Shameless Plug For Mastering Hyper-V Deployment By Aidan Finn

In October 2010 Aidan Finn (MVP) his book “Mastering Hyper-V Deployment” was released and in November three copies of this book landed on my desk. I bought them (pre order) via Amazon. Nope I did not get them as a gift or anything. Why Three? Well that’s the number of people I wanted to get up to speed about Hyper-V and virtualization management and operations in a Microsoft environment.

His book takes you along a journey through a Hyper-V project that will teach you about virtualization in all it’s aspects. It also touches on many supporting technologies and products such as System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2, System Center Essentials 2010, Data Protection manager 2010 and System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2. No one book can be the only source of knowledge and understanding, but using this book as a start for both new and experienced IT Pros to learn about virtualization with Hyper-V will give you the best possible start. Consider it going to an Ivy league college on a scholarship paid for by Aidan’s experience and hard work. The subsidized tuition fee is the price of the book.

We feel a bit sorry that Aidan only got one copy so we made a group picture of the gang of three on the desk of our newest team member. He got a copy of the book together with 4 recycled PC’s and a TechNet subscription to build a lab.

If you know people who want or need to learn about Hyper-V, you’d do well to make sure they get this book and have them set up a lab to play with the technologies. Those efforts will pay off big time when they implement their solutions in the wild. If Ireland is doomed it won’t be because of smart & hardworking Irish IT professionals like Aidan. You see when you design, build and support IT solutions that your customers depend on 24/7 you can not hide behind false promises, you can’t fake away from the fact when “stuff” doesn’t work or hide behind vast amounts of papers & documents void of any substance. Nope, you are responsible for everything and anything you build. Aidan backed and supported by some very knowledgeable colleagues has made that burden a bit lighter for you to bear with this book. Aidan’s blog lives here:

Cheap IT Support Requests & The Value of Time

I value my time tremendously. I also accept the fact that you don’t give a rat’s ass about my time. To you every hour I spend not working on your issues is a gigantic waste of time, but to me, it is not. And this is about my time. You cannot get time back, once used it’s gone. You cannot sell memories to get time back. You can’t produce time. You can’t save time. You have what you have and you need to use it when you have it. What does this have to do with IT? The fact than when you’re in IT people almost expect to get advice and support at no cost or on the cheap. This behavior stems from the fact that for some reason they expect that when they buy a server and software all the rest is included for free. With a car they don’t have this mind set. They expect to pay for maintenance, insurance, road taxes and gas. Partially this is the industries fault since they market everything a great, easy, fast, and cheap. Partially it’s the buyers fault for believing commercials and sales men. So how do I deal with the ever returning attempts to get me to work for free and how do I make sure they stop asking. Very simply, I price myself out of “the market”.

One day I discovered this also works outside of IT. Everyone who knows me wouldn’t think of asking me to baby sit but once a female colleague did just that. I guess she was really desperate. Really very desperate I should add. I told her I was not interested. She insisted. I told her again that I was absolutely not interested. She decided to make a case that I should help her out. That’s asking for it. I told her it would be 150 €/hour. I got a speech that babysitting isn’t that hard and worth that much, that it’s unaffordable, that kids, a house mortgage, car payments and life are already expensive enough. All true but not my problem.  You see I do not want to baby sit and my time is very valuable to me. I asked her what day and time she needed a baby sitter, trying to get my point across. She said Saturday night. Oh, on a Saturday to Sunday night in a weekend, after office hours and no retainer for my services. That makes it 300 €/hour and for watching of the most precious and loved human being in your life that’s a bargain! Needless to say I was not hired and luckily never asked again. Mission accomplished.

Think about it, time is the most limited resource the human species has. As I said, you can’t get any more of it. Gone is gone. That makes it more precious to me than anything else.  That means I want to spend it as well as I can. So when it comes to work I try to do things I enjoy and that pay well enough so that I can have enough free time to do other things I also enjoy. This means that when I do work I will not do it at 1 € /hour. Why would I? Even if I can only work 40% of my time at 5 €/hour I’m still way ahead and have more time to myself. With some luck and effort the better paying work is also the type of work I like to do. Cool, two goals achieved in one go.

So why on earth would I baby sit or fix your IT mess (which I dislike) in my spare time (time which is extremely valuable to be)  for some pocket money given the fact that it’s not my job responsibility and I have no financial pressure to do so?  Now I don’t know a thing about babies but IT can get a lot more complicated and involved that the owner of the mess realizes. It takes a lot of time and it just isn’t worth it. So there is your answer. I don’t want to and that’s why I price it so highly. To make sure no one asks or agrees to it. With these of hand support requests, changes are you’re a small shop running a couple of servers & workstations that are mediocre at best. This is probably combined with some older, hopefully legal, operating systems and applications that might suck and have their own issues. The environment was probably not designed, is most likely mismanaged for whatever reason and most of the time you won’t like the recommendations (get Adobe Acrobat and Office of your server and stop surfing on it so you don’t get spyware on the box). You complain about how expensive the hardware is, that the software costs money, that the small business IT shop is expensive and can’t get it right like you want. Perhaps the reason is that they can’t do it for the price your willing to pay, you are asking for things that can’t be done or perhaps they are not very good at their business. Whatever the reason, somehow you think that I should fix all that for a token fee since you already paid all that money to hardware vendors, software vendors, your “IT Guys” and because it won’t take me very long since I good at what I do. Well, it doesn’t work that way. My rate is not determined by how easy it might be for me. It’s determined by my knowledge, expertise and quality of my work. I don’t do the easier work as that won’t get me as much money for the same amount of time and I get bored doing it.

Am I a money hungry capitalist pig? No. I will and do work for free for a good cause, a close friend or a sport club I sympathize with. It’s called voluntarism and you can beat that as a motivation. I will not spend my valuable spare time fixing a mess that I did not create for free or cheaply. Actually I rather have my time to myself even when the money is good. You see, you’re in that mess because you don’t know what you’re doing; you’ve had very bad counseling or services and perhaps want things you can’t afford or are willing to pay for. The effort and cost of fixing all this is probably going to make you shout at me in anger. The impact that will have on your business processes and culture is something you’ll find unacceptable. The cost and needs of a professional IT environment are beyond what you can grasp, are willing or capable to pay. So the best thing for you is use free, cloud based services and make due with what you have or can get from those services. You cannot expect people to feel obligated to fix your problems because you already spent so much money on it. My free time at night and weekends is for studying, reading, hobbies, and friends. Not for fixing other peoples problems. So if you need a good environment hire one or more good IT partners to take care of your infrastructure needs in a professional manner. That’s the only sustainable and workable way of doing it.

The Dilbert® Life Series: Enterprise Architecture Revisited One Year Later

The Dilbert® Life series is a string of post on corporate culture from hell and dysfunctional organizations running wild. This can be quite shocking and sobering. The amount of damage that can be done by "merely" taking solid technology, methodologies, people and organizations, which you then abuse the hell out of, is amazing. A sense of humor will help when reading this. If you need to live in a sugar coated world were all is well and bliss and think all you do is close to godliness, stop reading right now and forget about the blog entries. It’s going to be dark. Pitch black at times actually, with a twist of humor, if you can laugh at yourself that is. And no, there is no light to shine on things, not even when you lite it. You see, pointing a beam in to the vast empty darkness of human nature doesn’t make you see anything. You do realize there is an endless, vast and cold emptiness out there. This is not unlike the cerebral content of way to many people I come across by in this crazy twilight zone called “the workplace”. I believe some US colleagues refer to those bio carbon life forms as “sheeple”.

Last year my very first blog post ( was about the one and only meeting I ever had with the Enterprise Architecture consultants that came in to help out at place where I do some IT Infrastructure Fu. Now one year, lots of time, money, training and Power Point slide decks after that meeting, the results on the terrain are nowhere to be seen. Sure there were lots of meetings, almost none of which I attended unless they dragged enterprise architecture into an IT related meeting on some other also vague action items like the IT strategy that was never heard of again. They’ve also created some new jobs specifications and lots of lip service and they’ll probably hire some more consultants to help out in 2011. But for now the interaction with and impact of any Enterprise Architecture on their IT infrastructure is nowhere to be found.

We put a good infrastructure plan in place for them. It’s pretty solid for 2011, pretty decent for 2012 and more like a road map for the time span 2013-2014. Meaning it’s flexible as in IT the world can change fast, very fast. But none of all this has come to be due to insights, needs, demands or guidance of any enterprise architecture, IT strategy or business plan.  No, it’s past experience and gut feeling, knowing the culture of the organization etc.  Creating strategies, building architectures is difficult enough in the best of circumstances. Combine this with fact that there is a bunch of higher pay grade roles up for grabs and the politics become very dominant. Higher pay grades baby? What do I need to get one? Skills and expertise in a very critical business area of cause!  Marketing yourself as a trusted business advisor, taught leader and architect becomes extremely important. As you can imagine getting the job done becomes a lot more difficult and not because of technical reasons. My predictions for 2011 are that by the end the year those pay grades will have been assigned. Together with a boatload of freshly minted middle management, who’ll be proud as hell and will need to assert their new found status, they’ll start handing out work to their staff.  Will that extra work materialize into results or only hold them back from making real progress? Well, we’ll need to wait for 2012 to know as 2011 will be about politics.

Basically from the IT infrastructure point of view and experience we have not yet seen an Enterprise Architecture and I don’t think they’ll have one in the next 12 months. Perhaps in 24 to 36 months but by then the game plan in IT infrastructure will be up and running. So realistically, I expect, if it leads anywhere against expectations, the impact of an Enterprise Architecture will be for 2014 and beyond. Which means an entirely new ball game and that will need a revised architecture. The success of the effort will no doubt be that they detected the need to change. This sounds uncomfortable similar to the IT strategy plan they had made. So for now we’ll do for them what’ we’ve always done. We’ll work with one year plans, two to three year roadmaps combined with a vision on how to improve the IT infrastructure. The most important thing is to stay clear of ambition and politics. Too much of that makes for bad technical decisions.

You got to love corporate bull. They don’t lie, no sir, they just sell bull crap. Which is worse, truth or lies don’t even matter, just the personal agendas. Liars at least, by the very fact of lying, acknowledge the value of truth, so much in fact, they’d rather have you not knowing it. Most consultancy firms send out kids that are naïve enough to believe the scripts and don’t even realize they are talking crap. They are told over and over again they are right, the best and they like to believe this so much they really do. It’s a bit like civil servants at the EU. Pay people double their market value, sweet talk their ego’s all day long and they will become prophets for the religion of the day. No, I’m not saying Enterprise Architecture is bull crap. I’m saying that way too many people & companies claiming to do enterprise architecture are turning it into exactly that. IT strategies, architectures that are so empty and void of content that all those binders are thrown in a drawer never to be seen again. A fool with a tool is still but a fool. Agile methodologies or tools don’t make your programmers agile gurus just like owning a race car doesn’t make you a race car pilot. All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again. Every new, innovative process, methodology or concept falls victim to this. The money grabbing sales crowd gets there paws on it and starts selling it as competitive advantage or even innovation in a bottle to the corporate sheeple & management failures that should know better. They end with less money, loads of wasted time and a shitload of dead trees. As a side node, this whole “* Architect” thing  has runs it’s inflationary course. We need a new professional status currency once more. Take care and keep laughing clip_image001!

Exchange 2010 Public Folder Worries At Customer: No existing ‘PublicFolderProxyInformation’ matches the following Identity

A customers was recently using the EMC GUI in their Exchange 2010 environment, having a look a the public folder properties when they got this error:

Microsoft Exchange
Can’t log on to the Exchange Mailbox server ‘’. No existing ‘PublicFolderProxyInformation’ matches the following Identity: ‘demolabHeadQuartersFincanceDepartmentFiscalUnit’. Make sure that you specified the correct ‘PublicFolderProxyInformation’ Identity and that you have the necessary permissions to view ‘PublicFolderProxyInformation’.. It was running the command ‘Get-MailPublicFolder -Identity ”demolabHeadQuartersFincanceDepartmentFiscalUnit” -Server ‘”.


Hey … when did this start?  They never complained about this before, but did they ever use it.This probably was actually the first time they tried to look/edit the public folder permissions after doing the following over the past month and in this particular order:

  1. Moving to Exchange 2010 SP1
  2. Removing the last Exchange 2007 servers from the organization.

Now I know about a bug that exist and that was recently blogged about by Dan Rowley in Exchange 2010 get-mailpublicfolder name returns No existing ‘PublicFolderProxyInformation’. The point is that there should be a mailbox database mounted on the server that has the System Attendant mailbox associated with it.  However, this is not the case here.  The mailbox servers are member of a DAG and all of them host a copy of the PF. The replication runs fine, users can work with them, the remaining Outlook 2003 users report no issues. But there is more in that blog: “Basically the work around is to mount a mailbox store on the server that is generating the error, or if there is a database already mounted – verify the system attendant is properly configured to point to a valid homemdb.” Now that last point is interesting and indeed that was the issue here. On two members of the DAG the homeMDB attribute was not set. Now what could be the root cause of this? I don’t know, certainly not in this case. All things have been done by the book … Ah well, luckily the fix is not very difficult. We need to put a valid entry in the homemdb. In this case we’ll take the value of the DAG member that had it filled in. This seems to be the most recently created database in the DAG. In Exchange 2010 this is done as described below. Note we have a DAG here, so we can work with any database that has a valid copy on the server(s) in question.

How to check the homeMDB attribute value:

  • Start ADSI Edit and navigate to CN=Configuration,DC=,DC=,DC=/Services/Microsoft Exchange//Administrative Groups/Exchange Administrative Group (FYDIBOHF23SPDLT)//Servers/MBXServerWithIssue
  • Right-click Microsoft System Attendant, and then click Properties to display the  Attributes list and find the homeMDB attribute.
  • If the homeMDB attribute has a value make sure  it points to a valid mailbox database. If the value of the homeMDB attribute is empty (not set) or incorrect you need to fix this.


How Fix the homeMDB attribute value:

  • In ADSI Edit navigate to Start ADSI Edit and navigate to CN=Configuration,DC=,DC=,DC=/Services/Microsoft Exchange//Administrative Groups/Exchange Administrative Group (FYDIBOHF23SPDLT)/Databases."
  • Right-click a mailbox database that is local (NON DAG) or has a valid copy on the server (DAG) , select Properties and in  the Attributes list, select the distinguishedName, and then click View.
  • Copy the value of the distinguishedName attribute and close the dialogs


NOTE in this particular case we can copy the value that was filled in the homeMDB attribute on one of the DAG members. You might not have one set in any.

  • Right-click Microsoft System Attendant, and then click Properties to get to the Attributes list, click homeMDB, and then choose Edit
  • In the Value box, paste the value that you copied form the distinguishedName attribute
  • Close the dialog boxes and exit ADSI Edit

When you’ve don this you’ll find following entry in the application event viewer:

Log Name:      Application

Source:        MSExchangeSA

Date:          11/2/2010 3:25:59 PM

Event ID:      9159

Task Category: General

Level:         Warning

Keywords:      Classic

User:          N/A



Microsoft Exchange System Attendant has detected that the system attendant object in the DS has been modified. System Attendant needs to restart the Microsoft Exchange Free Busy Publishing Service.


After that, I wait 10 minutes to get AD replicated and make sure to close the EMC and start it again and voila, it’s fixed.