Busy Busy Busy

At the moment work has been busy, its been revolutionised by us switching to an all singing, all dancing managed VLAN enabled network from our flat network of old, which I have managed to switch our users to with an absolutely minimal amount of downtime (save for a single 10 year old switch that died causing me a headache as I had to migrate our administration on the fly with no planning).

On top of a rebuilding of our Hyper-V cluster to 2012R2, which required a fair bit of planning and execution, again happening without anyone especially being aware of any changes taking place on the users side of the network.

I have also invested in myself at home and started studying towards my CCNA Routing and Switching qualification, two massive tomes purchased, one for each of the exams are proving to be a surprisingly dry read, but surprising as I have been doing a lot of things right so far.

Rebuilding a Hyper-V Cluster to 2012R2

This is the checklist I created and worked to on a recent project when taking down our sites Hyper-V 2012 Platform and then upgrading both nodes to 2012R2 with a reconfigured SAN device, it was a bit long winded as we only operate a 2 node and disk cluster as opposed to 3 node and had limited server capability to cope with offloading of our in-house services too.

  1. Remove Failover role from existing VMs and carry out an export of the VM from the host
  2. Transfer exports to non-clustered server and start up VMs on new host
  3. Check working Print/SuccessMaker/Exam boxes decamped to new host
  4. Site Test of VMs with end users
  5. Secure Multiple copies of exported vm backups to 2 x NAS devices
  6. Run 3 Main Services physical boxes from new host – Settings altered on them to 2GB Ram and 2 Cores, going to run essential services only
  7. Check Printing/SuccessMaker/Exam software working fine for Staff – Staff members tested printing
  8. Revoke Veeam licences from the two Hyper-V nodes, Backup Veeam Configurations to NAS Boxes
  9. Disconnect within windows and remove on the SAN all iSCSI host connections
  10. Carry out a Destroy Cluster and delete the objects from the AD
  11. Setup Quorum Disk on the raid
  12. Reconfigure SAN vDisks within management interface to be 4 x 1.1TB drives as opposed to 8 600gb drives on the RAID6 configuration
  13. Reimage host machines to Datacentre 2012 R2
  14. Rejoin Domain with both hosts
  15. Install MPIO/Failover Clustering/Desktop Experience/Hyper-V
  16. Install and run HP Smart Update Manager
  17. Patch machines up with HP updates – Proliant Service Pack 1
  18. Set MPIO over the iSCSI connections on the machine
  19. Reboot the Machines
  20. Patch up machines to identical levels with windows updates.
  21. Rejoin iSCSI connections to host units
  22. Bring Online CSV/Quorum disks and format all to NTFS
  23. Reprogram IP ranges onto the network cards on the units
  24. Recreate Failover Cluster and Revalidate configuration
  25. Power down cluster and hosts
  26. Resegment Power Connections in the UPS in Server Room
  27. Reboot Cluster Nodes
  28. Test Failover on Cluster
  29. Export VMs off temporary host and copy onto the cluster
  30. Reimport VMs back onto the cluster
  31. Reinstall Veeam onto the hosts and re-licence
  32. Re-setup Veeam backups to NAS devices

Adobe Error 50 yet again

I find myself yet again being “ERROR 50’ed” when trying to launch Creative Cloud on my work windows machine to update to Acrobat DC, I have an feeling its down to the fact that my workplace, the same as many, many others dares to use an “Authenticated Proxy” something that software manufacturers seem to be disregarding in this Internet Age and expecting all communications to just fly straight out to the web.

Its particularly depressing now that in three updates now, I have had to completely pull off and reinstall the product and its apps, which is brilliant when your looking at in excess of 25gb of application data for the apps I need to install, meaning downtime is needed.

On the Mac at home, the software has installed completely flawlessly without a murmur, because its a straight out internet connection.

New Toy – rMBP and MiFi

A recent small windfall has made me take the plunge and treat myself to a rather lovely 15″ Retina Macbook Pro, something I always considered a bit too expensive and out of reach before, I have had Apple grow on me with using one in work for Apple Configurator and iPad imaging a lot lately and just realised that I really fancied ownership of one, largely because I think I am a bit fed up of windows, I work on it throughout the day and its various problems and wanted to switch off when I was home then from it, plus the look and feel of Windows these days lacks behind Linux and OS X by comparison I feel.

After an epic de-boxing where the wife mocked my nerdiness for keeping everything packaging wise intact within the box and boxing it all back up pristine to be stored away.

The first thing I noticed out of the blocks on it, is that it worked without question, only thing which was a bit of a wait was when I elected to leave off filevault on the device, it worked away for about 10 minutes then.

The screen – neverminding the retina resolution, the panel makes such a difference to the computing experience, its crisp and clear and I actually had to tone down the brightness on it as it was hurting my eyes, its non-comparative to the chromebook I type this blog post on sometimes, which is full brightness and still only looks semi decent. (The chromebook is my cheap travelling laptop until I can arrange a decent case for this one)

OSX transition is nothing for me as I have gotten over that steep learning curve about 3 years ago with a Macbook Pro loan from work, though I still niggle a little at the American Keyboard and its different places for @ ” # \ keys, the OS though works like a charm and I can play WoW setup lovely on it and I have even taken to Minecraft as well of late trying to get the hang of what the “fuss” is about the game.

Handoff is another awesome bonus, I have used it before on the iPad Mini, but it even impressed my wife here as my mother rang and my telephone went off somewhere in the room, I was able to answer the call while my wife was running around frantic to find the phone to stop our son from waking in the house and we both spoke with my mother over the computer.

The other item I bought is a Huawei MiFi to use instead of my existing Mobile Broadband Dongle, its a much simpler and easier to manage item and requires no plugging in as it charges and runs off its own battery.  Its working well so far and very much the same as the dongle was to be fair.

Catching up

A house move in February this year has meant a hiatus from a lot of online activity, its nice to be within suburbia now instead of the inner city.  The wife and I realised leading up to our move that there were certain elements that we just would not miss leaving the area we were in.  A final encounter with another drug user walking through our old street when clearing out the old property, only hit home what a nice area we were going to and what we were leaving behind, its been lovely and quiet since we moved in and the boy is loving have no end of room to run around in compared to our previous home.

 

Abigail’s Oath

Came across a reference to this when I was looking at an online forum I participate in – @edugeek, so I saved it for posterity, it is quite amusing I think and relevant despite being very, very old in internet terms

 I am hired because I know what I am doing, not because I will do whatever I am told is a good idea.  This might cost me bonuses, raises, promotions and may even label me as “undesirable” by places I don’t want to work at anyway, but I don’t care.  I will not compromise my own principles and judgement without putting up a fight.  Of course, I won’t always win, and I will sometimes be forced to do things I don’t agree with, but if I am my objections will be known, and if I am shown to be right and problems later develop, I will shout “I told you so!” repeatedly, laugh hysterically, and do a small dance or jig as appropriate to my heritage.

Restarting a 2012 Hyper-V Cluster Node

This guide deals with the restarting of a clustered node of a Hyper-V cluster on a Windows Server 2012 Cluster.

  1. Open Failover Cluster Manager (CluAdmin.msc)
  2. When loaded connect to your cluster.  If its not already setup in the failover manager, then manually go through connecting to your cluster.
  3. Break down the tree of nodes in the cluster manager and select the node that you wish to restart, right click on it and pick Pause option, when the highlighted options expands, choose the drain roles option to then start the live migration of the roles on the system to another node automatically.
  4. Once the live migrations are complete and the node is showing as paused, connect to hyper-v manager and shut down any non-high availability nodes that may still reside on the node.
  5. If not logged directly onto the node server, log on to it and trigger a restart as you would normally when the node is paused.

When the server reboot has completed and the node is back online showing as paused in failover cluster manager, right click on the node and select resume, on the expanded context menu, click on fail roles back and it will then live migrate the roles back over onto the restarted Hyper-V node

Adobe Creative Cloud – Horrors

On one hand where I work, I am one of the people who requires access to the creative cloud product with work, primarily a lot of my stuff tends to be done with Acrobat – Conversions between formats or editing of PDF files in there being the bulk of the work and some minor photoshopping, usually brightening or cropping photographs as needed when they havent been taken with ideal exposures (though I am no way near being any sort of expert when it comes to retouching)

As actual packages, the programs work well in the suite and usually without any issues, aside from the management program “Creative Cloud Desktop”, every time I have tried to update this piece of software, it has caused massive issues with my machine and fails somewhat spectacularly.

Originally we had issues with the firewall with it, cue our service provider having a list of sites to open up and allow us access through to, worse still now I find that the latest “update” would refuse to install from the program yet again with the dreaded error 50 – the instructions on a quick bit of google-fu were to download the ominous “AdobeCreativeCloudCleanerTool” (I have always taken it to be a bit of a bad omen about a program, that it requires a removal tool, the uninstall functions should be the only thing necessary to banish a program from the machine in my mind) and remove CC from my machine, rename some directories and then reinstall CC onto the machine.  A task which has fast become the norm now for how I update it on my work machine, having failed each time to get it to update the desktop application at all, including one incident where it went so hilariously wrong that I had to completely remove the suite in its entirety and redownload it to get it working again.

Adobe program a suite of applications that are industry standard and work outstandingly for their purpose, but then they seem to fail on the main bugbear of mine when it comes to programming, supporting the installation and the enterprise administration of a program when it comes to the software, their in a similar boat to the horror that is Avid Sibelius from my point of view, where they just don’t support stuff well for a network.

HP Chromebook – 10 Months in

Its been 10 months I realised yesterday since I took the plunge and bought myself a chromebook, its going reasonably well, files are all stored easily as are emails with Google, dont find that I have a lot of need for letter writing so Docs isn’t used massively by me either.

Machine is solid from HP and the battery still lasts at least a full working day on heavy/prolonged usage, the screen is becoming a bit irritating – 1366×768 was the max res of my SVGA monitor that I bought 8 years ago now and the panel does tire the eyes if used for a prolonged period, so the screen is letting it down I feel, thats an issue with chromebooks in general I think as we are only now seeing he adoption of IPS screens and HD resolutions, everything else has been fine on it to date, I have a mobile broadband dongle that just worked fine out of the box on it.

I haven’t had to workaround any websites on my chromebook to date, so it seems that on most of my daily browsing of the web, I tend to avoid anything that requires Java as a product I have come to realise, or failing that most websites I use regularly have in place workarounds now to negate that.  I haven’t had any other issues with the browsing of the machine and email has worked fine.

I would have negated the need for windows laptops completely if it was not for some of the little things that just cannot be done on a chromebook – RDP into a windows based machine, through an MS based VPN is just not possible at the moment, I can connect to my home machine fine with Chrome Remote Desktop, but Work is an impossibility because of the firewalls and lack of support for MS based VPNs.

I am still pleased with the purchase overall after nearly a year, its worked impeccably so far in what it does offer with minimal fuss.

Service Packs – Missing – Reward Offered

Second time this month now I have found myself cursing out M$ and frustrated by the lack of provision for service packs any more for their products, first was a reimage of a machine where I work, Windows 7 64 bit image went out flying from the MDT server, got the base image on within 12 minutes on the 1gb network, what then tailed it was a nearly 4 hour cycle through 200+ of various security/windows updates from the WSUS server before the MDT process had completed allowing the machine to be logged onto and used.

Second machine was a virtual server today on our hyper-v platform, 2008 R2 – standard image with full installation and only the IIS role installed for its pending webdav setup, a meagre 160 updates took over 3 hours to complete to the point where I had to leave it in sheer frustration – box was not specced horribly, had a decent amount of CPU and RAM and the discs are all high end SAS drives for it, but the sheer amount was overwhelming and stopped play for the work I had planned for an entire afternoon.

I wish they would give some serious consideration to this and set a threshold, when it hits 150 updates and above, start planning for a service pack, as its costs in work time get.