What I Learned

This is essentially part two of the post mortem on the server failure.  The first post was basically just me outlining exactly what happened, while this post will be about what I’ve learned.

1.  System State backups are not the greatest thing in the world.  In fact, they are pretty much useless except for a few key situations.  Basically, in all of the Microsoft Press Books for the MSCE tests (and well, just about any other study material), system state backups are thought of as Gods gift to backups.  In reality this is hardly the case.  In fact, after doing system state backups on all of my servers, the only one that actually worked after a restore is the domain controller.  Granted, this was because there was nothing else on the machine.

All the other machines had software installed when the backups were taken, and now after restoring the system state, the machines are in a weird state where they have all the registry entries for software that isn’t physically on the machine (registry gets restored).  Now, this would be great if I had backed up the whole machine, but I didn’t.  Oh, and don’t even get me started with a system state restore and IIS.  Put simply, your metabase that is restored from the system state, won’t function on your new server, because your machine crypto key is different.

2.  The physical network at the apartment is a mess, and it definitely limits our ability to do a lot of things.  It seems to be further limiting my ability to create a perimeter and internal network with ISA.  For an unknown (as of yet) reason, anything not connected to the bridge/switch that my ESX box is connected to, can not ping the network which resides as a virtual switch on the ESX box, even with the static routes set.  What’s really making this aggravating is that if I initiate a ping from the network to a specific machine in the network, then everything works fine until that tunnel through ISA is closed.  However, once that tunnel is closed, nothing even hits the ISAs external interface, so it’s not really a tunnel through ISA, but a mapped route that’s appearing and disappearing.  Annoying to say the least.  If you feel like you want to help, or see a better explanation, feel free to check out my thread over at isaserver.org.

3.  WinSCP.  I can’t believe I haven’t been using this app with ESX before.  Setting up FTP can be a pain, and is a security hole, so being able to easily upload ISOs or whatever to the ESX box has been unbelievably helpful.

4.  Linux.  It’s amazing how much easier it is to learn things when you actually have a reason to, like when it’s broken.  Unfortunately, with a lot of the original problems I had I wasn’t able to reference them on google.  However, after thinking about it for a bit, and using basic troubleshooting skills, I’ve been able to solve all the linux problems.  Thankfully.

5.  The new Perc controller rocks.  The site is noticeably more performant, and it doesn’t take forever to initialize an array.  It’s amazing what a generation later and 112 MB of cache can do for you.