Archive for the ‘setup’ Category

  • 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 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 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
    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:
    > >                 phone:
    > >                                       fax:
    > > _____________________________________________________________________
    > >
    > > * Sent by email to save paper. Print only if necessary.
    > > On Tue Mar 22 11:39:03 2011, 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

  • 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.

  • Hands on Labs – on site and almost ready to rock and roll

    Date: 2009.09.04 | Category: setup, tech•ed 2009 | Response: 0

    First day on site – and first post! My name is Kyle Rosenthal – and I am the content manager for HynesITe, the group that puts together the Hands on Labs(HOL) and Instructor led labs(ILL) for TechEd – here in AU, North America and now in Europe. This is our 5th TechEd Australia – starting all the way back at TechEd Canberra.

    So – what goes into the deployment of the Hands-On area? A lot of time and effort! Basically we will be deploying to the HOL/ILL area on a total of 5Tb of data – to 180 machines – in 3 days.

    This starts at my place generally for TechEd AU – Once a year my wife’s patience is tested as I take over the kitchen table and suck a year’s worth of power in one week.

    This year is sort of different – we have moved to a new house and I have invested in a new table. :)

    However – when Kim and Ted arrived – the kitchen table was back in use!

    The setup this year for us is Windows Server 2008 R2, Hyper-V, and our custom support front end that will assist you the attendee in getting to your lab as quickly as possible. This does mean that in the process of getting ready  for the event we will start, save, snapshot and export about 300 virtual machines. In addition we then will touch all the lab manuals that help you to get through your lab.

    To do this we have 8 machines in the back end that form our core infrastructure, with gigabit network everywhere.

    So we loaded up the car and headed to the coast, the drive from Brisbane to the Gold Coast meant another hour’s worth of work time available for Kim and Corey – one in the front seat and one in the back seat – with laptops in use. This meant that in true geek style when a file needed to be transferred between their laptops – no usb device was needed. So – if you happened to be beside the Pacific Highway and saw an Ad-Hoc wireless network named “Driving” appear and then disappear – that was us.

    Now we are complete and on site ready to start the next stage of the deployment.

  • From Sydney to Reality

    Date: 2009.09.03 | Category: netbooks, setup, tech•ed 2009 | Response: 0

    I’ve just landed on the Gold Coast, dumped by bags in the hotel room and walked to the Gold Coast Convention Centre.

    After meeting Jack Morton’s Patrick, and donning a hi-vis vest – its into the Technical Learning Centre to witness the setup of the 2575 HP Mini-notes/netbooks.

    There are about 13-14 long trestle tables, each with and average of 20 machines laid out. 8 staff are out and about unwrapping each box, putting it on the table, and initiating the Windows 7 TechEd image. This is a sight to behold. It feels somewhat like an Industrial Revolution-era factory. A study in time and motion.

    Time is critical now. We cannot delay TechEd, nor stop the setup of the Technical Learning Centre – so its all hands to the wheel to complete the imaging tonight. Being a production process that is now in production, and costing per hour – it is way too late to change anything. Either the image, the process or technology involved in the imaging.