Preparing APC Smart-UPS 1500 for Critical Servers

Part one of a three part series

on Setting up a UPS solution, to enable clean shutdown of vital network components.

This post is essentially about setting up a Smart-UPS and it’s NMC (Network Management Card),
as the project I embarked upon was a little large for a single post.

Christchurch NZ used to have quite stable power,
but recent earthquakes we’ve been having have changed that.
Now we endure very unstable power.
This fact,
along with the fact that if my RAID arrays were being written to when a power outage occurred,
prompted me to get my A into G on this project.

For a while now I’ve been looking into setting up a UPS solution to support my critical servers.
I already had a couple of UPS’s
Liebert PowerSure 250 VA
Eaton Powerware 5110 500 VA
Both of which were a bit small to support a fairly hungry hypervisor, dedicated file server, 24 port Cisco catalyst switch and a home made router.
Also the FreeNAS (BSD ) driver for USB that was supposed to work with the 5110, didn’t seem to.
In considering the above; I had a couple of options.
With ESXi we can use an APC UPS and a network management card or the Powerware 5110 connected to a network USB hub
and a virtual guest listening to its events, ready to issue shutdown procedures as per James Pearce’s solution
but to any number of machines.

What I wanted was a single UPS plugged into a single box that would receive on battery events and do the work of shutting down the various machines listed (any type of machine, including virtual hosts and guests).
There didn’t appear to be a single piece of software that would do this, so I wrote it.
I’ll go over this in a latter post.

So I would need either a network connected USB hub. As explained here.

Simple Two Port Network Connected USB Hub

Hardware solutions and all work well from VM guests from what I’ve read.
AnywhereUSB from Digi …
USB server from Keyspan
USB Anywhere from Belkin

Software solutions, Need physical PC that has USB device/s plugged in.
USB@nywhere
USB over Network
USB Redirector

Or a network management card (something like the AP9606) for the UPS as explained here by James
Powerware 5110 doesn’t support a network management card, so only option I see for this UPS is a network connected USB hub.
APC SMART-UPS supports network management cards and I think these would be the best option for this UPS.

The AP9606

It was starting to look like an APC UPS would be the better option.
I had already been looking for one of these for quite a while, and I missed a couple of them.

The one I eventually picked up

APC Smart-UPS

Second hand APC Smart-UPS 1500
$200 + shipping = just under $300.
AP9606 NMC $50 + shipping = aprx $80.
So for $380 even if I needed a new battery ($250),
I still had a $1300 UPS, NMC not included, for $600.
Turned out the battery was fine,
so all up $380 to support a bunch of hardware.

You’ll need to give the card an IPv4 address that suites your subnet.
As my card was second hand, it already had one,
but I didn’t know what it was.
In order to give the card an IP, you have 2 obvious options

1.  serial cable and terminal emulator

2.  Ethernet and ARP

As I didn’t have the “special” serial cable,
I decided to go the Ethernet route.
I would need the MAC address.
The subnet mask and default gateway also need to be set up.
Pg 11 of APC_ap9606_installation_guide.pdf goes through the procedure.
All APC devices have a MAC address that begin with 00 C0 B7
Although my network management card had a sticker with the MAC address on it.
“You may want to check your DHCP client list for any MAC addresses beginning with 00 C0 B7,
which indicates an APC address.
In addition, check the card you are trying to configure.
Any card with valid IP settings will have a solid green status LED”.

When I received my AP9606 Web SNMP Management Card, I didn’t have a clue what the IP address had been set to.
If it was a new card it wouldn’t have yet been set and I would be able to easily set it without having to workout
what its subnet was.
On Pg 11 of the “Web/SNMP Management Card Installation Manual”
It goes through setting up an IP from scratch using ARP.
So I plugged my notebook into the AP9606′s Ethernet port and spun up Wireshark.

What you’ll generally be looking for is a record with the Source looking like

"American_[last 3 bytes of MAC]"

Time                    Source                Destination    Protocol    Info
231    715.948894    American_42:6f:b1    Broadcast    ARP        Who has 10.1.80.3?  Tell 10.1.80.222

And an ARP request that looks something like the following…
The first 3 bytes of the MAC will always be 00-C0-B7 for a AP9606.

Address Resolution Protocol (request)
 Sender MAC address: American_42:6f:b1 (00:c0:b7:[3 more octets here])
 Sender IP address: 10.1.80.222 (10.1.80.222)
 Target MAC address: American_42:6f:b1 (00:c0:b7:[3 more octets here])
 Target IP address: 10.1.80.3 (10.1.80.3)

I set the notebook to use a static IP of
10.1.80.2/24
and default gateway to the Target IP of
10.1.30.3
You may have to play around a bit with the subnet mask until you get it right.
I was just lucky.
Then tried using ARP to assign the new IP address,
but it wasn’t sticking.
So I tried to telnet in and was prompted for a username and password.
The default of apc for both was incorrect so obviously it had already been altered.
There is also another account of u- User p- apc
but this didn’t exist or had been changed.
So I contacted APC for the backdoor account as discussed here
and was directed to here.
This is no good unless you have a special serial cable which I didn’t.
I asked for the pin layout of the cable and was told,
that they make them,
but don’t know what the pin layout is.
The nice fellow at APC support directed me to a cable to buy.
A little pricey at $100NZ,
for a single use cable.
There is no proper way to reset the password by the Ethernet interface.
This left me with two obvious options.

1.  Make up a serial cable with I believe…

Pin#2 Female to Pin#2 Male,
Pin#3 Female to Pin#1 Male,
Pin#5 Female to Pin#9 Male,
and find a computer with a com port.
Layout info found here
It was correct.
That would cost next to nothing.

2.  just crack the credentials with one of these.

The second seemed like it would be the path of least resistance immediately (this turned out to be incorrect),
as I had the software, but not enough parts for a serial cable.
THC-Hydra seemed like a good option.
Once I downloaded and ran Hydra, I received the following error

 5 [main] ? (1988) C:\cygwin\bin\bash.exe: *** fatal error - system shared
 memory version mismatch detected - 0x75BE0074/0x75BE0096.
 This problem is probably due to using incompatible versions of the cygwin DLL.
 Search for cygwin1.dll using the Windows Start->Find/Search facility
 and delete all but the most recent version.  The most recent version *should*
 reside in x:\cygwin\bin, where 'x' is the drive on which you have
 installed the cygwin distribution.  Rebooting is also suggested if you
 are unable to find another cygwin DLL

This error is due to having incompatible versions of cygwin1.dll on your system.
So did a search for them and found that my SSH install had an older version of cygwin1.dll.
So renamed it,
and still had problems,
rebooted, and all was good.
the only cygwin1.dll should be in the same directory that hydra.exe is run from.

How to use THC-Hydra

Some good references here…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzJFPduiIsI
http://www.pauldotcom.com/2007/03/01/password_cracking_with_thchydr.html

Command I used.

C:\hydra-5.4-win>hydra -L logins.txt -P passwords.txt -e n -e s -o hydraoutput.txt -v 10.1.80.222 telnet "Welcome hacker"

I got a false positive of User name n/a Password steven
So rather than spend more time on populating the logins.txt and passwords.txt.

I decided to try the serial cable route

As it turned out, I wouldn’t have guessed the username,
found this out once I logged on using the serial interface.
This is the pinout I used.

This is the single use cable I made.
Total cost of $0.00


Make sure you’re all plugged in.
I used minicom as my terminal emulator to connect to the UPS’s com port.
Installation and usage details here.

You need to make sure you’re serial port/s are on in the BIOS.
I didn’t check mine, but they were on.

Need to make sure Linux knows about your serial port/s
Run the following command:

Use setserial to provide the configuration information associated with your serial ports.

Configuring your serial ports.

To setup your terminal emulator (minicom in my case):

$ minicom -s -c on

Choose “Serial port setup”
and you will be presented with a menu like the following.

This is where you get to set the following:
2400 BPS, 8 databits, No parity,
one stop bit and flow control is set to none.
Then select Save setup as dfl

Exit.

You should now be prompted for authentication from the Smart-Ups.

Or you can choose “Exit from Minicom” and run

$ minicom -c on

later.
If you get output like…

Device /dev/ttyS[number of your port here] is locked.

You’ll have to

# rm /var/tmp/LOCK..ttyS[number of your port here]

Now is where you get to log on as the default user/pass apc/apc
Press the reset button on the AP9606
and press Enter key,
then repeatedly if necessary.
This is poking the AP9606 in order to get a login prompt
Once you get the User Name,
you can enter the “apc” user (without the quotes) and then for the Password,
“apc” (without the quotes).
You have a 30 second window here to login.
Else you have to repeat the reset process and try again.

From the Control Console menu,
select System, then User Manager.
Select Administrator,
and change the User Name and Password settings,
both of which are currently apc.

I also changed the IP settings.
From the Control Console,
select
2- Network
1- TCP/IP
and change your IP settings.

There are quite a few settings you can change on the card,
you should just be able to follow your nose from here.
You’ll also want to make sure the Web Access is Enabled.
Take note of the port also, usually 8000.
Changing the password via the serial interface is also detailed here.
This post was also quite helpful.

Changed the IP settings back to how they were on my notebook.
Could now connect via telnet and HTTP.
Turned md5 on to try and boost the security of passing credentials to the web UI.
Turned out the jre is also needed for this.
Went through that process and it was looking promising,
but the web UI no longer accepted my password.
Not sure why this is,
but it means if you want to be secure when you log into the web UI,
you are going to have to plug your Ethernet cable directly into the AP9606.
Otherwise your passing credentials in plan text.

Upgrade of firmware

The latest firmware is found here.
Directions on upgrading are found here.
In saying that, APC recommended I use the earlier aos325.bin and sumx326.bin from here if using Windows XP.
Some details around the firmware required for the different management card types for use in a Smart Slot equipped APC UPS
The firmware version is found under Help->About System on the NMC’s Web interface.

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One Response to “Preparing APC Smart-UPS 1500 for Critical Servers”

  1. computer science a structured programming approach using c Says:

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