AlienVault Troubleshooting: NFSEN cannot start

One of the issues we faced was that our NFSEN suddenly barfed when restarted. This is highly annoying because everytime we reconfigure AlienVault, it has to hang at NFSEN service restart because it couldn’t get it up. I don’t know why.

Eventhough we don’t use netflow much in our environment, it was still a pain for us so we tried to troubleshoot it and finally resolved it.

The issue was when we click on Environment>Netflow we saw these errors

ERROR: nfsend connect() error: Connection refused!

ERROR: nfsend – connection failed!!


Obviously this was irritating. Under Configuration>Deployment>Sensors, we clicked on our AIO and scroll to the bottom, we saw that the netflow collection configuration was not running.

I think it could be because we didn’t set any interface to be ‘monitoring’. We went ahead and set it using the alienvault-setup menu and assigned eth1 to be monitoring. Strangely we couldn’t assign it in the GUI under Configuration>Deployment>AIO>Sensor Configuration and Detection. We only had option for Eth0 (our management) and ETH5 (our logging interface).

Anyway, once we set an interface to monitoring we still couldn’t start nfsen through the GUI or even through the command line under /etc/init.d/nfsen start/stop.

It kept giving this error

Use of uninitialized value $pid in scalar chomp at /usr/bin/nfsend line 765.
Use of uninitialized value $pid in kill at /usr/bin/nfsend line 767.
Use of uninitialized value $pid in concatenation (.) or string at /usr/bin/nfsen

Which made as much sense as greek.

In any case, at least it gaveĀ a clue that /usr/bin/nfsend might be complaining because nfsen wasn’t up in the first place. So we went ahead and
VirtualUSMAllInOne:/usr/bin# ./nfsen start
Starting nfcapd:(564D89B81691003B6E98F73F9FFA258C)[25330]
Starting nfsend.

This apparently didn’t through any errors and nfsend seems started! Do a ps -ef and grep nfsen and you have a nice PID allocated.

VirtualUSMAllInOne:/usr/bin# ps -ef | grep nfs
www-data 25330 1 0 23:12 ? 00:00:00 /usr/bin/nfcapd -w -D -p 555 -u www-data -g www data -B 200000 -S 7 -P /var/nfsen/run/ -I 564D89B81691003B6E98F73F9FFA258C -l /var/cache/nfdump/flows//live/564D89B81691003B6E98F73F9FFA258C
www-data 25332 1 0 23:12 ? 00:00:00 /usr/bin/perl -w /usr/bin/nfsend
www-data 25333 25332 0 23:12 ? 00:00:00 /usr/bin/nfsend-comm
root 25339 22649 0 23:12 pts/0 00:00:00 grep –color=auto nfs

So we stopped it again but this time with the init.d script.

VirtualUSMAllInOne:/usr/bin# /etc/init.d/nfsen stop
Stopping Nfsen: nfsenShutdown nfcapd: (564D89B81691003B6E98F73F9FFA258C)[25330]. .
Shutdown nfsend:[25332]..

And started it again using the init.d script

VirtualUSMAllInOne:/usr/bin# /etc/init.d/nfsen start
Starting Nfsen: nfsenStarting nfcapd:(564D89B81691003B6E98F73F9FFA258C)[26383]
Starting nfsend.

Now we checked back our netflow on the gui and it works.

I don’t know if anyone else is facing this or has an explanation to this, but it might or might not have anything to do with our interface not being set to monitoring. You can try this out if you are facing this issue.


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