Open Horizons Summit 2015

16/04/2015 News 0

Once more unto Budapest!

This year saw mrLinux return to the Open Horizons Summit in Budapest.  Work commitments meant that it was a flying visit, but that didn’t reduce the number of hotlabs.  This year Mark presented three hot-labs!

The first was “BTRFs and Snapper”.  This gave the attendees an in-depth look at the new default filesystem in SLE 12, BTRFs, and how the SUSE snapper tool integrates with it to provide amazing in-filesystem snapshot and rollback capability – even on hardware.

Next up was “systemd on the horizon in SLE12″, covering the reasons behind the move away from the venerable init daemon.  Once the background was out of the way, it was hands on all the way, getting to grips with systemd.

The final lab was the much loved “Linux Troubleshooting”.  This is always a great lab to present, it’s nice to watch the attendees sweat for a change!!  There were over ten practical problems presented during the session, with additional information on techniques, and special focus on SLE12 as so many of our usual techniques are no longer applicable!

GroupWise 2014

16/04/2014 Projects 0

As part of an ongoing upgrade project for a very long standing customer, this week saw the upgrade of their GroupWise system to 2014.  The upgrade process went extremely smoothly, mostly down to the expertise of our friends at ST-Four.  Webmail looks even better than ever, and the updated client software will be deployed to the new PCs as soon as they are rolled out.

GroupWise’s new web administration interface is a huge step forward, and even works remotely (via an SSH tunnel of course!), not to mention the fact that it’s extremely quick!

Open Horizons Summit 2014

16/04/2014 News 0

Following on from the success of last year’s summit, I was invited to present the same hotlabs to this year’s audience!

The troubleshooting session was improved this time around, with the script that breaks the VM having been refined quite a bit.  This meant that a lot more time could be spent of the fixing part!  Overall, we got through many more scenarios, giving the attendees valuable insights into fixing SLES!

The storage session was expanded to include more detail on the Linux storage subsystem, especially Multipath IO.  One of the attendees taught me something about MPIO, which would have saved me hours of work over the years…  Live and learn!

SUSEcon v2.0

27/09/2013 News 0

After a successful submission to the call for papers, mrLinux will again be presenting at SUSEcon in Orlando this November!!

Looking forward to it already…

A new direction – Mobile Iron

27/09/2013 News 0

A long running project this year is drawing to  a successful conclusion – a Mobile Iron deployment for a large UK PLC!

This project started out as the deployment of a number of Linux based load balancers in front of the MI infrastructure and led to us being involved in the whole project.  This involvement was truly end to end, right from the front end load balancers through the Mobile Iron VSP and Sentries, to helping oversee the development of a custom portal using the Web Services API provided by Mobile Iron.

Mobile Device Management (MDM) is a very important part of an organisation’s data security policy, and we are now in a good position to provide Mobile Iron consultancy services to anyone considering letting their corporate email loose on mobile devices!

OES11 SP1 at warp speed!

27/09/2013 Projects 0

Another successful upgrade to OES11 SP1 was completed this week!

This one was slightly different from normal because of the very tight schedule required.  Early morning starts and late finishes enabled us to upgrade four standalone servers from OES2 SP3 (SLES10 SP3) to OES11 SP1 (SLES11 SP2), add a node to each of two clusters, and then perform a rolling upgrade of the existing nodes with no user downtime at all!

As an aside, the upgrade to OES11 SP1 significantly improved the AFP performance and simplified its configuration by enabling the new LDAP subtree search feature, reducing the number of LDAP contexts from over 30 to just one!

OH Summit – Budapest 2013

17/04/2013 News 0

So, my first OH Summit comes to a close.  What a great few days here in Budapest!  Met up with lots of old friends, and gained a bunch of new ones.  When asked if I wanted to present, I jumped at the chance.

As usual, both presentations were heavily technical, the difference is that the attendees have to do all the work this time! The first session was on Linux/OES11 storage management, and the second was a (fairly evil) Linux troubleshooting session – some very serious looking faces in the audience…  Both sessions went well, and if OH invite me back I’ll be there like a shot!

Sophos RED deployment

17/03/2012 Projects 0

Last week, I was involved in a very interesting project to deploy an Astaro Sophos Remote Ethernet Device.

As mentioned here, the Sophos RED, is a small (white) box that extends the reach of a the Sophos UTM firewall to a remote site.  Ingeniously, when deployed, it appears as another ethernet interface on the UTM even though it’s physically located elsewhere on a different Internet connection. This means that you can do interesting things with it, such as VLANs, DHCP relay etc, and it’s all administered from the normal UTM web management interface! So, what did we do with it?

Well, we set it up with two VLANs, one for data, the other for voice.  The switch at the remote site was also configured for both VLANs, and LLDP was configured to make sure that the devices come up on the correct VLAN.  The Linux based DHCP server at the main site services subnets for both VLANs, DHCP relaying configuration in the UTM took care of getting the IP addresses to the remote devices.  Firewall rules were set up to allow access from the remote site and we were ready to go.

We plugged in a laptop and it picked up an IP address, going well so far…  Next was the phone.  It booted up, grabbed an IP address from DHCP along with all the various Mitel settings and registered itself with the PBX!  It’s very satisfying to pick up a phone and hear a dial tone – best not to think about the protocols involved or you might just get your LLDP mixed up with your L2TP and then where would you be??

LPIC-1 Ahoy!

17/03/2012 News 0

On Tuesday I sat and passed the LPI 101 and 102 exams! That means that am now LPIC-1 certified.

I had decided to sit both exams in one day to get it out of the way. I was actually a little nervous before the exams as I didn’t really know what to expect.  What I did find was that the exams cover a wide range of topics and distributions.  There were a few questions in there that I really didn’t know the answer to!  Now, these days, two minutes with google, or a man page, and that knowledge gap would have been plugged – sitting there with an empty box on the screen waiting for an answer, hmm… A little head scratching and educated guessing was required.

Thankfully I did know the answers to the vast majority of the questions and passed both exams with scores over 80%.  Each exam is 90 minutes long, but I didn’t quite need that long – 19 minutes for the first one.  The second was a bit tougher and took a little longer: 20 minutes.

LPIC-1 in under an hour…  I’m happy with that :-)

Clef two-factor authentication