrade process requires the certificate to be activated after the schema is upgraded.
* Enabling Monitoring.
* Configuring apache SSL virtual host.
Should setup configure apache's default ssl server for you (saves original ssl.conf) [Y]? y
* Configuring tomcat.
** /etc/tomcat6/tomcat6.conf has been backed up to tomcat6.conf-swsave
** /etc/tomcat6/server.xml has been backed up to server.xml-swsave
Reversed (or previously applied) patch detected!  Skipping patch.
1 out of 1 hunk ignored -- saving rejects to file web.xml.rej
* Configuring jabberd.
* Creating SSL certificates.
** Skipping SSL certificate generation.
* Deploying configuration files.
* Update configuration in database.
* Setting up Cobbler..
cobblerd does not appear to be running/accessible
Cobbler requires tftp and xinetd services be turned on for PXE provisioning functionality. Enable these services [Y]? y
cobblerd does not appear to be running/accessible
This portion of the RHN Satellite upgrade process has successfully completed.
Please refer to appropriate upgrade document in /etc/sysconfig/rhn/satellite-upgrade
for any remaining steps in the process.
[root@rhns mnt]# 

Now some database actions are needed. Make sure your Satellite is stopped and only the database is running:

rhn-satellite stop
service oracle start

You need to create schema statistics:

su - oracle
-bash-4.1$ db-control gather-stats
Gathering statistics...
WARNING: this may be a very slow process.
done.
-bash-4.1$ 

Now it is time to upgrade the database schema

[root@rhns mnt]# spacewalk-schema-upgrade
Schema upgrade: [satellite-schema-5.4.0.19-1.el6sat] -> [satellite-schema-5.5.0.13-1.el6sat]
Searching for upgrade path: [satellite-schema-5.4.0.19-1] -> [satellite-schema-5.5.0.13-1]
Searching for upgrade path: [satellite-schema-5.4.0.19] -> [satellite-schema-5.5.0.13]
Searching for upgrade path: [satellite-schema-5.4.0] -> [satellite-schema-5.5.0]
Searching for upgrade path: [satellite-schema-5.4] -> [satellite-schema-5.5]
The path: [satellite-schema-5.4] -> [satellite-schema-5.5]
Planning to run spacewalk-sql with [/var/log/spacewalk/schema-upgrade/20120922-132500-script.sql]
Hit Enter to continue or Ctrl+C to interrupt: Enter
Executing spacewalk-sql, the log is in [/var/log/spacewalk/schema-upgrade/20120922-132500-to-satellite-schema-5.5.log].
The database schema was upgraded to version [satellite-schema-5.5.0.13-1.el6sat].
[root@rhns mnt]# 

Now it is time to activate your RHN Satellite to be able to receive updates for the Satellite and running satellite-sync

[root@rhns ~]# rhn-satellite-activate --ignore-version-mismatch --rhn-cert=/root/rhns-cert55.cert 
RHN_PARENT: satellite.rhn.redhat.com
[root@rhns ~]# 

To rebuild the search index please run service rhn-search cleanindex

[root@rhns ~]# service rhn-search cleanindex
Stopping rhn-search...
rhn-search was not running.
Starting rhn-search...
[root@rhns ~]# 

Before restarting the RHN Satellite, check if any updates are available for it.
yum -y update

Afterward, please check if there is another database schema update available. If the output looks as following, you are safe.

[root@rhns ~]# spacewalk-schema-upgrade
Schema upgrade: [satellite-schema-5.5.0.13-1.el6sat] -> [satellite-schema-5.5.0.13-1.el6sat]
Your database schema already matches the schema package version [satellite-schema-5.5.0.13-1.el6sat].
[root@rhns ~]# 

As a verification that the upgrade is fine, run a satellite-sync to sync some new content and update a registered server. If you have more than one Satellite, run a ISS (Inter Satellite Sync) for proofing its functionality.

Troubleshooting
If something goes wrong with the database update, before reverting to a backup, first check the Oracle alert file /rhnsat/admin/rhnsat/bdump/alert_rhnsat.log to figure out what went wrong. Another good place to have a look at are the trace files located in /rhnsat/admin/rhnsat/udump

PAM and IPA authentication for RHN Satellite

If you have a larger installation on your site, you may wish to have a single source of credentials not only for common system services, but for your RHN Satellite too.

This will show you how to configure your RHN Satellite Server to use PAM with SSSD. SSSD, the System Security Services Daemon is a common framework to provide authentication services. Needless to say that IPA is supported as well.

Assumptions:

  • You have a RHN Satellite running on RHEL6
  • You have an IPA infrastructure running (at least on RHEL 6.2)

Preparations
First you need to install the ipa-client on your satellite:

yum -y install ipa-client

And then join the server to your IPA environment:

ipa-client-install -p admin

Configuring PAM as follows:

cat << EOF > /etc/pam.d/rhn-satellite
auth        required      pam_env.so
auth        sufficient    pam_sss.so 
auth        required      pam_deny.so
account     sufficient    pam_sss.so
account     required      pam_deny.so
EOF

Configure the RHN Satellite
Your Satellite now needs to be aware that there is the possibility to authenticate users with PAM against IPA.

echo "pam_auth_service = rhn-satellite" >> /etc/rhn/rhn.conf

If you have users in your IPA domain with usernames shorter than five characters, you will need to add one more line to be able to create the users in RHN Satellite:

echo "web.min_user_len = 3" >>   /etc/rhn/rhn.conf

After this change, restart your RHN Satellite

rhn-satellite restart

Configuring users
Now you can log in to your RHN Satellite with your already configured admin user and select the checkbox “Pluggable Authentication Modules (PAM)” on existing users and/or new users.

Things to be considered
It is strongly recomended to have at leat one user per organization (ususally a “Organization Administrator”) plus the “RHN Satellite Administrator” not having PAM authentication enabled. Despite of the easy implementation of redundancy with IPA, this is important for a fallback scenario when your IPA environment has some service interruptions due to mainenance or failure.

SSSD caches users credentials on the RHN Satellite system, but this is only true for users logged in at least once. The default value for offline_credentials_expiration is 0, which means no cache time limit. However, depending on your organizations scurity policy this value can vary. Please check the PAM section in /etc/sssd/sssd.conf

Further documents to read

SUSE Manager based on Fedora Spacewalk

SUSE announced the availability of SUSE manager. Having a closer look to it, one recognizes it is based on Fedora Spacewalk. It is a clone of the Red Hat Satellite.

A few weeks ago I was puzzled to see a post on the spacewalk-devel mailing list. SUSE was contributing some code. What the heck? Now it is clear, they are using Spacewalk as there source for its own product. Spacewalk is no longer just the upstream of RHN Satellite, but also a major tool for managing SLES systems.

The open source way
It is good practice to share knowledge and code between different distributions. SUSE profits from the work Red Hat has done before, and Red Hat profits from the contributions of SUSE. IMHO this is the right way how open source software should work.

The price tag
SUSE claims “SUSE Manager allows you to save up to 50 percent for Linux support”. Really?

Lets have a look to How to buy. The price is exactly the same as for RHN Satellite: USD 13,500. Really the same price tag? Lets dig deeper on features Click on Database support. One would read

"SUSE Manager provides a built-in Oracle XE database, but can also leverage existing 
Oracle 10g or 11g databases, to locally store all data related to the 
managed Linux servers."  

Means: With the free Oracle XE database delivered with SUSE you can manage just a few systems. If you want to manage more systems, you need to buy a very expensive Oracle License which, last least, doubles the price tag of SUSE Manager.

And Debian? There are some works going on, maybe I’m going to write soon about Spacewalk and what it can do for and with Debian.

Conclusion
Because SUSE was not in a hurry to release its new product, I can not understand why SUSE was not helping the Spacewalk project to get PostgreSQL production ready before releasing it. This would provide its customers (and the spacewalk community) a real benefit.

I hope that SUSE will sustainably contribute code to Spacewalk, it is now in the interest of users of both distributions.

Have fun!

Some impressive figures about Spacewalk and my two cents

Today, I saw a interessing post on the spacewalk-devel mailing list.

Lines of code
Spacewalk has 2,908,841 lines of code, created in estimated 843 person years. This means 843 developers are needed to rewrite Spacewalk from scratch in one year! That’s amazing.

Number of bugs fixed
As stated in the post, the Spacewalk-team fixed 1012 bugs in the year 2010. Some 1061 bugs are still due to be solved, the Spacewalk-team will not running out of work in 2011. See RHN Satellite bugs and Spacewalk bugs.

Contributions from outside Red Hat
96% of the contributions are from Red Hat people. Looks like my small contribution to the German translation is just about 0.0000001% ;-). Seriously: This should be improved. More people outside of Red Hat should contribute. How? A good way can be a better support for Debian based distributions as well as for SLES/OpenSUSE and other distributions. I think this would attracting more Red Hat outsiders.

Another important thing: Instead of mailing list posts, Fedora should release its advisories similar to Red Hat. This would enable people to have the errata in its Spacewalk servers. This would lead into more people interested in Spacewalk in the Fedora community.

Communications
The IRC communication stats can somehow be a bit problematic. Is it really needed to log all IRC traffic? Its was stated that 24.1% have been questions, the mail list post also disclosed which are the most aggressive persons and so on. Privacy? For myself: I’m probably going to change my real name nick to something else…

Missing numbers
It would be interesting how many people are subscribed to the spacewalk and spacewalk-devel mailing lists and the number of posts to these lists.

Major achievements in 2010
This is just my point of view…

– PostgreSQL support reached a point where it is ready for broad testing.
– spacewalk-repo-sync allows to directly sync with yum repos.
– Staging of content
– Support for eliminating duplicate system profiles
– Performance improvements (felt, not measured)

Did I had fun this year?
I had a lot of fun with Spacewalk, for sure. I did not challenged Spacewalk with all the stuff that I need @work with the RHN Satellite.

Will I have fun in 2011?
With Spacewalk of course, it is a cool project. If the Fedora project decides to publish Spacewalk-like erratas I’m pretty sure that France will have a problem to produce the amount of Champagne needed. If it comes down to the RHN Satellite: Due to severe bugs, I only can manage RHEL6 systems with some workarounds but I am confident that this will change soon.

In short: Yes I’ll having fun 🙂