SMTP Telnet Test

We are standing up a new data center and users received SMTP errors while testing. We were able to ping the server so DNS lookup and network traffic was working. But we only had a generic SMTP error message. So, I fired up telnet and tested our SMTP connection using these commands:

telnet
o smtp.psadmin.io
ehlo
mail from:ps@psadmin.io
rcpt to:user@psadmin.io
data
Test Email
.

When we first tested send emails through the SMTP server, we received an “Unable to relay for user@psadmin.io” error. That’s much more descriptive and a useful message to send to the Exchange administrators.

My PeopleSoft Update Manager Setup

With PeopleSoft 9.2, new patches are delivered through PeopleSoft Images every few months. The images are Virtual Machines you download from Oracle Support. With 3 applications (HR, ELM, Finance), we are constantly downloading new images.

This is how I setup and manage our PeopleSoft Images for 3 applications.

Hardware

We run the PeopleSoft Images on a powerful desktop that sits in our cube. Our server infrastructure is managed by a private cloud, so we can control a desktop without getting the server team involved. Having a desktop also let us run VirtualBox instead of VMWare (our cloud’s platform). Running on VMWare means converting the image every time a new one is released.

The desktop has these stats:

  • 2 – 2 Core CPU
  • 16 GB of RAM
  • 500 GB C: drive
  • 3 TB E: drive

The C: drive is used for the OS (Windows 2007), downloading images, and VirtualBox. The E: drive is where we store .OVA files, and the VirutalBox images. In VirtualBox, I changed the default for the VM’s to E:VirtualBox so new VM’s are imported to the large drive.

Network

We let the ERP Tech Team access the images and wanted to make the access simple. I made an assumption that we would only have 1 Image running for an application at a time (e.g, only 1 ELM image running). The network team made 3 DHCP reservations (1 for each application) and created 3 DNS entries for those IP’s. So, we have hrpum.psadmin.io, elmpum.psadmin.io, and fspum.psadmin.io that point to static IP addresses. When a user needs to access a PeopleSoft Image, we boot up the VM they need and the URL does the rest.

That does mean that we have to configure the PeopleSoft Image so the static IP/DNS work. When you boot the image for the first time, skip the DHCP settings and manually enter the IP, Subnet and Gateway settings. I also make the hostname match the DNS entry.

If you selected DHCP when setting up the VM, you have two options:

  1. These steps will let you change the IP and hostname. Be aware though, the configuration process when booting the VM created the tnsnames.ora file with the old IP.
  2. Reset the Image and start over with the configuration questions.

Naming Conventions

When importing the .OVA file into VirtualBox, I always make one change to the name: I include the image number! By default, the PeopleSoft Images don’t include the image number, just the PeopleTools version. For example, HCMDB-92-854-03 was HR Image 9. Unless you can remember that Image 9 was delivered on 8.54.03, you’ll have to boot it to find out.

(The only reason I can think of why the image number was not included in the name is because PeopleSoft assumes you will only run the latest image. More on that below).

So, the change I make is to add the 3 digit image number to the end of the VM. For example, HCMDB-92-854-03-009 for HR Image 9.

Client/Change Assistant Setup

New images are always shipped on the latest PeopleTools version. This means you will constantly install new PeopleTools clients. I install them to c:client-8.54.xx and keep older versions around for a while in case we boot up an older image or have a PeopleTools version issue (like the encryption change in 8.53.17).

We also have a folder where we export environment information from Change Assistant. Unlike App Designer, you can only have one version of Change Assistant installed. When you install Change Assistant, it wipes out all the environment information you had previously loaded. Since we always apply patches to Demo, we export our environment configuration. After the updated Change Assistant is installed, we can simply import the environments.

(This is “working as designed”. Please file an SR on this so. I did, and this should be fixed. If all you settings in Outlook were wiped out when patches were applied, you’d be pretty upset).

TIP: when you refresh environments, retain the value in PSOPTIONS.GUID after the refresh. The Environment Management Framework uses the GUID to identify which app/batch/web server belong to which database. That will keep the agents from getting confused after a refresh.

PeopleSoft Image Downloads

With 3 applications, we are downloading image almost every month. As soon as an image is released, I grab the WGET script, download the image and create the .OVA file. Even if we don’t need to use the image, I keep a copy around for while. More than once we have had to start an older image to grab a patch (new image had too many dependencies). Having the .OVA file ready to go will save you hours when a user sends that high priority email asking for a patch to be applied yesterday.

TIP: After you create the .OVA file, always verify the MD5 and SHA1 hashes. Sometimes a download fails without you noticing, but the ova_gen script will still create the .OVA file. On Windows, for $10 the HashTab plugin will give you the hashes in the File Properties window.

Change VM from DHCP to Static IP

Steps to change DHCP configuration to a static IP, if the VM was originally configured using DHCP. I’ve had to look this up a few times so I’m documenting it here.

Edit the network adapter

  • Edit the following file as root user

/etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0

DEVICE=eth0
BOOTPROTO=static
HWADDR=00:1A:A0:B2:B2:5B
ONBOOT=yes
IPADDR=192.168.0.xxx
NETMASK=255.255.255.0
NETWORK=192.168.0.255

And save the file

Edit the hosts file

  • Also edit the host file in etc as root user.

/etc/hosts

Do not edit these two lines which is given as default

127.0.0.1 localhost.localdomain localhost
::1 localhost6.localdomain6 localhost6

Add this at the end of the file

192.168.0.xxx aaapum.psadmin.io aapum

Restart the network services

  • Restart the network using this command.
service network restart

Source