James and I have flights booked, sessions registered, and hotel booked for Brainshare this year. We’re leaving March 18. We’re staying in the same hotel as last year, which was a few blocks away from the Salt Palace. It is amazing how much walking you end up doing during Brainshare.
I have a big emphasis on my session schedule this year on Identity Manager, Security Manager and Access Manager (iChain) along with some stuff on high-availability GroupWise. Most of the stuff I’m doing this year has to do with centralized services for access control, email, and data replication so I have a lot of ground to cover. I also have to do some research into anti-spam, because we’re having difficulties in that area.
It should be fun and educational. Last two years were very much both, and a lot of good knowledge has been put into our production as a result. It will be good to be going with someone again, because we gain a lot more knowledge that way, both by being able to cover more sessions, and by being able to discuss the material in between, which sets it into the brain a bit better.
My only disappointment was that I couldn’t get James to commit to a snowboarding outing while we’re there. It’s a world class ski resort city, and we’re going to miss out.
I got a working Novell OES Linux cluster after a day or so of fiddling. What I am trying to do is get two blades in an IBM bladecenter clustered for hosting two big GroupWise POAs, which will be stored on two shared volumes in the IBM SAN. First of all, I had to install the QLogic driver for Linux for the Fibrechannel HBAs in the blades to get reliable on-boot multipathing working. I couldn’t get the built-in 2.6 kernel driver in OES Linux to automatically map device-mapper names to the multipath partitions on the SAN without adding the QLogic driver.
Once that was working, I created a Novell Cluster Services (NCS) cluster with the yast NCS tool on one of my nodes, which created a SBD partition on one of my shared volumes. At that point, the enterprise volume management system took over my first partition. I had previously just been using multipath-tools to get names for my partitions, and then mounting them from /dev/disk/by-name, but after installing NCS, the rest of the disk that it installed the SBD partiton on started showing up under /dev/evms. I fiddled for a while to try to get EVMS to manage my other partition too, but every time I rebooted the partition I created in evmsgui would disappear. I ended up deciding to mount my first clustered partition from /dev/evms/, and my second one from /dev/disk/by-name/. It is a bit hokey, but I now have two cluster resources hosting reiserfs partitions in the SAN that automatically fail over and fail back when one or the other cluster nodes goes away.
Next task is to get GroupWise 7 running on these cluster resources.
Since I finished my preliminary setup of our Deltek Vision system a little early, I am moving on to the preliminary tasks of updating our GroupWise system to GroupWise 7. We’ve already made the strategic decision to start moving our primary networking services from NetWare to Novell Linux (either OES or SUSE Linux Entrprise Server). Our existing GroupWise 6.5 system is a NetWare 6.0 cluster, and we need to continue clustering our GroupWise post office servers to provide the continuous uptime our users are accustomed to. To combine those two notions means that I have to figure out how to build a Novell OES Linux-based server cluster. Woo.
I’m getting started using two blades and some shared storage in the SAN today.
The Olympics are over finally, and our house can now return to our normal fairly minimal TV watching schedule. For the past 17 days the TV has been on CBC constantly, with luge, downhill, speed skating, freestyle, skating, cross-country, and most popular in our house, snowboarding. Mack is usually the first one downstairs in the morning after me, and the first thing he’s done is turn on CBC every morning to watch whatever event has been on. He loves seeing Canadians participating in any sport. He would get so excited he’d be jumping up and down.
We recorded lots of events on our PVR, and had a few family nights watching men’s and women’s half-pipe and snowboard cross. We still haven’t done that for snowboard parallel giant slalom. After each evening watching the boarders compete, Emily would exclaim “I want to go snowboarding NOW!”
We’ve been out to Rabbit Hill every weekend for the past few weeks. Emily and Jennifer are really getting the knack of snowboarding, and having fun perfecting linking turns and doing more terrain at the hill. Mack has even started making noises about possibly wanting to try snowboarding instead of skiing. I think we’ll really try to encourage him to keep skiing this season and switch next year.
Jenn was judging synchro at the Alberta Winter Games in Hinton this past weekend so I went up to Rabbit Hill with the kids on Saturday. We probably got in more runs than any other day this year so far, and we were all pretty bagged at the end. I put my new helmet to good use by bouncing my noggin off the ground a couple of times. We’ll be out again this weekend too, I’m sure. Damn, I wish we lived closer to the mountains.
Now that I have Deltek Vision working in our lab, I wanted to try to get it working in Firefox. The vendor documentation from Deltek says it requires Internet Explorer 6, but I thought it might work in Firefox since Firefox has had excellent compatability for a couple of years now.
When you go to the Vision portal page on your installation of Vision using Firefox, it detects that you don’t have IE and says that your browser is not supported. Some sites do this without good reason, because if you fudge your browser’s identity strings to make it look like IE to the web site, everything works normally. I used a Firefox extension called “User Agent Switcher” to make Vision think I was using IE 6 instead of Firefox, but the login window still doesn’t display properly. All I get is a version number string and that’s it. Oh well, hopefully by the time we roll this out to production it will work properly in Firefox.
Other than that, the install of Vision is fairly straight-forward, and the application is very clean, especially for a multi-tier app. Each tier is easy to set up and each component just works together without a lot of fiddling or messing with Active Directory. For me that’s very nice. So far so good. Now we just have to wait for Deltek to come in and review our setup, and then convert some of our old data for us to import into Vision.
I got Deltek Vision installed in a 3-tier setup today, with one SQL server, one Reporting server and one Web/Application server. The application runs, and you can login to the web interface. I suppose that’s a big step. I had to contact Deltek tech support to get registered on their support portal, because the login data they sent us had a couple of typos in it, but other than that, and the disappointing IE requirements they have, everything seems to be going smoothly. Tech support was responsive and helpful.
This is our second big application server setup in virtual machines. This one, while it’s still in development for the next several months, will be running on GSX server, but we may either move it to ESX or partly to ESX and partly to the new free VMware Server platform when the latter ships in production-ready code.
Hopefully the next release of Vision will work in Firefox and not require IE. I notice that they also only support IE6, but I expect they’ll have IE7 support fairly soon now that IE7 is out in public beta.
My to articles on using Zenworks for Linux Management to keep SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 and Open Enterprise Server patched and up to date have been published on Novell Coolsolutions. The first one is How to Mirror OES and SLES9 patches using ZENworks 7 and the second one is Using ZLM Mirrors of OES and SLES to Update Local Servers. Using these tips you can get your ZLM server setup to keep your Novell Linux boxes up to date.
Work has been coming along with the Bladecenter. I now have a fully working Zenworks Linux Management server running, and have deployed either SLES9, OES Linux, or ESX server to all the blades. I have automatic updating working for the Linux OSes from Novell’s update servers via the ZLM server, and I have Zenworks Imaging working, to take backup images of the server boot disks.
I have also used ZLM to automatically deploy VMWare GSX Server or VMware Server Beta to several of the blades. That works well, but I haven’t figured out how to automatically configure it on each blade, so I still have to go and run vmware-config.pl after ZLM deploys the RPM files.
I have mastered the multipath-tools enough to get my SAN working the way I want it, so I can have shared-access to volumes containing virtual machines, and mount them as required on whichever blade I want. That way I can suspend a VM, unmount it on one blade, mount it on another and resume it, all within a minute or two. The only caveat I have found is that even though you can move virtual machines between the new VMware Server Beta and VMware GSX server 3.2, you can’t suspend the VM on one and resume it on the other. Suspending on one GSX server and resuming on another works as expected.
I have configured my first Windows 2003 server for the financial management system as a VM, and set up active directory. I’ll be creating the other three Windows 2003 server VMs as soon as I figure out the system requirements of Deltek Vision, and as soon as I figure out how multipathing works in ESX server.
In my never-ending quest for blogging tools I’ve stumbled across Performancing, which is a Firefox extension alowing you to blog right inside Firefox. Pretty cool, and I’ll give it a go.
I wrote up a tip on setting up Novell Zenworks Linux Management to mirror patches for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and Novell Open Enterprise Server Linux. I wrote a second tip on how to then use those mirrors in your local network for deployment on your servers. I submitted the tips to Novell Cool Solutions this morning. We’ll see if they publish them in the next Cool Solutions for Zenworks.