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Month: January 2013

Corosync: unknown error

For environments where the use of a load balancer is not feasible because of say cost or complexity I often use Corosync to provide similar functionality. Corosync is a piece of software that allows for clustering of an application to provide high availability. One issue I have often experienced with the tool is that the error messages are not descriptive making troubleshooting difficult.
As an example, I have used Corosync to cluster syslog servers in the past. In one such environment I had a pair of syslog servers in an active-standby configuration with a VIP. While the VIP came up as expected the syslog server reported an unknown error as shown below.

So what was causing the error and how can you clear it up?

Reinstall JoomlaWatch

JoomlaWatch is a great Joomla monitoring component and provides live statistics as to who is visiting your sites. This tool can be used with or without Google Analytics and in many ways I find it to be better than Google Analytics. My biggest problems to date with the component is that it is extremely difficult to upgrade and the documentation is lacking.
Several months back I had been running JoomlaWatch v1.2.6 and decided to update to the latest version at the time, v1.2.12. Looking on the JoomlaWatch component, I was unable to find an upgrade button. As such, I decided to download the latest version and attempt to install it through Joomla. This failed claiming that JoomlaWatch was already installed. Based on this information, I determined that an upgrade was not possible. Looking at the extracted JoomlaWatch zip file, I decided to read the upgrade.txt file. It said:

When you are doing an UPGRADE from some older version
====================================================
Uninstall from the admin backend #!ERASES!# all the database tables that belong
to JoomlaWatch. But, you can backup these tables with tools like phpMyAdmin, or some
database tools that comes with your webhosting. After the upgrade, you can restore them back.

So what tables do you need to backup, how do you back them up, and how do you get everything working after the upgrade?

Review: Sococo

I recently had the opportunity to demo a tool used to bridge the gap with remote teams. The tool, Sococo, provides a virtual office where people can collaborate in a more traditional office environment. Objects such as offices, departments, and conference rooms are built into the tool to allow for easy collaboration. Just like in real life you can listen and talk to colleagues as well as message them and call them on the phone. In addition, screen sharing, white-boarding, and dash-boarding are all possible. In my mind this tool is the evolution of tools such as Skype, enriching the communication experience. For those of you who have not seen the tool, my first impression was that I was playing The Sims at work. The only real differences were the avatar being a circle with items added to it based on how you were connected (e.g. headphone, microphone, and eyes) and that you could only interact with the environment and not really change it.
After using the tool for several months I formed some opinions that I thought might be helpful for others considering the tool. The information that follows is based on my opinions and what I heard from others who have tried the tool.

Upgrading Dell Firmware

When I upgraded my home lab to ESXi 5.0 I ran into an issue with a server and one of the troubleshooting steps was to upgrade the firmware. Due to limited time, I opted to manually download and apply individual firmware packages as needed. Recently, I decided to overhaul my entire home lab, which runs on Dell PowerEdge servers, and as part of the process I decided to find the vendor supported way of checking for and applying firmware packages automatically. This is my story…

Hung Server/VMs post ESXi 5.0 upgrade

I have a home lab running vSphere on some PowerEdge T110 servers. My environment was running 4.1, but I recently (6 months ago!) decided to upgrade to 5.0. After I upgraded I started to experience VMs becoming inaccessible on a single server. I attempted to log into the Tech Support Mode on the ESXi server and noticed that once I typed in my password the server hung and never returned. Upon reboot the issue was resolved, however this issue kept reoccurring. My other servers were working without issue so I first looked at hardware. The server experiencing the issue reported no hardware issues and the ESXi logs looked relatively clean.
So what was going on?