Archive for 25th August 2014

EVO:RAIL / EVO:RACK – Key Blog Posts

So apparently VMware have announced something new today… You could hardly tell from the 3,000,000 tweets, but apparently it’s causing quite a stir!

Anyway, rather than repeat what many others have already said, I thought I would collate all of the main blog posts relating to this exciting new product.

I for one am looking forward to playing with this at the Hands on Labs in VMworld Barcelona in October!

VMware Official Posts

Mike Laverick (Part VMware / Part vBlogger) 🙂

vBloggers

The Register

Vendors

Hands on Labs

I will update the above list as more posts come out!

My Synology DSM Blue LED issue was actually just a failed drive!

This weekend I spent several hours trying to resolve an issue with my Synology DS413j which I use for backing up my other two Synology hosts (DS412+).

I was experiencing many of the symptoms in the following post, yet I was convinced I could not have been hacked, as this server is not available to the internet! Not only that but I recently updated DSM (2-3 weeks ago) so wondered if this could be the cause?…

http://forum.synology.com/enu/viewtopic.php?f=108&t=82141

After following the full 11 step fix (minus the migratable step as it wouldn’t work), I still had a box which was unresponsive. My symptoms were:

  • Power LED light blinks blue
  • I could not log into the DSM console
  • DSM login simply says “Processing, please wait” forever or eventually times out
  • I was able to ping DSM
  • I could not reset DSM using the reset button on the back of the device
  • Booting of the device took a very long time (up to 20 mins) and Synology Assistant shows “Starting Services…” for a very long time
  • Even after following rebuild steps I could not get the Synology Assistant to show “Migratable”
  • Once booted I could see the SMB shares and access them intermittently

After much head scratching I decided to take each of the drives in turn and test them on my Windows desktop. I have 4 drives in the host, 2x Seagate and 2x WD Red. If any of them were going to fail I believed the Seagate would be at fault, so I tested those first. I plugged in disk number one, ran some tests, all ok. I then plugged in disk number two, and discovered that windows would not even mount the drive. Not only that but it was actually causing device manager to hang.

Faulty drive identified, I powered on the Synology with the remaining 3 drives only. Much to my relief, the system booted within a minute and started to beep, warning me I was missing a drive. DSM is now responding just fine.

I have now ordered a new WD Red drive to replace the failed Seagate (which was out of its very short warranty of course!).

Moral of the story: If your box looks like it may have been hit by SynoLocker but it was never on the internet, try testing all the drives in turn. You may just save yourself a few hours / days of pain!

One other wee tip is to also enable SSH access. I’m not sure if I could have logged in via SSH in the hung state, but it may have given me another troubleshooting avenue.

My VMUG Presentation and FeedForward Experience

I’ve been a regular attendee of the London VMUG for the past 2-3 years and earlier this year decided it was about time I pulled my finger out and try to repay some of the awesome knowledge I’ve gained from other community members. I started small with a 15-minute slot on my Intel NUC home lab. I present fairly regularly as part of my day job, but mainly to smaller groups of 5-10 people, not 40-50+, which is definitely a different experience (see here)!

A few months later, Simon Gallagher (VMUG leader and Lego Fanboi) asked if I wanted to do a full session. In hindsight agreeing to do a session in the same two-week period when we had our financial year end at work and my family moved house, was perhaps ambitious to say the least!

In preparation for the session, the inimitable Mike Laverick very kindly offered to provide me with some #FeedForward, for a second time! Feed Forward (or #Feed4ward) is a great initiative started by a number of well-known community members including Mike, who saw the need to provide feedback to people in advance of their community VMUG sessions to hopefully give confidence and encourage them to present.

In my case, although I made a number of changes to my deck from the session, the biggest change was actually to approach the subject matter from a completely different direction. I had originally planned a simple intro to storage design, but when I ran it through with my colleagues, I bored even myself! I also had WAY too many slides… Bearing in mind that a #LonVMUG group tend to be pretty knowledgeable, this was probably not going to cut the mustard! At Mike’s suggestion, I instead concentrated on the pitfalls of storage design, and anecdotes about issues I had seen / experienced (whilst trying not to bash any individual vendors).

This was much more interesting and I think improved my session immensely. When you have put together your deck of 176 slides, it can sometimes be hard to see the wood for the trees! The great benefit of having an experienced speaker go through it with you can often be a simple suggestion, but it completely changes your outlook! Once again I would like to thank Mike, and most highly recommend that if you’re reading this and are even slightly contemplating doing your first VMUG session, you look into the #Feed4ward initiative!

The session itself went pretty well, though I foolishly decided to use my new MacBook instead of my trusty PC for PowerPoint, and had some “issues” at the start, which threw things off a bit. I also learned loads from the experience; significantly more than my 15 minute spot in January! I have a bunch of tips and notes which have come together from a combination of the two sessions, but before this post becomes at risk of becoming TLDR, I’ll put it in another post later in the week!

Lastly, for those interested, here a copy of my slide deck:
LonVMUG Storage Presentation 17-07-2014 v1.1

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