Why can’t you just increase my mailbox size, storage is so cheap

Just had to deal with a passive/aggressive type exec who wants more capacity for his mailbox. After I politely told him that he has to comply by the policy set for the corporate and we don’t have budget this year to buy extra storage, this is the reply I got:

How expensive is storage really?  I will go buy 1TB storage from staples.

Now as system administrators we get it and we do understand end user frustration with .pst for people who want to use their ipad  and still keep all their emails handy. But these are business decisions not to spend money on archiving solutions or buy more storage not my decisions.

Regardless, I just started thinking what would be good answer for him. Although I haven’t replied back yet, I just started noting down the  differences between business-class storage and  home storage. These are not in order of importance.

1. Backups. There is a central backup of all enterprise storage. This includes cost of the backup licenses, backup server. Every extra GB of storage added to a server adds extra tapes in the rotation for the backup, increases backup window and the cost of offsite backup storage.

2. Speed. Enterprise storage systems(called SANs) are optimized for speed(other points would come later). 1TB external drive vs an array of  15k rpm fiber channel drives front-ended by a read and write cache system nark a day and night difference between speed.

3. Reliability. Hard drives fail and that is a hard fact. Enterprise drives have a lower failure rate plus they are configured to run in raids which means if one or two drives fail, your systems can keep running without any glitch.

4. Replacement. Home drives fail and you might get a replacement from the manufacturer if you are lucky after spending hours on the phone with tech support. In case of enterprise SAN systems, most of the times if there is a drive failure, the SAN vendor is notified automatically and they come replace the drive for you rather quickly.

5. System vs drive. As discussed in speed and reliability above, it is a whole system and not just a single drive that makes it high performing and highly reliable. Enterprises get systems because of the critical need of the  business operations and pay(through the nose) for the systems(SAN).

6. Staff. Specialized systems need specialized staff.

I am pretty sure I am missing other important points here, but just wanted to share some of the points.

One more reason to hate EMC

We have a love/hate relation with EMC, their support and products. We do use EMC for lot of their products and use clarrion storage as well. Recently started the project to upgrade our redhat OS and hence there was a need to updgrade powerpath on linux hosts.

So I did what I am supposed to do, go to powerlink, get the support matrix and get the supported powerpath software as well.

One thing I could’t find is upgrade guide if you upgrading the OS.

Just doing my due diligence, I call support and these are the steps for the upgrade according to support:

1. Un-install powerpath

2. Upgrade OS

3. Re-install newer powerpath.

So there is no option to upgrade powerpath if you are upgrading the OS. Don’t like that, but I can live with that and here comes the kicker:

According to support guy, people don’t know these steps and call most often with this issue. Duh! It is not documented on your site, how would people know. And if this is one of the  most called issue, why not have a warning on the download page?

Not paying attention to customer support is what makes me hate EMC everytime.

But here you go, use the steps mentioned above if you are upgrading powerpath and upgrading your OS.

spacewalk Error: Cannot retrieve repository metadata (repomd.xml) for repository

Created a new channel on spacewalk server and after using rhnpush to add the packages, client wasn’t able to download any packages and I kept getting following:

Error: Cannot retrieve repository metadata (repomd.xml) for repository: <channel name>

I tried making sure time was in sync. Tried yum clean all on client, no help.

Then on the spacewalk server in the channel details, this is what I saw:

Last Repo Build: none
Repo Cache Status: none

So it had not built the repo yet.

Searching on google, multiple other tries, I got the following hint:

/etc/init.d/taskomatic status

taskomatic was not running on spacewalk server and hence repo was not built. starting the service fixed this in few minutes.

/etc/init.d/taskomatic start


cisco catos and Big IP LACP setup

Going through F5 setup with legacy catos switches and trying to setup LACP, I only couple of commands on forums and cisco docs:

        CatOSSwitch (enable) set channelprotocol lacp 2
        Mod 2 is set to LACP protocol.
        CatOSSwitch (enable) set port lacp-channel 1/1,2/1
        Port(s) 1/1,2/1 are assigned to admin key 56

But, this is not enough, 1 more step is needed for this setup to work:

This one is quite obvious but there is a catch.

All the ports in port-channel need to have same native vlan. And here is the catch, since it is 801q VLAN trunk, you can’t use a 801q VLAN as native VLAN. So as soon as you set a native vlan not part of 801q tagging, you would be able to see all interfaces in lacp trunk in Big IP.