Archive for the ‘Computers and Internet’ Category

Journey towards the CISSP certification

18 June 2017 Leave a comment

I seem to have a preoccupation with information security, almost an addiction, I cannot get my mind off of it. For the last five years I have been wanting to find the time to dedicate myself to the CISSP certification, the question remains whether or not I will make time to do exactly that or not. I have been tinkering with the subject matter recently, and find that I have covered most of the domains already, but review and refocus are necessary.


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!


26 December 2011 Leave a comment

My latest gig has kept me occupied tremendously, and I am getting near one year at the new gig. Managing a budget, documenting and controlling a previously neglected domain, engineering a FileMaker infrastructure, and walking down the road towards paper-reduction (originally branded “paperless” but now “paper-reduction” so as to set realistic expectations) is an immense collection of projects… And, while very busy, I have been enjoying it!

As the year end grows near I am pushing to deploy two iPads and prepare a departmental three-year plan. A two pad deployment seems simple enough, whether iOS or Android based, is and will have a huge impact on computing in our department, but the first two have been procured ahead of a deployment plan, and so the plan is a super-Agile plan, where it develops as it is deployed. I picked up the iphone-management-app, recommended by Apple, and will be using it for initial iPad management, but will also be looking at JAMF Casper Suite and Equinux Tarmac as enterprise tools. The three-year plan is well under way and will likely be delivered as a powerpoint presentation, plus a multi-page paper to summarize my collected data.

Budget restrictions are forcing me to find creative storage solutions, and I have a collection of 100+ 750GB SATA hard drives as part of a recycled video archiving array. The colection had been relegated to a holding area, waiting to be DoD wiped and sent to the crusher, but now I am looking at open-source NAS solutions to add storage that can stand at the ready, as both disk-to-disk backup and scanned document repository space. Experience with document management issues tells me to be ready with 100’s of GB’s of storage as datasets are copied or replicated, and developed databases are versioned, and that the many internet predictions on space consumed by scanned generally underestimate realistic overall storage needs.

There was at least budget for the FileMaker infrastructure, so there will be two FileMaker servers, one the production rig and the other a development rig, either having the horse-power to function in both capacities. Both servers are dual Xeon chassis with 12GB of RAM and mirrored arrays locally, plus an attached external SAS array with room for future expansion. We have procured FileMaker Server Advanced under volume licensing, have one database in alpha and plans for several others. Plus FMGo is in the developer’s queue. Unfortunatley there was a disaster in Thailand, and the SAS HDDs we ordered are on back order, so infrastructure build-outvwill be delayed.

VMware for, from iPad

21 August 2011 Leave a comment

The next feat for me was to access my VMware box with a tool loaded on the iPad. I loaded the vSphere Client for iPad, but it requires vCMA running on vCenter, or as it turns out on ESXi. Found a youtube video on how to do this, actually there are two parts, one for installing the vCMA and another for configuring the iPad client: this has had to be one of the easiest setups so far.  The two videos are not 100% accurate,  since they are tailored to the vCenter install details, rather than the community version ESXi v4.1  that I have at home, installed on an HP Pavilion m9000t, but the results are really cool.  in the part two video we are instructed to use the settings icon and set the IP for the vCMA but my experience was that there was no setting, I  went directly to the iPad app and logged into the appliance, then supplied the virtual appliance with the IP of my VMware server.

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