The ranting of an IT Professional

August 14, 2008  4:47 PM

KVM issue with Proliant DL380 server

Jason Tramer Jason Tramer Profile: Jason Tramer

This was an interesting issue I recent run into. We had just put in some new servers at a location and we needed to reboot them to get them to work with the KVM(Star tech). This had happend before with this KVM and the servers just needed to be rebooted with the KVM focus on them. I scheduled some downtime and went through the reboot of each one. Each one came back up fine except for one, a HP proliant DL380 server, the keyboard and mouse still didn’t work after the reboot.  Went through another reboot and everything seemed fine during the boot, keyboard was working fine (I was able to get into BIOS and I was able to cycle num lock) but as soon as it got to the Windows splash screen the keyboard stopped working (unable to cycle num lock).  I tried a different KVM port and different KVM cable and had the same issue

After a little searching I found this post on the HP forums

Apparently It has to do with the keyboard port switching operating modes during bootup, the Star Tech KVM just couldn’t handle it. I will probably recommend a switch to an Avocent IP KVM, I have worked with them in the past and never had any issues plus it’s pretty awesome to be able to log into the web interface and manage all the servers remotely from the KVM.

August 12, 2008  5:22 PM

Access denied when trying to access MDB files

Jason Tramer Jason Tramer Profile: Jason Tramer

For the people who don’t think that integrating Internet Explorer into the Window’s OS was a bad idea. here is a problem I recently faced. This was a really weird issue. I was working with a client who was trying to access an .mdb file on the network and was getting an access denied error. The weird part was that she had NTFS access to the folder. So I started by trying the standard stuff, I made sure share permissions were set to Full Control for everyone, pushed down folder NTFS permissions to all the files, even made her the owner of the file, nothing worked.  Then I found that she could access any of the files in the folder alright except for MDB files. It took a bit of doing I got it working. I actually had to add the UNC path to the list of Internet Explorer trusted sites. This resolved the issue but it begs the question why this was an issue at all? Thanks Microsoft.

August 8, 2008  4:12 PM

Mcafee issues with Goldmine

Jason Tramer Jason Tramer Profile: Jason Tramer

Ok seriously now, Mcafee is the suckiest bunch of suck that ever sucked. I don’t form this opinion over one instance but a career worth of experience. Everytime I start to think that maybe just maybe Mcafee is now ok they go ahead and prove me wrong. Take my experience with it today for example. I am working with a client who uses Goldmine for their email client. They are able to receive email but are unable to send it. They get the error Connection refused: System error 10061.  A quick look in the Application event log shows this:

Blocked by port blocking rule (Anti-virus Standard Protection:Prevent mass mailing worms from sending mail).

You actually have to disable the Mcafee worm protection to get this to work.  So now sure Goldmine works but if and when this client actually gets a real worm there is no protection against it!  What is the point of buying software if you have to disable it’s functionality to get it to work?

August 7, 2008  3:07 PM

Dealing with Vendor tech support

Jason Tramer Jason Tramer Profile: Jason Tramer

I have the “joy” of dealing with vendor tech support on a semi-regular base and it’s just a constant pain. First you have to try to find their phone number. Most vendor’s seem to go out of their way to hide this to the best of their ability. It’s on their website somewhere but never in the most obvious places. After that you have to navigate through their IVR which is designed to be as tricky as possible so that you inevitably get to the wrong place so that they can forward you to another wrong place and so forth, waiting on hold for about 20 minutes in each group (if your lucky). Eventually you get to the group you need to speak to but the fun does not end there. It seems to me that the person I talk to always seems to know less about the product then I do. I will calmly explain who I am and all the troubleshooting steps I have done and instead of contributing something useful they will just ask me to do all the steps I have done all over again, and then when your finished they just tell you “Oh, I am not sure what the problem is, I will have to send you to my second level group” or whatever, well why couldn’t they have just done that in the first place. Eventually you do talk to someone who actually knows what they are talking about and get the problem fixed but by that point you have wasted like 3-4 hours out of your day. If that isn’t bad enough, the next day when you are trying to catch up on all the work you missed the day before because you wasted so much time dealing with this vendor, you then get a call back from the vendor wanting you to talk to them for 30 minutes and rate the service you received!

I firmly believe there are people who’s sole job is to design a system to make calling for support as painful a process as possible to discourage people from doing it. If these vendors spent half as much time into making their product work properly as they did trying to discourage people from seeking support then they wouldn’t have a problem at all.

August 5, 2008  1:51 PM

Transferring VMDK files to your local machine

Jason Tramer Jason Tramer Profile: Jason Tramer

If there is one thing that really ticks me off is wasting a lot of time trying to accomplish tasks that in theory should be really straightforward. Here is what I mean. A few days ago I was working in VMware ESX server. I had built a VM which was residing in the data store and I wanted to transfer it to my local machine. Should be easy right? Well, apparently it isn’t, at least for me. I tried using the native option in VIC for downloading the files. Makes sense, it’s VMware’s product, and it’s their native tool designed specifically for this purpose should work like a charm, but if you are anything like me, you will get a bunch of I/O errors. Now, this wouldn’t be so bad if I got them right away, but no, I got them about 20% into transferring a 40 GB file. Pretty sad situation here I have to say. Then I tried taking the VM’s offline and using Winscp to transfer them off. Great idea in theory here, VM is offline, you should be able to copy off the files, sadly this doesn’t work either.

Luckily I have friend who tipped me off to this little handy tool. Veeam FastSCP works pretty much exactly like Winscp but is designed specifically for working within ESX. It worked quite well in transferring off the files I needed. Best of all it’s a completely free tool. Hopefully you wouldn’t have to waste as much time fighting with this as I did.

Download Veeam FastSCP here ->

August 1, 2008  4:01 PM

Sonicwall Standard OS

Jason Tramer Jason Tramer Profile: Jason Tramer

So as a consultant I get to work with a lot of different products as part of my job and in terms of firewalls I have to be truthful I absolutely hate Sonicwall’s using Standard OS. Don’t get me wrong here, Enhanced OS is fine, certainly not my favorite product to work with but it’s fine. Generally when I tell people this, I get the response something along the lines of “well thats why you have to pay extra for Enhanced OS”. I can understand the need to pay more money for the better product, hell I get really pissed when we sell Watchguard Cores without Fireware Pro. I don’t mind paying extra to get more features but perhaps someone needs to explain to me why I have to pay extra to get an interface that isn’t as painful and unintuitive as Microsoft Access . I swear that Sonicwall designers went out of there way to make this as painful and intuitive as possible so that you have no choice but to pay extra just to get a product that doesn’t make you rip your hair out.

Case in point here, my company is a partner for a service called Last Spam. It’s a great web service for protecting your company from spam. It’s very reasonable and it’s one of those services you put in place and forget about. Part of the configuration includes modifying the SMTP packet filer rule on your firewall to only accept packets from the Last Spam IP ranges, of which there are several. In any other firewall product, you simply modify your rule and add the ranges. In Sonicwall StandardOS however you can not do this. You can only specify one range per rule, that means you have to create a SMTP rule for each range. This gets to be a real pain in the neck when you are configuring the damn thing remotely over a very slow network link. Also it means that your rules table gets pretty large and just much more painful to work with.

Maybe I am just complaining for no reason but I dread having to use StandardOS.

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