Onward To Storage

As much as it pains me to say, I’m ok with not having memorized every little detail about DISM from Chapter 1 of my MSCA book. I’m excited about starting the next chapter: Storage. I read the first section tonight, which for me was a review about NTFS permissions and information about disk sectors and allocation units. What I found interesting was that you can make NFS shares on a Windows Server. I’ve yet to get around to playing with NFS shares on Linux, so this will be an opportunity for me to see if I can make up a little lab scenario where I share files between a Windows and Linux system using NFS.

I’ve heard about ReFS before, and this chapter touched on it a bit. I’m curious though to see if it’s actually production ready and whether or not it’s being considered and used when folks are deciding about which filesystem to use. One of the things I intend to do spin up some VMs and format volumes with ReFS and see if I notice any differences from NTFS.

One thing I noticed so far in this chapter is no mention of using PowerShell to modify NTFS permissions on items. I’m not surprised because, to my knowledge, there is nothing native with PowerShell for doing such motifications. I know you can probably use ICACLS to modify permissions, but still. . . Luckily, thanks to Raimund Andree there is this. To this day, it absolutely blows my mind such functionality is not just a part of the current version of PowerShell.

Week in Review

See what I did there?

Anyway. I’m finally noticed again on the Internet — I’ve already got some spam comments. I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself about them. On to the actual content.

This week has been busy, despite the feeling of lack of accomplishment. On the MSCA front, I’m a bit more familiar with the concepts in Chapter 1. My next step will be practicing some usage scenarios for DISM and more practice with deploying Nano server. Unfortunately, all I can really do are some contrived scenarios. The goal is to feel a bit more familiar with the commands necessary. The goal is not to memorize every possible switch with DISM or New-NanoServerImage.

There were a few challenges this week with my MSCA work. First, remote management via PowerShell. This has been my experience with remote management of Fedora and CentOS Linux systems.

  1. Open a terminal on a computer, which loads the BASH shell.
  2. Make an SSH connection to a computer I want to manage, or to a jump box, and from there make an SSH connection to the computer I want to manage.
  3. Upon making an SSH connection, I have a BASH shell available with whatever privileges are granted to the account I’m using.

There are differences between running PowerShell at the console for my Hyper-V host, and connecting to the Hyper-V host with PowerShell Remoting. My knowledge of PowerShell isn’t good enough to explain the exact differences, but here are a few that I’ve noticed.

  • Some commands seem to not work during a PowerShell Remoting session.
  • You cannot enter another PowerShell session from an existing PowerShell remoting session.

For example, deploying a Nano Server and attempting to domain join it with the -domainname parameter failed 100% of the time during PowerShell Remoting, but was successful from the console (using the exact same user account). Running the cmdlet with -Verbose revealed that the piece that was failing was djoin, which I thought was curious. Apparently using the -domainname somedomain parameter, actually results in doing an offline provisioning then domain join using djoin. I did not have a chance to try djoin alone from a remote powershell session.

The second example prevents you from using a jump box with PowerShell remoting. For example, From Host A, I cannot enter a PowerShell remote session on Jumpbox B, then within that session, enter another PowerShell remote session into Server C.

I suspect there are workarounds for these situations, and likely some particulars about PowerShell remoting that I don’t yet understand. I also understand contrasting SSH and PowerShell remoting is an apples::oranges situation. However, coming from an environment where “the” protocol used for remote management just works, to an environment where it sort of works is a bit frustrating. This wasn’t entirely a shock to me, as I’ve dealt with this before with trying to access SMB shares from a remote PowerShell session, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating.

The final challenge deals with KMS. Let me be the first to say, I don’t expect Microsoft (understanding their licensing model) to just give me a KMS key to play with. That makes it a challenge to practice setting up a KMS server. By challenge, I mean it can’t be done. So while I understand conceptually what happens, and I can read about it in my cert book, I don’t see a way, legally, to get what I’d need to actually practice setting up a KMS environment. If there is a way, feel free to leave a comment about it, as I’m sure there are others who want to know.

There was more to my week than MSCA, but I don’t think it’s blog worthy. My overall goal is to not let the blog be neglected, so if I happen to stumble on some worthwhile content, I’ll make a post before another week goes by.

The Trek to 200 – Part 1

A few years ago, I decided to lose weight, and came close to my goal of 200 lbs. If I recall I made it to 202. I’ve decided to start this trek again — not today, mind you, I’ve been working on this for a couple of months, but I figure I’d chronicle some of it here.

My three goals are:

  1. Improve general health
  2. Achieve and maintain 200 lbs.
  3. Be able to return to Taekwondo with less risk of injury

My weight on Sunday (10/27) was 273.4 lbs. My current exercise activities are 10 push-ups daily (a little challenge with my friends on the Network team at work) and jogging (very slowly) 0.75 miles and walking 1.75 miles at least 4 days / week.

I don’t know how many parts this post series will be, but if I feel inspired to mention something about my progress, I’ll be sure to write more.

Discovering Windows Nano Server

I’m still in Chapter 1 of my first cert book, and it’s covering something I’ve never touched: Windows Nano Server. At first glance, this seems like it’s equivalent to the net install image of Fedora Server. After deploying a few VMs and logging in, it seems even more basic that the net install. From the console there is no command shell. So outside of network and firewall configuration, all management would come from PowerShell remoting or from various GUI tools from the RSAT suite.

The scope of my training is more focused on deploying Nano server to VMs, dealing with domain joining them, and dealing with managing them (whether on a domain or not). At a later time I might dive into seeing how you’d install web apps, etc. on them. One thing I did discover is that Get-WindowsFeature and its companion Install-WindowsFeature aren’t available on Nano Server. This makes sense, as the whole goal of Nano server is to use the least amount of resources possible. So rather, you either install packages ahead of time with New-NanoServerImage or, you add them later with Edit-NanoServerImage — which I’ll try doing tomorrow.

The Journey to MSCA Begins

I purchased these e-books not too long ago, and it’s time to get started. The way I plan to prepare for this certification is to try to create some applicable scenarios in my lab based on whatever objectives are covered in each of the chapters. At the end, if I feel confident enough to sit the exam I will. Otherwise, I’ll be happy with whatever I learn along the way.

Earlier this week I finished configuring my Hyper-V host. Tonight’s (tomorrow’s?) task is making some template VMs. Plain Hyper-V manager doesn’t have a way (about which I’m aware) to create templates such as VMWare vCenter; however, I’m simply making a couple of VMs, patching and sysprepping them. To clone I should be able to copy and rename the VHDX, configure a new VM, and attach the VHDX. Alernatively, I could probably export the “template” then import it. Either way, I’ll be able to spin up VMs a bit quicker, since I won’t have to patch them. I’ve used differencing disks in the past. I might try them again, since I can’t remember with 100% certainty how dependant child disks are on the parent, which will be significant when I eventually need to patch the parent again.

Go see Halloween!

Globlia and I went to see Halloween tonight at Studio Movie Grill. If you enjoy classic horror, you need to see it. I was thoroughly entertained throughout the movie. I was a bit disappointed with the younglings in the audience. While their behavior was fine, they didn’t laugh at the right times. Certain deaths in a slasher deserve a “Ha!” or some kind of positive acknowledgement. Maybe the new generation didn’t grow up with slashers; thus, aren’t aware of how to properly consume them.

If you’re on the fence about seeing it, go for it. Like any slasher movie, don’t expect some thought-provoking work of cinematography. Instead enjoy a good continuation of slasher that captures the same feel of the Halloweens of old.

IT Learning Lab Tour – Part 3

This part of the lab is no longer in use, but the equipment still functions fine. In fact, this was actually my original lab: My CCNA Routing and Switching training lab!

When I transitioned from my teaching career to IT, my formal training at Gwinnett Tech was in their Cisco Networking program. Before I sat for the ICND1 and 2 exams, I wanted to practice the concepts on actual equipment. Again, the idea was to be able to say truthfully that I’ve worked on and trained with actual networking equipment rather than just Cisco Packet Tracer. That being said Packet Tracer is a GREAT tool for learning.

My learning work flow was something like this:

  1. See some behavior on real switches / routers I thought was odd
  2. Replicate what I was doing in Packet Tracer.
  3. Use Packet Tracer’s tools to see exactly what’s going on and what caused said behavior.

The equipment I used for this lab consisted of two Cisco 1841 routers and one Cisco 2811 router. Also, I used two Cisco 2950C switches and one Cisco 2960 switch. I acquired all of this from CertificationKits. I could probably have got stuff cheaper from Ebay, but at the time, CertificationKits had the hardware I wanted including mounting brackets, etc. I just noticed the mainly still sell the same models of stuff I used for my CCNA tests from three years ago. Maybe the CCNA hasn’t been updated?

My current job now has a dedicated networking team, with me living within the server and systems administration team. I must say listening and watching the network folk do their thing has rekindled some of the love and enjoyment I had from learning networking with my GTC classes.