It's with great sadness I report Terrie and I lost our cat and best buddy, Cleo, after roughly 17 years (that's anywhere from 102 - 153 human years).
She will be missed.
Well, the primary server (host to all the virtual servers within) had a glitch in it's drive array.
To explain, there's a drive array module which controls the computer's access to the hard drives. With this card, I can pair a number of drives together to logically so they appear to the operating system (i.e. Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac OS, VMware ESX/vSphere, Novell Netware, etc.) as one big drive or a couple of big drives.
When a drive array spans 3 or more drives, the drive array starts to use parity technology for redundancy. This is, in short, a mathematical calculation where a block of data is stored on any of the drives and it's mathematical checksum is stored on the other drives. What this does is provide a high level of redundancy in the event a hard drive within the array of drives goes bad. Very cool so long as fewer than half of the drives in the array go bad at one time.
None of my drives are reporting any issues.
In my case the array glitched (similar to losing power or power spike) and lost the drive configuration. In higher end array modules (and even in this one) I'm supposed to be able to pull the array configuration from the drive back to the card. That failed due to something with the glitch.
I very likely could have restored from backup if I had backups of each virtual machine - remember though, each virtual machine is essentially a complete computer in and of itself (and I have - correction, had - quite a few). So, unfortunately, I do not have the resources (technically or financially) to do backups of these systems on that level. And I learned long ago with email and database systems, if you don't go all the way with backups (and backup everything) it's best to just do what you can to minimize your losses and downtime.
Short answer, No. I was done with maintenance on Saturday and the server crashed while I was out buying presents on Tuesday around noon. Plus, what I did had no relation to the drive array system.
Probably the best way to explain this is, if you drive a full stretch Cadillac and go to the grocery store and fill up that huge trunk with groceries, and then 30 miles down the road simultaneously all four tires blow and the transmission breaks, do you think it's because the trunk is full of groceries or is it possible something else which may have happened (like running over glass in the roadway)? :-)
As for backing it up, we could probably have four spare tires in the trunk as well as a spare transmission - but it's unlikely anyone would go to that length of protection on a personal basis.
For anyone using my email server, I've transferred it out to a service (provided by No-IP.com) so it will no longer go down (at least - not because of something I've done, or my Internet connection, or my server glitching). I've gone ahead and paid the first year service fees to get the transfer going and email is already flowing in. This service was already providing basic anti-spam services (I didn't have them set too high) so it will continue to do that - and we can also increase the spam protection services as well as the settings for individuals. I will also be re-setting up the reflection addresses which existed in my own server (things like group addresses which forward/reflect email to all members of the group).
Here are the differences which you'll notice:
If you wish to use another email service (such as Comcast or Verizon) and want your "@flaming.ws" or "@feely.ws" email forwarded to it, please let me know.
Also, the reverse is true - if you wish to use the "@flaming.ws" or "@feely.ws" email service and currently have another service, please let me know. Either way can be accommodated and this email service is guaranteed to be up 99.99% of the time.
For those of you who are using my Corporate Antivirus license, that server is also gone. Your Antivirus client will be fine for a couple of weeks if you wish to buy another (I would highly recommend it). I would recommend Trend Micro or AVG. I've not used AVG but have heard it is good from others. For those who have multiple computers (I think everyone does) and want to purchase Trend Micro, I've provided a link to the online store which allows you to purchase Trend Micro for multiple computers.
A couple little tricks on purchasing Antivirus software - specifically Trend Micro
Surprisingly, that's about it. Amazing how a complete system wipe can bring you back to a clean slate.
The only other thing is an apology for any inconvenience or issues this may have caused to anyone. Know that your email is now in better hands now and will not go down.
Just a reminder....All servers are back online (flaming.ws and feely.ws email as well as other - FTP, etc.)! Currently I'm trying to fix the Antivirus server for those of you who use my corporate AV license for your Windows systems.
However, please don't be surprised if there are temporary outages this week while I fix issues (the AV issue and others), perform maintenance and cleanup. And if my new server arrives this weeks, there will be some longer outages while I install it and move systems around to it.
All servers are back online!
Turns out the new Intel PRO/1000 Dual Port Network Adapter
was not the correct item needed for the additional capacity necessary to support the move of the firewall. I ended up reconfiguring my VMware ESX virtual host server to accommodate the virtual appliance firewall with the hardware configuration I was already running. In the process, I also upgraded the firewall to a newer system as well.
I won't be able to fully load it until I get the new server in to offload a few things to it, but the new virtual firewall does run better than my old Dell Dimension (a Pentium Pro 400Mhz system with 650MB of RAM and about 10GB in hard drive space - archaic by today's standards).
I am bringing the servers down at this time (email) to update hardware in preparations for the firewall migration from the physical white-box firewall into a virtual appliance firewall.
Just a reminder, during the week of Thanksgiving, there will be some server outages to those of you using my email server (@flaming.ws and @feely.ws).
I will be conducting at least one upgrade if not more on the following:
Additional maintenance may also occur.
Terrie and Celeste went hiking around Cortona one afternoon (I think Terrie was secretly looking for places to buy but can't be certain) and they took some really neat shots which I thought I'd share here.
This first one is a neat view from up near the top parts of Cortona.
This was from the same vantage point as the above picture, except looking off to the right.
This was looking in the same direction as the above picture, however completely zoomed out.
These next couple are of some really neat little courtyards and entry ways.
Another nice view from atop Cortona.
Just an awesome entry way. Check out how steep the street is.