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17
Sep

In the groove

Getting back into the groove at a new job, new list of tasks, new home schedule, and for once – a true training schedule to get me back on the road to good (better?) health.

I’ve signed a five page NDA that is scares me to type anything more work related than the words “work related” so my posts will typically be generic if they discuss VMware or my new employer TDS Hosted and Managed Services (TDS HMS). And anything I typically share – will always be available somewhere else already published and approved the marketing… okay with that out of the way, here we go.

Visi, Team, Vital Support Systems, and OneNeck are all owned by TDS. With a big toolbox of resources and a roster of some of the smartest and battle hardened folks in the business – I’m honored to be onboard with the crew leading up their new cloud IaaS product ReliaCloud. And for those who ask, no that is not me in the NOC photo this time. I honestly tried to find the photo but wasn’t successful. Internet Wayback Machine to the rescue… which goes to prove don’t let marketing photograph you – you’ll never get it off the internet. :)

And with that, I’m wrapping up a lunch hour post and hope to add more meaningful entries in the near future.

24
May

VMware View 5.1 Deployed

I took this week after classes finished to tear down our View 4.6 cloud that was hosted on vsphere 4.1 ESX servers and redeploy it properly with a dedicated vCenter server, upgrade the vmware environment to 5.0 U1 and then roll out a new View 5.1 environment.

A few quick observations for those planning upgrades. Read the installation, administration, and upgrade manuals completely and make notes of all the changes or ancillary upgrades you may need to do.

I ran into a couple of hiccups but nothing too painful.

The security server wouldn’t link with the connection server until we opened up the extra ports in our DMZ firewall and had IPsec encapsulation enabled. Yes, it’s clearly documented – it just needed to be read. Oh and the installer says you can use the IP or FQDN of the connection server while installing the security server – don’t use IPs. Use the FQDN and make sure that your security servers can resolve the FQDN of the connection server.

Make sure you have a good public cert if you’ll be letting anyone outside your organization connect. If not, bone up on running a certificate authority in your network. You should already be deploying internal certs to your servers and workstations.

I’m digging the new features like host caching (2GB of server ram dedicated to caching storage… Zoom!) and finally an OS X client that does PCoIP and doesn’t require Microsoft’s RDP client.

I just finished deploying new thinclient images with View 5.1 clients and the new root CA. The wildcard cert we purchased in February from GeoTrust was great… Except the HP thinclients didn’t have GeoTrust’s root cert so the entire view environment was Untrusted and the clients just failed to connect.

Tomorrow I start deploying Win 7 desktops…

1
Apr

My new whip.

As a technology professional, I typically have most of the equipment I need provided for me by my employeer. My laptop for the last four years has been a trusty ThinkPad T400. Upgraded over time to its final configuration of a 256GB SSD (FDE) and 8GB of ram. The T400 has been my trusty whip through power outages and daily VMware Workstation labs – it carried the brand name well. Lenovo support and quality is still top notch.

With that said, my family has grown to a few Macs and I’ve grown to love and envy my wife’s MacBook Pro that I got her for Christmas. During a weekend trip to Chicago for our 15th anniversary, we stopped at the Apple store to get her MBP a hard case – and I was oogling the laptops there. She had finally had enough and convinced me to order a 15″ MBP, no it wasn’t that difficult. I wish the Apple store had stocked the high resolution screens or I would have walked home with one. I was a little disappointed at the insane charges Apple tacks on for memory, but a quick search on NewEgg resolved that issue.

I scored a 2nd power brick at BestBuy for $35 (open box) and a DVI adapter.

At work I work mostly in the boot camp partition that I run Windows 7 64bit natively. However, I love using VMware Fusion to run Win 7 from bootcamp when I’m in OS X. It’s a great way to keep all my options on the table. I dare say, even if I couldn’t run OS X on this laptop – the build quality and features like the backlit screen and magsafe power connection – it more than a value for the laptop cost.

8
Nov

Reinstalling HP’s Network Configuration Utility

When you launch the HP Network Configuration Utility from the control panel or the system tray and get this error:

An error occurred due to invalid data in the XML file used by this application. The XML file has been corrupted and should be reinstalled from the installation media.

You have no obvious way to resolve it. The recommendations are to disolve the team or reinstall the NCU. The trick is you need the NCU to disolve the team and the NCU doesn’t appear in the Add Remove Programs!

Attention: Before you go banging through these steps to rip out and replace your network connections, please read the steps first. Enjoy not having to learn from your own mistakes because you will have learned from mine!

I had software installed on my server that was licensed according to the MAC address of the Team – and it stayed the same. Your milage may vary so be sure you don’t nuke the team before you know exactly what your software is going to do if the MAC changes.

  1. Document your NIC team settings (including IP, Subnet Mask, Gateway, DNS servers, and all of the other customized fields) so you can enter them back in again later.
  2. Download a recent version of the NCU from HP’s website specific to your server’s operating system and place it on the desktop of your server for easy access.
  3. Connect to your server from iLO or a console – RDP will be useless after you nuke your network connections.
  4. Navigate to the properties page of one of the physical NICs on your server (see the screenshot I provided).
  5. Click on Properties
  6. Click in the “This connection uses the following items:” area on “HP Network Configuration Utility”
  7. After you’ve confirmed that you’ve done steps 1 and 2 – Click Uninstall
  8. Confirm all of the confirmation screens and reboot when it tells you.
  9. After the reboot, run the NCU installer.
  10. After a successful install of the NCU – launch it.
  11. Configure your network with a new team using the information you copied down in step 1!

Enjoy your new fully functional NCU. If you need further assistance, HP Support will be your best resource, check out their new support site: www.hp.com/go/hpsc

4
Sep

Apple Airport Extreme 3% Packet Loss

I’m posting this quick note to bring light to a common thread I’m seeing with Apple’s Airport Extreme base stations. My ThinkPad T400 11b/g Wireless LAN Mini PCI Express Adapter III has a consistent 3% packet loss while communicating using 802.11G wireless.

I’ve tested from other devices in my house (iPhone, HP laptop with 802.11a/b/g/n, and a MacBook with 802.11n) and have not seen any packet loss. It goes without saying I have full strength signal with a LoS connection to the base station. I’ve checked and scanned the other wifi users in my neighborhood and modified my channel settings to occupy the least occupied frequencies.

This problem is consistent with this base station and I think it boils down to the specific way WPA (1 & 2) are handled between my wireless card and drivers and the Airport base station’s software.

Others on the Apple forum have described the root cause could be local interference… but I’m not going to give up and run Ethernet to everything.

I have no answer or fix yet, but if you have feedback or suggestions please add to the conversation on Apple’s forums here, or make a comment on this blog post.

-update 9-6-2011

I’ve given up on Apple supporting this issue. I’ve replaced the Airport with a Linksys E4300 access point. Not a problem to be had.

-update 4-5-2012

With the addition of two more MacBooks to my house, I’ve decided to revive the APE and give it a go to at least offer file and printer sharing for our Macs. I installed it in the entertainment center so that the TV, Xbox, and Sat box could also be wired to the Gig E switch and get off my wireless. So far it appears that the Airport is working flawlessly with MacBooks and our wireless TVs that stream Netflix.

A recent firmware update may have helped, but I couldn’t test with the T400 – it’s been retired.

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