WorkingWithIT Welcomes you into 2013..

January 15, 2013 § Leave a comment

Right now I’m imagining the little mice from the film ‘babe’ going ‘3 weeks later’ … but instead of 3 its 5 … and instead of weeks it’s months.

I feel large compunction of how long it has taken for me to update.

First of all I would like to say a big sorry to all the followers of my blog, the last handful of months have been so hectic and time has just slipped away from under my feet! In the last few months a lot of virtual related project work has been going on in our school and there is loads to talk about, I won’t be doing that just in this update, however I will try my best to update at least once a week, this is one of my new year resolutions.

Also I shall be venturing into different topics of IT of which I find interesting, I’m not sure whether or not to put them on the main page or maybe make a separate page for other unrelated topics, hmm I’ll have to have a think about that one! (Where would you like to see any other material? Leave me a comment below).

So Ryan, What have you been doing?

Well first of all, I would like to wish all of WorkingWithIt’s followers and readers a very happy new year!

2013 copy

Nothing says joy and jubilation, like a square with 2013 in red, I hope that you all have had a perfect holiday and an amazing start to the new year.

Intel 910 cards

So to give you a long waited update on what we have been doing around here, the last post was a video of me explaining and showing you an ‘out of box’ experience of the new 910 intel cards, we were all very excited to get them in and working. But there was one problem, the drivers.

We surfed around the internet for many a day trying to find out what we needed in terms of drivers to get these cards working. After many posts of people using the more expensive fusion cards we decided to plug the Intel SSDs in and hope for the best, these cards come with redhat linux drivers all built in, and apparently they are ‘plug and play’.

Once plugged in the hypervisor managed to find them and it took very little configuration to get them working.

So were they worth the money?

Once they were up and running we ran a few tests to figure out whether they really were cracked up to all the hype, during our testing we had to remember that these are cheaper SSD cards, not like the fusions, so we couldn’t imagine that the performance increase would be life changing, however some sort of change would be good, but there was no real change at all.

I know, I know, making those types of statistical accusation really needs to be backed up with evidence, however we moved on from these cards so rapidly before Christmas, the data we had accumulated has long gone, however I will try and get my hands on it, but for now I cannot present these as facts, but merely by my own meandering experience.

We found out that the read and write speeds were faster on the 10k sas drives we have, so when dell eventually release a sas drive that is 15k and 600gb we will just upgrade to them increasing speed even more, so for now there is no need for SSD cards in our virtual setup. However we are keen to keep them obviously and maybe incorporating them into a file server, but HEY that’s another post!.

We want to know in brief, what have you achieved over the last 5 months?

Well I guess the next area to discuss to you guys will be how far we have actually got with the virtual project

We have, ‘thus far’ rolled out the thin clients to 5 different rooms, and we have configured and ‘racked’ 6 servers now all running the Hypervisor, so we have full load balancing and redundancy for all of the rooms. Currently we have only virtualised our vlan1 because we need a whole new Xen Server for our vlan 2 and that means more servers and money which we just don’t have BUT it shall be done eventually!

We have also figured out a way to make sure the content filtering works on Vdiab, this was a big step to overcome, let me ‘tattle the tale’ to you;

Here in London, every school has content filtering, this content filtering can apply to the user who logs in or the IP address of the machine, we have always applied it to the IP ranges so that we can achieve ‘blanket’ filtering. However, when we started to create personal desktops on the virtual environment this proved to be a problem, we placed a reservation for the personal desktop and applied the filtering to the IP, the filtering worked no problem.

At this point you’re probably thinking, ‘well that’s okay the personal desktop has a reserved IP’. Ahh but, the whole nature of the virtual world is to destroy and rebuild machines when needed, of course these personal machines wont be refreshed in the same way as pooled desktops but would be refreshed eventually. Therefore when we needed to open up the Master Image and do an update, and then refresh the personal desktops, it changed the MAC address, thus deeming the reservation useless, and the filtering pointless.

So we toyed with the idea of having a large spreadsheet of all the MAC addresses and changing them one by one when we needed to do an update, and rapidly dismissed that idea. Then we stumbled upon this gem.

MACscreenshot

This allows you to add a MAC range into your VDIAB so that all of your VM’s that are created post this change (and your current VM’s when they are refreshed) will be given a mac address in the range you specify.

Obviously you have to specify how many MACS you will need, once done the crucial part is that personal desktops do NOT lose their MACS under this method, so hey presto! We have got our answer for webfiltering.

And that is about it as far as I can remember, however this post is more of an update and a ‘I’m still here’ post, to kick start my blog again, and like I said I will be posting on a more regular basis, with hopefully some more interesting content.

Once again, happy new year!

Ryan

Advertisements

WorkingWithIT Goes ”YouTube”.

August 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

Well after a handful of people asking about the ‘SSD Intel 910’ cards, I thought that it would be worth doing a short video just showing them off, hopefully it will give people a general idea about them.

!!Remember!!

You can use http://www.workingwithit.co.uk to access this blog.

Tribulation when working with IT

August 9, 2012 § 2 Comments

Well first of all I apologise for taking my time to update, I am hoping that I haven’t lost all of my readers of which took an interest in the early days…

Hopefully my following explanation won’t be hard to elucidate.

Schools, out for summer!

I work in a secondary school in west(ish) London and school holidays are here. I can hear the laughing amongst the pitter patter of feet as the students and teachers vacate, the blissful silence of an empty school. However, for us IT, its not a holiday.

As anyone reading this will know, holiday time is the only time you can take down a network to make fundamental changes, also we had the small task of changing every single IP in the building from 172. to 10. this included all printers, switches, routers, computers.. well everything. Luckily we aren’t on IP phones, so that will make it a little easier.

A little run down of what we did.

So where the hell would you start when you have to alter the whole network’s IP range, it’s like a game of Jenga, if you pull the wrong piece out first you will make the whole thing collapse. That in mind our plan was to start with the Domain Controllers along side the Backup Domain Controller, changing a single computer from the old IP to the new accordingly, to access the servers. Subsequently we changed the rest of the servers, again assigning a static IP to a dedicated computer to access under the previous 172. to change it to 10.

Now it was on to change the DHCP and set up the reservations after that. The switches, copiers, macs e.t.c were next to be changed…Computers would update themselves because of being on DHCP with a good reboot, futhermore the software needed to be looked at, if it didn’t point to a DNS resolution but an IP needed to be changed.
After a week we had everything done! Team of 3 … a BIG secondary school in London, over 500 machines, 30 switches and many other devices… that has to be good!

Time to get tidy!

Another job over this summer break was to tidy up the Switch cabinets, this isn’t really that important to show,¬†nevertheless I am particularly impressed with the end result and wish to show the world!

I don’t have a before shot which is a pain, however anyone that knows anything about networking will know the state of some network cabinets, ours was no exception.

So to the left is a picture of the cabinet of which I slaved over for 2 and a half days! It even has colour!

Orange = Wifi

Blue = Phones

Green = Student Computers

Yellow = Staff Computers

I must say, I was rather happy with myself.

So what the hell has happened to the Virtual Project?

Well as you can all imagine the virtual project had to take a back seat, however we have made a few steps forward!!

I left the last post with a final comment of we have installed VMWare’s version of the Hypervisor and we were looking at Fusion cards… well that worked out far to expensive…¬† therefore we have decided to go with Citrix VDI in a box.

If you havn’t read my previous posts… Please scroll down and have a read, they are rather amusing and hopefully interesting!

I’m not going to go into detail about what we have done previously, and how many Uturns we had to make as that is outlined in the previous posts.

We wanted to include SSDs into our servers that would be running the Citrix Xen desktop, because the speed is mind blowing! And when you have over 200 virtual machines that need to be able to start the likes of Photoshop and Macromedia at the same time, you need some damn good speed! The only problm was the Fusion cards were so expensive… However we found one that wasn’t…

Intel 910 SSD

Perfect, an SSD that boasts speed, size and low cost! Okay they aren’t as ‘good’ as the fusion cards, the IOPS are alot lower, but when you have limited money, this is perfect!

When they arrived they came with both half height and full height brackets which was a nice touch, so we pulled our server out and installed them!

Of course… drivers… NO WORRIES, Intel boasts full Linux support, so we skipped over to the Intel website and downloaded their Linux drivers … for Redhat.. And what does Xen Server sit on… Cent OS.

Ah… and being a new SSD there aren’t many posts on forums about how to install them on VDI… so thats pretty much where we stopped.

Why XenServer, is it not expensive?

Keeping the virtual theme for the end of this post, you may ask why did we go with XenServer in the end, whilst most of this is outlined in my previous posts, I will explain one major point that grabbed us by the manlies and said. ‘USE ME!’

ITS FREE, I know there is a paid version of it, however when you are using Viab (VDI In a box) which is a ‘bundled’ version of citrix from lack of a better term, Viab already has alot of the features of which XenSever avowals.. Therefore isnt really needed! Just my opinion, may not be others!
Oh and for reference..

VDI In a Box Download Page 

Xen Server Download Page

Another day..

So that’s where we stand today… We have the network moved over to the new IP range, and the virtual project is nearly there. We know we are going to use Citrix also we have our ‘thin’ client ready to roll. We just need support for these cards and a little bit of money and we will can start to implement the system.

Oh and please head down to the new page I created titled ‘All About Me’ to see a lovely picture of me, and a little information on well… Me! (Is that too many ‘me’s’ … probably not).

Thanks for reading!!

Something has changed around here…

June 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

Right!

Apparently the previous theme and layout was not that ‘user friendly’, so in the interest of trying to keep my readers happy, I have changed it… again.

I hope everyone has enjoyed the last blog post, there will be more where that came from tomorrow!

WorkingWithIT – Welcome !

June 7, 2012 § 2 Comments

Welcome to ‘WorkingWithIT’.

Introduction

First of all, I’m Ryan, and I will be carrying you through my journey in the life of an IT Engineer, hopefully you’ll take something away with you with every post you indulge in, also it should be nice insight of some of the problems that I have faced and over come.

WorkingWithIT … What on earth do I mean?

Okay, Okay…So, why the name ‘WorkingWithIT’, Well because I am doing exactly that, I am working with IT, And also I’m working with , well, ‘it’, everything around you is controlled by a computer in some way. Well okay not everything but a vast majority of the world has an IP, has a CPU.

Creepy to think about eh?

Who am I?

Well this is the part where I stand up, give a nod, and say ‘Hi, I’m Ryan and I’m addicted to Technology’, you all chant ‘Hi Ryan’ and I sit back down.

I currently live in London UK, I started getting involved in the world of technology from a very young age, taking things apart was my specialty. As i grew older i realised that i was able to make a career out of what I loved doing, my hobby could provide me with a life.

So by the age of 18, fresh out of Secondary school with very average Grade C’s, I put myself down for an interview with a local secondary school of which needed a very basic computer technician, the job spec was very low and needless to say I got the job.

A year passed of me ‘getting my foot on the ladder’ and i yearned to move on, onwards and upwards into a more challenging environment. Thus came along the job I am currently in, another secondary school, whats the difference I hear you shout?

Well…What if I explained that we are currently implementing a virtual system, configuring and deploying 10 – 15 servers, creating our own Thin XP to quickly and silently boot a Thin Kiosk mode into VDI-In-A-Box… you can see its much more challenging for a 21 year old, than plugging a mouse in!

I wont touch upon the upcoming plans, or problems I have faced as of yet as this would be destroying the whole point and frying the main bacon (Mmm bacon!) of my blog!

(Picture from WikiPedia)

Hungry yet?

To Conclude

Well as you have hopefully deciphered from the above introduction, this blog will be all about IT, so it you don’t like IT then … well you better start liking it! Honestly its amazing!

This wont be a very ‘serious’ blog, the content will be, but I hope to retain a rather informal approach to blogging.

Serious Blogs are Boring Blogs!

Ryan

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the General Information category at WorkingWithIT.