Month: January 2013

Check out some of my latest articles

As most of you know, I have started writing for Petri.co.il IT knowledgebase. Check out some of  the articles and tell me what you think.

http://www.petri.co.il/

http://www.petri.co.il/author/phoummala-schmitt 

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Unable to Resize iSCSI LUN Using SnapDrive on Windows Server 2003 R2

I recently had another one of my weird Snapdrive issues while trying to resize an iSCSI Lun on a 2003 server. The server is a VM that is using the Microsoft iSCSI initiator and Snapdrive to manage the Netapp provisioned Lun. Re-sizing a lun using Snapdrive is normally very simple but of course on this particular day it was not behaving for me.

Snapdrive appeared to be running ok and didn’t seem to have any issues at all that day. The problem came when I attempted to re size the lun, Snapdrive re-sizing process would fail halfway through. The failure to complete the re-sizing left me puzzled since all connections to the filer appeared to be fine. There was plenty of space left on the volume so it wasn’t a space issue.

Since we were dealing with Windows here we rebooted the server just in case it was pending a reboot or it just needed to “clear it’s  head”. After the reboot I attempted to re-size the lun again and again it failed . The actual failure message was that it was unable to connect to the disk. Odd…It’s connected in Snapdrive , it just won’t resize.

The next thing I thought of was to force a disconnect on the iscsi lun, this way it would forces a disconnect on all connections. The downside to the disconnect was that the Lun would be lost and the SQL databases would need to be stopped. After getting approval to take the server down again, I then proceeded to force a disconnect of this lun. Once all connections were stopped and confirmed they were gone, I then reconnected the iSCSI Lun using Snapdrive.

After the re-connection was completed, I continued with trying to re-size the Lun. BAM! It worked. All it took was a force disconnect , reconnect, then I could re-size. To be honest ,  I wasn’t in the mood to go further digging into a root cause for the failure, especially since I got it working now. I suspect it had something to do with Snapdrive and the iscsi connection it was using since a brand new connection seemed to clear any issues that it had previously. So, if you run into something like this, it might be worth a force disconnect to solve your re-sizing problem.

 

 

 

 

Manage Calendar Sharing Permissions in Outlook Web App 2010

I often hear from users that they don’t like to use Outlook Web App  for email because they can’t see shared calendars.  I then inform the user that things have changed since the days of Exchange 2003. A nice added feature of Outlook Web App 2010( Outlook Web Access) is that you can use the Change Sharing Permissions within Outlook Web App to view the people you’ve shared your calendar with and the permissions they have. This also gives you the ability to stop sharing your calendar. Now you can’t use Outlook Web App  to give someone else permission to change your calendar, but you can use the Delegate Access feature in Outlook to give other people in your organization permission to make changes to your calendar and to respond to meeting requests on your behalf.

To Modify Calendar Sharing Permissions :

  1. In Outlook Web App, click Calendar in the Navigation Pane.
  2. Click Share on the Calendar toolbar.
  3. Click Change Sharing Permissions and then, in the Calendar dialog box, select the name of the calendar that you want to change sharing permissions for.
  4. Click the name of the person whose permissions you want to change.
  5. Click Edit and select the permissions you want.
  6. Click Save to save your change.

How to stop sharing a calendar:

If you want to stop sharing your calendar with someone:

  1. In Outlook Web App, click Calendar in the Navigation Pane.
  2. Click Share on the Calendar toolbar.
  3. Click Change Sharing Permissions and then, in the Calendar dialog box, select the name of the calendar that you want to stop sharing.
  4. Click the name of the person you want to stop sharing your calendar with to select it, and then click .
  5. Click Yes to confirm that you want to delete that person from the list, or click No to cancel.

So there you have it. Next time a user says they don’t like to use OWA because they can’t manage or see shared calendars you can let them know that’s not the case anymore.

Blogging from your iPhone

So I downloaded the WordPress app to my iPhone to check out what you can all do. It’s actually a quite impressive app. You can post, comment, almost do everything you need to minus the real estate. In fact I’m blogging on my iPhone right now.

Hmmm. I’m getting bored . My fingers are getting tired . I don’t like blogging on my phone.

Doubt I’ll ever do this again . It’s a great app to check your blog stats or approve comments but IMO blogging is not practical. I need my keyboard .

See ya.

Failed Login to Netapp Filer using SSH/Putty

Netapp filers can be accessed and managed many ways, including using Putty to SSH into the filer itself.  In addition to FilerView, there is also another web based tool called Netapp OnCommand  System Manager that is GUI based which gives a very nice graphical performance chart detailing how HOT your filers are running. The OnCommand tool is great for everyday management of the filers but sometimes you will need to access the filers via Putty to run more advanced functions , ie. killing a NDMP session that is hung.

We had an interesting issue today while trying to access one of our Netapp filers using Putty. Every time we would we try try to log  into the filer with a Putty session we would get an access denied or the Putty session would simply close. What was odd was that it didn’t happen for all of the us Storage Engineers. Thinking that maybe are accounts are locked or maybe  the access got removed I started the OnCommand session and attempted to log into the filers.

Not a single hiccup. Logged in right away on every single filer we have. hmmm….so I can log in with my credentials using OnCommand but when using a Putty session I can’t. Yet, another storage engineer can login to both and we all have the same permissions. All filers were checked for locked accounts including Active Directory, nothing was locked.

After some more head scratching one of the other Storage Engineers stumbled upon a setting within the OnCommand System Manager setting that was caching our passwords. Once the tick box to cache passwords was cleared we were able to  successfully log onto the filers.

To remove the cache passwords in OnCommand :

  1. Run OnCommand System Manager and log onto any filer
  2. In the top left hand corner select to Tools
  3. Select Options         

oncommand
4. Clear the Enable Cache Passwords tick box

Oncommand2

  1. Select Clear Existing Passwords

  2. Select Save and Close

Once the settings were changed we were both able to Putty to the filers. Gotta Love the gotchas of cached passwords.

Delivery Reports for your email messages in Exchange 2010

Have you ever gotten a ticket requesting if a particular email sent was delivered ? Or did our trusty Administrative assistant need to make sure that everyone received the latest company memo she just sent?

Well, with Exchange 2010, mailbox users can now do their own delivery reports.  Since we’ve upgraded to Exchange 2010 I refer all my users with  tracking requests to use the new Delivery reports available for them in OWA. The Delivery Reports can be used to search and get delivery information about messages sent by you or sent to you. If you sent a message to five people, for example, you can check the status of the delivery of that message to each person. Delivery reports is only available in OWA and is not accessible using any version of the outlook client. Once a result is viewed a users has the option to send the report to any email address of they choose.

Another added bonus with this feature, it even tracks the message once it’s in the mailbox. For example, User A indicated that she sent an email to User B and User C, but only User B said he received the email. User C insisted they never received the email and there must be an issue with our Exchange servers. I assured them there was nothing wrong with the mail servers and there had to be a valid explanation as to why he was not receiving the email. I walked User A through on how to run a Delivery report on her email messages she sent to User B and User C. The results of her search not only confirmed that BOTH User B and User C received her email but it also showed that User C had moved the email to the deleted items folder. OH Snap!

How to run a Delivery Report:

  1. To access Delivery reports you or the User must login to your Exchange 2010 OWA site with your required credentials
  2. Click Options
  3. See All Options > Organize E-Mail
  4.  Delivery Reports
    • You can search for reports on messages you’ve sent by using the Search for messages I’ve sent to box.
    • You can use the Search for messages I’ve received from box to search for delivery information about messages someone has sent to you.
  5. Once required fields are filled in and the results are found, you can double-click on a result to see more details.

Delivery reports are a nice added feature made available to users with Exchange 2010. I personally think that this is way better than sending those awful read receipts for internal emails,  which generate even more unneeded traffic.

Have a great night!- Until next time.

Performing Mailbox exports in Exchange 2010

This post is dedicated to a few of our techs that will stay nameless to protect the innocent (or guilty) because it seems that they forget how to export mailboxes when they get a request to do one. Don’t worry, I still love you guys and I totally understand on forgetting how to do something if you don’t do it everyday. Repetition is key and when you don’t export mailboxes everyday it’s easy to forget.

So the next time you guys come to me and ask “Can I export a mailbox and if so, how do I do that?”  , I will simply refer you to this post.  I’m only going to post 2 of most commonly requested cmdlets, but for more detailed information on Managing Mailbox Import and Export Requests on Exchange 2010 visit Microsoft’s Technet here.

Prerequisites:

  •  Mailbox exports can only be performed using EMS ( Exchange Management Shell), they cannot be exported using the EMC
  • To be able to export a mailbox one must have the  Mailbox Import Export management role assigned to them or be added to the built-in Discovery Management Role Group in Exchange 2010.
  • You need to create a network shared folder to place the exports
  • The account running the export should have appropriate permissions to access to the network share to view the files when completed.
  • The Exchange Trusted Subsystem group should be granted read/write permission on the network share. Please note:  If you don’t grant this permission, you’ll receive an error message stating that Exchange is unable to establish a connection to the target mailbox.

Exporting Mailboxes

  • Log onto a system that has EMS installed
  • Type the following cmdlets or you can copy and paste directly from this post.

To export the whole  mailbox:

New-MailboxExportRequest  “mailbox alias”  -FilePath  “\\filepathfor yourexport\nameofpst.pst”

To export data from the well-known folders in a mailbox. The list of well-known folders can be found on the Technet site

New-MailboxExportRequest  “mailbox alias”  -IncludeFolders “#Inbox#” -FilePath  “\\filepathfor yourexport\nameofpst.pst”

The export will take some time to complete – this all depends on how big the mailbox is. Once complete go to the mailbox export network share and copy the pst to any location you want to store it at.

After the export is completed you will need to do some clean up to remove the export request because it is not automatically cleared.

Removing the Export Request

  • Type the following cmdlet or you can copy and paste directly from this post.

Remove-MailboxExportRequest -identity “user\mailboxexport”

And there you have it! Mailbox exports aren’t painful at all. Like with any powershell cmdlets you can copy these cmdlets and save to a text file. When you need it again just simply modify the names then do a copy and paste directly to EMS.