Monday, October 18, 2010

Entourage 2008 connection issues to SBS 2008

Most things with Small Business Server 2008 work out of the box. Some do not.

Here's one that doesn't - Entourage 2008 connection from outside the network. Outlook uses RPC over HTTPS and works great. Entourage uses WebDAV and it doesn't. It usually works fine with most Exchange 2007 setups (as long as they are configured properly), but it doesn't with the custom config known as SBS 2008.

The solution is to allow the "Authenticated Users" Group to have "Read and Execute", "List Folder Contents", and "Read" access to the following folders:

C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\ClientAccess
C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\ClientAccess\Exchweb
C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\ClientAccess\OWA

And then you need to make sure you are connecting to the exchange server using the following format:

And then you should be good to go.

That is of course if you are up to date on your Exchange 2007 SP2 or higher. If not, then it will probably break the RPC over HTTPS so that it continually prompts for username and password and never connects. The solution for this is either update to Exchange 2007 SP2 or do the following:

Go to IIS (7)
Go to Sites -> SBS Web Applications
In the following Virtual Directories, change the SSL settings to Accept Client Certificates:

I've seen some people that also recommend you should do the Autodiscover Virtual Directory, but I've not seen this needed.

Dustin Shaw

Sunday, October 10, 2010

ESX boot issue

Ran into this on one of our ESX 4.1 boxes. After it was shutdown, it failed to come up. When I looked at the console, it showed: vsd-mount failed.

There's a good VMware knowledge base article on this.

The only caveat that I found for the knowledge base article base was that you need to follow the instructions verbatim.

Also, you need to pay attention to step 10. When you edit the kernel line, you need to understand how it's presenting the line. It's scrolled sideways. If you really want to see the beginning of the line, move your cursor to the left. Where you want to insert the text is at the end of the line, though.

For your convenience, here's the resolution from the KB article:


If the ESX host has detected the VMFS volume containing the esxconsole.vmdk file as a snapshot LUN, the ESX host drops into Troubleshooting (busy box) mode during boot. 
To allow your ESX host to boot successfully:
  1. Provide the necessary credentials to access the busy box.
  2. Run this command to enable resignaturing on the VMware ESX machine:

    esxcfg-advcfg -s 1 /LVM/EnableResignature

    You must get an output similar to:
    Value of EnableResignature is 1.

    Note: If the root is mounted as read only, run the command  mount -o remount / to remount the volumes so that they are in a writable state.
  3. Run this command to unload the VMFS drivers:

    vmkload_mod -u vmfs3 
  4. Run this command to load the VMFS drivers:

    vmkload_mod vmfs3
  5. Run this command to detect new VMFS volumes and resignature the volume:

    vmkfstools -V
  6. Run this command to identify the full path of the esxconsole.vmdk file:

    find /vmfs/volumes/ -name esxconsole.vmdk

    The output appears similar to:

    Note: Make a note of this full path.
  7. Restart the VMware ESX machine. You see a menu provided by the grub boot loader. 
  8. Press e to edit the grub entries manually.
  9. Scroll down to the line that starts with kernel /vmlinuz (it is indented under the VMware ESX 4.0 heading).
  10. Go to the end of the line and include the following entry after a space:


    Where <path> is the full path identified in step 6.
  11. Press Enter to accept the changes.
  12. Press b to boot using the modified settings. The ESX host successfully boots.

    Note: The changes made to the boot options are not saved. They only apply to the current boot process. The changes need to be made to the boot configuration files as described in the following steps.
  13. Log into the console as root.
  14. Edit the /etc/vmware/esx.conf file with a text editor and modify the following lines:

    /adv/Misc/CosCorefile = "/vmfs/volumes/<path>/core-dumps/cos-core"
    /boot/cosvmdk = "/vmfs/volumes/<path>/esxconsole.vmdk" 

    Where <path> is the full path identified in step 6.
  15. Run this command to update the boot configuration files:

    esxcfg-boot -b

Dustin Shaw

View 4.5

Just did a basic View 4.5 implementation at a client. One thing the client requested was basic instructions for setting up a new Pool. I realized that there is probably not much out on the internet for those basics, so as soon as I finish typing it up for him I'll post it here.

Dustin Shaw

Saturday, October 2, 2010

All About the Design

It seems to me that you can always tell if an IT guy is worth his water by the way that he architects/designs solutions.

We picked up a small shop recently that their previous guy built them a heavy-built Dell T710 with Microsoft Hyper-V. They've got 5 VMs running on it, so nothing wrong with the basic idea behind it, but the execution is where I have an issue.

The machine was originally built (from factory) with the onboard SAS 6/iR RAID card with a set of four 450GB drives in a RAID 5 config. No hot spares. Issue number one.

He realized that he must have under built, so he then went off the deep end. He went out to NewEgg and bought four 2TB SATA drives, bought the caddies off EBay, and bought a PERC 6/i RAID controller directly from Dell (must've not found it cheaper somewhere else). This means the factory warranty from Dell (3 year NBD onsite) won't extend to anything except the RAID card. What's the most likely thing to die on a server again?

He then went in and reconfigured the machine to run off the PERC with a second RAID 5 set with the 2TB drives (again no hot spare), and directly attached one of the VMs to it for their main data storage. This is all fine and dandy, except for the fact that there is 800GB free on the first RAID set, and they are only (at this point) using 40GB on the second RAID set (leaving roughly ALL of it free).

And here comes the second part of the issue - much bigger than the previous config issues.

The PERC 6/i controller has issues running on drives 1.5TB and up. The latest firmware revision runs better than the previous one, but the controller is regularly (it's happened 3 times in a month, hence why the old guy went bye-bye) dropping a drive offline. Part of the issue is that when it drops the drive, it drops the RAID set offline at the same time.

When I got called in, the RAID set had dropped two drives offline (meaning bad, bad things could've happened to their data). I reseated the "bad" drive, imported the foreign config, and let the RAID set rebuild itself. I then proceeded to move their data off of that RAID set and remove the config from the environment.

They still have 800GB to grow into before we even need to consider doing anything. My first plan of order is to tell them that they need to get another 450GB drive and put it in as a hot spare. As I mentioned, this is a small shop, and the server sits on the floor in a closet. They only open the door when there is a problem, so they could easily loose a drive and not know it until someone asks "What's that red light for? It's been doing that for a month." Hence the driving need for a hot spare.

Dustin Shaw

vConverter 5.1 is out!

Yesterday Quest released vConverter 5.1 onto their website for download. You can check out the product here.

For those of you familiar with their product, you'll know that vConverter 4.2 was the previous version that was out. They recently released vConverter 5.0 as an "early release preview" (AKA - Beta), but it had numerous issues. One tech that I spoke with said that the marketing team put version 5 online for download and issued a press release before they consulted with tech or engineering - sounds like many marketing guys that I know.

If you were one of the lucky ones that installed the "early release preview," then you'll have to uninstall it before you install vConverter 5.1.

The new features to look for in version 5.1 are:

P2V for Linux Servers: this was a big absent in the previous releases. I know many penguin fans who are excited about this one. It's a Cold Convert, so you have to be down when doing the conversion and have physical access to the box so that you can boot off a CD or PXE server (unless of course you have ILO or DRAC or other console access). This is unfortunate since VMware's vCenter Converter 4.x supports several Linux builds doing Hot Convert, but there are a number of other features that vConvert does buy you.

ESXi Support: This is a good thing since VMware is pushing everyone hard away from ESX onto ESXi. They are doing this by using a Virtual Appliance.

Hidden Partitions Support: This has recently become an issue with Windows 7 and Server 2008r2, keeping most converter programs from being able to work. I'm glad to see this added, as if you've been reading my blog you know that I recently ran into an issue caused from someone doing a conversion of a 2008r2 box using Acronis.

vConverter 5.1 download comes with a 30 day trial license that allows you to use Continuous Protection on up to 5 source machines, and limits you to 5 conversions (not including the Continuous Protection conversions).

Dustin Shaw