The Basics AKA Death by Screenshot

I’ve created a new page, imaginatively titled “Articles”, that has a number of articles I’ve done recently covering various simple operational or implementation-focused tasks. You may or may not find them useful. I hope this doesn’t become my personal technical documentation graveyard, although I have a feeling that a number of the documents will probably stay at version 0.01 until such time as the underlying technology no longer exists. Enjoy!

OT: My absence

To my three loyal readers, I must apologise for the relative paucity of blog posts recently. I’ve been consulting in a mid-large government department lately and haven’t done a lot of work that lends itself to this blog. Instead, I’ve been doing lots of pictures and lots of typing, and developing a plan of attack for their storage and data protection environment. It’s been a challenge, in so far as they have a bad habit of throwing storage at problems before checking if they’re really problems. To wit, the CX3-40f I configured last year with 5 DAEs is now fully populated with all 16 DAEs. There’s also a CX700 still doing its thing (almost fully populated), and a few other CLARiiONs performing other duties. I’ve also seen a few bizarre things happen there too, the strangest of which was when one of the sys admins uninstalled the e-mail archive program from the servers. This, in turn, deleted some C-CLIPs from the Centera, as they had no fixed policy on retention in place. Who’d have thought the Centera Backup and Recovery Module (CBRM) for EMC NetWorker actually worked? I could go on, but I think it’s best if I don’t.

So, my three month stint is almost up, but it looks like it will be extended another three months, and possibly extended again after that. So the blog posts may still be few and far between for the next little while, although I am hoping to start work on vSphere 4 shortly, and will no doubt have some stuff to write about Brocade / Cisco interop and how to make and break Cisco 9513 Directors. So, er, thanks for reading …

Random Short Take #1

Short takes seem popular right now, so I’m thinking of wading in with a few notes that I’ve been meaning to blog about but haven’t had the time.

  • I had to rebuild my laptop last week, and re-installed Sun Common Array Manager (CAM). I’ve bitched and moaned about this software in the past, but the current version – – at least on my laptop and our management server, installed / upgraded without the usual slew of dramas.
  • I’ve been doing a lot of Backup Exec lately. Which is funny if you know that I haven’t used it since version 8 was GA and I still haven’t worked out all of my NetWorker biases. But, if you keep it simple, it just works. Although of the two implementations I did recently, the first used NDMP to send files to a tape library backing on to a Celerra, and the other used a combination of SAS, iSCSI and VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB). FFS (!), is anyone just buying FC libraries and SAN-attaching them? Incidentally, the Backup Exec Integration Module for VCB and I didn’t get on very well. So I wrote some scripts of my own which do the same job, but without the flexibility and useability that some may crave.
  • A customer’s P2V went wrong. Twice. And he couldn’t delete the associated files. esxtop showed that the VM was still running. There are, apparently, two ways to deal with this. Vincent at virtrix likes to use the old-school ps method. And Daniel made the suggestion to use the vm-support command. I favour the ps and kill -9 combo, but that’s because I’m a bit rough and ready.
  • The exchange guy has learnt how to spell IOPS, which reminded me to point people with access to EMC Powerlink to a useful BPG from EMC regarding Exchange 2007 implementations. Log in to Powerlink and look for “EMC CLARiiON Storage Solutions: Microsoft Exchange 2007”. It’s a worthwhile read, particularly if you’re sitting in front of a customer who’s a little antsy about the whole Exchange 2007 thing.
  • I’ve been playing around with VMware Update Manager, but haven’t gotten as deep as I’d like yet.
  • I have Playstation 3 now.

I’m sure there’re a few other things I’ve been meaning to jot down but that’s all I have for now. I hope to elaborate on some of these topics in the next few weeks.