Virtual Server 2005 Virtual Cluster

I was recently working on a customer site where they used Virtual Server 2005 for their test environment (excellent!).  They had a production Exchange cluster but had not simulated in test because they believed it was not possible to recreate in Virtual Server.  I remembered seeing some sessions at TechEd on the subject but had never actually done it.  A quick google gave us step-by-step instructions on how to get this done.

Clustering in Virtual Server 2005 makes use of the virtual SCSI adapters.  You set node one to ID 7 and node 2 to ID 6.  Then create a fixed size virtual disk and set it to use a shared SCSI bus.  Connect both virtual machines using SCSI bus 0 and then you can implement your cluster as you normally would.

The client was well impressed with the virtual Exchange cluster they had at the end of the engagement.

I’ve done some googling and it appears you can do something similar with VMware Server by mucking around with configuration files.  I also found this on the VMware site but I haven’t tried it yet. 

If you want 4 node virtual clusters then you need to use the Microsoft iSCSI Initiator and the demo release of StarWind or WinTarget.

Microsoft Updates: September 2006

The following updates were released by Microsoft on Patch Tuesday:

  • MS06-052 – addresses a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows
  • MS06-053 – addresses a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows
  • MS06-054 – addresses a vulnerability in Microsoft Office

They also re-released the following 2 security updates on September 12, 2006:

  • MS06-040 – addresses a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows
  • MS06-042 – addresses a vulnerability in Internet Explorer, a component of Windows

As usual, it is recommened that you test these updates before deploying them on your network.  BTW, there have been some rumblings on the net about a performance hit and/or machines failing to start up after this months deployments.  I’ve not had any problems myself but there have been some problems with updates over the last two or three months … please make use of the free VM solutions that are out there or the targetting mechanisms built into SMS/WSUS and test before you deploy.

Windows Vista RC1

Microsoft has released Windows Vista RC1 to the public.  This much anticipated release brings a lot of new features in user collaboration and user interface.  But for us pro’s, the main things of importance are the new security features, some popular and some not so popular.

You can get access to RC1 on the Microsoft website.  Beware that it requires a serious piece of kit to run this OS and the new Aero interface requires high spec and compliant hardware.

My First Windows Live Writer Post

This is my first post using the beta release of Windows Live Writer.  It’s a WYSIWYG editor and the cool thing is that MS wrote it not only to support Windows Live Blogs but also other blogging sites too.  It makes it much eaier for no webbies like me who are alergic to HTML to add richer content like photos, etc.  If you install the Windows Live Tool Bar then you can integrate into IE to directly blog about a site you are currently browsing.

So far I like it.  It’s much quicker and easier to use than the web interface.

System Center Essentials 2007 Beta

Microsoft has released the beta for SCE 2007 on the Connect website.  SCE is a compilation of the key components of System Center Configuration Manager 2007 (SMS v4) and System Center Operations Manager (MOM 2007).  This compilation aims to provide the functionality required by midsized organisations that normally couldn’t afford Microsoft’s standalone enterprise solutions and would otherwise have to purchase 3rd party point solutions. 
 
It’s likely to be be competitively priced.  My guess is that this will put an end to MOM for Workgroups. I’ve yet to install it but it appears to be wizard driven, much like Small Business Server.  MS recognises that the target customer usually can’t hire in expertise to handle complex solutions like MOM or SMS and have small departments that can’t dedicate the necessary time to manage them so providing wizards will make this quite attractive to them.
 

Old Whitepapers

This is a list of whitepapers I’ve written in the last 9 months both for my site and for work.
 
My Site
 
Free to download
 
 
Old Job
 
Requires registration but free to download
 

Breaking out!

I’ve just handed in my resignation to my current employer.  Things didn’t work out as I’d hoped but there’s no hard feelings.  They’re a good bunch of geeks and I wish them well.  So, I am back on the market.  I’ll be getting back into the IT contracting game in Dublin.  So anyone looking for a Windows 2003, AD, SMS, MOM type person should have a look at my CV/resume.
 
One of the things I liked about working for my current employer was that I had the opportunity to spend time working on beta products from Microsoft.  I’ve just splashed out on some beefy h/w and I’ll hope to continue that while writing papers on how to make use of these products.
 
Look out for these in the future.