Busy busy busy

30 12 2011

It’s ironic, and a great shame, that the longest period I’ve gone without posting on this blog has been a period where I’ve had some amazing professional experiences – mostly with stuff breaking that I then had to fix.

The main example of this is the company phone system – we had a complete failure of the OS, caused by underlying hardware issues. The first week of the break I worked 70+ hours to get it sorted, and we still weren’t in a great situation after that! Unfortunately, we went 6 days without the majority of the functionality that the phone system had – and a month later, after much troubleshooting with both our consultants and Cisco TAC, we still didn’t have voicemail.

Now though, I’m confident I could bring the system back to a working state within 4 hours. I have gained lots of experience with the Cisco Unified Communications Manager (or Call Manager, as it was called), both the web interface, and even more significantly, the command line. I have now installed the OS numerous times, so I’m at least familiar with the process. I’d never previously even heard of the Real Time Monitoring Tool, and now I use it every day to keep an eye on the system.

On top of that, I’ve had numerous issues related to my firewalls blocking traffic between my two Exchange DAG members, causing all sorts of fun and games. Incidentally, I’ve just started watching my CBTNuggets 70-662 videos again, and noticed that the guy actually said that DAGs hide the underlying Windows Failover Clustering technology from the administrator.

My troubleshooting during this time has completely disproven this as far as I’m concerned – the Windows Failover Clustering interface has proven invaluable in the course of troubleshooting my DAG, and I always go there first whenever there is an Outlook connectivity issue. It enables you to see at-a-glance which nodes have dropped from the cluster, cluster specific errors, the status of the DAG and the file share witnesses, and to configure new file share witnesses, which doesn’t seem to work properly with Exchange (certainly from the GUI).

Now I’m having intermittent VPN outages that have occurred at almost exactly 12:05 every day for the last five days – this is really heavily intertwined with the firewall and Exchange issues above, so will prove an interesting one to troubleshoot.

I’m aiming to write these experiences up in more detail soon – I documented my troubleshooting quite extensively – back soon!

PS – hope you all had a good Chrimbo!

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