Boot Camp fun and Home Networking

Part of the changes at home with the new arrival on the way, mean that I have had to store my PC (something that I am surprisingly not sad at doing, considering the dust it attracted and the heat that the 500w PSU generated, more than 90 minutes and the room was horribly warm) and having to vacate the spare bedroom/office, I have located all files from my PC to a nifty WD NAS device and all is working well so far.

I decided to take the plunge and bootcamp the 2014 MBP I own to cover both needs with OS and found out a few things the painful way, I realised mainly that because I work in IT, I am non-compliant in following instructions and thought I had read enough to know that bootcamp assistant would only be needed by me to partition the disc for installation and I stick a normal windows USB stick to install it onto my machine, two days I fiddled for a couple of hours in the night wondering why it did not work and had a persistent message about being unable to install onto a GPT partition, I tried everything I thought would work including me downloading the bootcamp files to stick on the USB sticks.

I decided late last night to just follow the wizard and let it build the installation stick as it wanted after reading the assistant and lo and behold it hit gold and worked fine, so I am finally up and running, though I still have to work out how to get windows to play ball with the retina resolutions and font sizes.

I also realised the other day that I had to install a small switch in my house, as the connected devices had gone over the connections supplied on the Superhub, so the home network is expanding now to a surprising size, especially with our location needing a home wifi/3G access point to be able to make call on our mobile phones.

Lab up and running

After a bit of progress with Packet tracer and a little bit of frustration at some commands not working, I decided to try and grab some cheap equipment on eBay, I am following some CBTNuggets and the tutor recommended some equipment I set about trying to source second hand, but I ended up having better luck than that, I finally noticed a UK supplier selling lab kit on sale on eBay.

I now own an 1841 Router, 2x 3550 switches (their the better L3 switches than the 2900 series, and an assortment of cables (power/USB-Serial/Console/LAN) so good for other CCNA Certs and beyond.


I had a bit of fun with the connecting the USB/Serial cable that I bought off eBay, as it wouldn’t work initially and I had to master drivers on the Mac and find a decent freeware terminal program, but its all up and running now and makes better sense of what I am doing.

Online Learning – Microsoft Virtual Academy

This is another excellent facility that I used for training when I was researching my virtualisation technologies with a project a little over 18 months ago, I hadn’t realised until recently that it offers their own MVA certifications when you have finished so it was an incentive to go back and sort out the remaining 10-15% of the modules I had completed to add to the CV, well worth taking a look if expensive training modules with providers is not an option as it is with me, going down the self study route with my CCNA/CCENT.

Online Learning – Google Apps

I have been progressing slowly and surely when spare time allows me, I am getting through the CCNA ICND1 preparation and I am nearing the end of the theory section of the book, I am looking forward to starting on the Online/CLI stuff, after being probably overly thorough in going through the ICND1 book so far as I wanted to make sure I get the basics of it all right, so I am reading chapters a couple of times and testing myself on it with the DIKTA tests, I am actually enjoying it too, which is good and tells me I am on the right path with my development.

As chrome books have been coming into work I also looked to see what training was available on the google apps ecosystem in preparedness, though it is extremely likely that we won’t proceed with the Google classroom or apps for education over the Office 365 online offerings now that MS has sorted out Onenote for Classrooms.  Fair play though I was able to find a wealth of freely available information and official training with Google which has allowed me to undertake the google apps online administrator training course, I am still contemplating the $100 for the certification examination, though I have breezed through its online tuition so far to the point where I qualified for the certificate below to add to the CV, all in all it was a couple of nights of study and watching various videos and playing a little with a domain I have for testing.



CCNA Study Progressing

I thought I would write a quick update on this as its progressing well with the start of the books now, I have purchased two cheap courses from Udemy complementing the materials and I have both of the books by Wendall Odom as part of an Amazon super-saver deal and I am progressing well into the first one now, its a good foundation of theory still at the beginning, but its further in networks that I have ever been, the “basics” of plugging stuff in doesn’t compare to what goes on behind that I am seeing.

IMG_0206 Some heavy tomes as you can see :)

I am working through ICND1 at the moment going towards the initial CCENT before converting it to a CCNA and from my point of view I am seriously enjoying this so far, its the first time in a good while I have had the brain in full swing learning.  I am finding that I seem to prefer the reading/testing and reviewing format that is explained as part of the book to listening to the materials, they are decent as well, just for me it seems to work better for me when I am actually writing stuff down with a pen

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.