Google is taking over!


Well I’ll say this: I’ve decided to start using google documents instead of sticking with my Hamachi solution that I mentioned earlier. I came to find that at certain sites my Hamachi performance was quite inconsistent, especially if I was tunneling through port 80, which I am in most cases. Upgrading to the ‘Premium’ version helped somewhat, but it was still a pain. I’ll stick with it for lan gaming over the net, but not much else at this point.

So now I use gmail for all of my email and now google documents for storing my stuff.  I was already using google for all of my research. Google is good. Google FTW.

Posted in Cool Stuff, Random Bits, Tech / IT | Leave a comment

HOWTO: Import and Export DHCP reservations in server 2003

Load-balancing your DHCP has been well documented, but the matter of synchronizing your IP reservations has always the fly in the ointment. But no more.

To export DHCP reservations, from the source server:

netsh dhcp server [ip address] scope [scope address] dump>reserv.txt

Open up ‘reserv.txt’ in a text editor, do a Find->Replace for the source server IP, change to the destination server IP. Trim out everything in the file except for the reservations themselves.

On the destination server, make sure your scope is already created, and run the following command:

netsh exec C:\reserv.txt

Tada. The only problem is that as your add more and more reservations, you’ll need to add them to each server that you are load balancing. It’s easier to do that than to do another export.

Posted in HOWTO's, Microsoft | 38 Comments

Virtual Servers with VMWare

I installed my first production virtual server host over a year ago using a product called ESX Server by VMWare. Simply put, it is awesome! I have had four moderate use file servers running off of this virtual server, for about 1500 users in all running on this with abosolutely no problems. The virtual machines were Windows Server 2003, and I kid you not, only one server out of the bunch had to be rebooted in a years time. That is what I call low-maintenance and reliable!

ESX Server is an impressive peice of software. The host machine basically runs a razor-thin vesion of linux tuned for running virtual machines, and it gives each VM direct access to hardware, which translates into near-standalone performance, given the other VM are not hogging those same resources at that given moment. I’m running this current setup using a Dell PE2850, 2-way dual-core Xeon chips, and 8 gigs of RAM. Performance has NOT been an issue at all. I’ve just installed a new ESX server this week, also running 4 VMs, but this server has 2-quad core Xeons and 16 gigs of RAM. I was tempted to see how well this machine would run Supreme Commander, but you know……. I don’t get paid for that 🙂

VMWare Server, the free version, is also a very worthy program. If you are not buying all of the addons that are available for ESX Server such as VMotion and VirtualCenter (which I *HIGHLY* recommend you do!), then VMWare Server and ESX Server are very comparable in terms of features. The main difference of course, is that VMWare Server uses Windows Server as it’s host OS, and performance-wise it can’t hold a candle to ESX. I’ve been using Server in several locations now in production for hosting web servers, log server, and light duty file servers, with absolutely no problems.

Posted in Cool Stuff, VMWare | 1 Comment

HOWTO: Create an ISO in linux with DD

During my second install of ESX Server, I decided that I needed speed up the deployment of my Server 2003 virtual machines. The last time I setup ESX Server, which was over a year ago, I simply created an ISO on my laptop and set it as the virtual CD-drive. It was pretty fast, but it would obviously be faster if the ISO was actually sitting on the server itself. No big deal, the Virtual Infrastructure Client supports this. You just have to login to the server console as root or equivalent and use the DD command. For Server 2003, I did:

from within /vmimages,

dd -if=/dev/cdrom of=w2kstd_r2_1.iso

Pretty elemental stuff I guess, but I doesn’t hurt to document.

The install SCREAMS!

Posted in HOWTO's, Linux | 2 Comments

Update of DL140 G3 SATA setup

It’s easy to burnout with this job. Mentally, I mean.

I’ve been irritated that I didn’t have a hardware RAID 1 running on my new server; it was hot swap drives connected to and LSI SATA/SAS controller. For whatever reason, I overlooked the RAID array creation option in the HBA BIOS, and just ended up installing Server 2003 and setting up………… software mirroring…… (a grave sin). I am ashamed to say this. Well I come back from vacation, only to find that my software mirror had already failed! I got what I deserved I guess. So I think, there is no way this controller is just JBOD. So I reboot the server, go back into the HBA BIOS, and I find the RAID option in 2 seconds. What an idiot. I reload the OS and everything is peachy. Performance is quite good now as well.

I wonder what other epiphanies I’ll have now that I’m back.

Posted in Tech / IT | 3 Comments

Open Enterprise Server 2

This is another product that I’m pretty excited about. For the past couple of years, I’ve been waiting for a suitable replacement for Netware; logically, this would be OES on linux. However, the first version of OES on linux didn’t impress me. On top of that, my existing Netware 6.5 sp5 boxes were running rock-solid, so why make the jump from using a product that already does everything you want, and does it great, to a product that tries to do all of the same stuff…… but not quite as well (yet)? I wasn’t prepared to make that jump just for the sake of running linux, which is excatly what I felt I would be doing.

But now OES2 is coming out soon, which, as I was told by a Novell salesperson, would be the successor to Netware. In reading up on the some of the features, it looks like be a very compelling product in a number of ways:

  • eDirectory-enabled DNS/DHCP (OES on linux didn’t have it)
  • Domain Services for Windows (CIFS was PANTS!)
  • Xen Virtualization

I’m particularly interested in virtualizing all of my NW 6.5 boxes on an OES2 box, as it would seriously free up some CPU power; my quad-core Xeons running Netware are downright bored at the moment. Of course, this would likely only be a stepping-stone to moving everything over to OES2. I just hope they include a nice migration-wizard style app to transition everything over to a virtual machine.

Read more about OES2 here:

Posted in Linux, Random Bits, Tech / IT | 2 Comments

Hamachi – sliced bread had a good run…

First off, I gotta give credit to J-rod for this.

For quite some time now, I’ve been trying to come up with a way to centralize, or at least synchronize, all of my stuff between my main machine(s) and my work laptop; things such as work forms, network documentation, patches, hacks, and the list goes on.

I’ve toyed with using my machine at home as a PPTP server and dialing in remotely, but it was cumbersome.

Tinkered with some FTP scripts to move my data at scheduled intervals, but this wasn’t very satisfying or intelligent, and I felt like I always ran the risk on actually losing my data if it decided to sync up to a machine, and it for some reason may have lost the data. Plus it wasn’t that secure.

Then came iFolder. Chris setup an iFolder at the office, which was slick, and it ran well; it did pretty much everything I wanted; but the client was chunky, and slowed up my boot time considerably. So I ditched that.

Then came Hamachi. J-rod put me onto this and said it worked great for LAN gaming over a WAN, which it did; from his place in Valdosta to mine in Dublin, we got pings from 25-40ms consistently over Hamachi… maybe faster than when we would play Jedi Knight MP over coax in the same room…… probably not. But still. It’s amazing to think how far the technology has come since then.

But back to my story. So I start dinking around with Hamachi, and found that I could browse my PCs at home remotely as long as Hamachi is running and logged in… and it’s fast too. Not exactly revolutionary, this is just what a regular VPN does. But this was so easy! Now, I just have Hamachi loaded on my laptop, and point my Documents folder to a share on my PC at home, and it works great. One place for all my stuff. And secure too, w/ 256-bit SSL encryption. No need to piddle with firewalls, I can just tunnel through port 80 if I have to.

Did I mention it was free?

Posted in Cool Stuff | 2 Comments

Zenworks 8 (Pulsar)

I’ve been doing a bit of reading on this upcoming release, and I’m pretty stoked. This looks to be a complete redesign of ZEN, which needed to be done, since at the core there isn’t much difference between ZEN 4 and 7. From what I understand from reading the dev’s blog, it is completely self-contained; I won’t have to load modules all over the place for the different components, and I apparently won’t be importing workstations or creating policy packages in eDir anymore. That seems like a good idea, and will keep eDir a lot cleaner (a clean directory is a happy one).

Other tidbits:

  • Won’t run on Netware (OES2, SLES 10, and Windows Server 2003 only)
  • Native integration with active directory (middle tier server gone)
  • Doesn’t store objects in eDir or AD, but has own database and merely talks to directory through LDAP
  • Completely web-based administration (no more ConsoleOne snapins, w00t)

Once I relearn the meaning of ‘spare time’ I’ll have to give it a go in the lab. Don’t expect anything soon though.

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SATA in DL140 G3 = chugalug

So I’ve setup two DL140 G3 servers this week, at different sites and for different purposes; however, they both had pretty much the same hardware: Dual-Core Xeon proc, 1gig mem, and 160gig SATA drives.  I am sad to say…. the disk performance was atrocious. One server was running through the onboard SATA controller provided through the Intel chipset, while the other was running off of a LSI Logic SATA/SAS controller. Performance was dismal on both. I find this odd, because I’ve used SATA in other servers with great success, and my experience with HP servers has been uniformly great. The systems would come to a crawl in doing just basic operations, such as copying files, expanding a service pack, and even boot-up.  The disk I/O is eating up a LOT of CPU, almost 100% on the first core! I still think that overall this is a good server, and cheap, but definately not for heavy disk access with this model. It is ideal for a low-duty web server or file server, or an application server that isn’t going to peg the disks.

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HOWTO: Add Static routes on IPCop, and add to startup

In my opinion, this should have been added to the web interface LONG ago…. but the IPCop folks seem determined to keep it as a SOHO firewall and nothing more….. and the vast majority of SOHO setups only deal with one subnet

route add -net netmask gw

To make it stick, add this command to the end of /etc/rc.d/rc.netaddress.up

Maybe they’ll finally add this to the GUI in 1.5….. hopefully a lot of other stuff as well, before the project stagnates and is surpassed by pfSense.

Posted in IPCop, Linux | 9 Comments