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After a few crazy weeks at work, the pay check is finally here, and I’ve decided to allocate some of the money to hardware upgrades of my personal machines. While Nagios gives me a good idea of where performance is a problem, I’m still running a large amount of “legacy” hardware (my home router/firewall is a 350MHz P-II desktop) and hardware age is a significant factor in my upgrade plans.

So, I set out looking for a program (most likely some backend scripts that dump data to MySQL, and then a PHP front-end) to perform a hardware inventory - essentially, run a script on each box, find out the system details, and dump it in a DB. Now that my pool of upgrade candidates is above a dozen machines, at multiple locations, some of which are single-use boxes often neglected/forgotten, doing this in my head isn’t the easiest.

So, while I’ve been googling and searching some mailing list archives, I’m also developing a set of requirements.

The chief requirements:

  • Ability to run a script on a remote machine and have the results returned in a meaningful format. Most likely, a single script, run as root (SUID or sudo) that returns nice, formatted, SQL-ready results (so the parsing of platform-specific command output will happen on the client, with every client returning a normalized data set).
  • Ability to track hardware changes - i.e. disks swapped from one box to another, NIC replacement, processor upgrade, etc.
  • Each piece of hardware tracked individually, allowing future support of fully tracking components, spares, etc.
  • Support for future barcoding of components and physically-performed inventory.

Some of the data that I’d like collected:

  • Data on a machine stored by chassis vendor name and serial numer/service tag.
  • Hostname associated with each box.
  • Architecture, number of CPUs/cores and type, model, speed, socket (for upgrade planning/ordering).
  • Motherboard model/manufacturer, serial number, HW and SW/FW revisions, manufacture date.
  • Storage (internal & directly connected external) - type, interface, capacity, specifications/manufacturer and model.
  • Amount fo RAM, type of RAM, and configuration of cards (number of empty slots).
  • PCI card configuration - number and type/mfr/model of cards, as well as number of empty slots
  • For all NICs - MAC addresses, current IPs, as well as link type/speed and connected switch/port.

I’d also like some level of software inventory, especially for those machines that may be running “forgotten” services:

  • nmap scan results.
  • OS-generated list of running services, with GUI including a blacklist of “default” services not to be displayed, and possibly also cross-links to Nagios status.
  • Possibly a parsed output from ps, using a blacklist as shown above.
  • If a firewall is running on the system, a list of all open ports.

I’ll be checking out some options today. Unfortunately, I have a feeling that there’s most likely nothing that supports my requirements, and I’ll probably end up implementing a lot of this myself.


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