Author Archive

Cloud-Ready Small Business Firewalls

9 April 2018 Leave a comment

I  am considering the purchase of a small business firewall and have been looking at several different brands and educating myself as to requirements and features that are cloud-ready.  The brands I am considering so far include Palo Alto Networks, Barracuda, and Cisco Meraki. I cannot yet say that I understand how to exclude of other brands (such as SonicWall, Sophos, or Watchguard) or what criteria will help me make a good assessment. more to follow..

Exchange 2010 SP1 Coexistence

16 December 2013 Leave a comment

Exchange 2010 SP 1 installed without too much difficulty a few weeks ago, the most difficult part was that I had to install as the response to a crisis, the old 2003 Exchange server failed. I had been preparing the new server, but had not yet had time to study all the operational tidbits necessary for daily operations, but I have been muddling through them ok.

The mailbox transition wizard was extremely useful, for all but one mailbox. And the old exchange server failed to have a connector back to the new exchange server automatically created; ultimately I simple created one in the off change that it would work and presto coexistence was functional.

Had to acquire a UC/SAN SSL certificate for the new exchange server, and used DigiCert for that.

Mop up tasks include shared calendaring and the recommended tactic is a separate mailbox with shared rights, rather than the mail enable public folder; still mulling that over. The old shared calendar still exists in Ex2K3 but the rights are bollixed and users cannot access it.

More to follow as time permits.

MacBookPro 17 died

16 December 2013 Leave a comment

Old faithful gave up the steam and I took her down to the Genius Bar. Given my years of experience with computes, I rationalize these days that debugging is my day job and my Mac at home gets doctored by the Mac team.

The Genius Bar guy said $310 maximum if its fixable, and that the most commonly replaced items are the keyboard and battery. That was Saturday and the expected time is three days for analysis.

The symptom was no power on, even though the power cable said there was a full charge (green light).

And I am calculating what might be a good replacement Mac, since the 17″ MacBook is no longer offered?


26 November 2012 Leave a comment

2012 has been extremely active with IT maintenance and administration challenges, most notably the completion of a mew permanent structure and the decision to install Voice over IP communicatins for the entire umbrella of operations. In the permanent structure, my role was participatory only in regards to low-voltage for surveillance technology, but it was truly an interesting process. the Architect and general contracter were well organized and managed the project admirably. The VoIP project is now (Nov’12) coming down to deadlines, and is agressively attempting to achieve completion before years’ end. Several vendors were evaluated, one was chosen, based more on salesmanship and customer service than price, and now their project manangement skills are being demonstrated too.

Project management is something that I find lacking at this venue, from peer groups in other divisions. Many people claim to be “the project manager” and then remain silent during the life of the project, never disseminating minutes nor milestones nor pertinent dates. Only when prodded repeatedly can I have those bits divulged and then I receive complaints.

When I worked for Bank of America, 1995 – 2002, there was an entire devision devoted to change contrlol and project management. I witnessed the importance of those disciplines at the corporate level, and have found them entirely lacking in the small and medium sized businesses where I have since worked. Sometimes in the constant fray of IT Management, with the many conflicting #1 priorities, I see that regular detailed reports are challenging, but it is a constant reminder that status reports are essential to operations, as well as project management.

Tools and techniques have helped me maintain control of the 30 or 40 projects in some phase of progress at this time, and my iPad is the common platform. I use tools called Things from the Mac environment, and Reminders app for the tasks that carry over from MS Exchange, one tool for secondary and another for primary task mamangement.

NIC Teaming & Hyper-V

28 June 2012 Leave a comment

Trying to leverage our collection of aging servers, we have been teaming the network interface cards to achive greater throughput: hardware is HP DL-class servers and server OS is Windows 2k8 R2. Then I had an idea and thought I might load Hyper-v, and discovered the little known secret that Microsoft does not support NIC teaming and Hyper-V. So my nicely functioning server for development is not functioning properly anymore, and a series of other projects have prevented me from undoing the damage. Tried to get to a web interface on the server, and the page will not load. Need to drill into the causes and discover the solutions.

Microsoft’s KB article on the matter:

iPad Apps

22 February 2012 Leave a comment

I have been evaluating different iPad apps to deploy on the first of two iPads for one the departments. The requirements presently are form filling, and field-service report writing, so I have been looking at different apps for those purposes. The iPads do not yet have 3G connections, and wireless is not available in the clearance-required environment, so these will be non-wirelessly linked iPads for the duration of the year. FMGo will be one of the apps, since we have an existing FileMaker server infrastructure, but there are many forms that could be filled too. Form filling will likely be some sort of PDF Annotation app, for these I have been looking at (1) pdfReviewFree, (2) pdf-notes free, (3) Sign-N-Send free, (4) GoodReader, and (5) DocAS. Ultimately, a developer will be creating purpose-built FileMaker apps, converting paper-forms based data collection into an FMGo based alternative, but that will take time to write requirements and use cases, then work the agile-SDLC.

Although not part of the requirements, perse, a good tool for the creation and sharing of structured notes might also be of benefit: I use OmniOutliner for iPad presently, but I cannot organize collections of outlines into folders. I now have 60+ outlines covering six or more topics, sliding sloppily from side-to-side all jumbled together, and this presents an obstacle to continued efficient use of this app.

I do intend to use the iPad as a front end to a paper-reduction effort, with a FileMaker server backend, but that will require a wireless connection. We have a SuperContainer on Tomcat7 container for the documents, indexed in a FileMaker DB that will be ported over to the iPad using FMGo.

Categories: iPad

Symantec Backup Exec 12.5 SP4 incompatibility with Windows Server 2008 R2 persists

30 December 2011 2 comments

We installed a single Windows Server 2008 R2 DC in our W2k3 domain to extend the schema and manage our new windows 7 desktops, and now there is a problem. Symantec Backup Exec 12.5 is incompatible, or so it seems. I patched SBE 12.5 to SBE 12.5 SP4, plus hotfixes, and still some of the jobs error out with complaints, “A failure occured querying the Writer status.” The data is being backup, as the job status lists a byte count, but errors occur at the end of each job. These are multi target jobs, and when the backup targets have either an MSExchange or MS SQL agent running, the jobs seems to end in failure. The job status log has more red than black, and that annoys me immensely.

All I did was extend the schema in the forest and domain, all my member servers remain Windows 2003, but the media server is Windows Server 2003 R2, but Research suggested that the incompatibility was isolated to SBE 12.5 where installed on a W2k8R2 platform, not merely within a mixed W2k3(R2) / W2k8R2 domain.

I’m in the proces of breaking jobs into smaller targeted jobs, but It seems clear thet servers running an agent will hang after the job completes after querying the Writer status. The “Writer” is associated with VSS, and I have tried adjusting the options in the job configuration without success.

I have been rereading the documentation hoping to find some scripting or logic mechanism that might permit me to branch around error conditions… Still researching this!

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