Welcome to the blog of mechanised.com

This blog is mainly a technical repository of information on Virtualisation tools and management for our hosting service.

Also for HP's Bladesystem that we use at both our datacentres.

Other articles are also included on .Net development and MS SQL Server as well as other interesting things we come across.

Wednesday 11 November 2009

Converting VMDK files to thin provisioned

To convert VMDK files in ESX/ESXi you'll need to login via SSH and run this command in the datastore.

vmkfstools -i fatdisk.vmdk -d thin thindisk.vmdk

Don't forget to either rename the existing disk (and edit meta data) or change your VMX file afterwards to point to the new disk.

Does take a considerable time though!

Wednesday 7 October 2009

IIS Metabase update to set processor affinity for an IIS application pool

If you wish to give an application pool the ability to only use certain processor cores when running download the free IIS Metabase editor.

Within each application pool you add 2 new identifiers:

MD_APPPOOL_SMP_AFFINITIZED - as an inherited server string 'true'
MD_APPPOOL_SMP_AFFINITIZED_PROCESSOR_MASK - as an inherited server number, this needs to be mask of the CPU cores in binary converted to decimal, for instance a 4 core server can use 3 to signify the first 2 cores to be used only.

Tuesday 6 October 2009

Restarting management agents for ESXi from command line

This was a pain, we had three ESXi servers all stop responding at the same time, the console restart didn't work but as SSH was enabled we could run this command to restart the management agents and then VC/VIC would work again.

All this without disrupting running guest machines.

/sbin/services.sh restart

Thursday 27 August 2009

Fix for VMWare tools install failure with error 1722

Found fix on VMWare communities, most annoying when setting up a new machine that's a P2V transfer.

1. Open registry editor, locate HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\COM3, and then delete this key.
2. From the Start menu, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then click Add/Remove Programs.
3. Click Add/Remove Windows Components.
4. Proceed through the wizard, and accept all of the defaults. (COM is reconfigured)
5. Restart the computer.
6. Install Vmware Tools

Friday 10 July 2009

Reminder: temporary change to enable a proxy for system updates

For systems not internet accessible such as SAN's on isolated switches, enable a proxy to do system updates whilst temporarily connecting switch to standard network.

Rpath example:
export http_proxy=""

To remove the proxy for when system is going into production:
unset http_proxy

Thursday 18 June 2009

Vote for Code at the Big Chip Awards

Please vote for Code Computerlove at the Big Chip Awards '09 for the 'Tasty website' award!

We are up for 2 sites but we'd love you to vote for Original Source.

Just text SOURCE to 84433, it's just the cost of a normal text.


Update: Hurrah! We won the 'Tasty website' award for Original Source, thanks to everyone who voted! We also won Best On-line Brand Development for Crown Paint.

Wednesday 17 June 2009

Useful reminder of disk alignment boundaries

Remember alignment at the 64k boundary, without proper partition alignment performance degradation occurs especially noticeable on high I/O disks.

  • Select a disk in DISKPART
  • create partition primary align=64
  • Check with msinfo32/System info
  • Note: If your using 2003 enterprise or datacenter edition there is a bug where you receive an error when trying to format, the work around is to assign a drive letter in disk part and then format

Tuesday 16 June 2009

A billion year ultra-dense nanotechnology memory chip

Long term read/write archival storage without degradation of media unlike traditional storage, but able to be used with standard computer systems.

They reckon this'll be on the market within the next couple of years, the storage density is thousands of times higher than current technology.


Friday 5 June 2009

Disaster-proof storage device?

US based company offering fireproof and waterproof drives, both internal and external. Perfect for disaster recovery situations for ultimate piece of mind!

They even do NAS storage devices that can withstand an hours fire and 30 days in water!


Friday 8 May 2009

HP warranty and care pack checking tools

Handy tools from HP to make sure your equipment is covered by warranty or that the care packs you've registered are applied properly.



Little reminder as well, UK066E is 3 year 24/7 4 hour support for BL460's and UH311E is for the C3000 enclosures with the same cover.

Friday 1 May 2009

What are the best practices when it comes to VMWare ESX Server 3.5 and Open-E?

Whitepaper on best way to setup iSCSI targets from within ESX using Open-E, but still applies to any iSCSI SAN.


Sunday 26 April 2009

VMware ESXi problem with NIC teaming and CARP with virtual firewall/router

Very tricky one to track down why a failover firewall configuration would never promote it's CARP IP's to MASTER status.

Turns out you must only have a single NIC on a vSwitch with a guest VM being used as a MASTER for CARP, otherwise will always show as BACKUP.

Can't even have a NIC in the standby list, 2nd NIC has to be completely removed.

There may well be a setting in the advanced options somewhere that might get this to work, if anyone has done this please let us know!

Friday 24 April 2009

Setting up a High Availability NAS/SAN using Openfiler

Setting up a High Availability NAS/SAN using Openfiler

Run through on configuring DRDB to run a high availabilty cluster using Openfiler


Friday 3 April 2009

Getting higher iSCSI throughput on VMware

As we are using iSCSI SANS at our datacentres, this is a very interesting article on getting higher iSCSI throughput under VMWare.


Monday 19 January 2009

rPath appliance setup

If like us you don't have a DHCP server running at your datacentres, then an rPath appliance can be tricky to setup.

Easiest thing to do is edit these files at the console to get a static IP assigned.
vi /etc/sysconfig/network

vi /etc/resolv.conf

vi /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0
Restart networking and then you can get to the appliance config screen with your static IP.

Also the admin is usually out of date so as root you'll need to do a conary updateall and a restart to get all the latest updates.