Jan. 5th, 2008 11:54 pm
spiffikins: (Default)
Interesting discussion the other day with a colleague -

He has been upgrading all of our hosted customer instances (~1500 customer sites all told) and sent me a spreadsheet for the next 25 so that I would be aware of his timeline and what my part was (minimal!).

I made a comment to the effect that he's *much* more organized and better at this stuff than I am - which is true - I'm more likely to jot a few notes down on an extremely complex upgrade, but these are fairly straightfoward, other than the fact that they're making a pretty big leap from 4.2 to 5.2 version of code.

But, he's doing it *right* - he makes a checklist of the steps needed, he validates that each step is done and generated no errors, and verifies the application afterwards.

When it comes to that kind of stuff, I have ADD, and get bored very easily - leading to possibility of forgetting stuff or tripping over errors later on.

He said something like "well, I like working to my strengths and leaving the hard stuff to you" :)

Given that the "hard stuff" that I was working on was kicking my butt...I didn't think that was quite fair.

It's true though - my strength is in figuring out how to do something for the first time. Once I've done it, I don't particularly want to do it again, over and over again. In that sense, I'm not a good Network Administrator - I don't particularly like building servers and installing all the apps needed. Nor am I a very good DBA - I don't really like installing and configuring Oracle and setting up and monitoring databases and backups.

The latest project is building a new mail server. The last one, my brother actually built, probably about 5 years ago now. It's running on 7-8 year old machine, with a Pentium 3 chip, 256 megs of RAM and two 8 gig SCSI drives.

Starting with a new box - and a new release of CentOS (that changed *everything* about their installation, mind you ) I have now installed exim, dovecot, spamassassin, clamav, rulesdujour, aeromail and all of the supporting bits and bobs (gobs of perl, apache, openssl, php, and a whole pile of random things that *those* pieces needed)

The new server is spiffy - it has mirrored drives, so I can finally let people leave mail on the server for a while if they want, without panicking that the whole thing will simply *die* on me - it has a (very simple) web mail interface for users who are onsite at customer installations and can't get to our mail server, but can borrow a browser for a few minutes - it runs imaps, smtps and pop3s (new!fancy!) and I can turn spamassassin back on (the old server simply didn't have enough resources to handle the load).

Planning the cutover Monday night, assuming final testing goes well tomorrow.

Hooray for learning new things
In the midst of banging my head against the brick wall that is building a new unix mail server - I noticed that the server time was an hour off, so I installed ntp to keep it in sync and ran it to set the time correctly.

In another shell window, I was tailing the IMAP/POP3 server log - and this popped up:

dovecot: Jan 04 20:07:21 Fatal: Time just moved backwards by 3629 seconds. This might cause a lot of problems, so I'll just kill myself now.

I love it.
I bought Madonna's new cd - "confessions on a dance floor".

The last Madonna cd I bought was...gotta be 1993? In high school anyway :)

But I heard the new song on some show the other day - CSI I think - and it sounded very up and boppy, so for $11.99 I decided to give it a chance. It's quite good - very high energy and bouncy.

It's definitely keeping my energy up as I work my way through setting up the new servers. 7 tomcats installed, 7 more to go.
Plus startup scripts and backup scripts for the database server.

Then I can figure out *exactly* how the heck I'm going to handle DNS - I need to figure out how to have go to $oldserver and go to $newserver when is a virtualhost on

fun fun.


spiffikins: (Default)

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