Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Reminder: Win2008R2 SQL Clustering

Yet another reminder / quick fire how to post.  This time Windows 2008 R2 Clustering ready for a clustered SQL install.

In it's latest guise, Windows 2008 and 2008 R2 clustering is completely different beast from a Windows 2000 or 2003 cluster. 

For full details of what's new in 2008 Clustering, have a look at this technet library article.

So you need to build a cluster? OK.  Here is what you need:

  • Some shared storage (SAN / NAS / ISCSI etc) to hold data that is to be hosted by cluster
  • Small shared storage for Quorum Disk (MS KB208345 states minimum 500Mb for Quorum)
  • A hostname and IP address for the Cluster
  • A hostname and IP address for each MSDTC instance
  • A hostname and IP address for each SQL instance

SQL Cluster will require individual per instance shared storage areas for:

  • SQL Data
  • SQL Transaction Logs
  • SQL Database Backups
  • MSDTC (Again a minimum of 500Mb should be fine)

How to Configure
A movie tells more than a thousand words.  Here is how to create a Windows 2008 / 2008 R2 cluster and how to get around some of the more common problems:

Thanks to for putting this together

Getting SQL and 2008 Failover Clustering to Play Together Nicely
The following is taken from this MSDN blog post:

While installing SQL Server 2008 the DBA will face following warning in the installation window:

Receive a warning about the network binding order on the Setup Support Rules page when install SQL Server 2008 in a failover cluster

This is because the domain / production network card is not the first bound network card. This will cause domain operations to run slowly and can cause timeouts that result in failures.

Use the command to enumerate network card GUID's:

wmic nicconfig get description, SettingID > C:\nicconfig.txt
Open C:\nicconfig.txt and regedit to the following key:


Cut and paste GUID's so that production network card (or NIC team) is at the to of the list.  Save key and confirm binding is correct via ipconfig/all.

Ready for SQL install!

- Chris

Monday, 21 February 2011

The Dot Slash Login Shortcut

Consider the above login screen, as seen when you login to either a Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 2008 machine that is joined to an Active Directory.

The question is a simple one:  How do I login locally?

That is login using local machine credentials rather than those belonging to an active directory account.

Normally you would enter < Local Computer Name >\< Local Account Name > in the username field.

But isn't that is too much like hard work?  What happens if I don't know the local machine name? For example, logging in via a RDP session connected to the computer's IP address, rather than the system's machine name.

Also what happens if you mistype or enter an incorrect computer name?  As the "incorrect login" response is exactly the same as that for an incorrect password, you tend to believe that you've simply 'fat-fingered' the password...

OK, enough already, here is the fix. Simply login using the following:

.\< Local Account Name >

Hey presto, you've just saved your fingers from typing the computer name and you have removed all local computer name doubt in the process.

Loverly jubberly - oh yes!

- Chris

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Making Good Use of Technology

Think of some of the great technological advances of the 20 century, the industrial revolution, the advent of the internet, the desktop computer, the mobile phone and so on.

And here is one great modern use for almost all of that...

FartDroid - the mobile fart machine

Well you didn't think that those advances were going to be put to good use did you???


Amazing Facts according to Neat-O-Fun, FartDriod's Developer:

  • FartDroid is the Number 1 Fart App on the Android Market!
  • FartDroid comes on STRONG with over 30 different Farts to keep your Android phone tootin!
  • FartDroid has TWO different Interfaces to make sure that you can effectively make your phone fart in a way that makes you comfortable.
  • Classic Mode is for the power user that NEEDS to have access to ANY and Every Fart at any given moment.
  • New Mode is for those of you that NEED to fart in style. Classic mode consists of a Big Green Fart Button to make sure you can hit the button with ease.
Oh yes!

I bet you wish you had an Android phone now don't you..... here are the links: FartDroid on AppBrain and FartDroid on Android Market

If you are not yet the cheerful owner of such a device, never fear!  You too can enjoy in some flatulent fun, using the:

Have fun.... oh and grow up!

- Chris

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

What the....? Anywhere

Thats right, What the.....? is now mobile! There's no excuse now for a bit of What the.....? even on the move! Everyone needs a bit of What the.....? in their lives now and again. Now you can What the.....? mobile.

oh yes.

- Chris

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Vertigo? Don't Look Down!

My foot on County Hall, London

"Vertigo is the conflict between the fear of falling and the desire to fall."

I couldn't have put it better myself.

Have you ever suffered from vertigo without leaving your seat? No?  Try this. 

Oh and if you are convinced you won't be affected, try watching the following in full screen...

Love the fact you can see the curvature of the earth without leaving the ground...

Watching the above put me in mind of a certain Mr Dibnah:

(No, you hearing isn't going, the sound is a bit duff on this clip)

Fred on reaching the top: "You could ride a bike around here!" Er no thanks Fred, I'll take your word for it!

- Chris

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

ESX Reminder 2: Patching & USB Errors

Continuing my series of quick fire reminders for when (a) I *think* I've seen that issue before and (b) I dont remember what the fix is / was.

Previous post here and possibly here

Simple Manual ESX or ESXi Patching / Driver updates:

  1. Put host into Maintenance Mode
  2. Install vSphere CLI from here (if not already done)
  3. Open vSphere CLI
  4. --server X.X.X.X --install --bundle
  5. Reboot Host (if required)

"URB timed out - USB device may not respond"

Seen on just one out of four identical HP DL580 G7 ESX4.1 builds:

Tried all sorts to fix, unplug KVM, update BIOS, reset default BIOS settings etc etc etc

Resolved via ILO3 update to firmware v1.16 (11 Jan 2011) Download here

- Chris

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Remote Control via Web Browser


Over the years, I've tried many, many remote administration tools.

For Windows, built in remote desktop is the best choice but you need an RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) client to connect.  For Linux, VNC (RealVNC, UltraVNC, etc) you also need a client – either standalone or a java-based one built into a webpage.

Indeed even the excellent (if I do say so myself!) ChrisControl is makes use of a client; be that an RDP or a VNC client.

In fact, every remote desktop application I’ve tried requires some sort of client or browser plugin – until now.

Enter ThinVNC by SupportSmith / Cybele Software.  ThinVNC takes remote administration to a another level.

The “VNC” part of its name a bit of a misnomer – the product does not use the VNC protocol at all.  Instead, it operates using modern web standards, ThinVNC: VNC Freenamely AJAX, JSON and HTML5.

ThinVNC is composed of a pure HTML5 based client connecting via HTTP or HTTPs to a server component.  The web client connects to the listening port and displays the desktop using JSON and JPEG image encoding.  The communication is authenticated and the connection can be made through HTTP or HTTPS.

The upshot being that the remote computer can be accessed from any OS platform through any HTML5 compliant browser like Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, Opera, etc.

ThinVNC is free for non-commercial use, and supports installation on Windows 2000/XP/2003/Vista/Win 7/Windows Server 2008.

Installation on the system to be remotely controlled is a breeze:

  1. Download the latest ThinVNC setup (not the remote access server - thats a slightly different product!) and run the installation on your PC to be remotely controlled.
  2. Launch ThinVNC, change the password (default username and password are admin) set the authentication type and the listening ports for HTTP and HTTPs.  Make a note of this computer's hostname or IP Address.
  3. Launch a browser on another PC and connect to http://hostname-or-ip-address:port/ or https://hostname-or-ip-address:port/
Hey Preso!  Controlling a Windows XP system via Ubuntu Firefox - no client or browser plugin required!:
Further details on the options within ThinVNC interface can be found in the excellent UserGuide Oh, and if no plugin or client is required, you can start going mobile:

Yes that's right! Remote Control via built in Android Browser.  No app required!

Finally, in order to access your PC on anything other than the local network, you will need to “Port Forward” from your Internet router to your the PC to be remotely accessed.  Make sure to log in and forward to port 8081 on your local machine (the default HTTPS port ThinVNC uses) or you won’t be able to access it from the outside.  Do this only once you changed the default password.

All routers are different, but here is how you configure port forwarding on a Netgear router:

  1. Login to your Router, and select Services in the left-hand menu and click Add Custom Service.  Enter details as below and click Apply:
  2. Select Firewall Rules in the left-hand menu and click Add under the inbound services dialogue:
  3. Find the ThinVNC service in the drop down and enter the IP address of the PC to be remotely controlled. Optionally (although highly recommended) tie down access times and IP address or ranges of those on the Internet that can access the PC running ThinVNC.
Job done.

ThinVNC is an excellent program if you need simple desktop access remotely without a client or plugin.  It is noticeable that the screen refresh rate isn’t as fast as other remote control products but, hey, it isn’t slow either.  In my opinion, the benefit of a clientless cross-platform remote control solution more than outweighs this. 

Let me know what you think.

- Chris

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