Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Expanding my horizons

Lately my time at work has been devoted to less-than-computerie pursuits. While my new responsibilities are important the the company I'm beginning to feel detached from the type of work that I am passionate about. I'm thinking about learning a new skill that will assist me in my IT duties at work and hopefully bring me back to a place where I'm really interested in what I'm doing. I haven't decided what I want to learn but here are some ideas I'm floating around:

- Programming. I haven't done much since high school and its always in the back of my mind. My problem is always finding a project that gives me focus.

- Certifications. I could start studying for a CompTIA certification or MCSE. I have never taken one of these tests and I think it would be good to start collecting certs, but studying isn't really the same thing as learning a new skill.

By the end of the week I will make a decision. Whatever I choose to do will probably end up as a regular post on here.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Read-Only Friday

Read-Only Friday is a wonderful tradition. It is the day of the week where one avoids making any changes to his or her production environment at all costs. The goal is to prevent having a terrible weekend when a change is made that has unintended (and potentially dire) consequences.

If there are problems, of course they need to be resolved but Read-Only Friday is not a day to roll out updates or bring machines or services down for maintenance. This is all especially true for small businesses like the one I work for that don't budget for redundancy.

It is also a good day to enjoy cheese steaks and non-diet colas.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

iSCSI > NFS for VMWare - Just don't buy a Drobo

A while back I posted about fighting with VMWare ESXi to get an NFS share mounted as a datastore. Eventually we pulled the trigger on an iSCSI device to start our own little SAN. The SAN was a good idea, but the Drobo B800i that we bought was not. Even with the recommended hard drives the performance is very poor. We are using it to run our Exchange server but that's about all it can handle - even on a dedicated gigabit network with jumbo frames enabled. Apparently "VMWare Certified" does not mean all that much.

JitBit again

We've been using JitBit for about 6 months now and I'm pretty happy with it. It isn't very feature-rich but it keeps track of tickets just fine. There are probably equally good free solutions out there but now that we've paid up we might as well stick with it.

Quite a while ago I configured our old phone server as a monitoring box running Nagios and Cacti. The combination has been invaluable to me. There is nothing more satisfying than getting a call from a user about a problem and being able to say that you've already found and fixed it. The configuration requires a lot of manual work but it was definitely worth it.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I'm trying out another ticketing system for work. We need something that will manage internal support tickets as well external access for customer service. I've done quite a bit of research and decided to try out JitBit Help Desk. Its free to try and only about $380 for the full version (if you host it locally, which I am).

If it doesn't work out, ZenDesk looks really good. Unfortunately its a subscription service and I'd rather not add anything else to our monthly bills.

Friday, January 14, 2011

I Heart Newegg

I ordered 4 Hanns-G monitors from Newegg yesterday around 3pm. They arrived this morning at about 9:30.

I love you Newegg. Don't ever leave me.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Deploying Ultra VNC with Group Policy

I found a program on Sourceforge today that customizes an UltraVNC Server install and repacks it into an MSI file for Group Policy installation. The whole setup went very smoothly. Just don't forget to add a Windows Firewall exception to the GPO.

The download also includes the installer for UltraVNC itself.