Thursday, September 17, 2009

NIC Intermittent Connectivity

We have an older desktop provisioned for use by a user with an application which is "less than friendly". So rather than mess with the TS environment we gave her the old desktop. Recently she started having issues with slowness which progressed into lots of messages about Outlook retrieving data, extreme slowdown, network drives dropping offline, and other clients losing connection.

I quickly found in the eventvwr that the tcp/ip connection was going up and down every few minutes. After changing the patch cable and testing the desktop on a new network drop I found the answer. Changing the speed of the NIC from "auto detect" to "100 Mbps Full Duplex" resolved the issue. Apparently in it's old age something started causing it to fail to negotiate the speed. As such it was constantly trying to re-negotiate the speed which caused the up / down connections.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Install SharePoint to share port 80

I decided that I wanted my Sharepoint site and my MediaWiki site on the same server. MediaWiki was already installed and using port 80, but I don't want my users having to type in an address with a port on it (they would simply just not use the site if they had to remember the port). Unfortunately websites can't share ports on the same ip address. Plus, I didn't want to move the wiki site off port 80 either.

I did the following on Windows 2008 IIS.

  1. Install SharePoint to port 80 (in my case as the non-default website)
  2. Open Manage network connections (ncpa.cpl from run)
  3. For your network connection go into properties
  4. Go into IPv4 properties
  5. Assumtion is that you already have it set to Static IP address
  6. Click Advanced
  7. Click add and add in another unused IP address (ex: for main and add in
  8. Ok out
  9. In IIS click the default website
  10. On the right side click Bindings
  11. Edit and change the IP address from * to the main IP address ( in our example)
  12. Okay out
  13. Click the new Sharepoint site (Default name is SharePoint - 80)
  14. Click Bindings and change IP address to the secondary IP (ex

From here you can access the original website normally and the Sharepoint site via the new IP address. This brings up some new issues though...

DNS Entry to make the site "friendly"

  1. Open your domain DNS and add a new Host (A). Make the Name what you want your users to type in to reach the site, then enter the second ip address (SharePoint site address)
  2. Try to ping the name you just entered. It should pingback as the ip address you just set.
  3. Try to navigate to the site (ex: http://example/)

Next issue... Authentication loopback check doesn't like this setup much. At this point you'll find that credentials fail. After a lot of searching I found the solution here:

  1. Click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK
  2. Locate and then click the following registry subkey: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Lsa
  3. Right-click Lsa, point to New, and then click DWORD Value
  4. Type DisableLoopbackCheck, and then press ENTER
  5. Right-click DisableLoopbackCheck, and then click Modify
  6. In the Value data box, type 1, and then click OK
  7. Exit Registry Editor
  8. Restart the computer.

Note that the auther includes the following: "The security is reduced when you disable the authentication loopback check, and you open the Windows Server 2003 server for man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks on NTLM."

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Virtual Iron > XenServer Convert Data Disks

A majority of my Volumes on servers in Virtual Iron are setup using the MS iSCSI Initiator rather than having made them as Vitual Disks within VI. This made most of my conversions very easy. I had 1 case where a disk other than the system volume was a VI Disk. To move this disk to XenServer here's what I did.
  1. Use XenConvert 2.0 on the machine with the disk attached (ensure that any services such as SQL etc have been disabled so that the files on the disk are not in use)
  2. From: This Machine (machinename)
  3. To: Xen Virtual Appliance
  4. Choose disk (D: in this case)
  5. Choose location
  6. Once it's finished go to XenServer and select import VM
  7. Setup the import like a normal VM, but at the end deselect the "Start automatically" option
  8. Once finished importing you can delete the VM but choose to leave the SR intact
  9. Go to the server that needs the disk attached (or import if you haven't already) and attach the disk that's needed

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Restore XenServer with HP Lefthand Networks SAN

Today I had to restore a XenServer VM with the SR residing on an HP Lefthand Networks iSCSI SAN (SANiQ v8.1). It was smooth as butter and made me all happy inside due to the ease of the restore ;)

I had created a Wiki site for internal admin use on a W2K8 server on IIS. I decided that I didn't want to build another W2K8 server and use another license for the SharePoint site so instead I decided to have it run on the wiki site as well. During the install I made the mistake of creating the SharePoint site as the default site which was very effective for killing my Wiki site.

Luckily I had created a Snapshot on my LH Networks SAN prior to the SharePoint install. Here's the steps I used to restore.
  1. First I gave my test XenServer pool access to the Snapshot in the Lefthand Console.
  2. Turned off the Production server
  3. Detached the SR for the Production Server in question
  4. Created a new SR in the test pool
  5. Target IQN of the Snapshot name
  6. When you click finish it will see the disk and warns not to attach if other pools are using the SR. (thus the reason we turned of and detached the production server / SR). Click Yes
  7. Create a new vm with correct properties.
  8. Select any install media, it won't matter as you won't be installing
  9. You won't be able to select the Virtual Disk you want since it won't have free space. So just select any disk and we'll fix later
  10. Give it a nic
  11. UNcheck the Start VM automatically
  12. Go into the properties of your new VM
  13. Change boot order so HD is first
  14. Go to Storage and Attach the correct Virtual Disk
  15. Delete the Virtual Disk from when you created the VM (if you selected one)
  16. Ensure RAM / CPU are set correctly and boot.
  17. Check over the server to ensure it's what you want to restore

Once I verified that this was the server snapshot that I wanted I went to pull this into production

  1. Turn off the test server you just created
  2. Forget the Virtual Disk (this doesn't destroy data)
  3. Go into the HP Lefthand console and and right click the Snapshot you want and choose "Rollback".
  4. All Snapshots and changes created after that snapshot will be lost! Make sure this is what you want first.
  5. Go back to XenServer Console and click the Production SR and click Attach.
  6. Fill in the IP info and Discover LUN etc. Click yes to the warning about other VM's on it again.
  7. Start server
  8. Glance around the office to see if anyone noticed that the wiki was down ;)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

View Network Connections when Control Panel icons hidden

Occasionally I come across computers where the Control Panel has been "locked down" and the icons are hidden. Usually the hidding of these icons is done via a Group Policy.

I've found a couple of times now where the Network Connections icon is hidden, but this can be useful for finding out of a computer is getting an IP address correctly or not. Sure the command prompt ipconfig works too, but if the admin has the Control Panel locked down then surely they have the command prompt locked down ;)

Click Start
Click Run
Type ncpa.cpl
You'll see the friendly network connections your used to seeing (Windows XP).
Right Click the connection and select status, support tab, details.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

SQL Server 2000 to 2005 upgrade

Upgrade process from SQL2000 Standard to SQL20005 Standard

First check versions of SQL Server. You can do this by running SELECT @@VERSION on the master DB. For Analysis Services you can check by opening and clicking Help - About. 8.0.2039 = SP4

  1. Make backup of all DB's
  2. Apply SQL2000 SP4 if needed
  3. Apply SQL2000 Analysis Services SP4 if needed
  4. Install SQL2005
  5. Select the following
    1. SQL Server Database Services
    2. Analysis Services
    3. Workstation components, Books Online and development tools
    4. Others if needed
  6. Click Advanced
  7. Ensure pathing for each component
  8. Default Instance
  9. Select the following
    1. SQL Server Database Services 8.00.2039
    2. Analysis Services 8.0.2039.0
  10. SQL Server Authentication Mode
  11. Analysis will run
  12. Use the built-in System account (Local System)
  13. Latin1_General
  14. Accent - sensitive
  15. Dictionary order, case-insensitive, for use with 1252 Character Set.
  16. Install
  17. Install latest SP's / updates