On Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 12:49 AM, Jason Hsu <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Joe had good points for the above commentary. i'll add that if you want to make sure that you don't need to have physical access to a machine when there is a software issue, get ipmi when you spec out a server for someone (i prefer proliants so likewise i like ilo and it's ~$500 for remote cd drive with that). however, as long as the network is still up, you'll have access to that box. to make sure you can check out network issues, either get two isp and get two cisco boxes and connect the aux's from one to the other or get a router with a sim card. then, if you have to actually come in, you'd better run
Given all this, how do you avoid bringing down your clients' systems?
if you want minimal downtime, look into ddrd - you can also google ha or 'high availability'.
1. *Do you have two or more firewalls/servers running in parallel so that if one goes down, the rest can take over the traffic? *My guess is that the larger the company or organization, the more computers you can have running in parallel.
if you want to make sure servers stay up, you have two or more of everything - and i do mean everything. two locations, with both locations being able to be serviced by two power companies and two isps with a good sla. two or more computers at each site for each service you run - each computer has dual power supplies plugged into separate pdu. each pdu is plugged into a separate ups which is plugged into a separate backup generator which is plugged into your separate utility. you have multiple multi port nics with at least two trunks into separate switches going to a routers for your different isps with a proper bgp config for each site.
but, in order for this colo to really work, you need a big pipe so that your replication doesn't get bogged down.
2. *Do you have a way to make sure you can quickly restore a server back to the old obsolete-but-still-working setup? *Even if there aren't any company files that need to be saved, there's still the need to restore the old setup if necessary. *I am taking notes as I proceed to make sure I can restore my setup to a working state. *However, reinstalling would take up valuable time. *Do you clone the hard drive and save the image file (or whatever it is that stores all of the files and everything else) so that you can quickly restore everything back to the old setup if necessary WITHOUT having to go through the reinstallation process?
*3. *Do you have separate computers for each function (firewall/DHCP server, mail server, print server, web server, etc.)? *It seems to me that it's easier to maintain things this way, because you only need to restore one function instead of multiple functions per machine. *Then again, this means more equipment is needed to have redundancy in all server functions (print, mail, web, firewall, etc.), so maybe this isn't such a great idea.
not really, i setup a gateway/firewall (vyatta or an asa 5505). then i separate all other services depending on security function. ie, if the same people use a mail and print server, i'll probably make that the same computer (or vm). however, if accounting wants to store files on the network, i wouldn't hesitate to give them their own file server and router acls for that.
*4. *Do your employers/clients give you a spare machine that you can use to practice? *I know how to use VirtualBox, but that's not the same thing as a real computer. *I know from my old career as an electrical/RF engineer that simulation programs all have underlying assumptions that may be inaccurate and sometimes wildly inaccurate. *I know from my recent experience with Debian that certain computers are compatible with a fresh installation of Lenny but not a fresh installation of Squeeze.
if i want to deploy a server, i'll setup a virtual environment, clone a box that does pretty much what i want it to do (if i have one), if not i'll do a new install. i'll go and test it out in virtual and do a v2p. done.
there are a few things to note: the clock in any virtual environment isn't as accurate as an actual rtc on a computer - so be aware on using a virtual to track a sine wave or do benchmarking from the guest or things like that. if you have some proprietary hardware that the machine needs to access - look elsewhere - virtualization isn't for this. this does include direct fibre channel access to a san. if you need direct fc from a machine, you probably don't need to be virtualizing it anyway.
also, remember, virtual environments keep everything in ring 3 (iirc). so, if you have old programs that require direct hardware, it might fail in a virtual.