Wednesday, January 14, 2009

How Many Different Ways Can You Stop VCS On Linux Or Unix?

Hey there,

This little rundown may seem trivial in comparison to some of our older posts on Veritas Cluster Server (VCS), as they all attacked a very specific aspect of VCS functionality and, mostly, were aimed at either explaining more advanced concepts or showing you how to get away with stuff that you're not supposed to do ;)

However, even in its simplicity, today's topic is just as valid as our previous posts, and (quite probably) more useful to the admin or user who wants to know enough to administrate VCS well, but doesn't care about all the nitty-gritty. Because, let's face it, the nitty-gritty doesn't really matter all the time. I find that I almost never think of the nitty gritty every morning when I start my car (I reserve that special time for praying that it won't explode ;)

So, before I veer too far off the beaten path, we'll get down to today's subject: How to shutdown a Veritas Cluster, using VCS, the many different ways to do it and what they all mean.

Of course, the base command for stopping VCS (Sometimes also referred to as HAD for the High Availability Daemon, which explains why all the commands for VCS start with "ha" :) is "hastop." hastop has a number of ways in which you can call it; all of which can have a significant impact on your day if used arbitrarily ;)

1. hastop -local. This usage stops VCS on your local machine (or the machine on which you're running it - same thing). It also causes any service groups on your local system to be taken offline.

2. hastop -local -evacuate. This invocation is very similar to the previous, except that it migrates (if possible) all of your service groups to the default failover system before it stops the VCS services on your local machine. This option isn't available if you use the -all flag (since, obviously, there won't be any systems left up in the cluster to fail over to ;)

3. hastop -local -noautodisable. The -noautodisable option (also not available for use in conjunction with the -all argument) makes it so that none of your service groups are set to disabled.

4. As an aside of sorts, it should be noted that you can use -evacuate and -noautodisable together, although you can't use either with other arguments, like -force or -all.

3. hastop (-all|-local) -force. These options, when presented to hastop, cause it to stop VCS services on all systems in your cluster (-all) or just your local system (-local), but it does not do anything to your service groups or offline their resources. This is convenient when you have planned maintenance on VCS-managed resources and don't want to create a fault condition (and all its accompanying alarms, bells and whistles ;) When VCS is stopped in this manner, hastart merely resumes running VCS services as normal (It doesn't bring VCS up with an overt assumption that something wrong has happened). One downside of using the -force option is that it doesn't check whether or not you may be editing the file at the time you decide to call it quits. If you have it open, in read/write mode, and you stop VCS this way, you may be in for an unpleasant restart.

4. hastop -all. This stops VCS on all systems in your cluster, as the previous command does, but it doesn't ignore your system groups and will take them offline.

5. hastop -sys SYSTEMNAME. This way of executing hastop causes VCS to react in much the same way as the -local flag does (including having the -evacuate, -noautodisable and -force arguments - the same rules, listed above, apply to using combinations of -evacuate and -noautodisable (ok) and -force (not ok to mix with either of the others). One thing to note is that you can't use the -local and/or -all flags with the -sys flag (again, for obvious reasons. It's nice to know that some things in this world make sense ;), since the -sys flag requires you to specify a specific system (or host) in your cluster on which to execute the command.

6. hastop -help. This is a great option to use when you have no idea who you are, where you are, how you got there and/or what to do ;)

One final (and, of course, interesting ;) note about modifying hastop's behaviour is that you can modify the EngineShutdown "cluster attribute" (outside the scope of this little post) to set different default behaviours for hastop. This can be a big help if you always do things "the not normal way" ;) The EngineShutdown cluster attribute(s) (ESCA from now on, since I'm getting tired of mistyping the name of this thing ;) that you can set (with the haclus command) are:

a. Enable: This ESCA indicates that all hastop commands should be processed. This is the default.

b. Disable: This ESCA indicates that all hastop commands will not be processed. The only exception to this setting is if you use the -force argument to hastop.

c. DisableClusStop: This ESCA makes it so that the "hastop -all" command is rejected or not processed. All other hastop commands are processed as they normally would be.

d. PromptClusStop: This ESCA will cause the operator/administrator to be prompted (Do you really want to do this? Are you sure? C'mon, seriously? ;) before it executes the "hastop -all" command. All other hastop commands are processed normally and don't require answering any prompts.

e. PromptLocal: This ESCA prompts the admin whenever "hastop -local" is invoked (Are you positive you want to do this? Have you given this any thought at all? Remember; it's you're arse. Do you still want to do this? ;). All other hastop commands are processed normally.

f. PromptAlways: This ESCA (which is also referred to in non-academic circles as the Big PITA ;) causes the admin/qualified-user to be prompted when executing any and all hastop commands. When you get sick of answering questions, and you have the permissions, you might want to turn this off since it's not default and someone you work with may have turned it on just to eventually drive you nuts ;)

And, there you have it; hastop in a big complicated nutshell (Or outside of a nutshell ...whatever the opposite of in-a-nutshell is ;) One thing I should mention if you work with cluster attributes or any parts of the, or other VCS configuration files; it's always a good idea to make sure you know what the defaults for your version are. VCS's configuration file style will just "not include" most values that are set to their defaults, so you would never see the Enable variable and value in the ESCA, since it's the default.

A somewhat cool trick (if you're not sure if a particular variable/value pair is set to its default) is to add it to your configuration file(s). After you rebuild your config files the proper way (or manually edit it/them the somewhat-frowned-upon way), if the variable/value pair you entered is not set to default, it will have been removed!


, Mike

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