How to: Configuring a ByteBlower server
Posted by Vincent De Maertelaere, Last modified by Vincent De Maertelaere on 27 April 2021 12:50 PM

Before being shaped to our customers, each ByteBlower Server is installed, configured and tested.  So your ByteBlower server is ready to use when it arrives at the customer premises.  However, sometimes some additional configuration has to be done before the server can be used.  For example, the server is shipped with DHCP enabled on its management interfaces.  If the management network requires static configuration, this article will explain how to do this.

Getting the server ready for configuration

When a ByteBlower server boots up, it will use the “factory-default” configuration.  This is the configuration as stated in the order and DHCP on its management interfaces.  This allows the server to boot up correctly and when these defaults are good for the management network, to be ready out of the box.

When configuration is needed, one needs access to the server.  This can be done in various ways:

  • Direct physical console,by attaching a screen and an USB keyboard.
  • Serial console, by attaching a serial cable, the serial baud rate is set to 38400 bps
  • IPMI console, through the IPMI interface.
  • SSH, when the server’s management interface is already connected to the network.

The first 2 methods require physical access to the server, the last 2 methods require knowledge of the IP address of the physical interface.  These addresses usually can be obtained through the logging of the DHCP server.

When the initial connection is made, a login is required.  The username is “root” and the default password is “excentis”.

ByteBlower Configurator

Through the various software releases of ByteBlower, a few base operating systems are used.  Since configuration is different on different operating systems or even between operating system releases, a configuration tool is added to the ByteBlower software.  This tool goes by the name ByteBlower Configurator

The ByteBlower Configurator allows a user to configure various items on the operating system and for the ByteBlower server implementation:

  • Networking
    • The hostname of the machine.
    • The configuration of the management interfaces (IP addresses)
    • Routing, when using multiple management interfaces
    • DNS configuration
  • The root password
  • The date, time, time-synchronisation and time zone information
  • The traffic interfaces
    • Trunking interfaces
    • Non-trunking interfaces
    • Multi-trunk configuration
  • ByteBlower server behaviour
    • Timestamping method
    • Privacy options

It can be invoked through:

# byteblower-configurator

After a welcome screen, the main menu is shown.

This menu divides the configuration in 2 parts:

  • ByteBlower specific configuration
  • Operating system configuration

As seen in the screenshot above, saving and applying the new settings only happens at exit.  In a few cases, this statement is not true.  In that case it will be noted in the relevant section.

System Configuration

When selecting “System configuration” in the main menu, the following window is shown:

 

Network configuration

After entering the network configuration, the various parts of the network configuration are listed.  Select an item by using the up and down arrows and press <enter> to enter the item.

Hostname

The form allows the user to configure the hostname.  Enter/edit the hostname and use <TAB> to switch between the input field and the OK/Cancel buttons

Interface configuration

After selecting an interface, one can review the current state of the interface or edit the connectivity parameters.

  • DHCP will configure the interface to automatically assign an IP address using DHCP.
  • Static opens a new form where the static IPv4 and IPv6 addressing can be configured.
  • None will de-configure an interface. This interface will not be configured with an IP address.

When static is selected, the following form is shown:

This form allows a single IPv4 address to be configured in a specific subnet.  Also the default gateway for this interface is configured here.

Multiple IPv6 addresses are allowed in the CIDR notation.

DNS configuration

The DNS configuration can be configured in 2 modes:

  • Dynamic: Get the DNS settings through DHCP (default)
  • Static: Configure the DNS servers manually

Static DNS configuration allows the user to configure other DNS servers instead of obtaining one through DHCP.

Multiple values can be given by separating them by a comma (,)

Routing table

When multiple network interfaces are configured or the default gateway cannot be used to reach a specific network, additional routes can be added to the network configuration.

When an existing route is selected, the option is offered to edit or remove the selected route.  The “Add route” option and the “Edit route” option open the following dialog:

When closed with “OK”, the any existing route will be updated or a new route will be added to the table.  This configuration is applied when exiting the ByteBlower Configurator

HTTP Proxy

To perform certain tasks, the ByteBlower server needs HTTP access to the Excentis Download Server for ByteBlower.  These tasks are:

  • Checking for new updates
  • Downloading new updates
  • Uploading support information generated by the ByteBlower Support Tool

Some lab environments do not have access to the internet, but allow updates to be downloaded through an HTTP proxy.  The HTTP proxy configuration allows to configure this.

Please note: this is only the HTTP proxy configuration.  Username and password are only needed when required by the proxy server.

Root password password

The ByteBlower server’s default root password is set to “excentis”.  It is generally a good idea to change this password.

The server will request to enter the password twice.  Any entered text will be masked by an asterisk (*). 

WARNING: please note the new password will be applied immediately.  This keeps the password no longer in memory as needed, preventing it to leak into any logs.

 

Date & Time

The ByteBlower time management configuration consists of 2 blocks:

The first option (“Configure date and time”) allows the user to configure the current date and time or the mechanism to configure the time synchronisation technique.

The second option (“Configure timezone”), allows the user to configure the time zone of the system. This makes processing log files a little more handy.  The default time zone is UTC.

Time synchronisation

The ByteBlower support 3 time synchronisation techniques:

  1. Manual, which means that no time synchronisation will be done.
  2. NTP: Synchronise using the Network Time Protocol.
  3. PTP: The preferred method when a ByteBlower 2100 or ByteBlower 4100 is used and a grandmaster clock is available.

Note: PTP is only available on the ByteBlower 2100 and ByteBlower 4100 series servers.
Note: NTP will synchronise at boot only when using a ByteBlower 2100 or ByteBlower 4100 series server.  On the other ByteBlower servers NTP will continuously synchronise.  This is due to a limitation of the specialized hardware in the ByteBlower 2100 and ByteBlower 4100 series servers.

When NTP or PTP is configured, the appropriate parameters are requested:

When using NTP, the NTP servers are requested.  Multiple values can be given separated by a comma (,)

When using PTP, 2 parameters are requested:

  1. The PTP clock domain
  2. The PTP user description, which will be propagated through the DHCP and PTP process.

ByteBlower supports PTP through: PTP over ethernet and PTP over IP (optionally through a VLAN).  Only PTP over IP is configurable through this tool.

Time zone

Configuring the time zone is not a requirement, but eases the interpretation of log files.  The Timezone module in the configurator requests 2 parameters:

  • The region
  • The city within the region

Non-region configurations (like UTC) are listed in the ‘Etc’ region

 

ByteBlower server

The ByteBlower server has its own section in the ByteBlower configurator. 

This menu allows the user to dig into 2 parts of the server settings:

  1. Port configuration: The ByteBlower port configuration allows the user to configure the ByteBlower traffic interfaces
  2. The ByteBlower Preferences: These are tweaks for the behaviour of the ByteBlower server.  These include e.g. GDPR settings.

Traffic interface configuration

The Port configuration menu lists all known interfaces.

ByteBlower has 4 categories for a network interface:

  1. Management: these are interfaces with an assigned IP address. These can only be used for ByteBlower client/server communication (e.g. the API or the GUI) or for Wireless Endpoint management traffic.
  2. Spare: Spare interfaces are interfaces which are not assigned as management or traffic interface.
  3. Trunk: a ByteBlower trunking interface is an interface which is typically connected to the ByteBlower multiplexing switch. These interfaces can be configured further to select the number of sub-interfaces (ByteBlower Interfaces) available on the ByteBlower switch.  This is also the place where multi-trunk configuration is set (for this specific interface).
    This kind of interfaces cannot be used for management purposes.
  4. Non-trunk: ByteBlower non-trunking interfaces are interfaces which are directly connected to the network under test.
    This kind of interfaces cannot be used for management purposes.

When selecting an interface in the menu, the targeted use for the interface is requested. 

When selecting “Trunking”, the trunking configuration for this interface will be entered.  The other options return to the previous screen.

When “trunking” was selected, the trunk configuration menu pops up.

  1. Apply preset...: When the ByteBlower has a fairly default configuration, there is a chance that a preset exists. This is probably the easiest way to get going with the ByteBlower server.  It opens the following selection window:
  2. Custom ...: When a ByteBlower server does not have a standard configuration, this allows the user to add a specific configuration. This can also be used for non-standard daisy-chaining configurations.
  3. Offset for “multi-trunk”...: When 2 ByteBlower trunking interfaces are connected to the same ByteBlower switch, the offset determines which sub-interfaces are handled through which ByteBlower trunk.

The “custom ...” option first displays the current configuration of the trunk:

The top section lists the ByteBlower port number and the switch configuration (e.g. trunk-1-1 to trunk-1-48 are connected to a 48 port 1 Gbit/s switch)

The second part allows the user to add a switch to the configuration.  This will be added at the end of the current configuration:

The last item resets the configuration, leaving an empty trunking configuration.

ByteBlower preferences

The ByteBlower software itself has some configuration options itself.  These are called preferences:

  • “Collect statistics”: The ByteBlower server can collect some statistics while it is running.  The default value is “yes”, but it can turned off. 
    These statistics will be included into ByteBlower support archives and post-update information and will be used anonymously for development purposes only.
    The ByteBlower filters used in a trigger and which algorithm used to process them is stored.  This gives the development team the chance to optimize the performance for recurring filters.
  • Software Timestamping: On ByteBlower 2100 and ByteBlower 4100 server series, the ByteBlower server has the choice to use hardware to timestamp the latency frames or use the ByteBlower software implementation.
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