Barracuda ADC Load Balancer with 2012 Remote Desktop Services

We had a problem with a group of Remote Desktop Servers sitting behind a Barracuda ADC Load Balancer.  The client either couldn’t connect, or they would connect to a different server even when they had a session open already on another server.  There was a group policy change that fixed our problems.  Go to the following path on your RDS GPO. Computer Configuration -> Policies -> Admin Templates -> Windows Components -> Remote Desktop Services -> Remote Desktop Session Host -> RD Connection Broker Change these two settings: Use IP Address Redirection - Disabled Use RD Connection Broker load balancing - Disabled...

Backups failing with Event ID 904

One of our clients was having an issue with backing up Exchange 2007 using Ahsay Online Backup Manager.  The backups were failing nightly and Ahsay was returning the error CExBackup::backupService:HrESEBackupSetup: Error Number 0xc7fe1f45: Instance not found.  A search of this error revealed that this error originated in Exchange and passed through to Ahsay.  Checking the Application event log showed that for every failed backup there was an error with Event ID 904. The source is ESE Backup and the error text is Information Store (3396) Callback function call ErrESECBPrepareInstanceForBackup ended with error 0xC7FE1F45 Instance not found. Researching this error online mostly pointed to this Microsoft Knowledge Base article, http://support.microsoft.com/kb/924204.  However the article says this error occurs when the drive containing the transaction logs is full and I knew that this did not apply to the issue our client was having as they had nearly 245GB free on the drive where the transaction logs were stored. I continued to search for answers and came across this posting from 2006; http://forums.msexchange.org/m_1800413118/mpage_1/key_/tm.htm#1800413118.  In this forum thread the user Joseph Finnie reported that he observed this error when attempting to backup Exchange 2007 while a Recovery Storage Group was present on the server. I checked the Exchange server for the presence of a RSG by opening the Exchange Management Console, selecting Toolbox and then selecting Database Recovery Management.  This opens the Microsoft Exchange Troubleshooting Assistant.  After the TA connects to Active Directory you will come to a page that says “Select one of the following tasks” and the section you want to look under is “Manage Recovery Storage Group.”  If there is an RSG present, click the link...

VMDirectPath on Dell PowerEdge Servers with SD card for ESXi

We recently encountered an issue with VMware ESXi USB passthrough that is worth noting. On a Dell PowerEdge R and T series servers (T710, R710, R610, etc) you can opt to install ESXi on the embedded SD card. It works great and allows the OS disk to be completely separate from the datastore disk (which is great if problems arise).  If you want to use VMDirectPath for USB passthrough then you need to be aware that one of the EHCI controllers is where the SD card is connected!  The same controller that feeds the front 2 USB ports is also attached to the internal USB port on the motherboard and the SD card.  If you pass that controller through then 1) the SD card becomes inaccessible to VMware and you will not be able to save any changes on the VMware host, 2) you will not be able to access the /bootbank directory, and 3) if you run “lsusb” you will not see any output. After some trial and error we found that the EHCI controller at 00:1a:7 is the controller for the front and the controller at 00:1d:7 is the controller for the back. If you accidentally have forwarded the front USB controller then boot from the ESXi installation media and choose to do a repair install.  Keep in mind that a repair install does not save any host settings, so make sure you take good notes on your network config and any other customizations on the host before running the repair install.  Once you come back up go into the datastore and right click on each .VMX...

Centrally setup Windows XP machines to use the new 2008 Group Policy Preferences

With the new 2008 Group Policy Preferences there are some great new tweak tools to manage without the need for login scripts.  Windows XP machines are not compatible with these new GPOs without first installing an update for Group Policy Preference Client Side Extensions (CSE).  This update is downloadable from Microsoft as an executable via KB943729.  Unfortunately Microsoft didn’t package this in a .MSI file so it can’t be deployed through the entire organization via a GP Software Distribution rule.  If you have WSUS in place then it can be deployed there, but if not you’ll need to go back to good ol’ login/startup scripts to get this pushed out to all your machines.  First some credit to a post over at serverfault.com by Evan Anderson who outlined the strategy. First drop the Windows-KB943729-x86-ENU.exe executable in a shared location and assign appropriate permissions for allowing domain computers to access the file.  Create a new text file and paste the following script into the file and save it with a .CMD extension.  (Don’t forget to edit the share path.) @echo off rem Check to see this is Windows XP ver | find “Windows XP” >NUL if errorlevel 1 goto end rem Check to see if the update is already installed reg QUERY “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftUpdatesWindows XPSP20KB943729” >NUL 2>NUL if errorlevel 1 goto install_update goto end :install_update \PUT_YOUR_SHARE_PATH_HEREWindows-KB943729-x86-ENU.exe /passive /norestart :end Then create a new GPO and link it to the OU where all the XP computers reside.  Then edit the policy under Computer Configuration -> Windows Settings -> Scripts -> Startup Scripts.  Click on “Show Files” and copy the new script into the folder location that is opened up and then select that script. Optional:...

Virtualization Now!

Ten Reasons You Should Already Be Using Virtualization For Your Server Environment According to Intel: Virtualization technology is possibly the single most important issue in IT and has started a top to bottom overhaul of the computing industry Virtualization is a relatively new technology, but it is not as new as one might think.  VMware, one of the pioneers of virtualization, has been creating and selling virtualization software for over 10 years now.  All 100 of the Fortune 100 companies are currently using virtualization, specifically VMware’s offerings.  Once the only player, VMware now has serious competition from Microsoft, Citrix, Oracle (who recently acquired Sun Microsystems), RedHat, and Novell. Ok, enough background, here’s the top 10 reasons you should already be using virtualization, falling into three categories: Savings #1 - Save on hardware expenses:  Server Consolidation; less hardware required due to the virtualization platform’s ability to maximize existing resources.  For example, $6,000 in hardware for (1) virtual server host machine can run upwards of (10) virtualized server instances.  Assuming a basic hardware cost of $3,000 per basic server, this would result in a net savings of $24,000! #2 - Save on administrative costs:  Virtualization reduces the amount of hardware to service, including routine hardware maintenance. #3 - Save on environmental costs:  Less cooling, less power, and less space required. #4 - Better Return on Investment:  Along with initial savings, companies need to be concerned with ROI, not only immediate cost.  Virtualization is an investment in a company’s technology infrastructure. Increased Predictability for IT Services #5 - Downtime/failures:  Recovery is quicker, less expensive, and less difficult when compared to non-virtualized environments....

Can’t add roles, features and can’t run Windows Update on 2008 R2.

The problem is that Windows Updates will not run properly (giving you various errors) and when Roles or Features are selected under the Server Manager you get the following error: Error: Cannot display data until your computer is restarted. To resolve this, try some or all of the folowing: Run the System Update Readiness Tool here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/947821 and then review the log at “%SYSTEMROOT%LogsCBSCheckSUR.log”  to see if there are any files or packages that are inconsistent or unavailable.  If there are problems with any of the files, copy them from another working server.  Most times I’ve had an issue with a package under C:WindowsservicingPackages with a .NET package or two (even when the Readiness Tool said they were fine).  Once, removing these files (without raplacing them) followed by a reboot solved the problem. If none of these steps resolve your problem try searching at the following site as I saw many different solutions posted there. http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/winservermanager/threads Good...