Nexenta QuickTip: Get a real root shell

The Nexenta folks have spent a lot of energy making Nexenta “idiot-proof”.  You really can do almost everything you need from the web based GUI.  There’s a few more things you can do from the character based Nexenta Management Console (NMC).  Sometimes, though, you may want a shell… Read more

ZFS? Why you should care about ZFS?

zfs_logoThere’s a lot of buzz about the Zettabyte File System from Sun Oracle, which has been included for a while in both Solaris and OpenSolaris.  (Distributions based on Opensolaris like Nexenta have it.  Also some BSD distributions have it).

In general, file systems are not exactly glamorous.  HFS?  UFS? VxVM?  Who cares.  It’s a file system, right?

ZFS has some serious juicy goodness.  Personally, I think as time goes on, you’ll see more and more ZFS (or at least ZFS-like file systems) used on production servers, especially file servers.  Like NexentaStor.

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More on Nexenta

Here’s my $0.02 on Nexenta. (Based on my use of the free NexentaStor Community Edition, 3.0.2.

To summarize: Good stuff!  If you are looking for storage appliance software, try Nexenta first. Maybe you’ll luck out and Nexenta will like your hardware. If not, run Openfiler.

The Nexenta Community Edition is free to use. They do make you register it. That’s a bit of a hassle, especially if you fat-finger the key (“Is that an I or a 1?”)

The Nexenta load is no harder than, and arguably easier, than loading Openfiler.

Nexenta goes faster that Openfiler.  Nexenta goes faster than my $25,000 Dell/Equallogic PS5000E.

I’m working on a step by step how-to for loading Nexenta.


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MCITP:EA – Took the Microsoft 070-643 Windows Server 2008 Applications Infrastructure, Configuring exam today

I didn’t pass.  I’ve never had such issues with any other exams before.  These Microsoft tests are tough!  Studying the official Microsoft Press books, and taking practice tests from the official Microsoft recommended practice test vendors is apparently not enough.

I read the book for this exam multiple times.  I painstakingly did all the labs.  This book does not cover test topics to the same depth and detail as you see them in the test.

I took the practice tests over and over again until I had all the questions memorized and repeatedly got perfect scores on them.  The actual test is unfortunately not a whole lot like the practice exams.

Oh well, Microsoft has their Second Shot program going right now, so retakes are free.  The program expires at the end of June 2010, so I will have to do the retakes soon.

Sorry for the outages…

The server that hosts this site had “issues”…  My ISP wound up moving all my stuff to another one.  That, of course, had its own “issues”…

So anyway, things seem more stable now, and hopefully no content was lost.

Please email me at the usual address (or use the handy “Email Greg Porter” tab on the upper right)  if you notice anything goofy.


Don’t use the Microsoft iSCSI Software Initiator in a Virtual Machine

Lots of people regularly use the Microsoft iSCSI Software Initiator on physical machines to attach iSCSI LUNs from filers to hosts. This is an add on free download for Server 2003, and comes pre-installed on Server 2008.

 In general, on physical machines, it works fine.

So assuming that it’d work just fine on a virtual machine, we tried to use it on some production machines running Small Business Server 2003.  It seems to load just fine, and works like it usually does on a “real” machine – *BUT* it has terrible throughput under load.  It’ll even disconnect at random times.  Uninstalling/reinstalling, and lots of fiddling around didn’t help.

Of course, we went to Google to see if others have issues with it, and there’s *LOTS* of whining about this, both on VMware ESX and XenServer.

It’s possible that it has been addressed in Server 2008.  We saw this on 2003, and haven’t attempted to replicate the issue on 2008 vm’s.

Nonetheless, we suggest you figure out another way to attach iSCSI LUNs from a filer to a Windows virtual machine.  Both ESX and XenServer allow you to easily present iSCSI based disks to vm’s inside their virtualization environments.  Don’t do it with the Microsoft iSCSI Software Initiator from within the guest.

Filers? We don’t need no stinkin’ filers….

03-21-06_alfonso-bedoyaI know that it seems sometimes like adding filers to the mix may be extra complication, but it really does add a lot of value.  There’s good reasons that enterprise shops don’t do local storage.

Basically in ‘real’ businesses, they don’t buy servers with hard drives in them.  At all.  No drives at all.  They do everything on SAN.  Even boot from it. Read more

MCITP:EA – Took the Microsoft 070-647 Windows Server 2008, Enterprise Administrator exam again

I took 070-647 Windows Server 2008, Enterprise Administrator exam again today.  I didn’t pass again.  I got the exact same score, 653 out of 700.  Like I said in my previous post on 070-647, these MCITP:EA exams are some of the hardest exams I’ve ever taken.  I’ve taken a lot, from a lot of different vendors.

MCITP:EA – Passed the Microsoft 070-642 Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure, Configuring exam today

I took 070-642 today.  I passed!  Like I said before, these MCITP:EA exams are tough.  I have a lot of experience with TCP/IP on various operating systems, so this exam was a little easier for me.


Need inexpensive iSCSI? Try NexentaStor!

NexentaStor 3.0 Main Dashboard

NexentaStor 3.0 Main Dashboard

I’ve been using Openfiler for a long time now, but I’m always open to alternatives.  Recently I stumbled across NexentaStor, which is a software product you can load on your servers to make them into filers, like Openfiler.  NexentaStor is available both in an Community Edition, as well as a relatively inexpensive Enterprise Edition, which comes with all the bells and whistles like built in block level replication. Read more