Dell PowerEdge 2850 Hardware issues

Dell we have a problem.

It has come to my attention that ALL DELL PE2850’s have a hardware issue. It seems the dudes at Dell really messed up some firmware updates. If you are not running BIOS A06 and BMC 1.68 or higher download Dell’s Server Update Utility 5.1.1. ( or later (I have only tested 5.1.1 though). Get 5.2 here

So what happens if you are running the bad version? CPU IERR EO7F0 on every CPU in the machine at the same time. And then you get the famous Dell amber flashing light. Every OS locks up without processors, no really they do. If you call Dell Support (which I have done), you get greeted by a tech that says “Hi, welcome to Dell support. Please update your firmware and BIOS.”. DOH!


Windows Server Codename "Longhorn" Beta 3 is out

But if you want to test failover clustering….

Standard SCSI based clustering will no longer work (yes I tested it, no go). 

Rocket Division StarWind will be the product you want to use to test Failover Clustering. You will have to wait until the June 2007 time frame while they make it work with Beta 3.

FalconStor iSCSI Storage Server I am not sure when they will support it.

Microsoft bought StringBean ( which has a great WinTarget program. The program is now part of Windows Unified Data Storage Server and it called Microsoft iSCSI Software Target. That one works today, if you are lucky enough to have a copy.


April 18th I was invited to Microsoft for the first every IT Pro Townhall event. We were not allowed to take pictures, so I don’t have any of those, but we could take notes. Here are my random notes and thoughts:

 We started the daily with an early breakfast. Looking around the room everyone had one thing on their mind, how did I make the cut with all these smart people? It was a who-is-who of the IT industry.

Panel Discussion #1 – Next generation of the Web and its implications on IT Professionals; both as consumers and in the enterprise

First up was a session on Web 2.0 with Bill Veghie (Microsoft), Chris Jones (Microsoft) and Craig Barnes (Attensa)


·         Chris Jones @ Microsoft – does not know what it means. Applications are more interactive.

·         RSS, dash boards, combination of data that was simply not possible before, integration, blogging, Google/Yahoo are bringing spreadsheet content to the web, both online/offline, AJAX, face book

·         Stating Wikipedia as fact, not a great Web 2.0 idea.

·         Collaboration

·         Interoperation and credentials

·         Tracking data back to an original source, audit

·         Community, social networking, social information tagging – Richer

·         Reputation based system – Mark Minasi

·         Data is not information – Jesper Johnanson

Panel Discussion #2 – The Evolution of the IT Professional Community

The second session had a panel with Dave Sanders (Culminis), Beth Quinlan (BQ), Kevin Kline (PASS), Lee Benjamin (Exchange Guy Consulting).


·         Hands on lab, virtualization, connecting people and products

·         Relationships – ties it all together

·         User Groups

·         Developers and IT Pro are the real community

Panel Discussion #3 – Data Center trends, Virtualization and Managed Services

This session had an interesting panel – Bob Muglia (Microsoft), Ron Markezich (Microsoft), Dan Holme (Intelllliem), Mark Minasi (MR&D) 


·         Smaller amount of IT professionals, more people running core business

·         Consolidation of storage, pooling resources

·         Microsoft is living all the products in Dog Food

·         Everything can be virtualized – Bob Muglia we will hit that point in the future

·         Check Alert to Ticket ratio, Microsoft using MOM is 1.5

·         Virtualized another egg shell – Jesper

·         IPSec & Server Roles – powerful security

·         Microsoft does this for Energizer – LCS, Exchange, etc.

·         Microsoft should dog food its own licenses

·         Does this phase our IT Pros? No, it empowers them to fix issues and solve problems

·         Assumption was 5 years ago 100% of IT Pro would be off shore, that is not the case today

·         Slimmer product suites, maybe limit Exchange features just calendaring and Internet email

Keynote – Steve Ballmer

·         What is Microsoft?

o   Broad horizontal technologies

§  Desktop

§  Enterprise

§  Online information and commerce

§  Modern consumer electronics

o   Two classes of people   

§  Have an IT department

§  They count on Yahoo or Hosted Services

·         Web 2.0 – CRM, like the Xbox live – PC live and what that means to us

·         Vista slow adoption and any lessoned learn that would help with future products like Longhorn – “it has meet my expectations”

·         What do you think about User Groups – do not under invest in user groups, that would be a mistake and should be rectified.

·         “If you don’t have world class email, you are sorta dead!”

· email me, I will try and get back with you in a week

We are supposed to get a Podcast of the day’s events, if we do I will share (if I am allowed).


How to create a fresh Windows Server 2003 SP1 without install Service Pack 2 (SP2) and still use Windows or Microsoft Update


1)      You need to install a new machine with Windows Server 2003 or R2. You are required to install SP1 because SP2 is not support by your software or  hardware vendor.
You have a Windows Server 2003 SP1 or R2 machine that you need to update, but you don’t want SP2 – yet.
You don’t have a WSUS or all post SP1 patches on a CD/DVD 


Install your OS with SP1 or R2. Run Windows Update and you will see this screen:
the + next to Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 (32-bit x86) and the screen now shows: 



Notice that the Don’t show this update again option is grayed out. Select the Select and install other updates radio button as seen here:
Notice that the Don’t show this update again option is now not grayed out. Select it:
Now the easy step, close your browser and run Windows\Microsoft Update again. It should look something like this:
Now go on and install all the pre SP1 updates
J If you need to install SP2 in the future, download and install it or click on the Restore them now\Restore hidden updates link.
 Sometimes the answer is very simple. 


My Tech Ed Session time is on the web

SVR306 Top 10 Microsoft Windows Server Codename “Longhorn” Failover Clustering Enhancements over Windows Server 2003 Clustering, Based on Best Practices 6/6/2007 10:15AM-11:30AM

Be the very first to learn about Windows Server codename “Longhorn” Failover Clustering. Are you using Windows Server 2003 Clustering? Are you following best practices? In this session we explore Windows Server codename “Longhorn” Failover Clustering by comparing it to Windows Server 2003 Clustering based on current best practices. The session begins with hardware configuration issues, concerns, and best practices—then and now. Next, we explore operating system configuration issues, concerns, and best practices. Then, we move on to the cluster service, and finally applications. After this session you will look forward to deploying Windows Server codenamed “Longhorn” Failover Clustering.

Look for a few excellent demos of Beta 3. I will also be at the Microsoft clustering/HA booth answering questions, handing out flyers, etc.


Before you run off and install Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 (SP2)…

Of course read my other blog posts on SP2, but also go and download this – Hotfix Scan Tool for Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 Deployment. Its a simple install, then you run it by doing this:

From the command prompt type: 

 cscript c:\windows\system32\HotfixScanTool.vbs

 The output should look like this:

Microsoft (R) Windows Script Host Version 5.6

Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation 1996-2001. All rights reserved.


Detecting if any updates in the Block installation list were installed on the system…


No updates in the block installation list were detected.

You can proceed to install Windows Server 2003 SP2

Feel free to install SP2 (if you have tested it and full vendor support).

Clustering terms made easy

Clusters are Highly Available and should never be considered Fault Tolerant.

Highly Available = is when I come anytime my wife calls me.
Fault Tolerant = Marriage.

You don’t want to be married to you SQL/Exchange Cluster 🙂 You do want it around whenever you need it though.

Active/Active = when your cluster is too busy for its own good.
Active/Passive = one worker, one manager, you decide which is which.
Node = Clustered computer, could also be the worker who sits in a cube, not to be confused with Dude.
Virtual Server = this is kind of like be on a telecom at work, only you are calling in from Hawaii and nobody knows.
Quorum = Cluster=Quorum, Quorum=Clustering.
Failover = the only time at work that you can fail and still be a hero.
Failback = great way to get fired, let your server failover without you controlling it (Don’t confuse with the above term).
Cluster = when it fails, also known as a Cluster Fork, only fork is spelled funny – u c what I mean?

Yes, I know, this post should have been on April 1st [:)]


Microsoft MVP for another year

I just got done playing Xbox 360 and before I go to bed I thought I would check my email and the hockey scores. Here is what the email said:

Congratulations! We are pleased to present you with the 2007 Microsoft® MVP Award!
The Microsoft MVP Award is our way of saying thank you and to honor and support the significant contributions you make to communities worldwide. As a recipient of Microsoft’s Most Valuable Professional award, you join an elite group of technical community leaders from around the world who foster the free and objective exchange of knowledge by actively sharing your real world expertise with users and Microsoft.  Microsoft salutes all MVPs for promoting the spirit of community and enhancing people’s lives and the industry’s success everyday.  To learn more about the MVP Program, visit:

Your extraordinary efforts in Windows Server – Clustering technical communities during the past year are greatly appreciated.

This is my 4th year in the program. Nice, thank you Microsoft.