Saturday, January 31, 2009

Google Search Appliance

The marketing department have paid for two Google search Appliances!

Until we move into our new data centre, they will be hosted in the DMZs of two of the company's other large sites and index the company's external websites replacing the current search function.

Other than the agreement to manage the hosting of these boxes, IT weren't involved in the purchasing. Which in retrospect is probably a "bad decision".

Looking through the documentation about the number of webpages the appliance can index, I think Google Mini Appliances should have been purchased.

Marketing must have sized their purchase based upon their expectation that these boxes will sit in the DMZ and be able to create separate indexes of both external facing and internal facing websites. The index of external facing pages will be visible externally and internally, the internal indexes will only be visible internally.

That just won't wash with our IT Security dept, who are some of the most "conservative", i.e. paranoid people you'll happen to meet. IT Security will expect (at the very least, push) Marketing to purchase an additional box(es) for the Internal sites.

In this situation, four Google Mini Appliances could have been purchased for less than the cost of the two Google Search Appliances that actually were purchased.

Politics aside, what is the hardware like?

Well, it is a "nice" yellow re-badged Dell box.

It arrives locked and no key is sent. I searched the box twice looking for one and called over a colleague to also check the packaging. If there is a hardware fault, you have to call Google! Which is one way to ensure your annual support revenue is paid up.

Installation is nice and easy. There is a good description here of the installation process.
It is straightforward, although requiring knowledge of the infrastructure, i.e. network gateways, SMTP hosts, etc.
The most important step is the setting of the NTP servers as without at least one NTP server registration cannot complete!

The next page would show you all the settings aggregated as a confirmation of the configuration.

You'll notice there were some errors during configuration. This box is in our DMZ. Ping isn't allowed or perhaps more precisely is FireWalled on the DMZ. But the errors are that the Gateway, SMTP and NTP servers are not pingable. Which really all makes me wonder which millennium Google are living in?! It doesn't matter if you can ping an SMTP or NTP server! Can they "talk" their protocols? It doesn't matter that the Gateway isn't pingable, can the box GET the homepage?

And that's that.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

RVTools #2 - version 2.2

I've just downloaded the latest version of RVTools - version 2.2 - which is still excellent!!

The additional vDatastore Tab is really cool.

But it is a simple things that I really like about RVTools. In fact there is one thing that isn't even a new feature, which I've found really useful. We use Vizioncore vRanger for backup and have two VMs with unfortunately similar names - long story. Anyway the only distinguishing feature was the vm id, which RVTools includes on the vInfo tab - the last column: Object ID.

Nothing so dramatic as a life saver, but it quickly resolved our confusion.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Modifying the Keyboard on Debian Linux

So I've downloaded the SyslogAppliance v0.0.4 to act as a Syslog Server in the company's DMZ. I ran the appliance initially in VM Player and then used the Enterprise Converter to import the appliance into a Virtual Machine on our VMwareESX server.

By default, the appliance is set up for a US audience with US keyboards. That's not a problem. After 20+ years in IT, you expect that and I know my way around a US keyboard, especially as I work for an American concern. Anyway, the ReadMe.txt file that's packaged with the appliance provides you with information on how to configure a UK keyboard.
VMWare Settings
- 256 MB memory (you should increase this for large log volumes)
- 64GB virtual disk
- listening on port 514/UDP and port 514/tcp
- US keyboard, to install a different local, do
$ apt-get install console-setup
$ dpkg-reconfigure console-setup

Obviously, despite both being Linux, it uses a different mechanism from that used by rPath in an earlier post on this blog. But two command lines isn't too painful.

appliance:/etc# apt-get install console-setup
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
E: Couldn't find package console-setup

Oh. That's unfortunate! Maybe this won't be so easy.

15 minutes of googling around apt-get and reading the more obvious looking results.

appliance:/etc# apt-get update
Get:1 lenny/updates Release.gpg [189B]
Ign lenny/updates/main Translation-en_US
Get:2 lenny Release.gpg [189B]
Get:3 lenny/updates Release [40.8kB]
Ign lenny/main Translation-en_US
Get:4 lenny Release [74.5kB]
Ign lenny/updates/main Packages/DiffIndex
Ign lenny/updates/main Sources/DiffIndex
Get:5 lenny/updates/main Packages [18.1kB]
Get:6 lenny/updates/main Source [5175B]
Get:7 lenny/main Packages [6942kB]
Get:8 lenny/main Source [2982kB]
Fetched 10.1MB in 23s (423kB/s)
Reading package lists... Done
appliance:/etc# apt-get install console-setup
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
The following extra packages will be installed:
console-terminus xkb-data
The following NEW packages will be installed:
console-setup console-terminus xkb-data
0 upgraded, 3newly installed, 0 to remove and 70 not upgraded.
Need to get 1539kB of archives.
After this operation, 5968kB of additional disk space will be used.
Do you want to continue [Y/n]? Y
Get:1 lenny/main console-terminus 4.26-2.1 [420kB]
Get:2 lenny/main xkb-data 1.3-2 [645kB]
Get:3 lenny/main console-setup 1.28 [474kB]
Fetched 1539kB in 5s (264kB/s)
Preconfiguring packages ...
Selecting previously deselected package console-terminus.
(Reading database ... 18500 files and directories currently installed.)
Unpacking console-terminus (from .../console-terminus_4.26-2.1_all.deb) ...
Selecting previously deselected package xkb-data.
Unpacking xkb-data (from .../xkb-data_1.3-2_all.deb) ...
Selecting previously deselected package console_setup.
Unpacking console-setup (from .../console-setup_1.28_all.deb) ...
Setting up console-terminus (4.26-2.1) ...
Setting up xkb-data (1.3-2) ...
Setting up console-setup (1.28) ...

Despite the quantity of output, it didn't take more than 10 to 20 seconds.

Now to configure the software.

appliance:/etc# dpkg-reconfigure console-setup

And that's that!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

SCM @ home

I've started a project at home - homework if you will. It will require both database design and and web programming. As with many others projects, I'll use MySQL as the target database and PHP as the web language. I'll possibly also create a client, perhaps utilizing mono, or maybe just Perl/TK.

I decided to use an SCM. It was going to be Accurev, indeed the title of this post was originally going to be "Accurev in Anger." However, I've just checked out the Accurev website. Apparently the previous 2-person free download is no longer available. I checked out the websites of a number of other SCM vendors: PureCM, Perforce, PlasticSCM and IBM (for ClearCase and Team Concert.) Perforce appear to be the only company still providing that kind of long term small scale evaluation without requesting the inside leg measurement of your Mother's first cousin's girlfriend's sister's hairdresser's cockateel. Well, in addition to ClearCase, Perforce is also used at work, although not by a software development team. I do not want to use it at home.

Consequently, it looks like I'm going to be using Open Source. Well, there's quite a choice of those too. Might as well be Subversion with the TortoiseSVN client. Bazaar or Mercurial or Git might have been more "with it" or edgy or out there, but as its just me the initial attraction is to actually get things done.

I've downloaded and installed the server and client. Now to start writing some code.

Solaris Virtualization - LDoms

My intention was to make this post a cookbook for Solaris virtualization with LDOMs.

However, that is unnecessary. There are some excellent online resources already.

There is an excellent beginners guide on Sun's website.

And an excellent cookbook, which is also on Sun's website.

The OpenSolaris website includes a good list of resources. As does BigAdmin.

It's all good stuff!