Strange Reboots

This isn’t going to be a terribly helpful post, but I do think it is interesting.  I have a server that is exhibiting some strange behavior.  When I copy a file to the server it reboots. 

At first, I thought this was a specific file, but later determined that it didn’t matter what the file was as long as it was over 4 MB.  I copied a 1 KB file and nothing happened.  I copied a file just under 5 MB and the system locked up, and then rebooted. 

I thought maybe it was a problem with the file, so I copied it local to my computer.  No problem. hmm…

I copied it directly from the source server to the destination server. Crashed the destination.  Weird…

I copied it from my computer to the destination server.  No problem.  I copied a very large (2 GB) file from my computer to the destination computer.  No problem.

I was about to decom that server anyway.  Bombs away…

StorSimple Virtual Array

I really like Microsoft.  As a company, they don’t always do things the way I would like them to, but overall, they make products that meet a need.

We operate in a (mostly) centralized infrastructure.  Our file servers are (mostly) in our main office.  I have a few virtualized StorSimple appliances that I use in a couple of the remote offices. 

Today, I learned that they may occasionally throttle themselves if they are having trouble keeping up with the churn rate.  I probably would have expected this, but I didn’t really put as much thought into that until today. 

I also learned that this can impede a users ability to make changes to or save new files on that share.   This is somewhat frustrating because an error caused it to throttle today, not (apparently) the churn rate.  And my first alert was from the end users.    Bummer…

Even better, the engineer saying “we’ve never seen that one before”.

Back Up!

So after several months of not being accessible, my blog is once again available.  I know that there are thousands of people (or maybe just me) that missed my blog while it was down. 

So I would like to have some grand reason for being down so long, but the simple fact is, we made some network changes here and this blog wasn’t very high on the priority list.  Such is life…

Not quite yet…

So the other day I said that I was moving this blog to Azure.  I have tinkered with that, and am actually making a little progress.  (This happens when you put little effort/time into something).  I decided to bring it back up where it was in order to do an easier transfer of the image content.  We shall see how that works out.  Wish me luck…

Migrating to Azure

So, at the time of this writing, my blog is down.  If you are reading this, then I must have succeeded in migrating it to Azure for hosting.  If I didn’t succeed, maybe I will be the only one who reads this.  I am an “on again/ off again” blogger, so anything is possible.

I have until a few months ago, hosted this blog on a server running on infrastructure at my employer.  I do that, because it is a good price (free) and because I mostly talk to myself in this blog anyway. 

There is a fairly simple “how to” on creating a WordPress site in Azure.  I am following this post to create a temporary site to test with.  If all goes well, I will do a test migration to this and then do it again to a “production” instance.

So far so good:

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Open Live Writer

Since it first came out, I have been a fan of what was “Windows Live Writer”.  It was probably one of the simplest, and friendliest tools that came from Microsoft in the Windows Live time frame (in my opinion).   I recall coming across something a while back that reference an update to Live Writer, and today I actually downloaded it.

This post was written with “Open Live Writer”.  Cool right?

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Express Route Provisioning Error

 

We have recently decided to invest in an Express Route circuit for Azure.  It is supposed to be helpful with Azure and Office 365.  There are two ways to provision the ExpressRoute circuit.  Both require PowerShell.

There is the classic: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/articles/expressroute-howto-circuit-classic/

And there is the Resource Manager: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/articles/expressroute-howto-circuit-arm/

Here is the note about those options:

Resource Manager: This is the newest deployment model for Azure resources. Most newer resources already support this deployment model and eventually all resources will.

Classic: This model is supported by most existing Azure resources today. New resources added to Azure will not support this model.

This seems to indicate that using Resource Manager is the right way to go long term.

The problem (for me currently) is the documentation isn’t quite where I think it should be.  If you try to run the commands to setup Express Route and ask for detailed help, you get little if any helpful information. 

One item that kind of bothers me.  When you request the service provider information using the “Get-AzureRmExpressRouteServiceProvider” command, the results are not as informative as they need to be.  I say this because the results look like this:

Name              : Verizon
Id                : /subscriptions//resourceGroups//providers/Microsoft.Network/expressRouteServiceProviders/
ProvisioningState :
Type              : Microsoft.Network/expressRouteServiceProviders
PeeringLocations  : null
BandwidthsOffered : null

Name              : Vodafone
Id                : /subscriptions//resourceGroups//providers/Microsoft.Network/expressRouteServiceProviders/
ProvisioningState :
Type              : Microsoft.Network/expressRouteServiceProviders
PeeringLocations  : null
BandwidthsOffered : null

Name              : Zayo Group
Id                : /subscriptions//resourceGroups//providers/Microsoft.Network/expressRouteServiceProviders/
ProvisioningState :
Type              : Microsoft.Network/expressRouteServiceProviders
PeeringLocations  : null
BandwidthsOffered : null

From that you are supposed to then run a command (per the documentation) that looks like this:

New-AzureRmExpressRouteCircuit -Name "ExpressRouteARMCircuit" -ResourceGroupName "ExpressRouteResourceGroup" -Location "West US" -SkuTier Standard -SkuFamily MeteredData -ServiceProviderName "Equinix" -PeeringLocation "Silicon Valley" -BandwidthInMbps 200

The problem is the previous results don’t give you the PeeringLocation.  All of them come back as “null”.  I looked at the sample output from the “Classic” process and picked the location that seemed to make the most sense.  The command finished so I assume that it worked correctly. 

StorSimple Virtual Appliance

I have been interested in StorSimple for some time, but haven’t actually used it before.  Recently, Microsoft announced a virtual appliance preview.  It looks pretty interesting and I have a test scenario where I want to use it.  If my testing goes well, I may expand my use of it. 

The documentation on it is pretty intimidating, since there are 15 PDFs to help you get started.

It is supported running on VMware and Hyper-V, and use cases are:

  • File Server – User file shares or Department file shares
  • iSCSI Server – Small SQL databases or User home folders

My initial test will be as a small departmental file share.

2015 Blog Report

Well, I didn’t hit the number I was hoping to hit.  I made it to 162, and I was hoping to make it to 175.  Maybe by the end of 2016?

Since this is a WordPress site and I use Jetpack here is a nice little report provided with no effort on my part: http://jetpack.me/annual-report/6842850/2015/

Shrinking volumes

Sometimes, I find it useful to shrink volumes.  This happens about once every 2 or 3 years.  Since I do it so infrequently, I have to look it up every time.

In my experience, while you can do it from the GUI, it isn’t always successful.  Also, I have not ever seen it work to try and shrink it by the complete amount that is available to shrink.  My experiences are related to very large (larger than 1 TB) volumes.

To shrink via the command line, at an elevated prompt, do the following:

Diskpart – this is the disk management CLI

List volumes – this is the diskpart cmd that gives you a list of volumes (not to be confused with the list of disks

select volume <#> – this is how you select the volume that you want to work on, i.e. “select volume 2

shrink querymax – this tells you how much space can be trimmed off the volume.  There are several factors that affect this, but the primary things are how big the volume is to begin with, and where on that volume the un-movable system files  are located.

shrink desired=<size in MB> – this tells the volume to shrink by the amount of space given in MB.  I.e. “shrink desired=102400” will shrink the volume by 100GB.

shrink minimum=<size in MB> – this tells the volume to shrink by the amount specified, but only if it can shrink by that amount

You can use the minimum and desired together if you want.  You can also add a “NOWAIT” so that the prompt returns and you don’t have to wait to see the results.