Importance of Baselines

one of these things is not like the other
In my world, having a standard baseline across servers is important. For example, I am responsible for maintaining a few hundred servers spread across a geographical area. By having a standard baseline across the servers its easy to maintain updates, troubleshoot issues, and in general keep things running smoothly.

Well, recently we received a hardware refresh consisting of new servers, storage, and networking equipment. While installing the equipment we made a system baseline for our sister sites. The theory is that each site would have the same hardware, the same software, and then if one site has issues or upgrades something all sites apply the change.

This is in stark contrast to my site and other sister sites all being islands of development and maintenance. Lessons learned didn’t get shared and when they did they got morphed into site vs site competition.

So one would think we are forming a standard baseline. Sadly that idea, that concept, that goal has failed so far. The organization responsible for providing the hardware decided to change things between our site and the next. Where we have a Cisco 6500 switch they have a 4500. Where we have a set of blades and another set of standalone servers, they only have the blades. Where our blade chassis have one type of built in switch, they have another brand which supports different features that we are using.

So in review. If your environment looks like this:

  • Multiple subnets/VLANs on each server for traffic segregation and security
  • Bonding/LACP at the server and between switches for redundancy/throughput

And you can’t hire enough smart network engineers that understand trunking/bonding/VLANs then don’t switch your hardware mid-game, and then don’t call the site that got it working asking for help.

Written by ruckc | Tags: , ,

Google’s Batteries

its just cool, eh?
In the recent CNET article Google finally published specifications on their servers. They have batteries mounted on the chassis. Instead of going for giant data center batteries, they went with individual batteries on every server. I would be very interested to see their statistics on lifetime expectancy of the batteries. Plus, their power supplies appear custom manufactured since it provides only 12VDC to the motherboard, and the motherboard handles the voltage stepping. Its anyone’s guess how long it will take manufacturers to start selling server/workstation equipment based on the simplicity of it the design.

Written by ruckc | Tags: , ,

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