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Getting started in the New Year

January 6, 2014

Morning All, hope everyone has had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 🙂 Mine’s been busy, loads of driving, good to get back to the IT side for a break…

Spent some time over the weekend starting to get some boxes sorted. Installed Server 2012 R2 on 3 servers, a DL380 containing a bunch of local SAS drives for a iSCSI storage backend, and two DL360’s for SOFS nodes. It’s definitely overkill and you’d be very unlikely to introduce such complexity in production, but it should serve as a learning tool for me. If you were going to run a SOFS cluster, you’d back it with a JBOD array and connect to it by SAS connections, but not having this and having servers to spare, I thought I might as well. I’ll share the storage off the DL380 by iSCSI to the two nodes and have them share it off from there. I put one of the NC364 4 port 1Gb cards in the 380, giving 6 ports in total, and I’ll use the two onboard NIC’s for management/backup and the 4 on the card for a storage network team. One thing I did notice is that none of the 2008 R2 drivers for the G5’s install off the bat for 2012 R2, reporting an unsupported OS. (I seem to remember there was less complaining with 2012 ‘R1’). This isn’t surprising but is something I’ll watch for while labbing. My OCD means I would definitely prefer to be fully supported, but this is OK for now. I think G7’s are the earliest to have full HP support for R2, so I might be tempted to start swapping out. On another note, it’s an odd thing but at work, these things don’t seem to take all that much time, but when you have the odd 2-3 hours at a time at home to do something, it seems to take an age to build these things up. Building a good platform with all the bells and whistles is not a quick job, hence my fear of the end of Technet, where it seems I’m expected to be happy rebuilding these things every 180 days. I did check when my subscription expires, and after the extension granted as an existing customer at the end of last year, I’m done at the end of January. Hmmm.

I thought I’d give a couple of others a mention in here, as both items are relevant to the cause. First, Paul Winstanley has posted a quite thorough guide on the install of SCCM, which some newcomers will find useful. One of the problems with several SC components is that to actually to actually get something stood up in the first place can be a challenge with plenty of pre-req’s and other hoops to jump through. If you’re hitting it blind, it can take a long time to get going. Guides like this that step us through this first time are invaluable, and while I’m aware that there are lots of these around, it isn’t any less appreciated by the people who use them 🙂 So many thanks Paul.

The other one I wanted to highlight was regarding use of the new Microserver Gen8’s. These are a popular choice for labbing and demo’s, due to the low power consumption and the lack of a need to rack them, a nice small footprint. This talks about the ability to upgrade the CPU to something a bit beefier, and makes them all the more relevant for testing.

I’m still doing a whole lot of reading on various things, there’s plenty I don’t use everyday but I really should have in the arsenal, so I try to keep fresh. A couple worthy of mention, first being ‘Group Policy’ by Jeremy Moskowitz. I get involved with GP every now and again, but it should be a staple knowledge of anyone who punts AD about, and this is a great book, taking the reader from the absolute start (never a bad thing) to the smallest details. I lent it to one of my colleagues who I’m trying to mentor up through the ranks, and he loved it purely because it started from absolute grass roots and made no assumptions of previous knowledge. It’s on his list to buy. Well worth a look for an up-to-date refresher, or for anyone a touch baffled by the subject.

The other one is the old favourite, and a book any self-respecting AD admin should have on the shelf. Needs no introduction, I consider this the ‘bible’ on the subject. It’s a fortunate IT chap who gets to use every angle of AD all the time, so reviewing the odd chapter every now and again is good value for that odd time someone throws something leftfield at you, and you can just roll it off 🙂


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