Thursday, March 24, 2011

Getting Windows Deployment Services running

There are some good resources out there for Windows Deployment Services (WDS), such as the following: (obligatory manual reference)
Dan Stolts blog
Tom and Jason include some nitty gritty details on their blog (obligatory google reference)

Basically, I'm trying to set up the following:

WDS service on non-DHCP server in an AD environment with DHCP running on AD Domain Controllers only
Should note that the server is 2008 Standard R2, and the AD DC's are 2008 R2 and 2003.

DHCP scope option settings:
66 - <ip of WDS server>
67 - boot\x86\

I'm also setting this up so that unknown devices need admin approval in AD (pending devices approval in WDS), and the problem I've run into is the following:

An error occurred while trying to create the machine account for the following  device:

 Name: install01
 OU: CN=Computers,DC=<company_name>,DC=local
 MAC Address: 00000000000000000000BC305B9C1C03
 GUID: 44454C4C560010348039B8C04F435031

 Error Information: 0x5
-----------end snip-----------

This also shows up with Task category BINLSVC and an Application Error code of 524 (google search of "microsoft wds error 524" has details).

Solution to this is at the following technet page, and included below:

Per Microsoft's Technet page:

Ensure that the server has the necessary permissions

To perform this procedure, you must either be a member of the local Domain Admins group or have been delegated the appropriate authority.
To grant permissions:
  1. In Active Directory Users and Computers, locate the organizational unit that you are creating machine accounts in. The organizational unit is specified in the server properties for the Windows Deployment Services server.
  2. To view the organizational unit information, open the Windows Deployment Services MMC snap-in, right-click the server name, click Properties, and then click the Directory Services tab.
  3. Right-click the organizational unit, and then click Delegate Control to grant the Windows Deployment Services server Full permission to create and edit accounts.
Note: The computer that caused this issue is specified in the event message string. To view this information, open Event Viewer, expand Custom Views, expand Server Roles, click Windows Deployment Services, and then locate BINLSVC event 524 or 525.

In my case, I opened AD Users and Computers, selected the OU where I wanted the installed systems to show up, r-click and select "Delegate Control", then had to do the following:

change "Object Types..." to Computers
enter the beginning of the system name and "Check Names"
verify computer name and click next
select "Create a custom task to delegate", click next
select "Only the following objects in the folder:"
check the "Computer objects" box
check the "Create selected objects in this folder"
leave "Delete selected objects in this folder" UNchecked
click next
check "Full Control", click next
click finish

At this point, you'll be able to name devices in the "Pending Devices" tab for the WDS role when you approve them without that annoying error.

The beauty of this is that once you have the server set up and the OS's configured for an install, you can literally just plug the computer in at it's location and PXE boot it and install the OS and pull in the user data in one fell swoop.  Also, you can use this system to manage server images as well as desktop images.  While there are other ways of installing systems, especially in a VM environment (templates, ghost images, etc.), the advantage this holds is that you can install both virtual and physical systems from this one server, and be sure that you have the same config on all your systems.  See Chapter 3 of "The Practice of Systems and Network Administration, 2nd Edition" for more wise counsel related to systems configuration and automated installation.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Setting up OTRS on CEntOS 5.5

OTRS (Open Ticket Request System) is a great open source ticketing system with a pretty clean interface, written entirely in Perl.  Below are some notes from setting this up on Centos 5.5, see the website above for full install instructions.

some things to remember:

run /opt/otrs/bin/otrs.checkModules to verify that everything is installed correctly, RPMForge yum repo can help with Perl packages

use generic agent to automagically move tickets/delete tickets.  This works great for deleting stuff in the junk folder.

set up 2.4.9, not 3.0 (the interface was significantly changed in 3.0, not used to it yet.  I think there was another reason for this as well, but I can't remember this right now).

remember to set up mysqld and httpd with chkconfig --levels 2345 <daemon> on

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Cheap x64 VM environment how-to: Dell 6850 w/ Intel Xeon 7140's (SL9HA)

Short note, hope this might save someone else a few "bang head here" headaches:

need: cheap VM environment with the ability to run 64-bit VM's in VMWare ESXi4.1

Solution: Dell 6850 w/ 4x Intel Xeon 7140m processors and 32GB RAM (cost, $1220)

Problem number 1: 6850's require 200-240V power.  Since I was going to use this in my home, I don't have a circuit with that voltage (think electric stove or electric dryer; these are the plugs with a diameter about half that of a CD).  had I noticed this before the purchase, wouldn't have purchased the system.  However, I was able to use it for work.

replaced existing CPUs and hooked up power, only to run into...

problem 2: system wouldn't post, wouldn't get into the BIOS config, and reported that the processors were incompatible with the system.  BIOS was at latest for 6850's (A06), motherboard part is WC983, Rev A00.  Double checked the 6850 documentation PDF that Dell put out and confirmed that the 7140M is indeed compatible (read the fine print, it was used for a bench mark).

"No problem, I'll just call Dell."  Make sure you have your system ownership information updated before doing so, or you'll get nowhere.  That was problem number 3.

After talking with Dell over two days (seems even they have to dig for this info) it turns out that you need the following parts for the Xeon 7140M (SL9HA) processors (these are mandatory):

2x Dell Part YC902 (Voltage Regulator Modules)
4x Dell Part WG189 (Heatsinks for Motherboard, N6164 will not work)
1x Dell Part PD838 (3rd VRM for Cache) CANNOT BE PART K5331!
1x Dell Part RD318 (6850 Mother Board)
4x Dell Part ND891 (Memory Risers, part N4867 did not work)
1x The rest of the server

So, is the 6850 a cheap, viable option for running 64-bit VM's in ESXi4.1?  Viable, with a few caveats.  First, make sure you have the correct voltage!  Second, you must have the Xeon 7000 series processors (Intel part number SL9HA, SL9HB, SL9HC, SL8UD, SL8UB) since these are the only ones with the VT-x technology you need.  Third, make sure you have the voltage regulators to support the processors.  Finally, make sure you have the right 6850 Motherboard (RD318 if you want to run the SL9HA's).

As for cheap? well, after getting the rest of the parts needed (VRMs, Rails, disk), the total for the unit I've put together will be about $1220 for 8 cores @ 3.4 GHz, 64MB cache, 24GB RAIDed RAM, 800 FSB, and 2x 36GB 10K U320 SCSI HDD in RAID 1.  Stallard, Inc sells comparable 1950s for about $3460 each (w/o RAM RAID), but they have to be Gen III and still only capable of 24MB cache max.  You might be able to find everything on ebay for a bit cheaper, but it's still going to cost you more than $1000.  I should probably also mention that this system is not hosting the storage (using a 2850 running OpenFiler for that for the time being, 6x 146GB 10K U320 SCSI = 730GB usable in 5+1 RAID 5, approx $400).

For those of you looking to repeat what I've done, here's a list:

Dell 6850 ( has them w/ 16GB RAM for a good price on ebay)
4x 4GB (2x2GB) PC2-3200 DDR2 RAM (server-ram on ebay)
2x 36GB 10K U320 SCSI HDD (check your back plane, could be SAS)
4x Intel Xeon 7140m (SL9HA)
4x Heatsinks (WG189)
1x 6850 RD318 Motherboard
4x ND891 Memory Risers
2x YC902 Voltage Regulator Modules
1x PD838 Voltage Regulator Module (hard to find on Ebay, can be as much as $150 elsewhere)
Rails, of course

Happy Virtualizing!