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The Beginning! How exciting…

March 24, 2013

Afternoon all and welcome to what should be a regularly updated blog, a diary of sorts and somewhere if nothing else to document strange and bizarre fixes I happen to come across in my daily work.

I’m starting with a hosted service on WordPress although I’ve no idea if this will suffice, this blogging idea is new to me, so rather than attempt to plan every last detail in advance as is  my usual style, I’m jumping and getting started 🙂

It’s quite an appropriate time to start this, as we’ve recently moved house into a more sizable property, where I’ve now got some proper space to lab my IT kit at home. I have my own study and the run of the garage. There’s a fair amount of equipment to get going, I have in the past, as I imagine most have, just run the odd server sat on a desk with cables running everywhere. Not the best way to do things. I’ve reached the depths of Visio’ing my home lab layout to try and get some hold on it, but it didn’t really help in the grand scheme of things. Most of the kit has come from too much time spent on eBay, spotting bargains and going through moments of over-whelming keenness  In preparation for moving therefore, I bought a cabinet off eBay. It was an HP 10842 G2 cab, 42U tall, 1m deep, and most importantly for me, 800mm wide. I wanted this to be able to keep the innards tidy, cabling etc. Unfortunately, on moving to the new house, it proved to be roughly 1cm too wide to go through 2 doors. I could have removed a window to get it in, but the other half declared this a step too far for ‘this bloody IT rubbish’. So, I still have that and may use it in the future in the garage for SAN duties, but for now it stands unused and a bit of a waste of money.

The new HP 10642 G2 cabinet is sitting pretty in the study with the majority of the stuff racked. I seem to be a set of rails short on the DL360’s but that’s a fairly simple and cheap fix from eBay. It all looks quite good to be honest, I’m pretty pleased with how it’s gone in. I have a friend of a friend nipping round next week who’s an electrician so I’m going to press him on best way to sort the electric supply in the study. This is going to be done properly. Cooling may also be an issue, but there’s a straight path to an outside wall…. 😉

So this is where I am. A keen IT Pro looking to improve my skills and knowledge through kicking it around at home, in the main, Windows 2012 Server with as many of the other technologies as I can stomach. As above, the kit has been racked but is not cabled up in any way yet. I will be starting over on the physical and virtual builds, so I’ll be documenting it here, with all the victories and dismal, expensive failures included. It’s what we do, isn’t it? I have a raft of MS certs, but feel that unless you’re trying to use it on a regular basis, it’s ‘use it or lose it’. So I’m creating an imaginary company and building it up, using as many of the MS technologies I can. Here’s where a Technet subscription really comes in. I can only recommend this to other budding IT geeks, it’s completely invaluable in being able to build up lab scenarios, although the 180-day free trials for many products may well suffice for temp lab builds. This brings me onto the other platforms I want to build. Two in fact. One for the Tech Lab Guides on Microsoft http://blogs.technet.com/b/tlgs/ , these are great for building the real technologies in a clear step-by-step method in order to get them working, leaving you to tinker and bash them around as you like. Being modular, they can be reused by snapshotting the original builds. Check them out if you haven’t already. The other platform I’m after is simply a lab platform, we all come across scenarios at work where you may be working with live data, and the clock is ticking over the decision of the best way to do things. I want something I can prop up in a half hour roughly to see exactly what does happen when you press a big red button.

That’s it. Hopefully somebody may benefit from this, and I’m equally keen to get feedback and learn my own lessons. Everyday is a school day, and the best guys I’ve met/spoken to/worked with are the ones who are great listeners, and eager to learn from others.

Give me a few days to get a few details together and I’ll post on what the equipment list is and how I plan to share it around to create the three platforms.

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