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Showing posts from 2011

Active Directory and USN Rollback

Blog, how I’ve neglected you. Not for lack of things to write about, but crazy things have been happening lately. I’ve been designing and implementing Active Directory and everything that goes along with it (GPOs, file storage, backups, redundancy...and the list goes on).

I have learned quite a bit from this so far and would love to share with you what I have learned. Lack of time restricts what I can share right now, so perhaps I’ll share a little tidbit of information I learned very quickly: Never, EVER, under any circumstances, restore a virtual domain controller from a snapshot. This most likely will result in a USN rollback event, in which all domain controllers in the domain think that they’re the most recent version of the AD database, causing replication to completely fail. It is extremely difficult (if not impossible) to recover from a USN rollback. Trust me, I tried. My solution? Completely delete and redeploy Windows 2008 servers and setup AD completely fresh. And never rest…

Summer Progress: A Reflection

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School starts Wednesday.

This blog post is more about self-affirmation of what went on this summer than anything else, but I think it's worth sharing. Man, the summer has gone by way too fast. Here's a list of some of the things we accomplished this summer:

Replaced all our Novell servers with Cisco routers at our sites, with standardized DHCP ranges etc.
Moved all services and file storage that were running on Novell to other servers.
Setup, cabled and configured two Dell Poweredge R710, two Dell Powerconnect 6224 switches and an Equallogic PS4000x SAN for virtualization. (Thankfully, Dell helped us out with that. Of course, we paid for it.)
Installed and configured VMware vSphere on the two host servers and SAN.
Setup several Windows Server 2008 VMs to act as our primary and secondary internal DNS (integrated with AD) and swapped out our old DNS servers.
Changed our domain name to something much easier to type, which we are still experiencing the ramifications of that today. This i…

Update: Archiving Google Apps with Lightspeed, and Virtualization

It's been a while since I last posted...figured I owed it to people to give them an update of what's been going on.

First, archiving Google Apps email with Lightspeed TTC. This is by far the most popular subject that people who visit my site are searching for (according to Google Analytics). Of course, 'most popular' means all of three or so people who are interested in the subject. But there is enough interest out there that I'd better keep talking about it. After moving to Google Apps for Education, our initial goal was to use Postini for archiving email for the first year to make life easy for us, and then look into possibly moving to our own email archiving system in-house, which would be Lightspeed TTC email archiving. However, while this is a great idea (and still one we may consider) our plans and hopes were dampened by us actually having to USE Lightspeed's email archiving system to retrieve emails. Now, chances are we didn't do this right. And the …

Uninstall Novell Client (silently)

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Now, I realize that this is going to be a very specific-case post, as not everyone is using Novell, and even then, not everyone is going to be running into the same problems we are. However, perhaps what I ran across will be useful for at least some people.

The day we began uninstalling Novell Client was a happy day in my life. I never have liked needing a separate client to do what can be done with Active Directory and domain services built-in to the Windows operating system. However, I quickly found out that uninstalling Novell Client (the version we are using is 4.95) is not a simple task to automate with a basic batch file. I like making my life easier, even if I can't push out a batch file to multiple computers I like being able to automate the tasks so I don't have to mindlessly click the same prompts over and over and over….ad nauseam.

I ran across the following command:

RUNDLL32.EXE NWSETUP.DLL NWUninstallClient

This command, when run from a command window and/or batch fil…

More on Google Apps and Archiving with Lightspeed

Checking the analytics for my blog, it appears that archiving Google Apps email with Lightspeed's "Message Journaling" feature is by far the most popular (which isn't saying much, as my blog does not get very much traffic anyway).

As an update to this possibility--I'll share a little chat I had with Lightspeed's tech support the other day. We had a problem with our Groupwise email not being archived at all (don't ask, long story), and, as part of the process to get it back up and running, I called Lightspeed's tech support. During the course of our conversation I asked about the possibility of Google Apps email being supported by Lightspeed anytime soon...the customer support representative went on to tell me that they have been getting requests for that, and that it's something they probably would be looking into in the future, although he was pretty vague about it. I mentioned to him about the idea of the 'Incoming' and 'Outgoing'…

Respect

Respect of other people is a vital part of a functioning, healthy society. Giving respect to others seems to be a common mantra, at least in the high school I went to....

It is extremely important that those of us who work with students give them all the respect they deserve and more. Why? Because these students are the future--and that is not just a buzz-phrase. They may very well be your boss, representative, or even the guy coming to fix the plumbing in your house....and if they remember you as the technician, teacher or educator who yelled at them (or otherwise acted negatively toward them) how is that going to affect your future professional relationship?

Seems like when I was going to school, respect seemed to be mainly a one-way street with some teachers. My classmates and I had to give our teachers and authority respect, but we were just little grubmuffins who didn't deserve the time of day. Obviously, this more the exception to the rule rather than a blanket statement, but …

Education and Shiny New Technology

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Apple's iPad has been beaten to death (figuratively), analyzed, and picked apart by numerous people, bloggers, commentators, know-it-alls, fanboys, and haters. I'm sure I fit in there somewhere, probably somewhere between fanboy and know-it-all.
In case you have been living under a rock for the past couple of days, Apple is releasing the iPad 2 on March 11. It's faster, better, lighter, and so on and so forth, much what you'd expect from Apple's improvements on its own product.

Now, how this relates to education: the iPad is an awesome device and does what it does very, very well. As Apple tends to do, the iPad has defined a whole market and set the bar very, very high. But, despite it's awesomeness, it has been both embraced and despised by those in education. Our Technology Department has leaned toward the 'despising iPad' side of the spectrum. I personally love the idea, and can see many places it would work in the classroom; however, the biggest hurdl…

We Need a Website....why?

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Our department watched a demo of the free version of a hosted website for the school district this morning. My boss has been rolling through the demos and calls in response to her RFP that she put out for webhosting….and this was just another step in the horrendous but necessary Erate process. For those of you not in education, don't ask. Erate is a pain to deal with, although it does allow schools to actually afford technology.

But I digress. As we were watching the demo, a flash of "duh" hit me: what do we even want to accomplish with our website? Everyone knows that if an organization does not have a compelling website, it, in essence, fails to exist. The world does not revolve around yellow phonebooks anymore. But why do we need one with a bunch of bells and whistles? And who is it for? It seemed that we were focusing a lot on comparing shiny things from one CMS company with the perhaps more-shiny tools and widgets from another CMS company.....

As I sat there and thoug…

Install Ubuntu Server for Use as a Simple Router (Stage 1)

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These instructions, which will come in several posts, are from start to finish to set up a simple router that serves out DHCP addresses on the internal network card. I spent a lot of time getting this figured out, as I am not an expert at networking (yet--I will begin working on my CCNA after I finish studying for my A+). If you already have a working installation of Ubuntu Server you may skip this post if you'd like.



As some background on exactly what I'm trying to accomplish here: I built this for work, so your setup may vary. Our setup includes many school sites that are physically separated from each other, but are connected via 100Mb fiber from a service provider back to our Technology Office, which has a Cisco 1841 that already contains all the routes setup to the site routers, which all are setup to serve out DHCP on their own subnet. The reason I was looking into this is to have a cheap, but reliable, replacement for our 15-year-old Compaq servers running Netware 6.5 th…

Setup Ubuntu Server as a Simple Router

These instructions are from start to finish to set up a simple router that serves out DHCP addresses on the internal network card. I spent a lot of time getting this figured out, as I am not an expert at networking (yet--I will begin working on my CCNA after I finish studying for my A+). If you already have a working installation of Ubuntu Server you may skip the first section if you'd like.

As some background on exactly what I'm trying to accomplish here: I built this for work, so your setup may vary. Our setup includes many school sites that are physically separated from each other, but are connected via 100Mb fiber from a service provider back to our Technology Office, which has a Cisco 1841 that already contains all the routes setup to the site routers, which all are setup to serve out DHCP on their own subnet. The reason I was looking into this is to have a cheap, but reliable, replacement for our 15-year-old Compaq servers running Netware 6.5 that are acting as routers. B…

Theoretical Archiving of Google Apps Email with Lightspeed TTC

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This was requested quite a while ago--sorry I haven't been able to share it until now. These are the theoretical steps one would go through to archive Google Apps for Education email with Lightspeed Systems' TTC. I do not take any credit for these instructions/steps--they have been adapted from an email I got from a guy working at a school district in the Midwest. He did have the system working, although I have not had a chance to test it out myself. We will probably look into this a little more seriously after this year is up as our current projects include moving to Windows 2008 Server from Novell, changing to Google Apps email from Groupwise, as well as making many other changes, so email archiving is not a huge priority right now. We're just biting the bullet and paying Postini for email archiving to start off with.

Disclaimer: as the title of this blog post says, these are theoretical, as I actually haven't had a chance to test it out yet. So don't blame me if …

The Beginning of a Journey...

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[caption id="attachment_27" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Some of our servers in our server room..."][/caption]
This is both frightening and exciting at the same time. The beginning of the story is: Dell (as a company) decided that they were sorry for the poor customer service they had provided in our area, so they had a little bit of 'seed' money with which they gave us a free server, built specifically for virtualization. My boss worked her magic as well and was able to pick up another one just like it (Dell PowerEdge R710), a SAN (EqualLogic PS4000X), and a couple copies of VMware ESXi. We have not started the process of setting up the server yet, but it's definitely going to be quite the process but very exciting.


An opportunity like this doesn't happen very often, especially in our school district. To give you a better idea of what I mean, right now we're running servers that are approximately 15 years old, runni…