• Best Practice
  • This article covers the basic IMB© xSeries Servers hardware components and the supported communication protocols and provides detailed instructions for installing and configuring Hardware Sentry KM for PATROL to properly monitor IBM© xSeries Servers.
Additional Keywords
  • Adaptec, IBM, IBM Director Agent, LSI, xSeries

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Knowledge Base

Monitoring IBM xSeries Servers with Hardware Sentry

KB1041 - Sep 17, 2010 - Last reviewed on Jul 11, 2013


  • The Hardware Instrumentation section covers the basic IMB© xSeries Servers hardware components and the supported communication protocols.
  • The Setting up... section provides detailed instructions for installing and configuring Hardware Sentry KM for PATROL to properly monitor IMB© xSeries Servers.
  • The Discovered Components and Monitored Parameters section lists the components automatically discovered and monitored by Hardware Sentry KM for PATROL as well as the connectors required to ensure a proper monitoring.

This document covers the IBM© xSeries server running either Microsoft Windows or any supported distribution of Linux.

About IBM xSeries Servers

Sub-group of IBM’s eserver branding, the xSeries product line is based on the X86/X64 processor architecture and represents a good chunk of the Windows and Linux servers market (along with HP’s ProLiant and Dell’s PowerEdge servers).

IBM xSeries servers were formerly known as IBM Netfinity servers.

Very much like any other PC, these systems are based on standard Intel or AMD processors (both the X86 and X64 architectures are represented) and include various standard memory, network and I/O components.

In addition, IBM xSeries also include a RAID adapter, called ServeRaid. IBM ServeRaid cards are OEM’d from either Adaptec or LSI.

Hardware Instrumentation

In-band: IBM Director Agent

IBM provides a systems management tool called IBM Director Agent. This agent connects to the Hardware instrumentation of the servers and relays information to Hardware Sentry. The IBM Director Download site’s current URL is: http://www-03.ibm.com/systems/software/director/downloads/agents.html.

The installation of the Director Agent is not sufficient by itself. In additions some other tools and drivers are required and need to be installed and properly configured on the IBM x Series servers before installing Hardware Sentry.

The IBM Director relies on the WBEM standard (instead of the ubiquitous SNMP protocol). On Windows systems, it registers itself as a WMI provider and can be accessed through the WMI layer and API of Windows. On Linux systems, it installs a complete Pegasus CIM server which can be accessed through a standard WBEM client (XML-HTTP and HTTPS on TCP/5988 and TCP/5989).

Out-of-band: Remote Supervisor Adaptor (RSA)

Some IBM xSeries servers are equipped with an out-of-band management card called RSA that allows administrators to manage and monitor their servers remotely even when no operating system is running.

Unfortunately, the SNMP connectivity of the RSA is weak and does not provide much hardware information. Therefore, Hardware Sentry cannot rely on RSA in order to discover and monitor IBM xSeries servers.


Some IBM xSeries servers use the IPMI standard for their internal instrumentation. The motherboard and/or the RSA card features a BMC chip (Baseboard Management Controller) which can be accessed either internally or over the network through the IPMI protocol (if the BMC chip has been configured so).
IPMI only provides environment monitoring (temperatures, voltages, fans, etc.) and does not expose any information regarding the disk controllers, physical and logical disks.

Hardware Sentry does not use IPMI directly to monitor IBM xSeries servers. It relies on the IBM Director Agent, which in turn relies on the IPMI technology for some of its operations (like sensing temperatures etc.).

It is however important to know whether a given model of IBM xSeries server uses IPMI as its main instrumentation technology because it will affect the installation and configuration procedure of the IBM Director Agent!

Setting up Hardware Sentry on IBM xSeries Servers

The procedure to setup Hardware Sentry on IBM xSeries servers mainly depends on two factors:

  • The operating system: Windows or Linux
  • Whether the server uses IPMI as its main instrumentation technology

How to recognize an IPMI-based from a non-IPMI server?

Mainly, most recent IBM xSeries servers all use IPMI as their main instrumentation. The easiest way to ensure that a server uses IPMI or not is to check on IBM’s support Web site whether the “Download Drivers” section for the specified model does or does not list the IPMI drivers. The support and download Web site for IBM xSeries servers is at the following URL: http://pic.dhe.ibm.com/infocenter/director/pubs/index.jsp?topic=%2Fcom.ibm.director.install.helps.doc%2Ffqm0_t_preparing_to_manage_service_processors.html

1. Installing the required drivers

For IPMI based servers install the appropriate OSA IPMI driver and IBM Mapping layer for OSA IPMI as explained in the above link.
More recent distributions of Linux include the OpenIPMI driver and thus do not require the installation of the OSA IPMI driver.
Non-IPMI systems running Linux require the installation of the lm78 and smbus drivers. As these drivers are kernel-mode drivers, they require to be compiled against the specific version of the Linux kernel running on the managed server. Please read carefully the compilation and installation instructions provided by IBM for these drivers.
Compile and install the lm78 and smbus drivers that correspond to the version of the Director Agent you plan to install. In the case of version 5.20.x/6.10x of Director, compile and install the following drivers:

  • dir5.20_lm78_linux.tar.gz   
  • dir5.20_smbus_linux.tar.gz 

These can be found in the “Linux Drivers” section of IBM Director for Windows and Linux on x86.

For non IPMI-based systems running Windows no additional drivers need to be installed: they are bundled with the IBM Director Agent package.

2. Installing the IBM Director Agent

Please refer to the following link for the installation procedure :

Make sure that the version you have installed is supported by IBM and has not reached its product support life cycle.

3. Installing Hardware Sentry KM for PATROL on the server

This can be done at the same time as the PATROL Agent. Please refer to the Hardware Sentry Installation Guide.

Version 1.5.00 or later of Hardware Sentry KM is required when version 5.20 of Director is installed.
Version 1.5.00 or later of Hardware Sentry KM along with the P1068 patch is required when version 6.10 of Director is installed.
Version 1.6.00 or later of Hardware Sentry KM along with the P1099 patch is required when version 6.1.2 of Director is installed.

On Windows: Configuring WMI

In most cases, there is no need for any customization in order to get the PATROL Agent, Hardware Sentry KM and the IBM Director Agent work together on Windows systems. However, if you work a highly secured Windows environment and the PATROL Agent’s default account is not member of the local Administrators group, you may need to:

  • Configure the WMI component (Windows WBEM layer) to authorize the PATROL Agent default account to make WBEM requests to the /root, /root/WMI and /root/ibmsd namespaces.
  • Authorize the PATROL Agent default account to use the WBEM DCOM component (through the dcomcnfg MMC applet).

On Linux: Configuring the CIM server

By default, the CIM server installed with the IBM Director Agent only authorizes root to perform WBEM queries. You will need to either provide the PATROL Agent and Hardware Sentry KM with the root credentials or configure the CIM server to allow the PATROL Agent and Hardware Sentry to perform WBEM queries.

The procedure below is valid with the version 5.10/5.20.x/6.1.2 or later of IBM Director.

4. Configuration of the WBEM Layer

Option 1: Configure Hardware Sentry KM to use the root account for WBEM requests

In the PATROL Console, right-click on the main Hardware Sentry icon, [KM Commands] › [This System’s Settings] › [Connection, Credentials and Connectors]. On the WBEM page, enter the root username and password and the WBEM ports as 15988 (http / non-encrypted) and 15989 (https / encrypted).

Option 2: Configure the CIM server to allow the PATROL Agent’s default account to make WBEM requests

Log in to the system as root. Execute the following command:

/opt/ibm/icc/cimom/bin/cimconfig -p -s authorizedUserGroups=‹group›

…where ‹group› is the group of the PATROL Agent’s default account.

Restart the cimserver and cimlistener daemons with the following commands:

/etc/init.d/cimlistenerd stop
/etc/init.d/cimserverd stop
/etc/init.d/cimlistenerd start
/etc/init.d/cimserverd start

For more details on restarting the agents please visit: http://pic.dhe.ibm.com/infocenter/director/pubs/topic/com.ibm.director.agent.helps.doc/fqm0_t_restarting_agents.html

If you leave the authorizedUserGroups variable empty (instead of specifying a specific group), any valid account will be allowed to make requests to the IBM Director Agent through the WBEM protocol.

After successfully testing this on one machine, subsequent machines can be automatically reconfigured by copying the following configuration file from the first machine: /opt/ibm/icc/cimom/cimserver_planned.conf followed by a restart of the cimserver and cimlistener daemons.

Components and monitored parameters

The following components and parameters are discovered and monitored:

  • Server model and number
  • Temperature sensors, actual temperature
  • Fans, fan speed
  • Voltage sensors, actual voltage
  • Power supplies, status
  • Memory modules, size and type, status
  • Processors, type and frequency, status
  • RAID disk controllers, controller status
  • Physical disks, vendor, size, model number, status
  • Logical disks (RAID volumes), size, RAID type, status
  • Network cards, vendor, model, connection speed, status, link status and error percentage