Posts Tagged ‘HP’

Computer Room Cleanup and re-cabling Pics and Movies

Monday, June 30th, 2008

So a few weeks ago, we spent our Saterday doing major recable work on the new Technical Computer room (TCR) in the new location, in preperation for our Big Bang services move coming up on the 5th of July (it was delayed from the 22nd))

So thise pics and videos are a few weeks old now, but who cares.

PICTURES (scroll down for movies)

IMG_3522 Not enough room to neatly get all the fat KVM cables sorted, so later I actually extended the room for the cables to 2U, and used the cable guide rail only for ethernet cables and power.

IMG_3521 2U above the KVM  not just being used for those fat cables, but also for the Avocent Switchview box, and its adapter, that is attached to the HP KVM box. Advocent KVM/IP hardware rocks by the way. If you have a non-IP KVM swich, consider the Switchview IP 1020, it makes life so much easier and they are super simple to set up!

IMG_3520 Too many cables, not enough room. Once we are done with the move, I am gonna seriously tie this shit down. Meanwhile I curse those HP 10K racks for not having ANY room at the sides for large cable bundles. Oh.. not to mention ANYTHING to attach a tierib to!

IMG_3519 The lineup of servers. The missing one was at the old location being synced up with another FTP box.

IMG_3514 The master at work 😉

IMG_3513 Not easy to work with all the cables all over the place.

IMG_3512 The patch panel guys where not done yet as you can see.

IMG_3511 Hello!

IMG_3508 Mustafa putting some of the servers into cold storage. You wouldn’t believe the kind of hardware we will end up putting into storage cause we have no immediate use for it!

IMG_3507 This is what happens when you dont move your servers professionally. We dont have the budget for it, so that is our exuse. Servers where fine, though I would not recommend this.

IMG_3506 Carting around servers.

IMG_3548 So very little room to work with. Look at the space at the sides, notice the PDU, then imagine it being full of servers.  See my point?

IMG_3547 So here we decided to move some servers over to the middle rack. This is partly to do with the fact that I discovered we dont have nearly enough power connectors in these racks to fill them.

IMG_3545 I havent been back there since, I really hope they cleared these bundles up now.

IMG_3544 I hate loose cables like that.

IMG_3538 HP-UX on a 9000 box. Very old, but still used. Hosts a warehouse management system, all terminal based.

IMG_3537 The proud admin of the HP box.

IMG_3534 Richard wasnt very usefull during our work, so he caught up on project admin 😉


A lot of engineers in a small space. This movie gives you an idea of the space 🙂

Me working on the cables. All the cables all over the floor was half the point of tackling this place, what a mess.

Me working on getting the KVM set up. The little box is the Avocent IP View 1020

The most important element of our productivity right there!

All the “temporary” plugs and cables finally being cleared out. I wonder how many admins out there wish they had the time or the downtime to do the same and really clean house.

Overview of our LAN and WAN racks.

Making slow but steady progress on the cables.  3 ours later it would look very diffferent!

Labling ALL of your cables on both ends means you can accuractly document what hooks up to what from A-Z. Doing the initial labeling though is a pain, so this is where our “certified labeler”  came in 😉

The amount of old hardware our IT department has in stock is just crazy. They dont know what to do with it all! We should have a CRT yardsale or something. Anyone need a Lexmark multifunctional? The IBM xseries 336 being stored here are only a fraction of the hardware we will be storing.

Its 2 am and the end of our scheduled downtime. Clearing up the last stuff and wiping the servers off, and turning em all back on. Hooked up to the new UPS, we could finally have them ALL on without burning out the old grid. The best bit of all was we managed to clear almost all cables from the floor.

Datacenter Move post 2

Monday, April 25th, 2005


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.

Laptop Update

Monday, November 29th, 2004

Well my laptop harddisk has really given up now.

The problems have been worsening over the past week, and now it will start ‘tapping’ sometimes, after its been on for a while. Also, it wont boot normally anymore, I have to press ESC during post, and manually select the hdd in the boot menu, and whenever I do that, it tells me that SMART has detected the hdd must be replaced.

I have been clearing all non-essential data off the laptop, and defragmented it. I tried running a checkdisk with recovery, but it fails at step 4, and exists with an unspecified error.

I am convinced its been overheating that has killed the hdd, as I had the laptop on in its bag a few times, so I could listen to podcasts.. this was before I had the new heardphones.

Anyway…   I got a phonecall on Vriday from Dynabyte, telling me I would be phoned this week when the replacement laptop had arrived at the shop.

A collegue of mine already had his replaced, but told me that he didn’’t get a new SD-Card reader/USB Stick with the new one. That really sucks, as I think the included card reader is really great… so I will ‘’forget’’ to pack it with my old laptop is see if they notice..

Old laptop:


New Laptop:


Ughm… *rubbs head*

Friday, October 22nd, 2004

Well the last week has been colorfull.

Started the new job at the media company, and feelings are still mixed.

First of all, the positive points.

This is a big operation. Its a very cool enviroment to work in. Round the corner of this office is the cotrol room for our national television channels, and upstairs are the newsrooms themsselves, that we had a walk though. When I go to lunch I see people I previously only new from TV. Yesterday I got the grand tour from one of the network guys. I visited all tv studio’s and radio studio’s aswell, very cool to see the live productions as they where happening. At one point I found myself walking across the studio of the Dutch version of Sesame Street

There are tons and tons of server and switch rooms here, and the main datacentre where all the hosting takes place is massive, and my all definitions the perfect datacentre, with all the high-end tech in place. Its also highly, highly secure.They have a huge datacenter here, biggest in the Netherlands after AIX, and they host a hell of a lot of bandwidth, the majority of which they use to move digital media content around between studio’s and production companies. They also host the SLAM for the city, that all the DSL providers use, and all teh cable stuff is hosted there aswell, aswell as arrays of dail-up banks. The company I work with also supplies the infrastructure for all the customers here, they are a tier-3 provider. They have stuff here that I only knew from websites..  equipment like Cisco 12000 series routers. They are currently building a storage centre to store future digital media (film stock), which will be 2 petabytes when live, and will extend to doezens in the future.
There are many many techs here. Loads of audio/visual specialists of course, and people with expertice in high-level routing, satalite comms, sginals, codecs, encryption, etc.

All in all.. a very stimulating enviroment to get to work in.

Unfortunatly.. the work in question is plain old second line desktop support.  Dragging pc’s around, installing applications, helping people with their little problems. Boring.. boring boring…     However.. I have already noticed that I seem to be more up to date than the guys here when it comes to new tech, and they will soon be migrating to Windows Server 2003/XP .. so I have a headstart in this.

I also see a lot of room for advancement.. they are very loosely organised.. so I can see myself climbing into a more sysadmin-like postion here after a while. In the meantime however, its pretty boring.

Another major downside is the travel time. Takes me two hours to get there.. that is 4 hours (or more) out of my day. Its completely tired me out so far, and I honestly dont know if I am gonna get used to it. I have to travel by train and tram as I have no drivers license.. cause I cant pay for it.. cause I am chronicly underpaid.

On top of that..  my laptops harddisk seems to have failed.. I have only had the thing one month!

Perhaps I was asking for it.. Cause I still dont have a headphone for my XDA, I have been using the laptop as my walkman to listen to podcasts.
Usually on my lap in the train, but sometimes in the bag, when there was no room. I think the heat might have killed it, or the controller.. as the laptop cant even see the HDD in the BIOS anymore. I am still waiting to here if where are gonna get new laptops, cause mine and others, where not new, but where probably used as display models.  Now this. Might be because it was already used..  who knows. I will be caling HP later this eveing when I get home.. but cause its vriday, I might have to wait till monday… damnit.

More messed up shit: I cant pay for my travel expenses. When you are traveling on public transport, you buy your own tickets, and then have then cashed in by the employer, and you get the money back.. after a month.    I have to dish out over 300 euro’s to buy a train ticket over here.. and as I am chronicly underpaid, I cant do that, I simply dont have the room financially, like i dont have room for a great many things.

Even more messed up shit: Been getting bills again for former lodger. Rather intimitating letters like “pay now, or we will take your stuff“ …  I tried mailing scans to him, but his mailbox was full. Its been 5 days and he still hasn’t returned my calls.. I will be paying him a visit this weekend, I already phoned the bailiff and gave them his adres, but its very annoying nontheless, its seriously destroying any friendship we had left. (The friendship with the lodger, not the bailiff, lol) Another bill I got cant really be pointed in his direction.. first I have to prove that he doesn’t live here anymore..  jees.

Been listening to more and more podcasts. Until this morning they where the perfect way to spend the time traveling. Now since its gotta take a while to find headphones for my xda, I thought I might get a cheapo mp3 player.. but are there even cheapo mp3′ with enough space for all those podcasts..  oh dear.