December 5th, 2013 — 3:35pm
Microsoft are really pushing the idea that system administrators that have VMware experience should become bilingual in server virtualisation and get up to speed on Hyper-V too. So following on from the Microsoft Virtualization for VMware Professionals Jump Start, a year or so ago, comes Free Microsoft Virtualization Training for VMware IT Professionals. December 11th from 9am – 12.30pm PST (5pm – 8.30pm GMT)
Get the edge in your technical career! Attend the online Virtualization IT Camp for VMware IT professionals and expand your virtualization skills. Seasoned experts will demonstrate key scenarios and cover equivalent technologies from Microsoft and VMware. Here’s your chance to upgrade your Microsoft Virtualization skills for FREE.
I consider myself already fairly bilingual as I have a Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V host at work with a couple of production servers on it now to go with the 108 virtual machines on our VMware infrastructure. I passed the Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization exam a couple of years ago when Microsoft was giving away free exam vouchers for it.
Plus I attended the Server Virtualization w/ Windows Server Hyper-V & System Center Jump Start online last month. Just need now to schedule the 74-409 exam whilst my free exam voucher is still valid. The vouchers can still be obtained here (Limited availability)
Comment » | Certification, Microsoft, VMware
September 17th, 2013 — 3:08pm
I had created a new server as a test environment for a new client of the company and configured it to reside in the DMZ with an external IP address so that people at the client could test the system from their location.
I tested connectivity to this new IP address and the server was connectable and everything seemed fine.
However one of our implementation consultants reported that he wasn’t able to access the server from his location using the IP address that I had provided to him. I tested it again and again it all appeared fine.
I then tried connecting to it from a different network outside of the company and I hit the exact same problem as my colleague had ‘TTL Expired In Transit’. So I then tried a TraceRoute to see if this revealed where the issue might be.
At first glance it appeared okay, traffic was being bounced back correctly from each router along the way. Then I saw the problem, it was because of a configuration error in our ISP’s routers which meant that traffic coming from outside of their network that was destined for the IP address I had assigned to the server was getting routed to a particular couple of routers which were then just bouncing it back and forth between the two of them until the TTL expired.
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August 16th, 2013 — 4:38pm
It probably won’t come to this as I have now convinced the management to allow me to purchase Vsphere Essentials Plus, but I was curious about whether I could convert my Windows Server 2012 Standard Server to Windows Server 2012 Datacenter without having to do a complete reinstall.
Good news! It is possible and is dead simple to do. Via http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj574204.aspx
From an elevated command prompt run the DISM tool and pop your new key in.
DISM /online /Set-Edition:ServerDatacenter /ProductKey:[Datacenter key, e.g. XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX] /AcceptEula
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August 2nd, 2013 — 10:44pm
I passed the Exam 70-417: Upgrading your skills to MCSA Windows Server 2012!
Thanks to Keith Mayer, J C Mackin, Ed Liberman, Rick Claus and of course my beautiful and understanding wife Amy for putting up with me studying for and stressing over yet another Microsoft exam.
Next step will be working towards the MCSE: Server Infrastructure certification by studying for Exam 70-413: Designing and Implementing a Server Infrastructure.
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July 26th, 2013 — 10:27am
It’s the last Friday of July so that must mean that it is System Administrator Appreciation Day!
I will have to supply some cakes for my colleagues today I think, even though the idea is supposed to be that they buy me cake to show their appreciation for me and the work I do.
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July 16th, 2013 — 12:09pm
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July 12th, 2013 — 5:27pm
My responsibilities in this job are exceptionally broad so although I’m the systems administrator with overall responsibility for the company’s IT infrastructure I’m also on occasion called upon to do things such as repair a dead laptop.
I could have delegated it to another staff member but in this case it was important that the issue should be resolved quickly. I thrive under pressure, have a real knack for troubleshooting weird computer problems and generally just enjoy getting my hands dirty when it is something that I’d never encountered before.
It was mid-afternoon when I took the call from one of our consultants that works out of the office with customers on their site and he told me that very weird things were happening with his laptop computer. It was reportedly dead, completely unresponsive and would have a strange effect on any laptop charger that was plugged into it, the LED on the charger would turn off whenever plugged into the laptop and would then not work in any other laptop until the mains power had been turned off and on.
This sounded to me like the laptop was shorting out the laptop power supplies, fortunately not permanently as it might have killed off a swath of power supplies of one of our major customers. I asked my colleague to bring it into the office so I could take a look but I wasn’t holding out much hope that it could be fixed.
I ran through some basic logical checks to see if the laptop was behaving as described and that it wasn’t something stupid like the wrong laptop charger was being used.
The charger was indeed the correct one for that model and hadn’t been swapped or mixed up with someone else’s.
Plugged it into the mains and then the laptop and the LED was the extinguished.
Did the charger work with a different laptop, yes but only after cycling the mains electricity.
Did swapping the battery help. No and the battery appeared good in another laptop.
The problem then must lie with the laptop itself and with the power input socket. If we had a spare laptop I’d have pulled the hard disk and installed it in the replacement laptop and given that to my colleague and then stuck the dead laptop on the junk pile. Unfortunately we have no spares and he needed a working laptop for Monday and couldn’t come via the office so needed me to fix then and there if possible.
No choice then but to completely dismantle the laptop so that’s what I did. About 20 screws later I finally had the case apart and I could see the wiring of the power input and theorising it was a short of some sort I examined the wiring. The wiring from the power input socket appeared to be good to me. However there was a metal bracket that kept the power input socket connected to the chassis and by removing that I could see that there was a metal contact on the socket that would then form an electrical connection to the chassis.
The chassis looked dull and therefore might be corroded and preventing the electrical contact that was required (I’d had a similar issue with the starter motor on my car last year). A bit of abrasion on the chassis at the right point to make it nice and shiny I then reassembled the power input assembly and tested it by plugging in the charger before I completely reassembled the laptop. Moment of truth. I switched the mains electricity on and the LED on the charger stayed lit so it wasn’t being shorted out by the laptop any longer. Unplugged the power. Put the laptop back together again. Plugged the power in once more and hit the on button. Lights up. Dell logo shows on screen briefly and then Windows starts its boot up.
An hour and a bit after being given a mysteriously dead laptop I gave back a working machine and all was right with the world once more.
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July 11th, 2013 — 12:03pm
I’m not typically involved in the support for the software that the company that I work for produces but this morning I was asked to consult on a problem that was affecting the application support team here. Fortunately there are no reports that the client we produced this exact piece of software for is experiencing the same error.
I was asked to consult because the error appeared to be due a change in the IT infrastructure in some way as it was affecting multiple people and the code itself had not been changed by the developers. The error is in a software module that is supposed to produce a document from a set of data that is being currently viewed however it just throws up an error message. Because it was apparently working earlier this week, nothing has changed in our code and we had a Patch Tuesday this week could a Microsoft Windows update be the underlying cause of the error?
The first thing to do was to understand exactly what was going on and what processes were failing. The error message itself was useless and nothing was getting logged in the Windows event logs so what was needed was a tool to capture data on running processes.
Sysinternals Process Monitor is just the tool for the job and no SysAdmin worth his salt will have not had call to use it many times in their career. Process Monitor is a fantastic tool but can be a little intimidating at first as it generates a huge amount of data which seems like it would take hours to analyse a minute’s worth of captured events.
However there are a couple of simple little things to do to drastically cut down on the amount of data to sift through.
- Exclude processes that are probably not relevant to the error. Do this by right-clicking on a process in the window and selecting the appropriate option from the menu.
- Clear the display just prior to running the program or performing the task that causes the error you want to investigate and then stop the capture of events once the error has occurred.
So I excluded explorer.exe and then svchost.exe and spoolsv.exe. This cut the list down massively then I also excluded a couple of processes associated with the AVG antivirus and also Microsoft Word and Excel. Cleared the display, started the capture, forced the error to happen again and then stopped the capture.
It then just took under a minute to find the failing process from amongst the few hundred logged events. An ActiveX control that is referenced by the software in order to produce the document could not be found. I then ran the whole thing again on a different machine that had not yet been patched, a slight security risk but necessary in a software development environment in case there are ever conflicts with a new Windows update. The error occurred on this computer also so I was able to rule out a relation to Patch Tuesday.
At this point my job was done (at least for now). I had pinpointed the ActiveX control that was causing the error and had ruled out Windows Updates as a cause. The issue is now being investigated by the software developer that wrote the code.
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July 6th, 2013 — 3:06pm
I read the excellent book The VDI Delusion by Brian Madden at about this time last year.
Brian in hindsight doesn’t think that they picked the best title as it may have scared people off.
The second edition is now available to download for free in either .pdf or .mobi formats and it has had a change of title to The New VDI Reality.
I haven’t had much of a chance to read it yet, but Brian says that there has been substantial rewrites of significant portions of the book in line with the great improvements in the underlying technology for VDI.
Comments Off | Books, Computing, Microsoft, VMware
July 5th, 2013 — 4:05pm
Really bizarre error has turned up in the Term Store for my company’s instance of Sharepoint Online.
Listed under Department we now have the following Hungarian terms and their English equivalents as translated by Bing Translator
Alföldi Retail Régió – Great Plains Region Retail
Dunántúli Retail Régió – The Population Of The Retail Region
Hitelezési Kockázati Metodológiák szakterület – Credit Risk Methodologies practice areas
Nagyvállalati Finanszírozás törzs – Enterprise Financing body
Okmányos Műveletek szakterület – Documentary Operations Specialist
Wholesale vezérigazgató-helyettes törzs – Deputy General Manager of Wholesale trunk
I think Bing has mistranslated Dunántúli though, I think it should read Transdanubian. Regardless I have no idea how they got into our Sharepoint.
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