Archive for August, 2013

Networking Lab of Doom

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

If you’re just now learning about networking, try this one out for fun.

1. Get a switch. Plug in a few client PCs and devices. Give them all static IP addresses on the same subnet.
2. Have the devices ping each other, maybe access a file share or two. Life is good, right?

Well, that’s not the lab. It really starts in step 3.

3. Take a network cable and plug both ends of it into the switch.
4. NOW try to ping or share files. Not so good, is it?

Watch what the switch does between plugging in the cable and unplugging it. Learn to spot the difference because if you see this thing in real life, you will want to be able to stop it, and quick.

Backup Or Die

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

So your boss comes in and says, “Hey, we need some backup software. Check out some vendors and let me know who to go with.” What do you do?

Most people panic and go with whatever they saw was used at the last place they worked at. It’s like they never heard of Google. Most people, it seems, have never heard of Google. Remember that: in the land of people that never search, the one-search man is king.

Those that don’t panic tend to do a perfunctory search and then find a vendor that looks pretty good. Then, like the guys that panicked, they order just one kind of software without checking to see if it’s compatible with their enterprise needs.

Bunch of morons…

If you have mail servers and databases, make sure that the software is able to back up those platforms without requiring that they shut down. What about VMs? Do you need a specialized agent for those? Centralized tracking? Alerts for jobs that didn’t complete? Image storage? Archiving? Did you even think to ask those questions? If not, start asking them and get answers so that your backups will actually accomplish something and not just be money spent on nothing.

And if the backup system is already in place when you show up on day one, make sure that they’re set up properly. What if they guy that was there before you set everything up with trial software that expired the day he walked out the door? What if there’s an error that happens every night because the main database backup isn’t executing properly and the guy that set it up two years ago told the night operator just to ignore it and click through the error? Yeah, you want to check things out, because if you don’t do your due diligence up front, it’ll catch you in the behind.