My approach to problem solving

So what are we talking about when we talk about problem solving?
There are all sorts of problems sysadmins have to deal with on a regular
basis: technical problems and personal problems, immediate problems and
distant problems, easy problems and difficult problems. What I want to
address are problems of a more technical nature. I’m not going to talk much about specific tools or things like that, but rather more general topics that come to mind when I think about problem solving.
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More thoughts on bcfg2

In my [last post|] I gave some first impressions using [bcfg2|]. We ended up selecting bcfg2 as our configuration management system for a new project. I’m going to start with the “bad” and get that out of the way. ===The bad=== The biggest problem so far is getting the entire team up to speed on…

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Linux, WD “Green” drives, and 4K sectors

I picked up a couple of the new WD Green 1.5TB drives recently. I needed some new storage, and these drives have a lot going for them: – 64MB cache – low power usage – 4K sector size I knew going into this that the 4K sector size was proving problematic in some circumstances. In…

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First thoughts on bcfg2

In my last post I mentioned starting a quick eval of the existing config management tools. I ended up with bcfg2,so I got to spend some time Friday starting to look at it. Armed with the SAGE [short topics book|] and the online docs, I managed to get it installed and doing some stuff. These…

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Evaluating New Config Management Systems

At $WORK, we currently use cfengine 2 to manage on the order of 300 systems. It works, it does most things we want. We use the [Singlecopy Nirvana|] “pattern” to distribute configuration files of all types, have copious shellcommands, and even a few editfiles. In general, it does what I need, but not necessarily the…

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More benchmarking: add some more drives!

===Last time….=== In my [last post|] I talked about some of the more common ways to get performance numbers out of your storage: __hdparm__, __dd__, and __bonnie++__. These tools are pretty good at what they do: measure the performance of a single drive, single LUN, or single filesystem. For many sysadmins, that’s all you need…

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Intro to benchmarking part 1: Disks/storage

===Background=== In my daily work, I’ve noticed that not a lot of attention is given to benchmarking various subsystems. When a new disk array comes in, there may be a run or two of bonnie++, but that’s generally it. Network benchmarks? Generally I don’t see people run them. Maybe you don’t care; maybe there’s an…

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