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

I try to keep my certifications fresh.  I am MCSA on Windows Server 2000.  I failed to upgrade to Windows Server 2003.  (There was a test for that, but it is no longer given.)  So I have to start all over.

The replacements for MCSA/MCSE are the “Microsoft Certified IT Professional” AKA MCITP.  The replacement for MCSA is MCITP: Server Administrator and the replacement for MCSE is MCITP: Enterprise Administrator.

The best thing one can do in my humble opinion is to actually use the product you’re taking the test on, and actually go to classroom training.  Unlike some vendors, Microsoft only offers training through third party vendors.  Most places have suitable training nearby.

Unfortunately, the classroom training is very expensive.  Most of these classes are 5 days (one week.)  The prices vary, but they run something like $500 per day, something like $2500 a week.  Plus travel, lodging, meals, etc.

I can’t afford that.

So I did the next best thing.

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Adventures in Windows Time

“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.”

At work, I have an integrated authentication system based on Windows Active Directory.  All clients, Linux, Unix, and Windows, use Active Directory for user names and passwords.  Active Directory is actually a good implementation of Kerberos.  It does pretty good LDAP as well.  I used some of Scott Lowe’s interoperability blog recipes to get this to work, namely this post for Linux, and this one for Solaris.

One requirement for a reliable Kerberos service is that every clock on every participating machine has to be synchronized.  By default Windows domain controllers act as Network Time Protocol (NTP) servers, and Windows clients know to sync with them.  We configure our Linux and Unix machines to use them as well.

There’s some issues with using Windows domain controllers as NTP servers…

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Forget the Special Air Service, send in the Sysadmins!

From our friends at xkcd.

It’s my GNU truck

My GNU Truck

My GNU Truck

I got a new GNU truck during the Cash for Clunkers bonanza.  (GNU is one of the main organizations that built the tools we call Linux.)  It’s a 2009 Toyota Tacoma Prerunner.  It’s the first new car I’ve ever had, and I really like it. Read more

Add a XenServer storage repository on local disk

Most people use shared storage, like iSCSI, for their XenServer storage repositories to hold virtual machines.  Virtual machines *MUST* be in a shared storage repository in order to enable XenMotion and other advanced features.

It is handy to have some local storage repositories available, mainly to hold backups of machines.  For example, you could shutdown a running virtual machine, right click on it, select Copy, and select a local repository to hold the copy.  Then if you lost your iSCSI server, you’d have a local copy of the virtual machine you could start until the the iSCSI server became available again.

The XenCenter management GUI doesn’t allow you to make local storage repositories.  You have to use the command line.  Luckily, it’s pretty easy.  Here’s my updated XenServer wiki page on how to do this.

How to make a volume in Openfiler larger

If there’s one things that disks do well, it’s fill up and run out of room.  My Openfiler iSCSI volumes always seem to be filling up as the virtual machines that live in them grow or I make snapshots.

If there is free room in the volume group that a volume is housed in, it’s very easy to make a volume larger with Openfiler.  See my updated Openfiler wiki pages for some notes on this.

Need a rack at home? Try a vertical rack!

I have some lots of rack mount stuff at home that I’d like to rack.  I’ve been looking for a small, inexpensive solution, but I haven’t found any I like in my price range.  Recently my friend John Bellardo suggested one of these:

3u rack from Innovation First

3u rack from Innovation First

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Get your USB Canon Pixma MX7600 printer working under Linux

I have a Canon Pixma MX7600, a nice multifunction inkjet.  I have it connected with USB.

If you Google a bit, you’ll find some crazy people trying to use the Mac OSX cups .ppd printer drivers for printers like this.  I got the .dmg file and tried mounting the OSX drivers that come in it.  Even when I did eventually get the silly Apple .dmg image to mount, the .ppd file didn’t work.  Forget that method, and try this one.  I use CentOS 5.4, but this should work on any Red Hat like distro that uses a rpm based installer…

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Hmm, I wonder if I can use these workstations as “servers”…

If you’re careful, perhaps.  “Real” servers have”enterprise” features, such as dedicated hardware RAID controllers.  Workstations and consumer motherboards don’t.

I recently tried to run Openfiler and Citrix XenServer on some random workstations we had “laying around”, and discovered multiple issues like these…

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Openfiler reboot issue

A default install of Openfiler 2.3 has an issue when rebooted.  On a default installation of Openfiler 2.3, clients cannot use iSCSI target disks after a reboot.  In other words, it’ll work fine until you reboot it.  This has been discussed at some length in Openfiler forums, and has an open bug filed against it.

Also note that it has nothing to do with using XenServer. The iscsi-target service will not properly restart after a reboot, period, whether you are using XenServer as a iSCSI client against the Openfiler target or not.

I added a section to my “Openfiler: The Missing Manual” that discusses what this looks like and how to fix it.