James and I are attending Windows 2003 Server and Active Directory school this week. Today we’re learning about Active Directory. It’s similar to eDirectory but it seems like kind of a hack of Domains into eDirectory’s structure. It’s integration into DNS makes more sense than having it’s own name services (like WINS). We’ll see how things develop this week. We’ve already learned a thing or two about AD, anyways.
The objective is to allow us to design our own AD layout properly for the financial management system.
Novell OpenEnterprise Coolsolutions published my paper today about Combining Rsync, Quickfinder and NetStorage for Fun and Profit. All my coolsolutions articles are accessible at Novell from my author page. It’s kindof fun to be able to work out stuff for our own organization in Engineering and then share that stuff with other users to help them out. I also derive loads of benefit in my work from Novell’s support forums and Novell Coolsolutions, so it’s only fair to contribute back. There is some great content on Coolsolutions.
I finished the loop today of moving VMware virtual machines between GSX and ESX server and back again. Yesterday I created a vmachine on GSX server and moved it successfully to ESX server. Today I reversed the process, converting an ESX server vmachine to GSX server.
Aside from the necessity of maintaining the same virtual scsi subsystem throughout, it worked like a charm. I did find out that if you create the vmachine with a virtual LSI SCSI subsystem and then later accidentally switch it to Buslogic, you get an endless Boot/Bluescreen/Reboot loop in the virtual machine. If you start with LSI SCSI on GSX server, move the machine to ESX and back maintaining LSI SCSI the whole time, it all just works.
We are looking at options on how to implement our new financial management system. It’s a big investment for us and we are going to do it right. The system is a multi-server package, and we would like to build it in such a way as to be able to quickly recover from a hardware failure. One way to do that is blades and SAN storage. An enhancement to that is to use virtualization on top of the blade environment.
VMware virtual machines are hardware-independent, so if we were to lose our entire hardware base for our system, but we had copies of our virtual machines, we could pull any old server boxes from production or from Engineering and quickly setup VMware and redeploy our system.
We are looking at both GSX server, which is a hosted virtualization system running on Linux (or Windows if you like) and ESX server, which is a virtualization system that runs on the bare system. ESX is faster and has some great enterprise level manageablity, but it is very expensive. GSX is not quite as fast, but still has a lot of manageablity, and is MUCH less expensive. We already have some virtual machines deployed in production on GSX server.
I’m trying to make sure we can hedge our bets right now, by verifying that the environment we need for our financial management system not only runs on both GSX and ESX server, but is portable between the two.
I built a virtual server in Engineering today, using the OS our financial management system will run on, hosted on GSX server. Then, I built an ESX server in Engineering and mounted a SAMBA shared volume from the GSX server and imported the virtual server disk files to ESX server. After that, it took a couple of minutes to get the virtual server running under ESX server.
Tomorrow I’ll do a conversion the other way, back to GSX. If both are successful, we’ll be able to build our financial management system on either platform and still hang onto the ability to change our minds later.
I went and saw Serenity again last night. If you haven’t seen it, go see it. If you have seen it, tell all your friends how great it was and go see it again with them.
Jennifer has been getting into the series. We have been watching them from the PVR. If you didn’t know, Serenity is based on a series called Firefly which was shown for one season on Fox. Fox mismanaged it to death, by showing the episodes out of order, changing the timeslot weekly, and not advertising it, but it still managed to catch enough of a fan base to be released on DVD. The DVD sales alone are what prompted the studio to produce the movie.
Space channel showed all the episodes in a row a few weeks back and I used my PVR to record about eight of them. I’m asking for the DVD set for Christmas.
The replacement for our badly-flashed wireless access point arrived yesterday, and it came already upgraded to the new firmware version, so I don’t have to retry the exercise that buggered the old one up to begin with. Hooray. It works nicely too.
Dad came home from the hospital again yesterday. He’s doing pretty well and will probably recover to his previous state, which is as good as we could hope. We’re all relieved, and I think Dad’s glad to be home. He sure seemed happy to see me and Mack when we went to visit last night. Mack and his Grandpa sure do get along.
I got a call from Mom this morning and she said Dad had her take him to emergency last night. He was in emergency all night and they admitted him to the cardiac ward this morning. Blood tests are showing he may have had a small heart attack. I’m praying.
Yesterday when I was updating the firmware on one of our access points, it went wonky and wouldn’t allow me to connect to any of it’s administration interfaces anymore. I asked Stuart if he could figure out how to get it to boot it’s default failsave rom image. He tried a bit, called HP, and today they’ve said they’ll be sending a replacement.
Pretty good service, except they said the new one will still be at the old firmware revision level and I will have to go through the process of updating it again. Hopefully this time it will work properly.
Long hiatus, no writing, so here’s the
30 90 second update:
- Kids started water polo with Tim Floyd’s as yet unnamed new club. Emily got a ball in the face in the first practice, eliciting a bleeding nose. Best to get it over with early, I guess, and she’s still out there having fun so no harm done.
- Finished geeking out over Firefly DVDs, and Jennifer even got into watching the episodes with me.
- Geeked out over Serenity movie with the other geeks at work. Trying to organize a second theatre viewing of Serenity with the other dads from the kids school. You should see Serenity. Twice. Then rent the Firefly DVDs.
- Bought seasons passes at Rabbit Hill. This year, snowboard rentals are included in a season’s rental pass. I may try out a snowboard that’s slightly newer than my 1991 Burton Air.
- Met with IBM about server gear, and got the full meal deal presentation from them. Very impresseive and we are liking their hardware for our new Financial system as well as our mail server cluster upgrade next year. Still having problems with our HP storage arrays that we use for disk backup.
- Started looking at licence requirements for our new financials system. It’s all Windows-server-based. Every vendor in that space is in Microsoft-land. We’re going to be buying Windows Server 2003. It’s inevitable. But that’s OK because we’ll still manage it with eDirectory.
- Received our third Polycom videoconferencing system from Telus for our Calgary office. The VSX 7000 arrived buggered. I’m trying to have it declared DOA and replaced. Meanwhile, users in Calgary dance the impatient dance, like kids having to pee.
- Dad spent thanksgiving weekend in the hospital, and was expecting to be sent for a bypass surgery, but the doctors waited several days and then said that it would be too dangerous, so they sent him home. Everyone else in the family’s stress levels rose accordingly. We’re wondering why the “too dangerous” answer hasn’t changed in the last 15 years since he was diagnosed with heart problems. Angina is so common you would think they’d spend some of those zillions of research dollars on doing something about it.
- I was doing a boot block and firmware upgrade on two HP Procurve 420 wireless access points yesterday. The upgrade has three firmware images that need to be installed. I did one access point OK, but on the second one, after the first firmware image was loaded, the access point became unresponsive and I can’t get it back. Stuart is talking to HP to see what can be done.
- Jenn left with the Muriel Moms to their second annual Jasper trip today. I’m in Mr. Mom mode this weekend.