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Virtual machines are counted incorrectly in NCC

This document (7002030) is provided subject to the disclaimer at the end of this document.

Environment

SUSE Linux Enterprise Subscription Management tool
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 Service Pack 2
SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 Service Pack 2
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11
SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11

Situation

XEN virtual machines (DomU's/VMs) are not supposed to count as single entities in Novell Customer Center (NCC) when they are registering against a Subscription Management Tool (SMT) server. Instead only the VM server should be counted a machine regardless of how many VMs it has running.

For SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 the mechanism behind this is that when the VM server (Dom0) registers against a Subscription Management Tool (SMT) server, the registration utility (suse_register) writes the Globally Unique ID (GUID) of Dom0 into the xenstore.
If suse_register is called in a XEN DomU, it searches the xenstore for a GUID of Dom0 and sends it as host-GUID in the registration request to its registration server which (again either NCC or an SMT server).

The problem is, that after a reboot of the VM server (Dom0), the GUID value in the xenstore is no longer available. It is written again with the next registration of Dom0, which by default takes place during the boot process. However if a virtual machine registers, before re-registration of Dom0 has completed and its GUID is written again into the xenstore, the DomU virtual machine is counted as physical machine on the registration server.

Resolution

SLE 10 :
In order to prevent this from happening SMT must be upgraded to version 1.0.7 (or newer) and the parameter named hostGUID in /etc/suseRegister.conf must be set.
This parameter should be set to the GUID of the Dom0. The GUID is identical to the content of the /etc/zmd/deviceid file, which is a 32 digits hexadecimal string.

To implement the solution follow these steps:
  1. Note/copy the content of the file /etc/zmd/deviceid of the Dom0 (VM server)
  2. Edit the file /etc/suseRegister.conf on each DomU's
    Uncomment (/add) and set the parameter
    hostGUID=<guid>
    to the value you copied in step 1, which is the GUID of Dom0.
    E.g. : hostGUID=9bcbafd04c0847faa87dd63eb2cefd62
The next time suse_register is executed on the DomU and detects the hostGUID parameter being set, it will send the <guid> as host-GUID to the SMT server and this machine will be counted as virtual machine.
Please note, that you have to specify an activation code when activating a virtual system directly against NCC. Otherwise no update catalogs would be added. However no license will be counted for the virtual system.

It is recommended to ensure that hostGUID is set to the same value on all virtual machines running on the same physical machine.

If you are using other hypervisors than XEN on the VM server (VMware, Microsoft Hyper-V etc.), the hostGUID in /etc/suseRegister.conf must be set to the same value across all VMs on the VM server in order to be counted correctly. In case where the VM server is not running SLES, you can just pick the GUID from /etc/zmd/deviceid on one of the VMs and use that one as the hostGUID on all of the VMs on the server.

SLE11:
In SLE11 a hypervisor detection tool (lscpu) is being used, which (currently) is able to detect XEN, Hyper-V and KVM hypervisors.
The host-GUID field has been enhanced to also include information about which hypervisor is used.
This ensures that virtual machines which are running on these hypervisors are correctly detected, registered and counted.

The solution with host-GUID in /etc/suseRegister.conf described above can also be used on SLE 11 VMs for hypervisors which cannot be detected automatically, like VMware. On SLE11 the GUID can be found in the variable "username=" in the file /etc/zypp/credentials.d/NCCcredentials.

Disclaimer

This Support Knowledgebase provides a valuable tool for NetIQ/Novell/SUSE customers and parties interested in our products and solutions to acquire information, ideas and learn from one another. Materials are provided for informational, personal or non-commercial use within your organization and are presented "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND.

  • Document ID:7002030
  • Creation Date:28-NOV-08
  • Modified Date:27-APR-12
    • SUSESubscription Management Tool
      SUSE Linux Enterprise Server

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