Archive for the 'Operational Excellence' Category

Monitoring drive space

One of the things that we spend a lot of time on is trying to keep track of what servers have enough free space.  We have a lot of different tools to check drive space, and we even use some of them from time to time.  We have a pretty complicated system created by Rickey that creates a nice webpage, with highlighting for problem areas (percentage change from day to day, current percent free, etc.)  It even puts the info into a database for historical reporting.

We don’t store or report on VMs currently, mainly because we were trying to keep track of total REAL disk used.  VMs often don’t use as much as they think they do, so that would skew the results, as well as the fact that we are reporting on the hosts. 

All of that is the reason that Patrick asked me to come up with some other tool to use for the VMs so I happened to find a few pieces of PowerShell script that I managed to put together to do a pretty good job of providing some of the info we wanted, and I thought I would share that with the 2 people who read my blog.  🙂


$servers = Get-Content servers.txt

#Open Excel and create a new workbook and worksheet
$ExcelSheet=New-Object -comobject Excel.application   

#Header row
$WorkSheet.cells.item(1,1)=”Computer Name”               
$WorkSheet.cells.item(1,2)=”Disk Device ID”              
$WorkSheet.cells.item(1,3)=”Volume Name”                 
$WorkSheet.cells.item(1,4)=”Size (GB)”        
$WorkSheet.cells.item(1,5)=”Free Space (GB)”
$WorkSheet.cells.item(1,6)=”Space Used (GB)”
$WorkSheet.cells.item(1,7)=”Percent Used”


ForEach ($ComputerName in $servers)
    echo "Server Name : ", $ComputerName
    $Disks = gwmi –computername $ComputerName win32_logicaldisk -filter "drivetype=3"

    foreach ($Disk in $Disks)
        $Size = "{0:0.0}" -f ($Disk.Size/1GB)
        $FreeSpace = "{0:0.0}" -f ($Disk.FreeSpace/1GB)
        $Used = ([int64]$Disk.size – [int64]$Disk.freespace)
        $SpaceUsed = "{0:0.0}" -f ($Used/1GB)
        $Percent = ($Used * 100.0)/$Disk.Size
        $Percent = "{0:N0}" -f $Percent

#Show the results

It’s all in the Clouds…

Recently I attended the Microsoft Management Summit in Las Vegas.  One of the big pushes that is on the minds of everyone these days, is the Cloud Computing concept.  As a Systems Engineer, the thought is that I should be afraid of this push, because it moves the processing out of the datacenter and into a hosted environment.  During the conference this was addressed in part by saying, you can have it both ways…  You can have the Cloud available in a “Capacity on Demand” kind of way, but also use the same technologies to manage your Private Cloud.

I came accross an interesting article that addresses some of this concern with the suggestion that IT needs to learn how to build and manage the Private Cloud:

One of the biggest strategic challenges facing IT organizations today is remaining competitive in a world full of cloud services that essentially outsource the IT function.

How to Build Private Clouds – IT Management

Raise Your Data Center Temperature

After following a link to a story about Google’s abilities to “route around outages” that Patrick had on his Blog, I saw a link to another story about Google’s Data Center practices.  Apparently you don’t have to keep the Data Center frigid these days… 

Most data centers operate in a temperature range between 68 and 72 degrees, and some are as cold as 55 degrees. Raising the baseline temperature inside the data center – known as a set point – can save money spent on air conditioning. Data center managers can save 4 percent in energy costs for every degree of upward change in the set point, according to Mark Monroe of Sun Microsystems, who discussed data center set points at a conference last year. But nudging the thermostat higher may also leave less time to recover from a cooling failure, and is only appropriate for companies with a strong understanding of the cooling conditions in their facility

Google: Raise Your Data Center Temperature « Data Center Knowledge

Multiple Categories in a SharePoint Blog

I recently came up with an idea to use an internal blog to document stuff happening in our group at work.  (Document what you know…) 

The problem was that SharePoint Blogs by default limit you to one category per post and that just would be as helpful in my mind.  So I did a search and came up with this post on Lawrence Liu’s Blog.

Document what you know…

or maybe even what you don’t know?

I recently (last night) came up with an idea on how to do a better job of sharing information with the rest of my department.  We use SharePoint for a lot of things.  It occurred to me that a Blog would be a good way of sharing information on how to fix issues, troubleshoot issues or even to say “we know there is a problem, but we haven’t figured it out yet.

Well you don’t really want to put that stuff out in public unless it has been cleared of information that you don’t want everyone to know about.  Specifics of your organization may end up there and it would probably be a good idea to not allow that sort of information to be just randomly published.  But if it is an internal, authentication required to view, you must have a reason for being there kind of place…

So we have set up a Blog site for our group.  A colleague and I will try it and see if we can get the rest of the guys on board with it.  (That is if I can get him interested.)