June 2005 Archives

Prepping for vacation

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I'll be heading out for vacation tomorrow, so this'll be the last update until early July. Who knows, there may be another one later today.

So I'm prepping for going away. Making sure my vacation rule in outlook functions properly. Turning off some log-cleanup routines so we don't lose data while I'm out. Upgrading PCounter to the new rev.

Pretty quiet.

I feel special

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We have our own TID.

Awwww.

Also, the NDPSM file that we spend so many months testing has finally hit a public release. Go forth and apply.

Veritas Panther

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We received a marketing mail from Veritas, hyping the beta for their "panther" product. The boss asked us if we wanted to take a look at it. So I checked it out.

Oy. My verdict? Pointless.

What it is, as distilled from the marketing
Salvage that integrates with your backup system, but for Windows. Since it hooks into the backup system, it has a higher capacity than the Salvage that has been with NetWare since the, oh NW2.1x days in the 80's.

First and foremost, it only works on files kept on Windows servers. Since all of our fileserving is done from NetWare, that means we can't use it for anything but keeping our developers happy, and the lone FrontPage/SharePoint server.

Second, even if it did support NetWare, it doesn't make a lot of sense. NetStorage in NW65SP3 has the ability to salvage files from the web, a key feature of Panther. Changing the low-water mark for when you add storage to your NSS pools is very probably more cost-effective than the Panther product would be. So instead of adding storage when free-space crosses the 15% line, add space when it crosses the 30% line. The extra expense is very probably cheaper than the Veritas product would be.

Migrations

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I just migrated one of the three main NDS servers to new hardware this morning with the Migration Wizard from Novell. I've used this particular wizard since the NW5.1 days when I used it for a NW4.11 -> NW5.1 migration back at OldJob. It's great. I did it once before then for a NW4.11 -> NW4.11 migration, with the manual method. The TID for that was, I kid you not, 114 steps. This tool is da bomb.

And it went really quickly. Since these servers are JUST NDS with no file-serving on 'em, the bulk of the migration should have been moving the directory service files. Not counting staging up the new hardware, the start to finish time for the migration was about 60 minutes. And that included a bit of mop up that the dialog prompts made me go through.

The best part is that by using the MigWiz we moved the server's identity to the new hardware as well, it isn't just a brand new server that happens to have the same name as the old server. This saves us work since NDS is pretty infested with PKI these days, and its sensitive to things like that. MigWiz allows me to get away with not regenerating all the certificates and all the other PKI fun. Whee!

Documentation update

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The document I wrote detailing how you deploy NetWare on HP Blades just got revised.

The revision.

The "Deploy Hardware Configuration" script in the deployment job we create needed different values. It's been updated to reflect that. I hadn't done a deploy on a brand spanking new blade, and tripped across that.

Finals doldrums

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It is finals week. This means that our #1, preempt everything else, priority is making sure the academic systems are up. Happily, they've been behaving this week.

Since the #2 order of the week is DON'T CHANGE ANYTHING, this makes doing other stuff more challenging.

Very quiet this week.

x86 Mac?

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It is sort of all over the news right now. Apple has made it official that they'll be moving the Macintosh from PowerPC to intel-supplied chips. This is a mind-bending thing. First and foremost, this puts them into a competition with Microsoft that they haven't had for YEARS.

Hardware
This puts Mac stuff on the same hardware as the rest of the PC industry. This'll allow Mac-heads to tweak their systems in a way they haven't really enjoyed in the past. It is a small segment, but it'll give the uber-geek crowd something new to play with.

On the other hand, it'll introduce driver-hell into Mac-land to an extent it never really experienced. There is a reason Microsoft is getting very strict about the drivers they'll allow in Longhorn. I expect pain from this one.

The move means that PC-vendors can offer Apple-OS as an option next to their existing Windows and Linux offerings. This'll improve the availability of the Apple-OS and possibly bring more converts. Presuming, of course, that Apple will allow OEMs to sell their OS.

Software
Head-to-head tests of software packages between x86/Windows, x86/Linux, and x86/Apple will give good ideas as to the relative strengths of the OSes in question. Good for tweakers.

Wow. Amazing stuff.

Unrelated to work

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Did you know that most larger bank branches have the dollar-coin available? They come in $25 rolls. Other than the post-office, that's about the only place you'll see it. A roll of dollars and a roll of quarters are good for a few weeks of coffee money!

More liebert fun

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We've been trying to get Liebert's MuliLink to work the way we want it to. And to do that we've needed to purchase three separate license keys. This was done in three separate orders since it wasn't clear what keys we needed. We shouldn't have to go through this again since we've not bought them all.

Anyway.

Today we got the MultiLink Advanced disk. So I cheer, and pop the CD in. Yep, installers for all their platforms. Whee. So I upload the Linux one to the linux server currently behaving as our UPS<->Universe interface and try to upgrade.

Nope. Seems I needed a specific file in a specific place. The file is in the ldconfig info, but not un /usr/lib/ where it has to be. So I create a symlink for it to get the installer to work. It gets past that point, extracts the internal archive, and bombs elsewhere. Grumbling, I see if I can get my hands on the internal archive to see what kind of manual voodoo I can do. And what do I see, but this directory:

/tmp/ML/licenses/

with a file named "license.adv". Oh ho! go I. You see, "license.key" allows you to install MultiLink elsewhere and have this install give info to those other installs (the "<->" bit of the interface, i.e. needed). And "license.net" allows you to shut those installs down (sold in license batches). So I presumed that "license.adv" was that unlocked the "Advanced" features that include the very useful bit known as e-mail notifications. So I suck that down to my workstation.

Then I notice something odd in the names of the installer. It seems the installer on the CD is build #7, and what I have already installed (downloaded from Liebert) is build #9. So my software is newer than what they have now. Huh.

So I launch the viewer, and go into the license upgrade screen, and feed it the license.adv file. It takes it. I restart the viewer, and all the advanced features are unlocked. No need to try and get the thing to install! Yay!

Advanced will be very useful on our Novell cluster, since we need to issue a "cluster down" command if a UPS-initiated shutdown is called for. Otherwise, all the cluster resources would try to fail over to nodes that are also trying to go down, and that can't be good. So we'll be able to give it a script. We finally, finally, have what we wanted back in August of last year.

Wish I'da known sooner

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Apparently there is a remotely exploitable buffer overflow in the web-server for the Compaq San Management Appliance. Wish we heard about this A MONTH AGO WHEN IT WAS RELEASED, rather than today when I tripped across the notice. Grrrrr.

Advisory
Patch

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