I recently needed to install an IIS based web app for a client and wanted to be sure that everything was backed up. I found a really simple and fast way to do just that by following the steps outlined over on this blog post.
I’ve been meaning to put some of my thoughts on the HP MicroServer N40L for quite some time and just haven’t made the time to do it, so here goes.
Long ago I was searching for a reason to purchase and play with HP’s MicroServers and got my chance when a client asked for an affordable backup device. I jumped at the chance and ordered one of the N40L’s. These units are listed as part of the ProLiant family of servers which sounded promising, but being the skeptic that I am, I didn’t expect much for the seemingly measly $350 price tag.
The unit comes with an AMD dual core CPU, 2GB of RAM, 250GB HDD, and a 1Gbps NIC. The system has a mini-PCIe slot for a remote access/iLO/DRAC type card, and a second standard PCIe slot. Although the system ships with only a single drive, all four bays have “hot swap” trays/carriers, making adding additional disks no problem. I say “hot swap” because I am pretty sure that the backplane/controller do not allow actual hot swapping in its true sense, YMMV. Another note on the hardware; the motherboard can be easily removed from the system by disconnecting a few cables and backing out two thumb screws. The board is on a simple and quite brilliant tray assembly which makes removal, upgrade, and insertion simple. Do yourself a favor when you purchase the system by maxing out the RAM at 8GB(DDR3/ECC) and adding the optional iLO/remote access card. For basic NAS and low end Linux server duties the 2GB will work fine and you will have no regrets, but going to 8GB really opens the doors, more on that next.
Before I jump into exactly what it can do, it is worth mentioning what YOU should not do with it. For instance, don’t try and be a hero to your clients by touting this as an ultra affordable server solution. I have read of several people putting SBS on this box and then using it as the primary file and mail server for 20+ users. Don’t be a dummy, if you’re trying to service your clients properly get them a truly redundant system with hardware RAID, dual PSU’s and things of that nature. You are providing a disservice to your clients if you use this in a place it should not be used. Responsibility rant over…
With the remote access card, 8GB of RAM, and a couple of SATA drives, you are ready to play. This is the little server that could and it shows. The thing runs VMware ESXi5, Linux, Windows, FreeBSD(FreeNAS) and many other things. An important thing to remember is that the included disk controller uses fake RAID/driver assisted RAID so don’t expect RAID support outside of Windows. With that limitation in mind, this makes the ideal small business backup device, home virtualization lab, or any other number of roles you can through at it.
Fast forward to today and the device has served me and many others quite nicely. Although not a comprehensive list of installs, I can confirm successful installation on the following operating systems:
Whew! What a list and that just touches the surface of what you can run. Those just happen to be the configurations that I have tested with success. My current configuration consists of the base system running 8GB of RAM, iLO card, 1x64GB SSD and 4x1TB RAID edition drives. I’ve got Debian stable AMD64 running on / and have 4x1TB RE drives using Linux md RAID in level 5 mounted on /home. This acts as my internal NFS server and virtualization lab. The system runs vm guests well through KVM although you will have to watch the CPU. Being a dual core 1.5GHz, the system will usually run out of CPU before you hit any other bottlenecks.
In conclusion, if you need a flexible and affordable storage device for most small business or home needs, a cheap virtualization lab in a box, or similar configuration, you will not be disappointed by this device.
The title sums this one up with ease. After transitioning / migrating from Microsoft Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2010 some of the first accounts that we tested with were unable to connect to EAS. Errors on the mobile client ranged from server not found/available, to bad user name and password errors. After much research and troubleshooting I came across a few users that were experiencing the exact same issue. You can read more about the issue and the fix here.
I prefer Linux to Windows for a handful of reasons. One of the obvious benefits is licensing, and with all of the virtualizing I do in production and testing, its nice to never have to think about licensing. Meanwhile, back in the real world, most of my clients use Windows based servers for their day to day tasks. The Windows OS license is generally licensed per install/server; the notable exception being Data Center Edition which is licensed per CPU.
With consolidation ratios ever increasing, we are always on the lookout for bottlenecks in systems. What about licensing? If you are running numerous Windows guests, are there ways to make smarter licensing moves? In a nutshell, yes.
Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, I will steer you to a well written and very informative article detailing some of things you can do. This is well worth the read.
Starting seeing this on a few clients servers after a recent patch management cycle. It appears to be KB934525 that takes the blame here. After attempting a repair install on one of the systems I eventually found this buried at the bottom of some page that references KB934525. Your application event log will most likely be full of these:
Unknown SQL Exception 33002 occured. Additional error information from SQL Server is included below.
Access to module dbo.proc_getObjectsByClass is blocked because the signature is not valid.
The long and short of it is this: Try running the SharePoint Products and Technologies Configuration Wizard and accept the defaults. If that doesn’t resolve the issue, read on for more…
After you apply this hotfix package, you must run the SharePoint Products and Technologies Configuration Wizard.
To do this, click Start, point to All Programs, point to Administrative Tools, and then click SharePoint Products and Technologies Configuration Wizard.
Important Because of a problem with the hotfix installation, you must not run the SharePoint Products and Technologies Configuration Wizard to complete the installation if you are running a Windows SharePoint Services stand-alone installation that uses the Windows Internal Database Engine. Instead, you must use the Psconfig.exe command-line utility. To do this, follow these steps:
1. Click Start, click Run, type cmd in the Open box, and then click OK.
2. Change to the following directory:
system drive\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\12\Bin
3. Run the following command:
psconfig -cmd upgrade -inplace b2b
If you ran the SharePoint Products and Technologies Configuration Wizard, you may experience a long delay, and the wizard may not be completed successfully.
Alternatively, the configuration process may be unsuccessful, and you may receive the following error messages:
An exception of type System.Data.SQLClient.SQLException was thrown. Additional exception information access to module dbo.proc_MSS_GetConfigurationProperty is blocked because the signature is not valid.
Additionally, the following event may be logged in the Application log:
Event ID: 5586
Source: Windows SharePoint Services 3
Unknown SQL Exception 33002 occured.
Additional error information from SQL Server is included below.
Access to module dbo.proc_MSS_GetConfigurationProperty is blocked because the signature is not valid.
If you experience these issues, use the Psconfig.exe command to manually complete the installation of the hotfix.
Ran into an issue today where a clients SBS 2008 server stopped servicing requests made to hostname/owa. I am still unsure as to what caused this issue but find a fairly simple way to recreate the OWA virtual directory for IIS. Many admins are familiar with this procedure / howto for Exchange 2003 but are unable to find something similar for Exchange 2007. While the step that I will describe below is not as in depth as the previous link, it did resolve my issue.
If your OWA is giving you the dreaded 404 treatment try this: Open IIS Manager and delete the OWA virtual directory. Next you will need to open the Exchange Management Shell. Enter in the following command and press enter afterwards:
New-OWAVirtualDirectory -OwaVersion:Exchange2007 -Name "OWA" .
That will rebuild / recreate the OWA virtual directory and start accepting client requests immediately. Please note that this recreates the OWA virtual directory under Default Web Site, not under SBS Web Applications like a default SBS / Exchange 2K7 install.
Hopefully, this one liner will save you some trouble.
This one seems like an obvious one, but I will post it anyways. Chances are that you have deployed and/or maintain Windows 2003 Small Business Server. Many small businesses purchased SBS during “the good times” of 2003-2008.
Due to the licensing restrictions imposed on the product by Microsoft, these servers are always one boxed. That is to say that they have too many servers and services on the same hardware. Most of these systems are reaching their end of life and are running slower than ever.
These 32bit boxes are usually maxed on RAM (4GB) and are starving for more. Lately I have been auditing the list of installed applications and removing as needed. The memory hog is usually some SQL server running even though it isn’t in use. Take into account Backup Exec, WSUS, SBS Monitoring, and Sharepoint and you begin to see where all that RAM is going. Almost all of my clients have been moved over to a managed services platform which handles Windows Updates and system monitoring. That takes out two standard SQL databases/instances right off the bat.
So the long story short is this: Reevaluate the needs of your aging servers and get more from them by removing obsolete tools.
Interested in creating a hidden local maintenance account for a Windows box? Is easy to do, just go to the registry under HKLM\Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\SpecialAccounts\UserList, create a new dword and name it the exact same as the account you want to hide. A value of “0” hides the account and a value of “1” displays it at the welcome screen. That’s all it takes. This works the same on a Vista or Win7 box.