Linux in the (Wannabe) Enterprise

The footholds of Linux in small Windows shops are skunkworks projects and discarded hardware. Inevitably the old mail server or the equivalent is considered woefully underpowered and gets replaced. The old hardware sits in a corner of the server room and collects dust. That is until I need a "no money down" VMWare solution.

Of course the downside of this is that you will find yourself installing on frequently inadequate, old hardware that may or may not work–no one ever seems to be sure. When something goes wrong it's Linux's fault. Such was the case when I had to install on an old Dell PowerEdge 600SC. Of course, the install didn't work right off the bat.

The install hung with the last message being "Uniform CD-ROM driver Revision: 3.20". I randomly upgraded the BIOS hoping it's some weird problem with the on-board IDE and see the same problem. Then I noticed that the CD-ROM is attached to the tertiary channel. I can't recall ever having that setup before so I moved the CD-ROM drive from the tertiary to the secondary channel (by accident because the order of the IDE connectors from bottom to top of the motherboard appears to be secondary, primary, tertiary).

After the install it appears that I can't get either DHCP or a static IP to work. Everybody assures me that it's not the IP address they gave me or our DHCP server. I try a different network card with the same effect. Finally, I figure out that it is in fact the network of the IP address they gave me that is to blame (and our DHCP server seems to have crapped out at the same time, and no it isn't running on Linux). But, people stubbornly insist that it's Linux's fault until I waste my time proving otherwise. While I'm gathering evidence they make a point of wandering by my desk and asking why I'm not just using Windows. When society collapses they've got a special place on my post apocalyptic TODO list.

I finally get it all working with a fresh install of VMWare 2.0 (hate the new management web app, by the way) and a migrated VM from my desktop that has a copy of Zenoss Core happily monitoring our new production environment on EC2. Everything in that setup is new from the point of view of this organization. Of course while I'm patting myself on the back over a job well done, someone asks how to get to the desktop UI. Although it probably won't help them much I go ahead and install GNOME, VNC, and Webmin on the box even though I consider it a waste.

Now I get to sit back and eagerly await the opportunity to bask in the criticism the next time anything goes wrong with the box. I'm sure it'll be the fault of that darn Linux.


3 Responses to “Linux in the (Wannabe) Enterprise”

  1. Matt Ray Says:

    If you don't mind me asking, what are you monitoring on EC2 with Zenoss? An application, a web service, the output of a shell command? Always looking for interesting uses of Zenoss, not a lot of mentions of Zenoss with EC2.

    Matt Ray
    Zenoss Community Manager

  2. Robert Simmons Says:

    Sure. I'm monitoring a web application. More specifically I'm using the check_http command to set a cookie that mimics a sticky session, retrieve a web page from each of two instances behind a load balancer, and run a regex against the resulting page. I'm currently limiting myself to this because it matches the monitoring our previous hosting provider did for us and because it doesn't require opening anything up that wasn't previously exposed in the older environment. The page is an application specific health page that already existed.

    I'll probably add the ApacheMonitor ZenPack in the near future just for kicks and I briefly played with the MySQLMonitor through an SSH tunnel I set up on the Zenoss box since the MySQL port isn't open outside of my public facing EC2 security group. This may be a bit of an ugly hack. I've since disabled the tunnel and MySQL monitoring since it was my own proof of concept curiosity satisfier.

  3. links for 2008-12-13 « The Shining Path of Least Resistance Says:

    […] Linux in the (Wannabe) Enterprise | Running as Root Little bit of monitoring an application on EC2 with Zenoss (tags: zenoss ec2) […]

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