Thursday, March 29, 2012

And tonight it's small scale VCenter DB maintenance.

A customer of mine wanted to use VMWare VCenter 4.1 a while back, so I installed and configured it for them following their specifications. Of course, I monitor the living daylights out of it too. Tonight vpxd started failing repeatedly. A quick check into this shows that the DB is full. The error message in question is quite literally "CREATE DATABASE or ALTER DATABASE failed because the resulting cumulative database size would exceed your licensed limit of 4096 MB per database."

Now given that it's using SQL express instead of a full SQL install, that's pretty understandable. However, my joy stemmed from the fact that I couldn't run the stored procedures to clean it up (DB was literally too full), so I wound up having to clean the DB using a script from VMWare's help site, specifically the one found here. If you haven't already done so, you'll need to install Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio Express. It's fairly simple and straight forward. Once you're finished, you'll need to run the sql script you downloaded earlier. Make sure you are logged in with the right permissions, otherwise the script will fail repeatedly. Also, make sure you select the correct DB before running the script.

There is one gotcha with the script, you do need the change at least one parameter, possibly more depending on how much data you want to clear.

-- ######### USER CONFIGURABLE PARAMETERS ########################
-- Use one of these methods to specifiy the data cutoff date
--SET @CUTOFF_DATE = '2007/01/01'

-- Number of rows to delete per transaction

-- ######### END USER CONFIGURABLE PARAMETERS ####################

Make sure you change @DELETE_DATA to 1, otherwise this script won't do anything. I also had to change the cutoff date calculation to 30 due to the fact that I had a lot of activity in the last 3 months. And I do mean a lot- over 6 million entries.

I shouldn't have been surprised by this, but it came nearly 6 months sooner than I expected it to. Good luck with your own maintenance!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

And once again, I've managed to wind up too busy...

I will try to keep this updated far better than I have in the past, however I've just gotten a ton of new responsibilities, so the chances of update is going down severely.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Three new spiceworks related projects in the near future

Which will probably culminate in the creation of a new blog while I teach myself how to do this (and share whatever I manage to learn with everyone else)-

Project 1: create plugin that will pull data from custom monitoring database, and allow it to be displayed in spiceworks, either as a dashboard widget, or as custom attributes on each related items entry. preferably both, with the creation of a rack level object as well.

Project 2: create plugin that will handle ticket expiration and escalation. By putting a due date on the ticket, the plugin will scan every 15 minutes, checking each open ticket for expiration. at a configurable time remaining point, an email will be sent out to the ticket assignee reminding them to get back to the ticket. If no action is taken by the time the ticket expires, the ticket will be reassigned to the next higher level.

Project 3: create plugin that will manage ticket workflow. This still hasn't gotten a good definition yet, so it's in limbo. problem is, this is the one that's due first. Amazing how that works isn't it?

If you haven't used, seen or heard of Spiceworks yet, go check it out! it's a great piece of software, and can make managing your network much less of a headache. If you're already using other solutions, I'd still check it out anyway, as there's always the chance you might find something you like better, or a feature you want that doesn't exist in yours. Or vice versa, there's nothing wrong with competition!

Neat little trick I learned tonight

And it seems fairly stupid too-

For some reason, I couldn't replace the owner on a file using powershell directly. Doubting myself, I went and found a script someone else had written (powershell team blog), and that failed as well! The error given is "Set-Acl : The security identifier is not allowed to be the owner of this object.". Well that sucks. So I did some more digging, and came across a solution- apparently windows server 2008 will let you do this, if you use the UNC path for your filenames. Why that makes a difference, who knows.

Any why was any of that important? because like a dummy, I blew away a hyper-v virtual machine without realizing I wasn't done with it, and had to recover it using Piriform Recurva. Great product, but it didn't restore the ACL's correctly, and I couldn't reassign the ACL directly. So I had to copy them from a file that still had the correct ACL. Worked like a charm, and now I'm happy once again. Well, as happy as I get anyway.

Where did I get the idea? from Fixing IT. Thanks, I appreciate it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Just another day of fiting 28 hours into 24...

So, new corporate tasks involving exchange and sharepoint (my two more favorite pieces of software... not) in addition to fixing that blasted fence. Just had a cable locate done and found out that not only could I not dig up the busted off fence posts in my yard (the prior owner poured the concrete plugs over and around the current cable tv and phone trunks... for the entire neighborhood), but I can't place new ones either. No worries, I figured out a solution... I think.

Sharepoint and exchange is just a planning project, made easier with some pointers and spreadsheets from microsoft. I should have both well in hand shortly. Unfortunately it's taking time from other projects I need to get done, such as the drive RMA's for my lab servers, and the rack level monitoring project. I did manage to learn a few things I need to complete that task earlier today however. No new updates on the embedded projects, I'm still wrestling with a gumstix, a few arduino nano's and one basic stamp project. hopefully one will bear fruit before I decide to throw in the towel.

Other than that, not much to update, it's all still in progress.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Raspberry PI and other embedded fun

So I'm kicking myself yet again. I obviously wasn't one of the first to get ahold of a revision b Raspberry Pi. Or rev a for that matter. So, I looked into other projects. I came across the beagleboard, which looks interesting but I don't think it'll be what I want. Plus, the price is pretty far out of my range at the moment. When I saw the raspberry, my first thought was that I could get it up and running and see if I could get android ported to it. I've found a couple projects that have done similar, at least to the same processor it's running, so I don't think it would be too hard.

Then that got me thinking- if they are able to provide this for $35, assembled and all, then there's got to be something to it. Meaning it's something I can do as well, so it's become yet another of my projects. While I've come across other projects, such as the C-stick, and the 2 inch cube based computers CuBox, I don't think I want those, especially not at $200-$700 a pop either. but, something that can handle being hooked up to an older tv or via hdmi would be very very nice, and that could handle something like either a bluetooth or usb keyboard & mouse would be even nicer. Add in ethernet (either wifi or wired), and it would be perfect for my needs.

So right now, the first thing I've got to do is locate a chip that's not a nightmare to work with (soldering BGA isn't anywhere near as much fun as people would like you to believe) and single chips that aren't in the $200 range. On the bright side, I've already got a board house that I can use dirt cheap.

And if all else fails, I can just get one of the above and get on with what life I have left...

Wow... things really get strange, eh?

Anyway, things have yet been in the air again. My second oldest daughter came down to visit me, and things finally calmed down enough with her visiting her family up north for me to even remember I have a blog.

I'll admit, I'm horrid about these things.

Anyway, doing some home work right now (damn wood fences... evil things), as well as additional network maintenance around the house. I've gotten several servers and a custom APS/UPS solution setup and I'm currently working on the monitoring and notification interfaces for it. I've even designed a custom pcb based on the arduino for the monitoring hardware. But now for today's topic-

After several years of supporting various server OS's, I finally found the time to install Windows Home Server. At the moment, I can't say I'm terribly impressed with it, especially given how crippled it is out of the box. I'm going to keep it around to see if there's anything I really like about it, besides it's use of Single Instance Storage.

Another first... well, first in years anyway. I installed and tried to run hyper-v when it was first made available with the community previews and such... and I hated it. By the time it had come to market, I was already used to using, scripting and monitoring vmware esx. I have just gotten an old server out of my company's racks and decided I would give it a good stress test. After being impressed that only two drives out of 16 had suffered any damage (one's dead, and one's having ECC errors) I decided to install win2k8 and hyper-v on it.

Just to see what's changed, mind you.

The weird thing is, I've been supporting it in a half ass way for years for other people, just solving issues second hand from descriptions of the problems. I can't say I've touched the software in years. So when I loaded the MMC for hyper-v today, I was pretty disgusted. It's every bit as clumsy as I remembered, and I'm going to have to learn the powershell scriptlets to use for it. One thing that had put me off in the beginning had to do with the inability to easily identify a vm from the command line- definitely a game ender in my eyes. We'll see in the coming weeks if that's changed or not.

Another thing that will be up and coming- a (hopefully new 1u twin) box for Xen studies. While I'm nowhere near conceited enough to believe I'm an expert in any of these fields, that doesn't keep me from wanting to know as much as humanly possible.