System Outage for the weekend

I had hoped to start playing with Ruby on Rails this weekend as I had an idea I want to build. It was mostly to support how I use the Windows Mobile device. As I was busy upgrading the environment, I lost connectivity to my DHCP server and eventually my whole environment as I was stuck not being able to recompile VMWare server as I needed to download the header files for the new kernel. I was in a bit of a catch-22 situation: need internet up and running to fix the vmware server and need vmware server up and running to get to the internet. So it was time to develop work arounds to fix the problem.

While diagnosing the problem, I discovered quite a few issues with my hardware in my environment.

  • Network card not being picked up by the main VMWare server. I'm not sure if this is a hardware issue or not. I swapped network cards but the issue still exist.
  • D-Link router does not want to assign IP addresses through DHCP.
  • Lacie NAS which I use like a SAN might run the risk of corruption.

Over the weekend, I was either reminded or learned a few things along the way.

  • Running my virtual machines on a LACIE in striped mode seemed like a good idea at the time. Now I'm not so sure.
  • Microsoft Small Business Server is a great idea but it's really not for me. I don't like the idea of having DHCP, DNS, Mail Server, Domain Controller and SQL Server all on one machine. I'm going to start splitting up the services to different VMs.
  • Pre-allocating a virtual machine size at install is a good idea in principal but the reality of my situation is that I don't really generate that much data on my virtual machines. For those that I do, I have a pre-allocated hard drive and full time NAS to do that.
  • Can't have all my eggs in one basket. Having all of my external services hosted here is risky. When I was down this weekend, there was no way of redirecting either blog or mail traffic. A good friend has offered to help me host a small virtual machine that will act as another external DNS server, secondary mail server and web server.
  • My server rack at home was a mess and it being messy just adds to the issues. Took the time to clean up the environment this weekend.
  • While running my own hardware environment has taught me a lot about network setup, it is also extremely time consuming.

I'll update this post with a drawing of my physical hardware layout when I get to the office. Now back to our regularly scheduled program…