Datacenter Move post 2

IMG_3355

So it turns out, we are gonna move all the servers to 1 location. Expect a new rack diagram soonish 😉

I hate politics.

Moving it all to 1 place is both a blessing and a curse. Naturally, its logistically easier for us. But it also means we are facing potential power and airco issues at the single location.

Moving to the 1 location was a political desicion, and not made with the best of technical considerations in mind.

On top of that, the big Citrix migration project, that we are depending on being finished by the time we move the bulk of our servers, is looking less and less likely to complete on time.

This means, in short we will be moving a lot more servers and equipment we are currently scoped for. I would very much like to prepare for the worst case, but politics are getting in the way again.

For example, I originally planned to move at least 1 IBM Bladecenter along with our NAS to the new location. These are needed to support the Citrix farm, in case the Prague project doesnt finish in time.

IMG_0909 The Bladecenters


However the project steering group told us this was not in scope, as the Prague project have indicated they would be finished, even though everyone knows they will never make it.

The reasoning is mostly to do with money. Moving the Blacecenter and the NAS, would place a power burden on the new TCR, that would require a more powerfull generator. These are fucking expensive.

So if the Prague move project -claims– they will finish end of May, then why spend thousands of euro’s on a new generator that wont be needed.

Well, because, dear project stearing group, the Prague migration project -wont– be finished on time, and guess what, your gonna have to buy it anyway, so lets by it now and give ourselves some breathing room.

I dont really care about the politics. All I know, is that when push comes to shove, its gonna be US that do all the hard work.

I dont understand this insistance to stand on principle, with all the risks associated with that. Why not play it safe, we are talking about all the Benelux operations of the company that are at stake if we dont mitigate some of these risks.

I cant understand their thinking at all, it seems insanely risky and dangerous to me.

To make things even more silly, there is now talk of at least one of the WMS’s (warehouse management systems) that the Prague project was supposedly gonna migrate we are going to have to move.

The only reason is that, apparently, they are starting to see they wont make it in time.

IMG_0617 The Alpha server running one of our many WMS’

The really funny thing, is that that particular WMS runs ons an Alpha box, with a similair power requirement to the Blade Center.. taking the serverroom over the powerlimit too! Whahah!

Anyway, back to the technology

The new HP servers and racks + options arrived, and the last week has been spent building it all up.


This is me at one of the 3 sexy HP TFT7210R 1U console options.

Cables are still messy, its al temporary till our network guys can put in the new core. Some of that will be happening tonight!

I labeled all the servers, and set up the ILO cards with the advanced licences, and gave them static IP adreses in a new management VLAN we created.

Currently we are on a temporary switch, and only room enough to hook up 4 servers at at time. Should be better after tonight when they bring the new core online.

I spent the last 2 days documenting stuff, deviding the licences, and trying to install the OS on these machines remotely, using ILO.

This didn’t go according to plan. At all.

I posted about this on the new Ars Technica forum “the Server room”

From my thread “ad-hoc Remote Windows installation stategies using ILO”

We have set up a number of servers in a remote location. They are all HP DL360 G5’s with advanced ILO licenses.

Now this works great, but when I tried to remotely install, I run into problems.

I can mount an ISO of the SmartStart CD, and it boots as it should, its a little slow loading of course, but I can get through all the config steps.
But at the screen where the SmartStart says it is copying files to server, it often hangs, or at least, takes forever.
On the rare occasion it gets past this, it wont, for some reason, recognize the Windows OS installer ISO image.

Now both problems might be related to latency, or to a limitation in the way the ISO files are being mounted through the ILO.

Perhaps what I am doing is not supported (I know it isn’t with IBM), but I have not found anything in the Smartstart or ILO documentation that says I cannot do Windows OS install remotely.

So, if I cant figure out why this isn’t working, I am going to have to build some alternative way of remotely installing Windows. Probably via a distribution share, and network boot media like BartPE or something similar.

I don’t have any commercial product available for OS imaging, unfortunately. And don’t have the timescale to purchase these either.

Nor can I use a PXE boot option at this time, because of network limitations. And even then, i dont have time to set up RIS.

What are the kind of solutions you employ for remote OS provisioning?

Well I have gotten a number of responces so far, none of them very helpfull. By best bet is that latency us causing the issues, but I dont have any hardware at location just yet, that I can set up as a distribution point.

I will elaborate on the way I want to use ILO in a sperate post. I have yet to figure out the best way to deal with this.

In the meantime, tomorrow, I will be going to the location and starting the OS installs manually. That at least is a sure way of getting them installed.

Oh, finally, want to see why we need to move in the first place?

This is through the window, the office next to ours.

See the cable tray that was previously in the ceiling? The one marked with the red/white tape?

Thats all the copper and fiber of the current datacenter going through there. I am scared shitless they are gonna damage them while they strip the building.


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