Archive for the ‘ Servers ’ Category

Cisco DCUCI v5.0 – Data Center Unified Computing Implementation, 22-26 July 2013

I recently attended Cisco DCUCI v5.0 – Data Center Unified Computing Implementation at Global Knowledge in Santa Clara.  This is one of the Cisco classes for using their Unified Computing System, which are basically a blade chassis system for servers.

Implementing Cisco Data Center Unified Computing (DCUCI) is designed to serve the needs of engineers who implement Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) B-Series Blade Servers and Cisco UCS C-Series Rack-Mount Servers.

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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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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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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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Servers4Linux is live!

My new web site,, is up and running.  This site is about how to use “industrial strength” server hardware for running Linux. Since I’m on a budget, I like the cheap stuff you can find used. There’s a lot of clueless people selling really expensive server hardware on Ebay for a song. Usually it’s a bit “different” perhaps, say running some exotic CPU architecture or something. That’s good. That means you can get it cheap because “lusers” can’t run Windows on it. Better for you.

Not-So-Ancient History: Hewlett Packard Unix Servers

We replaced the U5000’s with Hewlett Packard 9000 Unix servers. Wow, an actual TCP/IP stack. Along the way I wrote a number of how-to’s, notes etc.

An explanation of HP firmware (PDC and ISL) and how a HP boots. May be of use to someone, especially someone trying to load linux on HP hardware.

How to load HP-UX 11.00. Explains how to load HP-UX 11.00, step by step. Intended for newbies.

How to install MirrorDiskU/X. MirrorDisk is HP’s implementation of software mirroring, which I believe they basically licensed from Veritas. This guide takes you through setting up mirroring step-by-step. Intended for newbies.

How to update HP firmware. If you ever have to do this, it’s nice to have someone hold your hand.

Ancient History: Sperry/Unisys 5000 Unix Servers

When I started actually getting paid to be a computer geek, I started as a system administrator/database administrator on Sperry/ Unisys 5000 mini-computers. These were about the size of a small refrigerator, and were designed for mostly serial I/O with dozens up to hundreds of serial ports in the back. They were based on 40 MHz 68040 CPUs and ran a proprietary port of ATT System V Unix. We used Oracle version 6.0.36 (and later Oracle 7) on them with our own proprietary character based financial, logistical, and personnel applications. If you want to see what one of those looked like, enter the U5000 Memorial.