Archive for August, 2011


…Well- just over :)

Check it out:

This is on my MacBook Pro running VirtualBox.

L

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I felt this deserved a separate post as the issue could have driven me crazy/made me return the motherboard in error!!!

After building the first server for my new Virtual Lab i installed ESXi and started to deploy my first VM. Everything was going nicely until vSphere lost the connection to the server. I used the IPMI remote control to take a look at the console and apparently both network interfaces were disconnected? Maybe something went wrong somewhere…

Reboot… Same problem after 5minutes or so the network connections drop
Reinstall ESXi… Same problem…
Recrimp a couple of new network cables… Same problem…

Finally i found this article which quite correctly identifies Active State Power Management as the cause! Pop into the bios:

Advanced, Advanced Chipset Control and disable Active State Power Management

Voila! Everything’s now chugging along nicely (fingers crossed)

L

New Virtual Lab – Part 2

…continued from https://tickett.wordpress.com/2011/08/24/new-virtual-lab-part-1/

So- in came the first set of bits for new server #1 and I begun piecing it together…

Issue #1- The motherboard doesn’t sit quite right on the spacers/chassis screws (because of the element of the cpu cooler which sits on the underside of the metherboard)- not really a problem, I just added a few washers (I expect I may’ve been able to find some slightly larger spacers too, if i’d looked hard enough).

Issue #2- My USB pen drive didn’t fit in the internal slot with the chassis together. Not to worry- i simply attached a header to the spare pins and plugged the USB stick into one of those ports still inside the case.

Issue #3- When i powered up the machine it was pretty loud. I checked and believe this to be because the Akasa cooler (AK-CCE-7107BS) only has a 3 pin header so doesn’t support pulse-width-modulation (PWM) and effectively runs at full speed all of the time! Fortunately the other cooler (Gelid Slim Silence IPlus Low Profile Intel CPU Cooler) had the correct 4 pin connector and when hooked up, supported PWM and ran nice and quiet!

Issue #4- I intend to run the server “headless” so one of the great features of the X8-SiL-F motherboard is the on-board IPMI. Unfortunately when i tried to connect with the default username/password “ADMIN” / “ADMIN” access was denied. I downloaded a copy of the latest firmware from the Supermicro site and flashed using:

dpupdate.exe -f SMT_SX_250.bin -r n

The -r n parameter telling it to reset to factory settings. Voila- I could now login via the web-interface or windows IPMI tool using the default login credentials (“ADMIN” / “ADMIN”).

ESXi 4.1 installed like a charm but i’ve had a little trouble trying to deploy my first Virtual Machine (ESXi management network losing connectivity and/or the hypervisor crashing)- I think this might be because i’m using old knackered network cables! I will replace them and hopefully update tomorrow in Part 3.

The 2nd of these servers is on route and hopefully be delivered before the weekend.

My next question is what virtual machines should i configure?

I definitely need a vCenter server
I definitely need at least one SQL server (possibly 2 or 3 as i’d like to experiment with replication)
I definitely need at least one web server (IIS)
I definitely want to get trixbox back up and running
I am considering experimenting with pfSense or possibly untangle?
I also need a local dns server but think that might best sit on physical hardware or i’ll get problems with the hypervisor being unable to query DNS before the VM has started?
My fileserver currently runs WHS2011- So I would also like a WHS2011 VM to test the “Drive Extender” replacements on (however I realize I can’t really test performance here so might have to give that a miss).
Also, i think that OSX Server might run on ESXi- and i’d quite like to have a proper (non-hacked) time machine backup store configured so this might be the right route to go down…

L

Since I moved (about a year ago) I have been without a virtual lab- the old lab ran on 2x Dell Poweredge 2950 III & 1x HP Proliant DL385 G2, noisey and power-hungry! My intention was to run power to the garage so I could bring the lab back to life, but rising electricity costs and some interesting posts on Jason’s blog persuaded me to order some new, smaller, quieter and more green/efficient hardware:

£163 – Supermicro X8SIL-F (the motherboard Jason recommended and many seem to’ve reported success with)
£255 – Intel Xeon X3470 Quad-Core 2.93Ghz (Socket 1156)
£026 – Akasa Intel 1U 1156 CPU Cooler (AK-CCE-7107BS)
£123 – 4x 4GB Kingston 1333Mhz ECC (KVR1333D3E9S/4G or KVR1333D3E9SK2/8G)

I already had some spare 1U Supermicro chassis with power supplies (512L-200B) and USB pen drives laying around for the hypervisors.

I initially ordered one of the above-mentioned kit from LambdaTek (I intended to get comfortable with it before ordering more). Unfortunately the motherboard was on back order so I decided to look around for another supplier. I couldn’t find anywhere cheaper or with stock so i picked 2 up from an international seller on eBay. While I was at it I grabbed another x3470 from Amazon (£260), another 16GB of RAM from Crescent Electronics (£107) and another Cooler (this time the Gelid Slim Silence IPlus Low Profile Intel CPU Cooler from Cool&Quiet @ £20)

Part 2 to follow! Just a quick note about the Akasa Cooler- i’ve deliberately put a line through it because you should NOT order it (it’s no good- i will get onto that in part 2)

L

I looked at this a while back and it was involved plugins or modifying custom templates etc (and search results still seem to yield the same methods). However- it actually appears to be a lot simpler (not sure whether this is new or my searches just came up a bit short!

So- here’s how!

  • Login to your wordpress dashboard
  • Click settings
  • Click sharing
  • Drag the relevant sharing options from “available services” to “enabled services”
  • Configure the relevant options
  • Click save
And you’re done! It even looks like you can add custom services not already listed.
L

The Fun Stuff!

Despite putting the photography on the back-burner a bit while i’m so busy with the IT bits i’ve picked up quite a bit of work over the last/next few weeks!

Mariners Court, Leigh-on-Sea (last week)

Kool Kids Klub presents Jackmaster (Numbers) @The Sunrooms, Southend-on-Sea (tomorrow!)

Dusk Till Dawn @Dukes Genesis, Chelmsford (Sunday, 29th August)

Too Damn Glam presents Bad Barbie @Pacha, London (Saturday, 3rd September)

Don’t forget you can find more of my photography on my fan page or follow me on twitter!

Have a great weekend!

L

Office 365

I was previously using 4Smartphone to provide my hosted exchange server but read an article about Microsoft’s oferring: Microsoft Office 365, so thought i best take a look!

I have been trialling the product for just under a month and have decided to purchase a license! In short- Office365 encompasses a lot more than just hosted exchange (lync/ocs, sharepoint etc) and the cost is less than 4Smartphone (£4/month vs. $11.95/month).

The mailbox migration was really straightforward: I simply exported a .pst file using Outlook 2010 (connected to 4Smartphone) then imported the same .pst file in Outlook 2010 whilst connected to Office365.

Lync (what used to be OCS) seems to work well and allows federation with other companies, hosted or otherwise.

Give it a try!

L

A few of my faves from my monthly Kool Kids Klub residency at the Sunrooms (Southend-on-Sea)- needless to say, they smashed it as always:

View the entire album on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150250795827807.325386.26123047806

Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/leetickett

Follow the Kool Kids Klub on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/THEKOOLKIDSKLUB

Next Party: THE KOOL KIDS KLUB // JACKMASTER (Numbers)- Saturday 20th August 2011

L

I’m still yet to find a decent replacement for Google Powermeter (i’m starting to think i’ll need to write something myself… php/mySQL possibly?)

Anyway- i’ve noticed my baseline (always on) power consumption is pretty high so picked up an extension lead from maplin http://www.maplin.co.uk/power-strip-with-energy-and-co2-meter-348228 (£12.99) with a built in display (current consumption, max consumption, cumulative consumption, power factor etc) to check all of my devices to see where I might be able to realize some improvements.

Here’s what I found with some commentary:

Fish Tank Pump: 4W (Reasonable & not really optional)
32″ TV Standby: 4W (Not great but it’s normally turned off at the mains not left on standby)- On: 110W (Pretty poor but it is relatively old tech)
Sky+ Box: 20W (Appeared to draw the same power whilst in standby and whilst in use)
Clarke Tech 9000 HD Satellite Receiver Standby: 26W- On: 31W
42″ LG TV Standby: 1W (Expected for a relatively recent model)- On: 68W (Not bad considering it’s not LED backlit)
Boiler Idle: 3W
50″ Panasonic Plasma TV Standby: 20W (Very poor, but unsurprising for old tech)- On: 400W (ouch!)
Mordaunt Short Subwoofer Standy: 3W (Seems reasonable with the auto-on feature active)- On: 18W
Acer Revo r3610 XBMC HTPC Off: 3W- Idle: 32W- Watching a movie: 28W (why it uses more power when idle than whilst playing a movie i will never know?)
Mini TP-Link 5port Gigabit Switch: 2W (impressive!)
Linksys Enterprises Managed 24Port Switch w/POE : 41W (expected this- may do some research into alternatives)
4×4 HDMI Matrix Switch: 14W
Nintendo Wii Off: 3W- On: 16W
Onkyo 608SR Amp Off: 0W (impressive!)- On: 45W- Playing Loud: 55W
Netgear Router: 10W
HP Proliant Microserver in use: 40W (impressive!)
Giant American Style Samsung Fridge Freezer: 100W (pretty good from what i understand)
Dell Poweredge 2950 III Off: 30W (ouch- this is with both PSUs plugged in- i have already ordered replacement Supermicro servers which I believe use 40W roughly whilst on/idle!)- On: 350W (ouchhhhhh!)

That’s about all… We know the usual appliances: Kettle, Oven, Microwave, Toaster, Washing Machine, Tumble Dryer, Hover, Hair Dryer etc draw ridiculous amounts of power but I was predominantly interested in always on devices. I will try and add some makes/models above where i haven’t already put details. If you can recommend any green devices please do share!

L

A few weeks ago I managed to squeeze in a long weekend holiday to Benalmadena, Spain (thanks to my mate Steve sorting out a few nights work and a place to crash :)

Here are a few of my favourite shots…

Linekers Bar:

Molly Malone’s:

Tons more on facebook:

Linekers Saturday 23rd July 2011

Molly’s Saturday 23rd July 2011

Thursday 21st July

Linekers Benalmadena “Press Shots”

Molly Malone’s Benalmadena Roof Terrace

Friday 22nd July 2011

 

We also messed around by the pool:

Geeking off in the pool

Sad to be back but I met a brilliant bunch of people while away!

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