Archive for October, 2007

Some Bad News

2007-10-29 4 comments

Today I found out that Allen Williams, the father of my friend Reagan, passed away over the weekend. He was flying a small plane near Golden, B. C. with another man I didn’t know, Steve Sutton, who worked for AD Williams Engineering, and Al’s three year old grand-daughter, Reagan’s niece. I don’t know many details yet, but apparently they had some kind of weather trouble and crashed in inaccessible terrain in a creek while trying to return to Golden. Mr Willams and Mr Sutton died at the crash scene, but the little girl was rescued by SAR technicians by being lifted out by cable from a helicopter. She was listed in critical condition yesterday in the hospital in Golden. Apparently she is in stable condition today with some head injuries, and some of the articles I’ve read have indicated that she probably survived because she was strapped into a child safety seat.

I’ve known Reagan’s family since I was ten years old. Mr Williams was the first engineer I knew personally and gave me my first exposure to the business of consulting engineering. That was a big influence on my choice of academic pursuits and my career. He also gave me my first real job while I was an engineering student, working summers in the materials lab of his consulting company.

I remember him dancing the night away at our wedding, getting a kick out of life. I also remember how proud of his grandchildren he was when I saw him last year at Reagan’s halloween party. The big smile he had while he was surrounded by all these little toddlers really reminded me of my dad with my kids.

Having lost my own dad this year, I know what Reagan, Sheldon and Sabrina and their extended family must be going through today. It hits hard for me and I know it’s going to be extremely hard for all of them. I only hope that they can take solace in knowing how much their dad loved life and his kids, and I also hope that his grand-daugther, Sheldon’s little girl, makes a full recovery. I also would like to offer Mr Sutton’s family my condolences.

Jenn is having a hard time with this today too. It feels awfully close on the heels of my dad’s passing, and then our friend Barb’s dad last month, and now this. Sometimes mortality looms very large in life.

Categories: Personal

Converting VMware Server VMs to ESX Server 3.02

2007-10-17 7 comments

Our company is drinking the virtualization kool-aid more and more. We have three ESX server licenses in our Bladecenter now, and tonight I migrated the second of four of our Deltek Vision servers (the Reporting tier) from VMware Server hosted on Linux to ESX server (The first was the Deltek Vision SQL Server tier).

First I used my normal rsync backup script and zfs snapshot to create the last backup of the VMware Server version of the report server. Then I just mounted the snapshot via NFS on the ESX server, and used

vmkfstools -i nfsvol/source.vmdk vmfsvol/dest.vmdk

to clone the virtual disk onto one of my SAN vmfs3 datastores. Then I created a new virtual machine in one of the ESX server hosts, pointed it at the imported virtual disk, booted, re-installed vmware tools and rebooted again. It wasn’t too hard and everything works.

The longest part was the vmkfstools import operation, which took about 45 minutes for the 80 GB disk. The SAN was under heavy load at the time doing mail system backups, so I can’t complain.

Categories: Virtualization, zfs

Why Vacation Rules are Bad

2007-10-17 1 comment

See if you can tell the difference between these two algorithms:

For each new email I receive, do this:
if the sender is in my address book,
create a reply to the sender with a canned message,
send it out.

Pretty simple, eh? Now how about this one:

For every new or old item in my entire mailbox, do this:
create a new canned message,
add everyone in my address book in the “To” field
send it out

Interestingly, the first one produces a fairly well behaved Vacation rule. The second one produces 133,000 messages per hour in our mail system until you delete the offending account after 90 minutes.

By the way, it takes about 10 hours to delete 200,000 email messages from three GroupWise post offices using gwcheck with the itempurg=subject switch.

This post is based on a true story.

Categories: GroupWise

Reminder to Self…

2007-10-11 Leave a comment

Do not consolidate free space on the SAN during the work day.

Categories: Storage and Backup

Solaris Express DE 09/07

2007-10-01 4 comments

I have been following the progress of Solaris Express DE, and I’m even running it on my x4500, because I needed a particular ZFS feature before it became available in the official Solaris. Recently the latest drop of SXDE came out, and it reportedly has the new Solaris installer in it. I downloaded a DVD iso and tried to boot it in a VM in VMware Server, without any luck. I thought maybe the iso file was buggered up somehow, despite the MD5 checksum being correct, so I burned the iso to a physical disk and tried booting it on my laptop. I got this frustrating ever-so-close-but-not-quite message from the installer:

This installer requires 768 MB of RAM to run. This machine has 767 MB of RAM.


I’ll try again on my home server.

Categories: Sun Solaris

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