It is quite often I will see server rooms filled with racks and racks of servers with no heed paid to virtualization at all. A lot of people believe it or not, still haven’t even heard of it as they are busy focusing on other things in their business and don’t keep their ear to the ground in the IT world. It’s at times like these that I like to point out the benefits of virtualization.
You can easily take an HP C3000 blade enclosure (this enclosure, aka the “shorty” is targeted at the SMB market) and fill it with server blades, a tape blade and a storage blade, and consolidate racks worth of servers down into 6U of space. Then you can install VMWare ESX Server on the server blades and potentially have tons of virtual machines per blade server. If you haven’t looked into these technologies lately I suggest you do, they are the next big thing in IT and have just been getting better and better.
By doing this you can save your company money on power, thermal, physical space constraints, and sheer amount of servers and racks you have to buy. Also by implementing VMWare on a blade enclosure, you increase the level of redundancy you have greatly over what you would typically have in standard configuration of one server installation per rack mounted server by taking advantage of the features available to you in VMWare and in the blade enclosure.
You see there are times when you need to perform maintenance or patching to a server in order to fix something but you might be unsure of what the outcome will be. I have seen lots of small patches or upgrades bring down a server to the point where the technician needed to reinstall the operating system and restore data from backup. Normal backups are great, however they typically take a lot longer to restore which in the end causes more down time for the client. If you just take an image of a server then you can easily restore that image in a short amount of time if whatever you did causes an issue.
I have been on tech support calls with certain software vendors before where the technician on the line has told me to do certain things and that it shouldn’t affect anything. Then I make the recommended change and it instead blew up everything! If it wasn’t for the image I took beforehand I would have been faced with a long recovery time.
My personal favourite imaging software is Acronis True Image Echo Server for Windows. I’ve used it many times for imaging servers.
A lot of firewalls have the ability to create a rule where you can specify to allow Any traffic from Any to Any. Unfortunately as people have found, Any doesn’t always mean Any. What I mean by this is that despite what Any implies, what in actuality happens is that the firewall still ends up blocking some things. When this happens, a network administrator might end up troubleshooting everything and still come up short trying to figure out why things aren’t working properly in the network. I have heard lots of network admins tell me “But I have the firewall configured with an all-open any to any rule for testing! It should work!” and of course it doesn’t. Now not all firewalls are this way but there are some where you will run into this.
So what’s the solution? Turn on detailed logging, and watch the logs for denied traffic. Also using a packet sniffer like Wireshark or Microsoft’s own Network Monitor (found on your server CD by using add/remove components) can help you to determine how the traffic is flowing and what is happening to it. At that point you will be able to determine if a firewall is blocking the traffic or not and be able to fix your problem by creating a rule to allow that type of specific traffic through.
IMO Citrix does a much better job with printing than just using Terminal Services, however you still won’t be error free if you aren’t careful with what you buy. Luckily their is a regularly published list of HP printers that are supported with Citrix. If you stick to the supported printers list you will be happy to see your printer woes go away. When deploying Terminal Services/Citrix in an environment one of the policies you should have is an approved list of printers that people are allowed to buy so you aren’t stuck supporting a printer that isn’t up to the task.
You can find the supported list of printers here: http://support.citrix.com/article/ctx110571]]>
I have seen many a network administrator think they have somehow botched their Active Directory installation of a new DC and then started fresh because they didn’t know they had to transfer the FSMO roles.
If a domain controller dies on you (for example the hardware fails), and you don’t have a way to transfer the roles, than you can “seize” the roles using the same utility. This utility is called “NTDSUTIL” and is used to either transfer or seize roles in Active Directory. It is a command line utility you can use on a domain controller.
The five roles in question are:
You can read more about these roles here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/197132
You can transfer them using the instructions here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/255504
Finally, understanding FSMO roles and how they affect Active Directory can help you to solve many an Active Directory related problem.
In the mean time you can follow this simple guide from VMWare on performance tuning. It is quite helpful in guiding you along the path on how to get the most out of it. Check out this link:http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vi_performance_tuning.pdf
I checked the settings on the published application and the working directory was set correctly. Even if I deleted it out of the field and then retyped it. We eventually figured out that by deleting the published application completely and then recreating it in Citrix we were able to solve the problem.
It’s possible that their might have been some sort of bug or corruption where the settings for the published application is stored. If I ever find out more about this error I will post it here on my blog.
You can get a copy of Viigo for your BlackBerry device by opening up your BlackBerry web browser and going to the link: http://getviigo.com]]>
Using the new print management capabilities of R2, you can deploy printers via group policy to Vista client computers. You can also do this with XP client computers if you use an executable file called pushprinterconnections.exe which you can find on the server you installed the print management component on.
Once you’ve used this component you’ll never go back. It’s quite easy to setup and deploy. You can find more information regarding the print management component at the following links.
Then you can specify NTP servers from whichever source you desire. If you’re not sure which source to use, you can use the servers at the NTP Pool Project. They have been around for a few years and are the source for time for millions of users. You can find information about them at: http://www.pool.ntp.org
You can specify multiple servers in the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\W32Time\Parameters registry key. Just make sure that you append 0×1 to the end of DNS names if you’re using DNS names instead of IP addresses otherwise it won’t work.
After you’ve followed the instructions, make sure you’ve configured the neccessary rules in your firewall for NTP traffic to flow between your server and the time servers. You will know you are successfull if you see successful events in your event viewer after you’ve stopped and started the w32time service.