28 Mar 2012

Updating IBM System x Server Firmware

Being used to primarily dealing HP hardware, I was at a loss to how to go about updating the firmware on IBM System x  (x86) servers. It's straight forward with a bit of googling..

One approach is to download the appropriate firmware using IBMs 'UpdateXpress' to a local repository and then use the 'Bootable Media Creator' to either create CD, USB or PXE boot media.

UpdateXpress can be found http://www-947.ibm.com/support/entry/portal/docdisplay?lndocid=SERV-XPRESS

BoMC - http://www-947.ibm.com/support/entry/portal/docdisplay?lndocid=TOOL-BOMC

21 Mar 2012

The Accidental DBA Survival Kit - Part 1

I occasionally get drawn into some DBA related tasks, so yes I'm an "Accidental DBA" and I've decided to start compiling the snippets of code that I often have to use.

How to get a quick overview of a database

USE Database Name
EXEC sp_helpfile

Getting out of a Transaction Log 'Bear Trap'  

The following T-SQL can be used if you have exhausted your Transaction Log disk space and you have no other way either granting additional space. ***Warning this will break the transaction log chain***
USE DatabaseName
DBCC SHRINKFILE(TransactionLogName, 1)
DBCC SHRINKFILE(TransactionLogName, 1)

Update 1:

View all Databases on a SQL Server

EXEC sp_databases
View all Databases and some brief information
 EXEC sp_helpdb

9 Mar 2012

Lessons learnt while P2Ving Servers

I'm in the process of P2Ving some legacy servers to reduce rack space and thought I'd document the issues/errors/recommendations that I've encountered while doing it.

Recommendation: Document at least the following details before performing a cold clone of a physical server;
  1. Local Admin password (Reset if required)
  2. Current NIC Speed/Duplex
  3. IP Address, Subnet Mask & Default Gateway
  4. All drive space usage, add ~50% when resizing for the VM
  5. Disable the connect to network so that the VM doesn't knock the physical server off when it comes up initially
Recommendation: Try and use a Gigabit network connection for the source server that you're converting, it'll save a lot of time.

Recommendation: I've found that I can monitor the Host's network usage in vCenter to give an indication of the status of the conversion. If there's network activity above the normal trends then the server is receiving information from the P2V process.

Issue: Stuck at 2% progress with the log displaying "Formatting target volume c:..."

Resolution: Change Speed and Duplex of the NIC to 'Auto' if not already configured that way or if at 'Auto' change to a compatible speed.