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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

EMC transfer_support_materials fix for anonymous ftp

Last month I posted about an issue we have been having with our EMC NS 120 NAS.  To re-cap briefly...  When the NS 120 discovers a problem, one action it often will take is to collect up a bunch of diagnostic information, Zip it up, and then use anonymous ftp to transfer it to EMC.  A shell script under the /nas/tools directory called transfer_support_materials does the dirty work. The problem we have been experiencing is rooted in this script; it would fault when trying to transfer the Zip file.

The sequence of ftp commands inside the script is simple:

  1. Connect to
  2. Log in using the user name anonymous and a password unique to the NS 120
  3. change directory to /incoming/APMxxxxxxxxxxx (where the string of x's is replaced with the NS 120 serial number)
  4. transfer the Zip file
The script would always fail at step #3 with the message: File unavailable.

The root of the problem is that the transfer_support_materials script expects the directory to exist, but it doesn't.

At first I thought that the problem was with the EMC anonymous ftp server.  I opened several SRs trying to get someone to create the directory.  None of the SRs ever reached a satisfactory closure, and I was left with the impression, Of course the directory doesn't exist; we delete them after a couple of days automatically.

So.....  The tool to transfer diagnostics expects the directory to exist, and the business process at EMC deletes the directory as a routine matter.

At the suggestion of one of my colleagues, I ran ftp by hand, and discovered that it would happily let me create the directory.  That is, I could manually do this:
  1. Connect to
  2. Log in using the same credentials as the NS 120
  3. mkdir /incoming/APMxxxxxxxxxx
  4. cd /incoming/APMxxxxxxxxxx
  5. transfer the Zip file
I decided to tweak transfer_support_materials, adding this new element to the existing sequence of ftp commands.  The change is really simple.  This:

#do transfer
LFTPCOMMANDFILE="open -u ${username},${password} $HostName;cd $remote_name;rm -f ${newfile##*/};put $newfile"

becomes this:

#do transfer
LFTPCOMMANDFILE="open -u ${username},${password} $HostName;mkdir $remote_name;cd $remote_name;rm -f ${newfile##*/};put $newfile"

Ran a quick test of the script after this change, and Voila!, it works again.

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