For That Once in a Blue Moon when I Need That Program Called RoboCopy!

Hello everyone,

 

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Happy Friday! Let me start by saying I know many of you may not feel the need to keep this article. However, In that one Blue Moon, I guarantee you will need the information, because Robocopy has some odd scenarios.

I only call light to the thing we do with Robocopy: copy files. There are two scenarios for this. The target existed previously, or the target did not. Expressed another way, you are copying files or you are syncing files. It is a fine line indeed. So I tried to supply the basic commands below. If you are creating the target, then run the Create Target commands. If you are Syncing, then run the Sync Target Commands.

Create Target Commands

I know you likely already know how to use robocopy. But this little application can go wrong, if you make a mistake in your syntax. I decided to just share my basic commands with you. I generally just want a whole drive or a whole folder moved, with thread control.

The scope of my command is narrow, but it gets the job done in the fastest time, without a mistake.

the general form is

robocopy (source)(destination)(controls)

Here are solid examples of copying when the target does not yet exist.

In the above commands, the source is copied to the destination. You may add /SEC to any of these commands. This will copy and keep the security permissions. On a first time copy, the command will perform as expected.

Sync Target Commands
Now I am not getting into the insanity when the target exists. we all have too many things to do. If the Files have been copied before, to the destination, then you have to worry about files that have not changed from source to destination. My vote would be to delete all the target folders and recopy. If that does not work for you, then read on.

If you have an existing source and old target, meaning you are really syncing data, and not copying, there is another set of commands I will lay on you:

  • ROBOCOPY /Mir <Source> <Target>
  • ROBOCOPY /E /Copy:S /IS /IT <Source> <Target>

You have to run both commands! This is a work around, but it works. If you want to spend the hours of spinning up on robocopy, go ahead. I plan to just keep this article, with the two basic sets of commands, to get the work done.
I sourced my information from the following blog, which you can read and understand if you need detail:

Robocopy Mirror Switch Mirroring File Permissions

I hope this is helpful. I know we don’t do this too often, but I wanted to make sure I pointed to the Correct Article for this issue. This is likely going to remain a work around, based on the behavior of the command.

 

Have a great Early Spring weekend!

 

Louis Reeves

Microsoft Skype Operations Framework (SOF) Network Assessment Options

 

It started with the Call Quality Methodology Framework. It has Evolved into the Skype Operations Framework. I am calling out two specific tools in the SOF, that you should be aware about. I had to do a little digging to understand what the purpose of 2 particular tools are and when you would use them.

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First you have the Skype for Business Network Assessment tool. This is a simple tool, run from the server, that will test the LAN. This may not give a complex view of the network, but may give you insite to local issues. You need to populate a CONFIG file, then run the command line tool. you get back a pass/fail type of text report. This is nothing fancy.

If this does not give you enough detail, you may purchase the UCAccessor tool. IR.Prognosis is a very good tool to use, to get you an advanced look at network issues. The price runs around the $800 range for full retail, but This is just hearsay. You will need to get a key from your vendor, and the price is likely been negotiated, in advance by the vendor, so I am sure prices will vary.

You should pay attention to the entire SOF. Follow the steps to deploy and maintain your Skype for Business Deployment, but I wanted to call these two tools out, as they are likely going to help with issues with the Networks we work on. Because you know the issue is never the Network.

With that, Ill leave you with a little poem. This is a Haiku:

  • Packets flowing fast
  • get stuck stuck between VLAN 6
  • The Network is Fine

And finally, A tool that is a holly grail, is the IR Prognosis. This tool is what you want to monitor you’re Skype for business environment. This Management monitoring application can tell you what is wrong with a call, in real time, while an agent is on the phone!. I saw it. I want a copy for my single Server Lab. It is an awesome  product and I recommend it for anyone who wants to see what’s really going on with your network. The tool uses snmp and SDN to get information from every device in the network. It is like nothing I have seen to date.

Thank you for reading and I hope this tool comes up when your looking for network problems.

 

Louis

Setting up Lync In a small environtment. How do I set up this network? Router On a stick

This is a short post, but one I think may help some small company with entrepreneurial spirit.  You find a lot of Lync documents out there, but not a lot of basic background for what you need to start. This article is  for people who want to set up Lync and don’t quite have the networking  hardware in place. Enter the router on a stick. The problem with Lync is you need at least 4 Static Ip addresses and this can take your whole entire block. Enter the router on the stick. What you need is a Router that can assign a MAC address to a layer three firewall. The layer three firewall, which in turn is plugged into an 802.1Q switch. This is how you begin you network design.

Be careful as there are a lot of products out there and it is difficult to get the right features for each device. I would recommend using products with the same brand. The example I work with is a Zywall usg 50 with a Zywall switch,  or Sonicwall TZ  firewall with a Dell switch.

It is common to have virtualization and use virtual network adapters to do the setup. While possible, If your trying to do it with two network adapters (the default # of LOB adapters that come with most servers), you will find it difficult to get things working unless you break the strong host model, and use some static metrics and routing. So with a Router on a stick you can set the three Edge networks with Different subnets and make them able to communicate. You have more control. The main things you want to look for are the following for you Firewall and switch:

1. The firewall should be capable of 802.1q trunking

2. The switch should have 802.1q ability as well.

3. Review the method for setting this up. A great article I found from brandontek.com has some good advice in it

4. Use 4 Physical Network adapters. If you have a LOB two on board nics, go buy a 2 NIC network card.

5. Features you are looking for on the firewall include Source Network Address Translation (NAT), Destination NAT, Port address translation (PAT), 1 to 1 NAT, Reverse Proxy and 802.1Q trunking. These features are all commonly available in the “Next Generation Firewall” products. The devices you buy depend on your budget. You can research to find a good match.

6. Examples of the low to high range include Zywall, SonicWall, Juniper, and Palo Alto. Actually the F5 is a great way to go if you are a larger enterprise.

this forms the bedoock of your deployment so spend the time researching so you get it right If you set your own Lync environment up, you can still get support for your setup. Call Dell sales and ask for Lync Premeir Parnter support. This is a Microsoft program, administered by Dell. You can purchase a software contract from Dell and a great team will be there to help you if you have problems.

Your  hardware network cost of investment may be $500~$750  for a small business, but you want to be successful. This is also a great lab setup. See the screen shot below for reference.

This picture is reproduced from the referenced Brandon tech article. This particular photo is a Sonic wall, which is a great product:

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http://www.brandontek.com/networking/sonicwall-on-a-stick/

#IworkforDell.

Copying Files Between Windows VM(ESX) Servers cause VMWARE host to fail, freeze or virtual machines become inaccesible

Good Evening- Copying files takes one or more ESX servers down? Yes- Using a UNC path to copy a file from VMa to VMb could purple screen your ESX server. All you need to do is use the E1000 VM NIC type. Synopsis> Don’t use E1000 VNIC on ESX 5.x if you use windows VMS? Apparently so!

This problem is not Lync Specific, but I saw this happen with a verifiable pattern. To reproduce this issue, all that was necessary was to copy a large file between virtual machines that had a common storage device (SAN). All Virtual Machines on multiple hosts failed, and a hard power down was required in some cases to return server to functionality. A ticket was put in to VMware and the results were surprising.

1. The Issue was confirmed as a problem from VMware under KB-2059053

2. The Recommendation from VMware was to use the VMXNET3 virtual adapter and reduce the usage of the E1000 series adapter as much as possible.

3. In addition, disable RSS within the Windows virtual machine. For more information, see the Resolution section of the KB article Poor network performance or high network latency on Windows virtual machines (2008925).

4. This problem may occur on ESX 5.0, 5.1 or 5.5

The Simple operation of copying a file between virtual machines could occur under many circumstances so I would add tags to suggest this could effect any windows implementation on VMware. Please beware of this problem as the issue could cause multiple VMware Hosts to fail, taking down all machines on the Host. We saw this occur on a copy of Lync Update.exe from one server to another. I placed this in the Lync Blog section of my posts, but any Windows application with the VMware virtual NIC E1000- Is susceptible to this problem.

The cause is listed as- This issue occurs when the rx Ring buffer fills up and the max Rx ring is set to more than 2. The next Rx packet received that is handled by the second ring is NULL, causing a processing error.

Microsoft Terminates Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) and MCSM Program; aka Canceled Masters Cantidates Anonymous

My understanding is the Microsoft Certified Solutions Masters program (MCSM) has ben canceled in its entirety.  If I didn’t know someone personally who received the email, I wouldn’t be making this public appeal. Unfortunately, this has touched myself and persons close to me who have dedicated their life to Microsoft products and technical knowhow.  The MCSM rotation and program has been  canceled. the Blogs started reporting this as truth, before noon on 8/31/2013. You can reference several blogs, but this is the one I read:

http://www.dontpapanic.com/blog/?p=328

Repeating the text from the article:

We are contacting you to let you know we are making a change to the Microsoft Certified Master, Microsoft Certified Solutions Master, and Microsoft Certified Architect certifications. As technology changes so do Microsoft certifications and as such, we are continuing to evolve the Microsoft certification program. Microsoft will no longer offer Masters and Architect level training rotations and will be retiring the Masters level certification exams as of October 1, 2013.

I would urge anyone who has an elevated position and opportunity to express this grief and dismay at this decision. This move seems to be justified to allow Microsoft to take its focus off of on premise products, and create a market in the cloud. I feel this decision was made in haste. This really is going to cause only a greater rift in the market. Microsoft wave 15 products really do have need for specialized knowledge. Taking away the goal of aspiring Engineers and support personal, not only removes the drive and impetus for goal oriented career path planning, but also causes long term Microsoft professionals to believe we support products the company does not believe in.

I appeal to the powers that be, in Microsoft, the MCM or MCSM status is just good business. If Microsoft is going to succeed, it should embrace the groups who have a vested interest in their success. If there is not way to be a Master of a technology, wont most of the smartest individuals move to platforms that do not just unplug from their distinguished talent?

It is sad that someone in MS decided to drop this on a Friday night; Leaving emails for all to see on Saturday. This will not stop this issue from being brought to light during business hours, when all can see what you have done.

Every other serious software technology has a master level designation. IT is only the laggards who will be waiting around. Our careers are serous and we can push any software we feel good about. I don’t feel good about Lync or Exchange today.

Server Broadcom updates and Cstates along with update your server patches – Segue to Xen Broadcom update

Server Broadcom updates and Cstates along with update your server patches – Segue to Xen Broadcom update

Saturday, January 05, 2013

9:44 AM

With the goal in mind to write articles that are disjointed and break all the rules of proper writing, here is my short rant on performance issues as it relates to updates and Cstates.

There is a lot of conflicting information about weather disabling Cstates in the bios  is the right thing to do to remedy performance issues.  If you have never felt the pain of a performance issue then you don’t need to read this. This is for the desperate and disheartened, stressed and stretched.  When all your logs and traces don’t quite get the picture and your gasping for air and a day off, for your intermittent unresponsive server, take a look at a few basic items to test.

For all those SQL servers, VDI products, and other heavy lifting applications that don’t have a reason for random locking or unresponsiveness. Ill lay it out simple:

1. Update your NIC driver and Firmware.

2. Disable Cstates.

3. Disable Power management

4. Disable turbo mode

5. Update your OS and Applications with the latest fixes and patches.

Of course this is for testing only but all you probably care about at the time you read this is that the server stops being a pain.

This was supposed to be about Xen but I expanded this idea as I have seen this help VMWARE, MS, Xen and others in multiple hardware situations, with all kinds of different applications.  The resistance to keeping everything updated simply gets in the way of progress, at the detriment of many a stressed out users and Admins.

Old e3200 Router? Flash it with DD-WRT

Well I had heard of some trouble flashing or maybe an issue with the usability of the USB port after flashing. For me, I really didn’t care about the USB part to much. I cant promise you anything in that front.

 

I can only say I used two items to flash mine, and they both worked perfectly. I flashed once, then I flashed again, and now I have all the features of this router I really wanted. The second flash even has Milkfish in the firmware. I haven’t used it yet but I can say the mega update looks to have any feature I had thought I may need. Anyway If you get stuck, you would have to comb the blogs to find out how to un-brick your device. This combination did work for me on the Cisco/Linksys e3200 router:

 

Flash this first to go from the Cisco firmware to ddwrt:
ftp://ftp.dd-wrt.com/others/eko/BrainSlayer-V24-preSP2/2011/06-14-11-r17201/broadcom_K26/dd-wrt.v24-17201_NEWD-2_K2.6_mini-e3200.bin

Then flash your desired build/version of ddwrt:
ftp://ftp.dd-wrt.com/others/eko/BrainSlayer-V24-preSP2/2011/12-20-11-r18024/broadcom_K26/dd-wrt.v24-18024_NEWD-2_K2.6_mega-nv60k.bin

 

Happy Flashing!