Tips & Tricks

Unable to resize a Netapp volume?

There maybe times that you will need or want to re-size a Netapp volume and normally this is process is very easy to do. You can re-size a Netapp volume using  the ONcommand tool, Filerview, or even SSH into the filer directly. Either of these ways is perfectly fine, no wrong way to do it except for when it fails.

A common error I have seen for failed volume re-sizing is due to the “fs_size_fixed”  error.

vol3

The “fs_size_fixed” is a parameter that has been enabled on the volume either during setup or during a snapmirror relationship break. The parameter is there to prevent any type of accidental re-sizing on the volume.  The only way to re-size the volume is to remove the “fs_size_fixed” parameter by connecting directly to filer through an SSH tool and running the following commands. Once the parameter is removed you will be able to re-size the volume.

1. Connect to the filer ( you can use Putty if you have it)
2. First verify that “fs_size_fixed” is enabled on the vol, type : vol status [name of vol]

you will see in the status that “fs_size_fixed” is set to ON

vol1

3.  At the prompt type  : vol options [name of vol] fs_size_fixed off

4. You can confirm that the parameter has been disabled by typing : vol status [name of vol]

vol2

Apple releases iOS 6.1.4 update

Happy Friday everyone!

It looks like Apple has release another iOS update for iPhone 5 on this fine May Friday. The latest update appears to be for audio profile for the speakerphone. Not sure what it really fixes since I didn’t notice any difference after apply the update. Must be something important….

More information on the latest update can be found at http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1652

If you’re unsure on how to apply Apple updates visit http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4623

Duplicate CMIDs and how they affect KMS hosts

The CMID ( Client Machine ID) is a unique ID that is used by a KMS host to activate the license on the machine. Typically each system has it’s own ID and there are no issues but with the use of tools such as cloning the CMID can be duplicated. When the KMS host treats each CMID as 1 client, so if you have 200 systems all containing the same CMID the KMS host has only activated 1 client machine. This results inaccurate licensing activation by your KMS host.

So what causes these duplicates you ask? Normally this is caused by some sort of cloning or imaging of a system that did not sysprep with the sysprep /generalize option, see Microsoft KB929829. I have also seen this happen when you deploy a vm from a vCenter template and you do not use the customization wizard to customize your vm.

vmcustomwizard

Once the CMID is set unfortunately Microsoft does not support changing the CMID, however it is possible to do so. Microsoft does not support changing the CMID and their recommended workaround is too re-image the system using the sysprep /generalize option because changing the CMID may cause the OS to become unstable. With a user’s system that is easier to re-image but let’s say you have several production servers that have duplicate ID’s?

Good luck with telling the application owners that you need to re-deploy their server to fix a duplicate CMID. I’m sure that will go over well. If you work in a company like mine,where that would not fly well, you have 2 options either you live with the duplicate CMIDs ( prevent future duplicates) or change it by resetting the CMID.

If you’re daring like me , I would look for the reset option and test it, to see what happens. Changing or resetting the CMID on a system is technically re-arming the licensing on the system. To re-arm the licenese you will need to logon to the system with the duplicate ID and run the following command:

cscript c:\windows\system32\slmgr.vbs /rearm

rearm

So there you go, you can change the CMID just keep in mind it’s not support by Microsoft if you do. The best thing to do is just avoid having duplicates by running the sysprep /generalize option when cloning systems. If you’re deploying vm’s just remember to run the customization wizard or have a precanned setting wizard all ready to go.

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.

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.

Snapdrive services failing to start on Windows Server 2008 x64

Snapdrive for Windows  is Netapp’s storage management software that allows you to easily provision storage, backup and restore your data on a Windows server. It’s a great tool when it works but when it doesn’t it’s a bear. I just recently had the experience of troubleshooting some of our servers that had some Snapdrive issues connecting to our filer. The server’s iSCSI connection was not affected so the issue went unnoticed for some time until a request to expand luns was made….That’s when it was discovered that the Snapdrive service was not running and failing to start.

When Snapdrive was opened the mmc would crash which then resulted in the following error in the Snapdrive MMC:

Web Service Client Channel was unable to connect to the LUNProvisioningService instance on machine ServerName.
Could not connect to ‘net.tcp://ServerNameSnapDrive/LUNProvisioningService.’ The connection attempt lasted for a time span of 00:00:00. TCP error code 10061: No connection could be made because the target machine actively refused it 

The event that appeared in the application logs:

Description:
Log Name: Application

Source: SnapDrive
Date: 1/05/2013 10:41:33 AM
Event ID: 101
Task Category: Generic event
Level: Error
Keywords: Classic
User: N/A
Computer: myserverxxx.com
Description:
SnapDrive service failed to start.
Error code : SnapDrive Web Service failed to start Reason: ‘The TransportManager failed to listen on the supplied URI using the NetTcpPortSharing service: failed to start the service. Refer to the Event Log for more details.’

I immediately jumped onto Netapp’s support site and starting searching for known issues. One post had indicated to check the permissions of the account accessing the filer and make sure it had local admin rights to the server, I knew that wasn’t issue because the account already had local admin rights. Plus, Snapdrive was working up until recently so permissions would be on the bottom of the list of culprits.The next few hits on the forums indicated that IIS admin needed to be enabled and ensure that the .NetTCPSharing service was enabled. When I checked for the services , IIS admin wasn’t even installed  and the .NetTCPPortSharing was in a disabled state.  I attempted to re-enable the service but it failed as I expected it too. Odd, I thought, Where is the IIS admin service?  What would prevent these services from starting?

Since IIS admin wasn’t available I went to Server Manager and confirmed it wasn’t installed and installed the feature through server manager. After the installation was completed I attempted to start the .NetTCPSharing server and the Snapdrive services again but all of them failed. Back to scratching my head again.

It took some digging but eventually I came to Netapp KB2013168 . The article noted  the following “.NetFramework and the Net.Tcp PortSharing Service. If .Net is not properly installed or the Net.Tcp PortSharing Service service are not functioning correctly, SnapDrive will not be able to connect to the LUNProvisioningServices and the ability to manage LUNs via the MMC can be impaired.”

Oh Snap! Anybody that knows me in “real” life knows how much the word .Net just gets under my skin. I’ve had to deal with so many issues that involved corrupted installs of .Net or some sort of Microsoft patch that would  “break” .Net and the application that depended on it, that I’ve grown a hatred for the word .Net.

Now that I’ve something to go on,  I followed the steps in the KB article for issue #2  and issue #3 ( the symptoms I was experiencing);

Issue 2:
Directory permissions to C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v3.0\Windows Communication Foundation\SMSvcHost.exe.
For the NT Authority\Local Service account to be able to start this service, users must have read and execute permissions to the above path.

Resolution to Issue 2:
Incorrect permissions where configured on the C:\windows directory.
Verify that users have read and execute permissions to the path C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v3.0\Windows Communication Foundation\SMSvcHost.exe.

Well, permissions wasn’t it because everything was there. Now onto issue #3

Issue 3:
SnapDrive 6.x service did not start because the ‘Net.Tcp Port Sharing service’ will not stay started. This is a dependency SnapDrive 6.x has that earlier versions do not.

Resolution to Issue 3:

Reinstall Microsoft .Net.

Reinstall .Net? Great , this should be fun  I thought to myself. I confirmed via Add/Remove Programs that the .Net 3.5 was installed but  the document referenced that Snapdrive required .Net 3.0  sp1 and that particular version was not listed anywhere. On a hunch, I went to server manager > Features > to see if the .Net 3.0 framework features were installed and Yes it was! Using the Server Manager wizard I removed the .Net 3.0 Framework Features, which requires a reboot to complete.

Once the uninstall was completed I re-installed the .Net 3.0 Framework using the same Server Manager wizard.When the installation completed I rebooted the server for good measure, once the server came back online the Snapdrive service was running again. Whew! What a morning now onto expanding the Luns as the applications owner requested.

How to set an Out of Office Message in Powershell

Something that I get asked quite often from our techs is  “can I set Userxx’s Out of Office message?”. Luckily with Exchange 2010, any tech or admin with the correct permissions can easily do that. There are 2 ways ; via the Exchange Control Panel( ECP) or through Powershell. I personally think it’s easier to do it through the shell but the ECP has it advantages too. For instance the ECP can be accessed on any web browser and if you’re configured correctly you can even access it outside of your internal company network.

If you’re like me and you like quick & easy then using Powershell maybe the method for you. To set the OOF using Powershell run the following commands.

Set-MailboxAutoReplyConfiguration pschmitt@youremail.com –AutoReplyState Scheduled –StartTime “1/8/2013” –EndTime “1/15/2013” –ExternalMessage “Type External OOF message here” –InternalMessage “Type Internal OOF message here

You can save this command in a text file and next time you need to set the OOF simply modify the email address and message then copy & paste directly in powershell.

Now wasn’t that simple?