• World IPv6 Day

    Date: 2011.06.08 | Category: ipv6, networking, tech•ed 2010, tech•ed 2011 | Response: 0

    Today is world IPv6 day, http://ipv6day.org/ and its great to see all the big providers onboard with finally transitioning to ipv6. In Australia there still no consumer ISP’s that have IPv6 in production via services such as xDSL – but by far Internode are the closest.
    Microsoft is giving this a go on the following:
    jorke@server1:~$ dig +short aaaa www.bing.com
    jorke@server1:~$ dig +short aaaa www.microsoft.com
    jorke@server1:~$ dig +short aaaa www.xbox.com
    A couple of the sites we host locally have always had IPv6 Addresses:
    jorke@server1:~$ dig +short aaaa techedbackstage.net
    jorke@server1:~$ dig +short aaaa noisetosignal.com.au
    Locally we’ve been forging ahead with IPv6 where we can, you might remember last year we did native IPv6 at tech.ed 2010 and and of course we’ll be doing native this year at tech.ed 2011 – we’ve already managed to get the ipv6 allocations from APNIC.. unfortunately still no IPv4.
    Where we’ve seen the biggest change is with the Content Distribution Networks such as Akamai and Limelight where we found the end user experience very lacking previously. Microsoft server products have supported v6 quite well – there are a few bugs we’re ironing out, and days like today really help us fix this.
    And a site note – If you’ve enabled IPv6, make sure you allow ICMPv6 on your firewalls, assuming your firewall supports it Smile
    Have a happy v6 day!
    – jorke and the backstage team.
  • tech•ed and the IPocalypse: What you need to know.

    Date: 2011.04.01 | Category: ipv6, networking, planning, setup, tech•ed 2011, wireless | Response: 0

    As planning for tech•ed 2011 in September this year has formally commenced I’m again in the role of being responsible for the technology across the whole event (including the Australian Partner Conference).

    Each year I’ve challenged our technical team to try something risky to keep us honest about leading with first rate technology implementation and practice. You can see our success on numerous articles across www.trustmypaper.com writing service that does have really top-notch writers who always are ready to provide a wholly original and perfectly written piece and on this blog.

    The first challenge I’ve identified this year is to move the whole event from a NAT’d network to a full blown public routed network, similar to what you see with an ISP. We’ve based this looking at last years usage pattern on our networks , and after some research we’ve come to this conclusion due to the lack of sensibly priced devices that can support 8000+ clients with many port mappings.

    To some extent we achieved part of this last year with giving everyone a public routable ipv6 address with all ipv4 still being NAT’d. Our key requirement to support approximately 2500 delegates a few hundred staff and many, many ip enabled devices it to acquire a large range of pubic ip’s in the order of a /19,  /18 or /17 giving us 8192 or 16384, 32768 respectively, possible clients to support (if you don’t understand see CIDR).

    Now the impending exhaustion of ipv4 address space commonly referred to as the IPocalypse you can imagine this kind of addressable space is not easily obtainable  – and can sometimes even go for a high price .  Last year we requested a temporary allocation from APNIC out of their portable/temporary range, which we used for a couple of weeks and shortly after returned. As a side note that same temporary range was used by LinuxConf in Brisbane a few months later, however sites like speedtest.net still cached the Microsoft tech•ed entry at the event…

    In our manner of planning ahead, last week we initiated our request to APNIC for a /17 or /18 or /19, as well as a temporary ipv6 allocation.. This was the response from APNIC.(note that the names and contact details have been scrubbed to protect the not so innocent – of course read from the ) ;

    From: xxxxx@xxxxx
    Date: Wed, Mar 23, 2011 at 11:47 AM
    Subject: [APNIC #XXXXXX] Temporary IPv4 and IPv6 allocation for Microsoft TechEd
    To: xxxxx@xxxx.xxx
    Dear XXXXXXX,
    Thank you for your email reply.
    There is no IPv4 address space available for temporary allocation.
    This reserved address space is no longer available as it has been placed
    back in the APNIC free pool for distribution.
    Please let us know if you wish to continue to obtain a temporary /48
    IPv6 assignment from APNIC.
    We look forward to hear back from you.
    If you have and further questions, please let us know.
    Kind Regards,
    APNIC       sip:
    * Sent by email to save paper. Print only if necessary.
    On Wed Mar 23 10:06:01 2011, xxxx@xxxx.xx wrote:
    > Hi XXXX,
    > What is the largest v4 block you can offer?
    > I was under the understanding that APNIC had a block of space parked for
    > temporary uses like this event (the netblock we used at TE last year was
    > used at LinuxConf this year).
    > XXXXXX.
    > On Wed, Mar 23, 2011 at 10:01 AM, XXXX XX via RT  wrote:
    > > Dear XXXXX,
    > >
    > > Thank you for your email.
    > >
    > > In regards to your request, due to the APNIC reaching Stage 2 of the
    > > IPv4 Exhaustion plan, APNIC are unable to provide a temporary /17 IPv4
    > > allocation.
    > >
    > > However, we are able to provide you a temporary /48 IPv6 assignment.
    > >
    > > Please let us know if you wish to continue to obtain a temporary /48
    > > IPv6 assignment from APNIC.
    > >
    > > We look forward to hear back from you.
    > >
    > > If you have any questions, please let us know.
    > >
    > > Kind Regards,
    > >
    > > --
    > > _____________________________________________________________________
    > > APNIC       sip:
    > > http://www.apnic.net                 phone:
    > >                                       fax:
    > > _____________________________________________________________________
    > >
    > > * Sent by email to save paper. Print only if necessary.
    > > On Tue Mar 22 11:39:03 2011, xxxx@xxxx.xxx wrote:
    > > > Hi there,
    > > >
    > > > We are in planning stages for Microsoft TechEd 2011 to be held in the
    > > > Gold Coast Convention Centre this year. As per last year we would like
    > > > to obtain a temporary allocation for use at the event.
    > > >
    > > > We are seeking the following:
    > > >
    > > > * IPv6 /48
    > > > * IPv4 /17
    > > >
    > > > The earliest date we would be using these addresses is the 1st of July
    > > > 2011.
    > > >
    > > > We would return the addresses on the 16th of September 2011.
    > > >
    > > > Could you please advise what you require for this allocation and when
    > > > it might be approved so that we can do our physical network design.

    So that’s it then – no more ipv4 space for us. We’ve committed to the path of deploying a fully routed network so it looks like it will be an:  IPv6 ONLY network!

    We are working really hard to make sure that the key resources for the event (the schedule builder, for example) are available over IPv6.

    As for other purposes not directly related to the event, we will not be offering IPv4 connectivity.

    There will be an option to purchase time on Telstra NextG USB dongles at the event and we are working hard on coming up with a good sponsorship arrangement to help out with the cost of IPv4 network access during tech•ed.

    – Jorke and the network team aka David Connors

  • IPv6 – bringing a horse to water..

    Date: 2010.08.24 | Category: ipv6, networking, tech•ed 2010, wireless | Response: 0

    So you may have seen some press around work that we’re doing at teched bringing brave new world of IPv6 to the delegate experience.

    Why are we doing this?

    It’s well know that ipv4 address space is running out, while this is problematic for service providers and telcos – in our opinion it also as just as big a problem for application developers.

    So this is our challenge this year – giving every delegate the chance to experience this first hand. We’ll be giving full native IPv6 addresses for each and every device that can support it.

    We’ve learnt a LOT about the ins and outs of IPv6, those learning will be transparently displayed on this blog as per our normal policy.

    I also hope you’ll enjoy our planned IPv6 celebration hours we’ll have during the event, where only IPv6 will be available on the network!

    – The Backstage team.

  • Hitting Reset for 2009 -> 2010

    Date: 2010.03.29 | Category: planning, tech•ed 2009 | Response: 0

    So it’s well and truly time to wrap up this blog for 2009 and move to 2010, i’ve been holding off until everytime of work from last year was resolved – strangely enough that happened just last week as the last invoice was sorted… (and no I’m not kidding..)
    So here’s a fast and loose summary of what we achieved – mainly to help with our planning for teched 2010.

    Delegate Network

    • 99.998 uptime (was a 45 second outage from a GBIC flapping..)
    • ~1300 wireless clients was the highest amount connected.
    • ~2TB of data downloaded (in 4 days!)
    • 300GB send out.

    Demonstration Network (the glass box of doom with the servers inside)

    • 100% uptime on services with over 80 virtual machines hosted for speaker and other demos. This was highly under-utilized.

    Major issues




    • Intel Wireless drivers – escalated to Intel who were sponsoring –
      they were kind enough to help us out
    • Bit Torrent – Played network cop – Rickrolled access to key sites
    • RRAS port exhaustion – escalated to our support team in India
    • Live ID creation – another escalated to our support team…
    • Netbook deployment – finished this with brute force
    • Session Recording – Expression Encoder crashes
    • Wrong URL on netbook images – network hack
    • Well i think this is minor, but there was some slight damage of a netbook box…


    As you can image there was so much more that went on, we’ve added a lot of these things to our planning process which has already started;

    “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving” – Einstein

    So here go, we’re hitting the reset button – we’ll do our best to keep you update-to-date from our end – no promises of course as we’re all focused on delivering to a higher quality outcome than before.

    – jorke

  • Press Record

    Date: 2009.09.23 | Category: tech•ed 2009 | Response: 0

    [ This post was written during tech•ed however its editing and publication was delayed. Blame me — Jorke ]

    Well we are now under way with the session recording and the pressure is starting to subside; especially now we have a stable platform to work with.

    Let me take you through some of the issues we ran into during the setup of tech•ed.

    Over the last week we have had countless problems with Expression Encoder 3, this software was to be used in conjunction with the ADVC55 Canopus to capture session recording both audio & video.


    The software proved to be unstable and difficult to use.

    The encoding would start well, but around the 15-17, 32 minute mark of recording it would crash, freeze and lock up the PC.

    At this stage the only we could overcome the problem was to reset the ADVC55 Canopus and reboot the PC; this went on for three days.

    We changed and tested every possible video & audio setting available but problems persisted. Expression Encoder 3 would allow you to record past the previous crash times and on preview the quality was great. After pressing stop and reviewing the recorded footage it showed really poor quality images, the only thing working well was the audio. Unfortunately the session wasn’t usable with only audio.

    The only thing we could do at this stage of the event was look to a solid program that had as many features as expression 3. The main features we were looking for was stability, video compression and compatibility with the ADVC55 Canopus.

    We came up with Windows Media Encoder 9. This saved the day! Upon connecting the Canopus device, the software immediately launched. The software automatically detected the signal being supplied to the Canopus and set all the video compression settings automatically.

    Press record and off we went. One hour later the software was still solid, the images were quality, the audio was in sync and the playback was DVD Quality.

    We had found a winner. This software is highly recommended in all facets, easy to operate, great playback quality and stable.

    – Brian “The Video Guy”

  • Connors to Blog. Copy?

    Date: 2009.09.14 | Category: tech•ed 2009 | Response: 0

    We still have a bit of content to post before we wrap up this blog for 2009. Sorry we have been a bit quiet but a LOT went on in the last days of the event and almost everyone in technology has had some sort of challenge in their lives outside of the event.

    We’ll wrap things up over the next couple of weeks. There is some pretty interesting content coming so please stay with us.

  • Issues with LiveID…. SORTED

    Date: 2009.09.08 | Category: tech•ed 2009 | Response: 0

    This year we’re using software for Tech.Ed CommNet where you can use a LiveID for the portal. Sounds pretty straightforward right? well.. it appears to prevent against false account creation there is an IP blacklisting feature that blocks more than a few requests from a single IP address, which is fine until you’re behind a NAT gateway..


    If you were trying to create a LiveID from onsite at Tech.Ed yesterday would would have seen a message along the lines of “limit exceeded..” – all our Tech.Ed networks are behind NAT, and although we could have cycled the NAT gateway IP’s around, that would only get us a few hundred go’s.

    We escalated to the Live product team, in particular our favourite aussie member of the live team, Angus Logan who helped us sort it.

    if you do notice any funkiness like this happening, please don’t hesitate to escalate to the Ops team.



    Date: 2009.09.08 | Category: tech•ed 2009 | Response: 0

    The things you find when you take a wrong turn. I was walking to the MDF through back of house and actually stumbled into the keynote rehearsal to find that they’ve flown in MOBY for it.


    It is actually Gianpaolo Carraro, Microsoft’s DPE Director. We did a cook’s tour of the venue for him and his family during set and all enjoyed a nice BBQ that evening as a rare bit of downtime. He’s an extremely good sport for doing this and letting me post it.

  • Don’t Forget The Human Factor

    Date: 2009.09.07 | Category: netbooks, setup, tech•ed 2009 | Response: 0

    Netbooks ready for collection

    I woke up at 4:00am this morning in a cold sweat. And I haven’t slept since. In the wee hours of the morning my brain, as is its want, was mulling a worst-case scenario: “What if we got the image or imaging wrong. How are we ever going to re-image these 2575 machines?”

    In our planning, the imaging process was always date constrained. Whilst David Haysom had planned an extra 2 days, just in case, as there are always strange things that could bite you on the bum.

    First day of Netbook handout. Today. 9am. Within an hour, we had handed out about 10% of the total.

    And a problem appeared. Thankfully not hardware; the opening and recharging of each machine tickled out any weird hardware issues. In fact, our out-of-box hardware failure rate was half of the planned amount. HP repaired these quickly, and all was well.

    Boot to nothing. Ouch!

    The problem: missing images on a low, single percentage number of machines.

    After reviewing our WDS/MDT2010 imaging server and technique by local and Redmond experts: this was deemed not the root cause for the missing images. Another possibility was Netbooks booting in the box, running out of power, and getting into a weird state. Again, this was discounted as there was just no data on the drives.

    The Current Theory

    The imaging process ends with the Netbook shutting down. From F12 to network boot to shutdown is one keypress: F12 to “boot from network”. At the completion of the multi-cast and unpacking in the WDS/MDT process, the Netbook shuts itself down to a black screen.

    On the first two days of imaging last week, the imaging area had power issues: essentially, fluctuating power at the setup trestle tables. This caused machines to be left powered off. To a black screen.

    Our thinking is that the black screen at the end of this process led to false-positives. Netbooks that had power issues, left on a black screen, were accidentally deemed “imaged” during the first few days and packed up.

    Learning 1:  Leave setup machines with a static, on-state saying “OK” would be our recommendation if you are planning such a large, time constrained install.

    The QA process we had during the imaging week was to test every 80 to 100 machines: that is, go through the out of box experience to test build quality.

    Learning 2: factor in a slightly higher rate of QA checks than you think necessary.

    How are we Fixing this?

    Handing over a known good, working Windows 7 Netbook to each attendee is a must. No compromise. Therefore, today, we instituted a quickly developed solution to freshly image these machines.

    After re-evaluation this evening, we are dedicating a team to process any machines with missing images. There is also another, faster process that is being investigated that may be implemented (via USB imaging)

    So, worst case: we have upset attendees whilst we fix their machines. All I can say is “Sorry, and we are making it right” and I am confident this process will work tomorrow. With a little patience, all will be well.

    Best case: our current glass-half-full thinking is that the machines that were handed out today were from the early in the week batch: where we had power issues, and black screen false-positives.

    Tomorrow will tell.

    Thanks for your patience and understanding.

    And if you want to complain or vent at someone: find me.

  • End of a sort of day off

    Date: 2009.09.05 | Category: tech•ed 2009 | Response: 0

    We’re at the end of a day off mid way through the events. It was a sort of day off because most of us were working at least part of the day. On a totally non-technical note, I just snapped this pic from the rooftop of Wave Apartments where we are staying. It is kind of nice to stop and reflect on how far we’ve come and somehow posting this pic of GCCEC while having a frostie at a BBQ with some of the team seems appropriate.