Moving this Week

I apologize for the lack of updates again, I am moving this week. Should be done by next Monday. In the meantime, I am also working on some forums to go with this site! Yay that will be fun.

Houston, we have a problem.

Yes. This has happened to me before. I think it’s funniest thing to see a BSOD on a Mac. The other funny is when you see a BSOD in a VM. Kind of funny anyway. Hopefully its not production.

Jobs

Sometimes people like to ask me what I do for a job. The truth is that I don’t really even know what my job entails – it basically revolves around keeping uptime on some web services functional at all times (24 x 7). That means network, servers, and infrastructure up at all times.

People before me designed a somewhat reliable system to do that, including network redundancy, firewall / router failover, load balancers, system monitoring applications and servers dedicated to that very purpose, multiple instances of servers that host different web applications, disaster recovery contingency plans, etc…

All in all we have a pretty stable system, though we do suffer from outages once in a while from a few things that really aren’t really out of our control, but things that we haven’t thought through clearly enough and that we haven’t seen all angles on. Some of these things are failover of applications like Tomcat that for some reason fail to do so cleanly (in that there is a large hiccup in the response time before it comes back up).

I’d like to think that somehow, at my  company, I am a benefit, because I bring a knowledge of Linux that my most of my co-workers don’t share. I think one of them knows quite a bit about it, but isn’t an expert. I don’t really consider myself an expert as there is a ton more to learn, but it’s nice to know that you are needed I suppose.

Some things that I have designed / touched on are creating a few servers with some  unique functions (that I have probably even spelled out here): I manage most of Nagios / OpsView installs, Unitrends Enterprise Backup (which does come highly recommended {perhaps I’ll write a post on this later}), a yum update server / repository, and a few other little things involving MySQL, Apache, and php.

Our inventory of servers isn’t exactly getting smaller – the databases we house are about 800 GB or so and always growing (a lot of this stuff is junk / temp tables that we use for daily work), but the main databases are well over 400GB. The only place we really can go is up.

Some of my favorite things I have worked with are these: The SonicWall Enterprise Firewalls – these, coupled with site to site VLANs and it’s VPN work like a champ, doing a ton of work all in one simple 1U rack space. I also really like our Compellent SAN – though I do question the integrity of our drives…

To expound on that, I used to be a huge Seagate hard drive fan. I had a ton of success with them in the past and I have always though they performed extremely well … that is until I found a Compellent SAN filled with them and saw how many of them die per year and I have since gotten a bad taste in my mouth. It may be the nature of these drives to blow out after so many reads and writes (our drives are extremely active), however, the amount of drives we have had go bad over the last 6 months is unacceptable.

In any event, I’ve also really enjoyed working with VMware. Obviously this is a given, but we use ESXi 5 – and I think it is an extremely robust program. As far as we are concerned, ESXi has never been a problem – some of the things that RUN on it may have an issue, but the actual application that runs on the servers has been borderline flawless.

Currently, my company is also exploring Hyper-V. I have played with it a bit in the past and suffice to say that I really didn’t enjoy it much – mainly because it lacked Linux support. I know it’s a Microsoft product and that they really only want you running Microsoft products on it, but since Linux is (for the most part) open source, why not integrate it? Which, as a matter of fact, I am glad they did with the release of Hyper-V 2.0 on Server 2012. Hence, why we are taking a look at it.

On the side I do some web hosting on a Linux based server – I really enjoy it. Probably more than my day job, but unfortunately, it’s not something that provides much income at this point. I’d love to get more involved in it, but most of the people who I work with in a day don’t do web design projects.

In any event, I’m not sure what the point of this post was, maybe just to make a post. I feel bad that really all I have been doing is compiling kernels religiously and not really paying much attention to the SQL portion of the site. This will change as I have a lot more to get on with.

Kernel / SQL

I will be restarting all these projects as soon as this web host merge is complete – it’s just proving to be a lot more work than I thought it would be. Not to worry – I’ll be back up and writing in no time.

Migrating Web Hosts

This site may be down for a while over the next day or so (this includes the repository) – I am migrating web hosts and I will be using this domain as my primary name servers and while I get that set up, it may take a day or so to propagate to the interwebs.

Sorry about the inconvenience. It will be better for the future though.

Google’s Datacenters

I have to say – I sure do like the look of Google’s Datacenters. At my current company we have a bunch of Blades, a SAN with a bunch of controllers, and a bunch of networking equipment that take up about 1 full rack.

Google on the other hand, when you think about it, must be absolutely massive to provide backups, failover, load balancing, databases, clustering, etc… For a very long time, they have been extremely secretive about these data centers for some reason or another (of course I know why that is – because what is Google’s product? It’s information and data – so I suppose you could call “keeping their data centers secret” a “trade secret”).

In any event, this week they released a few photos of their datacenters and wow. They are the cleanest and most lovely thing I have ever seen. Now of course, I would be the one to say that. You can check out the full gallery here.

Apologies

I have to apologize I have not posted in a while – Especially not in my SQL Learning sessions. There are a few reasons for that:

1. I have been absolutely swamped at work – we are working on a lot of somewhat big projects and bug fixes for both web apps and SQL Server jobs.

2. Working on this kernel project has taken up a little bit of time though not a ton. Thankfully I built a few VMs on my Desktop at home that can handle kernel compiles about 5x faster than my laptop (I have them down to about 15 minutes for a full compile).

3. I sold my notebook and I bought a new one – the new one will be a LOT better than the previous 2 that I’ve been using (an older Dell N5040 that had an i3 that was 2.4ghz and a Dell N7110 which had an i5 at 2.5ghz, in addition to my Macbook Air). Instead I bought a Lenovo IdeaPad U410 with an i7 @ 1.9ghz Turbo to 3.0ghz, and 8gb DDR3 1600 (and I can upgrade to 16, awesome for VMs) and it has SSD caching. Sooner or later I’ll replace the main HDD with another SSD and have a SSD + SSD Cache. Thing will fly.

In any event, once that is all done, I’ll get back on the updates.

Microsoft IT Camp – Post 3

Well, after reporting all my findings / experiences from yesterday with the rest of my team here, we’ve decided to delve in to it a bit more and get some VMs going in a SQL Cluster. Should be fun – I’m getting the VMs rolling right now. Anyway – I’ve found that setting the server up as a Cluster box seems a LOT easier than it used to (not that it was hard before). Just something I’ve found out the hard way as well – if you are installing this on ESXi 5, you should probably install it as Windows Server 2008 (R2) x64, and give it 32 or 64mb of Video Ram. Anyway, I’ll continue posting about this here in the near future under “Windows Server 2012”.

Microsoft IT Camp – Post 2

Well – the IT Camp went pretty well. The rep from Microsoft spent a LOT of time talking about Hyper-V and all of it’s new features, which, I have to say sounds alright – although for some reason or other – I just don’t like running a production Hypervisor on top of  an OS. I’d rather that the entire Hypervisor be dedicated to that one thing – providing a virtual environment. I have to say though that despite my feeling on this it seems like it has come a long way.

There are some new features that seem pretty nice with it – one of those that I thought was pretty cool was dynamic memory adding – or hot adding memory while the VM is on without having to reboot. I’m not sure how well this work on all platforms, but the idea sure sounds good. I personally think that Linux and Windows should sooner or later develop or add to their kernels the ability to hot add RAM and hard drive space to virtual machines – in some cases it would REALLY be handy. At this point it’s not really a “hardware” issue per se, because if we think about it, Virtual Machines really don’t have hardware – they have virtualhardware. And there is a HUGE difference.

Need I say that I am a VMware fan, and that is just the way it is. The rep at this place did a lot of a smack talking toward VMware, but I still think VMware has the better platform after having spent a lot of time with ESXi, Workstation and Fusion.

Another cool feature of Server 2012 is SMB 3.0 – that is pretty exciting. I have to say that I am really not a fan of the SMB Protocol. For some reason it is always a lot slower than other file transfer protocols (NFS, FTP, etc…).

The parts that I am most excited for though personally is the cool new Domain Controller GUI which makes it MUCH easier to set up and manage a domain. I’ll have some screen shots here a little later.