Your basic ITPro blog... What's going on at work, what I'm interested in.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Re-Installing WS08 and Hyper-V

UPDATE: This blog post would have been really helpful.

A while back I blogged about our first 64bit server, Windows Server 2008, and Hyper-V. Well, it turns out I didn’t really know what I was doing. But, I had been using this box just to learn on, so it wasn’t a big deal. But, we are now looking at putting this server into production. Soooo… It was time to re-do the server. Turns out… I still don’t know what I’m doing…

We only had one VM on this server, and this VM has a limited user-base. So, I was free to do this work in the middle of the day, which was nice. In the end, I wish I had researched this process more before starting. I made too many assumptions and they cost me.

This server connects to our iSCSI SAN and uses a virtual disk for VM file storage. My original thought was; disconnect the virtual disk, re-install Hyper-V, reconnect the virtual disk, VIOLA! But, it didn’t go quite that smoothly.

The re-install was the easy part. I love how simple it is to install Server 2008, and the way they implement Roles and Features is great. I installed the Hyper-V Role and the Windows Powershell Feature. I was then ready to reconnect my virtual disk and get my VM back up and running.

Except that I could not find a way to get Hyper-V to recognize my VM. Now, truth be told, I didn’t look very hard (big mistake!). But all I saw was an Import feature that required a previous Export (which I didn’t do). My goal was to be able to save the snapshots I had. I was not able to figure out a way to do that. So, I ended up just creating a new VM and using the VHD file I had. As I type this, however, I am realizing a significant problem…

I didn’t commit the snapshots to the base VHD file before I did this. Again, my assumption was that I was going to be able to re-discover my VM and everything would show up intact. Now, I realize, while my VM is back, it is in its pre-snapshot state. All of my post-snapshot changes have been lost. I just confirmed this… Looked at the Event Viewer logs in the VM, prior to today, the most recent log entry is on 9/16/08.

That stinks.


Moral of the story: THINK through your process… I totally missed the boat on this one. I didn’t spend enough time thinking through this, following the various options, caveats, and hiccups that could have come up. And, when one did come up, I should have stopped and THOUGHT.

Think think think!

Oh, and, commit any snapshots to the base VHD file. This is done by deleting the snapshot within Hyper-V. Then, when you turn the VM off, any differencing disks are merged in tot he base VHD.


Sorry Nick.


I am sick to my stomach…

Thursday, December 11, 2008

FolderShare No More

Microsoft warned us FolderShare users that it was going away. Well, tonight it happened. I started getting connection errors on my computers, telling me that I had to upgrade to Windows Live Sync. I have been using FolderShare for quite a while, keeping files in sync between multiple computers and among multiple different people. It is a great tool.

Windows Live Sync looks almost identical and seems to function in much the same way. I haven't peeked into every corner yet, however. It does have a 'remote access' feature, but I currently use TeamViewer (along with KeePass for password management and auto-form-fill) and LOVE IT! I will not be bothering with the remote access features of Windows Live.

In fact, I am not sure I buy into the whole Windows Live thing quite yet. Yes, I use Windows Live Writer for blogging, Messenger for IM (in addition to Google Chat),  and Sync. But, I think of them as individual applications, not as part of a coherent, integrated service. I don't know if that's because I'm 'old school' or because Microsoft hasn't done a good enough job of selling Windows Live.

I just hope that Sync works as well as FolderShare did.

File Transfer Technology

As I've blogged about earlier, we now have a 200Mb QMOE link between our campuses, courtesy of Qwest.

Now, we (and by 'we', I primarily mean my boss) are looking into some file transfer technology to improve the data transfer of 80+GB of data between the campuses at regular intervals. We would like to be able file-transfer our recorded services between campuses for playback.

While we know we can just drag-and-drop while crossing our fingers, we are hoping to find a solution that does a bit more:

  • Improve speed of transfer
  • Easily facilitate transfer between nodes with different OSs (Mac-->Win, for example)
  • Failure recovery/auto-restart/interruption handling
  • Automated? Scriptable? Scheduling?

My boss is currently evaluating technology from Aspera. Apparently, their solution uses UDP rather than TCP. But, while testing, we have seen a pretty high percentage of packet loss on UDP traffic. The issue may be with our Dell PowerConnect 6024, our core switch/router on our Mesa campus. We are looking at testing a replacement for this (a Cisco box) to see if traffic throughout/integrity improves.

If anyone has to transfer large over WAN links, I would love to hear about the technology you use for that!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

SQL Server Log Files Growing... and GROWING!

So, is it odd to have a 600MB database file with an associated 82GB(!) log file? From what I've read, it seems so. But, I'm no DBA...

We are running SQL Server 2005 and I am trying to learn about Recovery Models (Simple vs. Full), log file re-sizing, how BackupExec 11d fits into the mix, and more.

It is proving to be a steep mountain to climb.

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