Windows Vista Beta 1, IE 7 Beta 1, Windows Longhorn Server Beta 1…

Ok, I downloaded these from Microsoft last night. You might have heard Longhorn is the Server’s Code name, while Vista is the desktop’s marketing name. Vista is available to everyone with an MSDN subscription, the others are not available (expect to about 5,000 beta testers).


 


IE 7 = 10 MB


Vista = 2.42 GB


Longhorn = 2.9 GB


 


Plus a boat load of walkthroughs and white papers and release notes. With my normal traffic, I must have downloaded 7 GB last night, I bet knology.net loves me today!


 


I managed to install Vista in Virtual PC 2004 SP1 with the VPC additions. Only a few minor issues, could have been user errors, time will tell. In the end it’s running nicely. I saved the image and that is as far as I could get to by 3:35 am today. Tonight I will install Longhorn at start using Vista and IE 7 on the Internet (behind 2 firewalls of course). I really want to see the new clustering stuff :)

WSRM for Microsoft Clusters

Recently Microsoft released a white paper (Using WSRM and Scripts to Manage Clusters – http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=ba2559e6-dd23-41a6-9efb-1d90f8f1fc17&displaylang=en) on how to configure and use Windows System Resource Manager to manage Clusters.


 


For those of you not familiar with WSRM, it’s a free product that comes with Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition or DataCenter – both of which you can run a cluster on today. http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/techinfo/overview/wsrmfastfacts.mspx.


 


Here are a few features of WSRM:


 


  • Set CPU and memory allocation policies on applications. This includes selecting processes to be managed, and setting resource usage targets or limits.
  • Manage CPU utilization (percent CPU in use).
  • Limit the process working set size (physical resident pages in use).
  • Manage committed memory (pagefile usage).
  • Apply policies to users or groups on a Terminal Services application server.
  • Apply policies on a date/time schedule.
  • Generate, store, view, and export resource utilization accounting records for management, service level agreement (SLA) tracking, and charge-back purposes.

 


Basically you ensure with WSRM that your clustered application gets the resources it needs and so does your base OS. This way Exchange or SQL gets everything it can without impacting normal operations.


 


The article correctly states that WSRM is not cluster-aware. It will monitor individual computers in a cluster J I would follow the best practice of configuring each clustered node with WSRM and identical resource allocation policies, process matching criteria, and other components of WSRM. Scripting the process is an excellent way to configure WSRM, as the articles title suggests.

Exchange, ISA, Windows, Live Meeting, Misc.

Exchange:


How does Outlook 2003 Cached Mode leverage Exchange 2003 Full-Text Indexing?


http://blogs.technet.com/exchange/archive/2005/07/22/408103.aspx


 


.NET Rocks! – Russ Nemhauser Talks Mobility + More


http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=8120af86-fc92-4623-a6f3-514d1b71e645&displaylang=en


 


ISA:


ISACertTool for Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2004 Enterprise Edition


http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=f8f60164-c5a5-4716-9ff4-2d56c86506c3&displaylang=en


 


MSDEToText Tool for Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2004


http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=a60a09a0-e4ad-47c7-9961-5e22e65ca986&displaylang=en


 


CacheDir Tool for Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2004


http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=88117626-d72c-4cc8-a15f-c1fbdbcff688&displaylang=en


 


RemoveAllNLBSettings Tool for Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2004 Enterprise Edition


http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=1b02dfa5-b982-48cd-ad4c-b72bbac0002f&displaylang=en


 


Remote Access Quarantine tool for ISA Server 2004


http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=17897522-ab69-46e0-9860-e2d9ec8ca122&displaylang=en


 


Windows:


Windows 2000 Authorization Manager Runtime


http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=7edde11f-bcea-4773-a292-84525f23baf7&displaylang=en


 


Live Meeting:


Live Meeting 2005: Microsoft Office Live Meeting Intranet Portal SP2


http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=429bb528-fd1b-45b7-af2b-cbbf4a8e65ff&displaylang=en


 


Miscellaneous:


Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Privacy: The Microsoft Perspective


http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=eeb9de77-c1ee-4c7b-8db9-00614b8bee63&displaylang=en


 


MSN Screen Saver (Beta) – Interesting stuff


http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=9a53f492-b999-465f-ac70-435536bafa33&displaylang=en


 


Microsoft Video Screensaver – must be screensaver week at MS?


http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=6405ff4f-9bc4-40dd-aa30-ed4ffe02baac&displaylang=en

Surviving the Windows Server 2003 Cluster Bomb – Review

The following is an article recently published about clustering and recovering from a failure:


http://www.serverpipeline.com/showArticle.jhtml;jsessionid=AGZPAZLXNB4QMQSNDBCCKH0CJUMEKJVN?articleId=166400601


 


I would like to point out a few things. First go read the article (leave it open, so you can flip back to it below). Then come back here for my review.


 


Page 1:


First mistake – Running an Active/Active (A/A) cluster is a very bad idea. Period! Since the cluster is on Windows Server 2003, a third node that can handle a failure of either Exchange or SQL should be added. This implementation is not mission critical worthy – as is. The biggest issue here would be memory fragmentation. Windows learns how to page and react over time to running your applications, when an A/A server fails, the remaining server takes a very big performance hit.


 


Second mistake – Much like the first mistake, installing the Exchange & SQL bits (binaries) on the same machine. Yes, I know that Microsoft does this with Small Business Server, but they tweak things to allow them to work nicely together. Never do this for any reason. With a third node, both will be installed, but only 1 would be running at a time.


 


Third mistake – Performing a major (or minor) outage without a fully tested restore procedure and backups. On page 2 it states the current backups were not getting everything. They only figured this out during this fire drill. Shame on them for getting exactly what was required or heaven forbid actually testing a restore.


 


Ka . . . . boom? What does that mean? What really happened? What lesson was learned from the Ka . . . . boom? Can you prevent it from happening again? Sure, you can restore/rebuild, but can you prevent it? You should always learn something from a disaster or you are dooming into repeating it.


 


Option 1 – Several tools were not mention that are freely available. http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/windowsserver2003/library/TechRef/7e782055-450b-46dd-a0a4-164eebf2ae18.mspx lists one of my favorite – the Server Cluster Recovery Utility.


 


 


Page 2:


10 hours to get SQL back up and running? What the heck!!! That would be an install and attach method. If you have a proper backup (and tested restore), it pretty easy. Restore SQL and the System State and use it J The whole process will not take that long!


 


Again I feel it’s important to note that with the Cluster Recovery Utility you can get the signature back again. The process takes seconds.


 


4th paragraph – Having a dead cluster database on one node DOES NOT mean it is dead on the others. The information is stored in the registry of each node and within the quorum. I have seen the quorum corrupted, I have not seen the cluster Hive of the registry corrupted – I have only seen it become out of date (as in a server was turned off when something happened).


 


You can rebuild the quorum. http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/windowsserver2003/library/ServerHelp/c9fe11a9-97c0-496a-9223-ed4b77786368.mspx lists the 4 areas that need to be backuped. You do not have to use the Automated System Recovery (ASR) to backup and restore your cluster. It is nice and works great, but it is not the only way. Here is a third party article on recovery with normal System State backups (assuming total hardware failure) http://seer.support.veritas.com/docs/262709.htm.

Windows Server 2003 Clustering Training in New York City (NYC) September 6-9, 2005

I have been asked by Netlan to teach a custom, but yet still public Windows Server 2003 Clustering/NLB course. The class will run from Tuesday September 6th through Friday September 9th, 2005. Seating is limited so call the number below or email Patrick Power PPower@netlan.com.


Netlan Technology Center, Inc.


39 West 37th Street, 11th floor
New York, NY 10018
Ph: 212-730-5900  Fax: 212-730-4411


You can find out more about the course here – http://www.netlan.com/CourseDetails.php?cNo=2087X


 


I hope to see/meet you in NYC J

Exchange, SQL, Security, Live Meeting, LCS, SMS, Misc.

Exchange:


Exchange 2003 Server Service Pack 2 (SP2) Anti-Spam Framework – I love this blog, I wish they would post more!!!!


http://blogs.technet.com/exchange/archive/2005/07/18/407838.aspx


 


The NoMAS Tool – What its? When do you use it? Why did PSS develop it?


http://www.msexchange.org/articles/NoMAS-Tool.html


 


Restoring Exchange Server 2003 to alternate Hardware


http://www.msexchange.org/tutorials/Restoring-Exchange-Server2003-Alternate-Hardware.html


 


SQL:


MSDN TV: Introduction to Analysis Services 2005


http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=79d0ff2e-f7d6-4f27-b06a-c6476cfc172a&displaylang=en


 


Security:


Microsoft® Windows AntiSpyware (Beta) – Version 1.0.615


http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=321cd7a2-6a57-4c57-a8bd-dbf62eda9671&displaylang=en


 


Live Meeting:


Live Meeting 2005 Document: Live Meeting 2005 Add-in Deployment Guide


http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=69021ddb-d8d0-4bd2-9551-9500c2e66521&displaylang=en


 


LCS:


Live Communications Server 2005 Document: Configuring Certificates


http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=779dedaa-2687-4452-901e-719ce6ec4e5a&displaylang=en


 


SMS:


Active Directory Schema Modification and Publishing for Systems Management Server 2003


http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=d1de764c-8e26-455f-bee5-34fb1ca9f2c4&displaylang=en


 


Systems Management Server (SMS) 2003: Configuration and Operation of Advanced Client Roaming


http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=37ac2246-453a-4418-b026-f7140a6fce3c&displaylang=en


 


Miscellaneous:


Windows Server System Reference Architecture (WSSRA)

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=d44e34ec-b4e2-49a1-9f40-9ed4ba3765df&displaylang=en

Expand your SAN partition on your Windows 2000 or Windows Server 2003 Cluster Shared Disk

Question:


How can we expand a couple of volumes in our SAN infrastructure that are used for our Clustering solution?


 


I have Knowledge Base article 304736 – http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;304736.   How much downtime am I looking at?


 


Answer:


Great question! I did this not that long ago… The dispart part is seconds. And I mean seconds. Lets break down the Q article steps (Microsoft steps in italics, my comments in bold):


 


First you have to prepare the SAN, which should not involve any downtime for the SAN or your cluster. This of course assumes that your SAN allows this action (contact the hardware vendor). Depending on the amount of space added this step could take from minutes to weeks.


 


1.

Back up the shared disk (or disks) that that you want to extend.

Excellent idea. You just never know J

2.

Power off all but one node in the cluster.

Yes, I mean completely power them off – nodes 2-8 (if you have that many).

3.

Take the entire group that the physical disk resource is located in offline. Bring only the physical disk resource that is to be extended online. This process should close any open handles to the disk.

This is where the outage starts. Make sure you on the controlling node (the only booted on at this point) when you do this step.

NOTE: If you have any disk or Host Bus Adapter (HBA) utilities that access the disk, you may need to quit them or stop the services so that they will release any handles to the disk.

Good advice.

4.

Add the additional physical drives and extend the additional disk or disks as free space by using the instructions that are included with the hardware vendor documentation.

I had not had to do anything with this step, but you might. Again, check with your hardware vendor before proceeding.

5.

Click All Programs, point to Administrative Tools, click Computer Management, and then start the Disk Management console. Verify that the new free space is added to the end of the proper drive. Right-click the existing partition, and then click Properties. On the General tab, type a unique name for the partition. This name will be used to identify the partition you want to extend in Diskpart.exe. Quit Computer Management.

You might have to Rescan to see the new space. You may already have a name for the partition, if so you don’t have to give it a new name (as long as the first name is unique).

NOTE If you encounter any problems with the preceding two steps while you are extending the drive, contact your hardware vendor for assistance.

6.

At a command prompt, type DISKPART, and then press ENTER to start Diskpart.exe.

7.

Type LIST VOLUME, and then press ENTER to display the existing volumes on the computer.

8.

Type SELECT VOLUME volume number, and then press ENTER, where volume number is the number of the volume that you want to extend. Note that the volume will have the unique name that you created in step 5, and will have been listed in the output of the command you ran in step 7.

Aren’t you glad you name the partitions already?

9.

Type EXTEND, and then press ENTER to extend the partition into all of the available disk space to the end of the drive.

Dang, that is easy! Yes, it only takes a few seconds to extend. Can I bill the customer for a 3 minute job? Of course I can and will J

10.

Type EXIT, and then press ENTER.

11.

Now that the volume has been extended, you can bring the entire group that contains the physical disk resource online, and then power up all of the other nodes in the cluster.

Don’t hold your breath, this step is simple.

12.

Verify that the group can come online and failover to all other nodes in the cluster.

Tip – turn the rest of the nodes on before you try to move group to them J



As you can see, it’s really not that hard! The last time I did it on a two node cluster, the outage was under 20 seconds, though I still preformed it during a maintenance window :) The whole process under 3 minutes with proper preparation.

A good keyboard can make the world of a difference

This week Microsoft announced a new keyboard.  Last year at the company store I purchased this keyboard.  I really liked the sound features in the middle. Earlier this year I won a contest and got this keyboard. 


 


So what is the common thread here? Sounds, Launch Buttons, Mute, etc. The newer keyboards have the sliders on them, these are really handy – once you get used to them. While within any document you can make the font lager or smaller with the slider, this really comes in handy.


 


I love to listen to music why I work, Sirius Radio being my favorite. With the sound buttons (Up, Down, Mute) I can adjust the music level when the phone rings or someone walks up to my desk. I love this. The links allow me to launch my favorite work sites without much hassle J


 


So, what’s in a good keyboard? Ease of use. Features you had no idea you wanted or would even use. Sound controls J

Microsoft’s Worldwide Partnering Conference 2005

As you can see by my recent activity, I am back. I presented 10 Hands On Labs on various topics:


  • HOL 540 ISA 2004 Enterprise Edition
  • HOL 533 Installing and Configuring Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) for Claims Aware Applications
  • HOL 536 Migrating Windows NT 4.0 to SBS 2003
  • HOL 531 Windows Small Business Server 2003 –  Customizing Windows SharePoint Services – Part 2
  • HOL 539 Microsoft Windows Rights Management Services (RMS)

While I did not attend any formal sessions, I can say the parties at night were excellent :)


I look forward to meeting more of you next year in Boston :)