Monthly Archives: July 2011

BCFP – VF – Virtual Fabrics

The free material does not go through the virtual fabrics and the exam objectives does not mention them specifically. Even so – it’s probably a good idea to get some grip about it anyway as it is mentioned in the BCFP 8G material and there are questions concerning it in the Nutshell Guide and the BCFP 8 knowledge assessment. Also it is mentioned in the pre-requisites for the BCFP (the AFS 141).

Brocade’s overview page of Virtual Fabrics.

 FAQ on Virtual Fabrics

 

There is also quite a lot of information about VF in the FOS Administration Guide. You can find this guide in lots of places but it is in the exam objectives in the link above.

The theory

It is what it says it is – a way to create independent and logical fabrics and switches that you can use to segment your SAN.
It does not require a license.

There’s logical fabrics and logical switches.

From the FAQ:
A Logical Fabric is an implementation of a Fibre Channel fabric with one or more Logical
Switches participating in the fabric. A Logical Fabric has its own independent instance of
fabric services, name server, zoning database, and so on.

A logical switch needs a fabric id. Default is 128 but can be changed. Same FID cannot be used for same logical switch in the same chassi. You move ports from the default to the new switches. VE_ and EX_ ports needs to be configured after the move. LD, QoS, F_port buffers/trunking may not be enabled on the port.

Max 8 VFs in the DCX, enabling it is disruptive (requires a reboot).

DCX uses 10-bit addressing. Uses part of the last part of the ALPA part of the PID.
Means that that part of the PID does not always indicate a port area.
Increases limit of NPIV, support loop devices.

Hardware

For 8G products it’s available on the DCX, B5100 and the B5300.
For 16G it’s available on 6510, VA-40FC
FC10-6, FS8-18, FCOE10-24 ports can only be part of the default switch.

 

(X)ISL — interconnecting switches

The default switch – is the first logical switch you create.

To connect a logical switch (henceforth known as LS) to another one you can just have one of the ports in the LS as an E_port, or you can use XISL – extended ISL.

To use XISL you designate one LS as a base switch. This is used for interconnects and you can have ISLs for several fabrics on this one port/cable. It can have E, VE and EX, VEX ports. *x_ports can only be in the base switch. One base switch per chassi, on DCX platforms the default cannot be the base switch. You connect the base switch to other base switches and then the other logical switches with the same FID merge. By default the logical switches are enabled to use XISL. You can combine normal ISL and XISL. Normal ISL have a lower cost.

ISL (between physical switches)
DISL (between Logical Switches)
IFL (routing, not merging)
XISL (several LISLs inside)
LISL (part of an XISL)

With XISL a logical port is created, their WWN start with 5x.

CLI

fosconfig –enable vf
lscfg –create FID [-base] [-force]; setcontext FID; swichdisable (set Domain ID etc); configure; switchenable
lscfg –config 128 -slot <slot> -port <port>
lscfg –delete non-default-logical-switches
lscfg –show
lscfg –change 5 –newfid 7 (disables switch and sets it); fosexec –fid FID -cmd “switchenable”

fosexec –fid FID  -cmd “cmd” (how to run a command on another LS)
fosexec –fid all -cmd “cmd” (on all logical switches)
ipaddrset -ls 123 –add 10.10.10.10/24 (set an IP for a logical switch, to segment management)

 

SAN Primer – Introduction to Data Storage

You may have heard about this storage or SAN stuff, but what is it? Is it complicated and cool? Yes. Now it doesn’t have to be complicated, but it sure can be sometimes.
This post is just a brief primer/introduction to storage and what it entails. In case maybe you got a job interview or just would like to know a little bit more about it.

I’ll update this post as I go, last update 2012-07-13 – added some books and free pdfs and links.

What is a SAN?

‘Storage Area Network’ – or storage network.
Generally it doesn’t have to be a ‘network’ it could just be direct connected equipment or peer 2 peer. But what it always entails is a shared storage, most often disk or tape.

What is in a SAN?
When it comes to disk storage on fibre channel there’s a few standard components: FC HBA in the server, SFP and cables, SAN-switch, SFP and cables, FC port in the disk array controller and then there’s something behind the controller that connects disks.

You can connect the FC HBA directly to the disk array.

What is storage?
It’s somewhere where you can store data. Most common today would be: hard drives, flash drives (ssd), magnetic media (tape) and optical media (dvd/blueray/cd).  In a computer you cannot fit hundred of hard drives, but sometimes there is an application that requires lots and lots of data (maybe for example CAD drawings, video editing). This is when a SAN comes in, with only the help of for example a fibre channel card you can give a server access to lots of storage.

How do you do it?
If you want to give a server disk space from a fibre channel SAN this is what you do:

  1. Fullfil the hardware requirements (so fibre channel HBA+drivers and multipath software, SAN-switch, disk array and sfps + cables)
  2. On the SAN-switch create a zone with the disk array’s and the FC HBA’s domain id, port id or port wwn. It’s possible to do it without zones, but they are good for fault isolation.
  3. On the disk array you should now see the server/host, create a disk and map/present it to the host.
  4. On the host you most likely need to do a rescan/reinitialize of the fc-bus.
  5. After the server sees the LUN it will have a new hard disk available, you can use your normal partitioning/format/filesystem tools to create some usable space.

Can I use the same disk on two servers?
This is a pretty common question, the answer is sometimes and the sometimes depends on which file system you are using. It needs to support that more than one host can access it at the same time. NTFS does not support this and if you try it anyway you’ll corrupt the file system. For Windows you need to look into CSV – clustered shared volumes or other networked file systems like NFS/CIFS.

What is the difference between fibre channel and iscsi?

FC is sending SCSI commands over fibre channel, it’s not always fibre or optical cables.
While iSCSI is sending SCSI commands over TCP/IP.
FC is a whole network technology while iSCSI is running on top of a network technology -> TCP/IP.

Some literature:

Both the IBM and the HP one are quite lengthy. The HP one has a lot of HP specific guides, best practices and supported configurations. The FC 101 by Brocade actually goes quite deep into the theory of the FC protocol.

BCFP – FCIP – Fibre Channel over TCP/IP

Still studying for Brocade’s BCFP Exam.
This post is to try to put light on some of the terms/technologies you’ll be surrounded by when learning about FCIP.

Guides you should see are the “Fabric OS FCIP Administrator’s Guide” and you should probably start with the material for BCFP – part 4 (theory) and 5 (administration).

Basically the FC frames will be encapsulated in packets over TCP/IP, making the TCP/IP part  invisible/irrelevant to the SAN fabric and the FC frames invisible/irrelevant to the TCP/IP. Except of course for the FC routers that bridge the networks. It is possible to run FCR over FCIP as well via the VEX ports (virtual EX_port). Extension. This means that it’s using TCP flow control, no BB credits.

Terminology

Tunnel (VE_port) – are seen as VE_ports in the fabric.

Circuits (GbE ports) are inside a tunnel (VE_port)
Is a logical connection between two IP addresses.

Metric 0 – active (you can have several links at metric 0)
Metric 1 – standby

FCIP tunnels support max two hops.

Multi-Gigabit Circuits

On the FX8-24:

2x 10GbE
1x 10Gbe and 10x 1GbE
10x 1GbE
Not,  all ports at the same time.

FCIP Trunking

Basically adding more circuits to a tunnel, not recommended to set up several tunnels (limited anyway) but because ISL trunking is not supported on VE_ports.

FICON timeout: 1s
FC timeout: 4s
Consider altering these depending on your setup/latencies.

Virtual Fabric considerations

Define several logical switches inside a physical.
You can with FOS 7.0.0 have a VE_port (the GbE ports) defined in the base/default switch and then share it with other logical switches, giving you the possibility to extend/route the fabrics over a shared trunk while they are still isolated. You cannot mix dedicated (in an LS) and a shared (in default) in the same FCIP tunnel.

QoS

Not enforced if there is no contention (there is free bandwidth)

VC0 (or F_frames – fabric frames) – always first.
QoS_High: >50% : : 6
QoS_Medium: >30% : 3
QoS_low: >20% : 1

DSCP (6 bits of priorities – 64 )
L2CoS (3 bits of priorities- 8 )
Priority is set in the TOS – in the header.

Compression

(four different ones, hardware, software, mix, auto)

10GbE

“lossless” failover only in FOS 7.0.0. (brocade chipset did not share ports)
You cannot use both 10GbE and get 20GbE. You can have them active/standby or use both A/A and get 5Gbps on each.
Disabling port != failover testing.  Can/will cause disruptions.

Crossport

Crossports are addresses and routes that belong to the other 10GbE (XGE) port’s DP or VE group.

The crossport for xge0 is xge1 and for xge1, the crossport is xge0. To use crossports, the port must be configured in 10 Gbps mode.

The crossport is the non-local XGE port for a VE_Port group. In other words, for
VE ports 12 through 21, xge1 is the local XGE port and xge0 is the crossport. For VE ports 22
through 31, xge0 is the local XGE port and xge1 is the crossport.

SACK

(selective acknoledgement – prevent that each lost packet requires an ack, bundles up several lost packets into one, default is ON)

Adaptive Rate Limiting

Configure minimum and maximum rates on an FCIP circuit.
Let’s say you have one FCIP router with two circuits going to two independent IP-routers, these two share a link to another site. The idea is that then you can use ARL to configure minimum half of the shared link on each of the circuits from the FCIP router to the IP router, and a max of the whole one. So if one goes down, you’re not stuck with half and you’re not oversubscribing. There, easy to explain in words :d


Hardware

FX8-24

2 x 10GbE ports, 12 x 1GbE and 12 x FC8
Link to hardware page on Brocade.

7800

6 x 1GbE ports, 16 x FC8
Link to hardware page on Brocade.

Steps

  1. What settings are you going to have on the ports/links/tunnels?
  2. Configure hw ports (media type, mode etc)
  3. Disable VE_ports (Virtual FC E_ports) with the tunnel (portdisable)
  4. Create ip intf for each phy Ethernet port that’s going to be used (portcfg ipif)
  5. Config IP route for each port to specify an IP Gateway (not required; portcfg iproute)
  6. Verify IP network between the two IP interfaces that will form the tunnel. (portcmd –ping slot/port)
  7. Create an FCIP tunnel (circuit 0; portcfg fciptunnel; portcfg fcipcircuit)
  8. Config FCIP Features (SACK, compression, etc)
  9. Verify config, enable VE_ports, verify that it’s working
  10. Add more circuits to the tunnel(s).

How to restrict access to your phpmyadmin

Went through the apache logs on my web-server and saw some access requests to my phpmyadmin page.

It’s probably a good idea to restrict access to this web based sql admin interface (in case there is an exploit I don’t want somebody to use it on this).

How to make phpmyadmin a bit more secure

sudo vi /etc/phpmyadmin/apache.conf
or
sudo nano /etc/phpmyadmin/apache.conf

Under
“Alias /phpmyadmin /usr/share/phpmyadmin”
<Directory /usr/share/phpmyadmin>

add this:

Order Deny,Allow
Deny from all
Allow from 127.0.0.1
Allow from 192.168.0.0/24

This will let your vm access the /phpmyadmin part and also anything with an IP on the 192.168.0.0/24 network.

Also, up there in the alias where it first says /phpmyadmin – change this to something else like “Alias /youcannotguessthis /usr/share/phpmyadmin” and it will be a lot harder for automatic scanners to find it.

Here is some more information.

BCFP – Fibre Channel Routing – FCR – FC-FC Routing

FCR; Fibre Channel Routing; FC-FC Routing; etc; etc.

This has many names. FC-FC Routing service provides FCR (fibre channel routing).
Basically what it does is that it lets you zone devices in two separate fabrics without merging them.
These two separate fabrics are called ‘edge fabrics’ in Brocade lingo, they are otherwise known as SAN islands.
The edge fabric is connected to a backbone fabric (an FC router or at least an EX_Port).

Integrated Routing – is a licensed feature that lets you run FCR on a port that is in a normal port in a normal switch or port blade (so not in a dedicated router switch or router blade).

There’s a few things required to set up FCR:

  1. Verify that you have the proper setup (required licenses/hardware)
  2. Assign backbone FIDs (switchdisable; fosConfig –disable fcr; fcrconfigure; fosconfig –enable; switchenable)
  3. Configure FCIP tunnel (not required but: portcfg fciptunnel 8/ge0 create 2 1.1.1.1 1.1.2.1 0 -v 100 -p 3 -P 7 . Remote IP first, tunnel ID, vlan, Classes for layer2 control and data traffic)
  4. Configure IFLs – inter fabric links – links between edge and backbone fabrics (portcfgvexport, portcfgexport 7 -a 1 -f 30 . port 7, enable, fabric id 30)
  5. Modify cost on the EX_ports (not required; portdisable; portcfgexport 7 -a 1; fcrrouterportcost 7 10000; for default, set it to 0; fcrRouteShow also shows cost)
  6. Connect cables (if you do it before and they are configured as E_port you may get segmentation).
  7. Configure trunking on EX_ports (not required but if you have more than one link, please do, same commands as for E_port trunking)
  8. Configure LSAN zones (same as normal zoning; zonecreate “lsan_zone_fabric”, “wwn; wwn2; wwn3”; cfgadd “zone_cfg”, “lsan_zone_fabric”; cfgenable “zone_cfg”). Use lsanzoneshow -s. Shows imported/exist/configured/initializing.
    fcrphydevshow, fcrproxydevshow are also useful.
  9. Confirm that it’s working (fcrfabricshow, switchshow, portcfgshow, portexport 7, portshow 7)
So what you have to do is: assign FIDs, configure IFLs and LSAN zones. 

A little theory

Phantom domains.

Front domains -> always there

Translate domains (also xlate domains…).  -> only there when devices are online and zoned

The FC router has a pool of wwns and proxy ids that it assigns to devices.
Basically a host that wants to communicate with a target in another fabric communicates with a proxy WWN in its own fabric (so the FC router is like a middle man that passes frames back n forth).

A little more information

When a PLOGI, PDISC, ADISC frame arrives at the FC router, SID and DID are checked. If they are zoned in both SID and DID edge fabrics (islands), the frame is forwarded to DID. If not, only PLOGI is dropped; edge fabrics’ zoning enforcement takes care of the rest.
I found this document on EMC’s webpage (it’s from 2007 so a bit outdated and it has EMC’s names of the Brocade products) but it explains the concept pretty nicely.
Also, this post is for me to study for the BCFP, I find that I learn better when I write things down with a keyboard ;)
There may be mistakes in here but that’s just how it is, I tried to keep it as factual as possible and used several sources.
There will most likely be more of these posts coming up.

Fantasy Book Review – Steven Erikson – The Crippled God – Part 4

From about 2/3 to the end:
And as usual –  there’s lots of spoilers below. If you haven’t read the book yet, I’d advise you not to read the below.

Part1
Part2
Part3 

There is actually quite a lot going on about the First Shore.
The malazans found the kids, they’re running out of water. How are they going to cross this thing? It needs to be magical!
There the Tiste comes back (Nimander).
The queen goes crazy. But as with the High Mage of Shadow (where is he by the way? Still in Darujistan?) there are some lucid comments that tell quite a bit.
Where is Silchas Ruin going? Well we have the Draconus and then the Kilmandros stuff, maybe he’s going there for a visit.

The battle is like a vinyl slowly turning into a majestic battle – soon getting out of proportions I wager. OK, we got dragons. We got some army slowly crossing the deadly desert. When are the gods entering? =)

Tehol for the King! Oh wait. Anyway, He’s funny.

I immensely enjoy the short scenes in this book staring some of the notorious characters from previous books but those that don’t have a major part of the story (yet). I also enjoy that there’s no need to describe who they are. I mean of course when they first are introduced you may not remember who they are until they’ve been around for a while, and maybe still you don’t but at least the name rings a bell right?

I’m already at 70% and this is now chapter 22. Is this book not going to be 24 chapters?? My world is shattering!

*** Reached the end:

Turned out that there was indeed 24 chapters + two epilogues including the world’s longest poem. I like that the God wrote a book.
I’m not so sure I liked the few random happy endings at the end of the book. But it sure didn’t go through all of the characters which leaves lots of openings for more stories afterwards.

Now I can finally put this series to rest :)

BCFP – Brocade Certified Fabric Professional 16G Beta Exam

More studying. Only a month and a half to go.

Currently repeating/re-reading BCFA stuff and mostly focusing on the new stuff. Expect to do this this whole week but gradually weave in more BCFP stuff.

An idea – I don’t think I need to re-hearse the BCFA that much. The objectives between the two exams are very different and there’s no overlap as far as I can tell. Focusing more on the BCFP now but it was nice anyway to do a short repeat of the BCFA stuff, get back in the game.

The Material

I’ve been going through what’s recommended (the material) and these are the useful pages:
Please note that the second item in each list is the actual page number in the document.
I also took the liberty of adding pages before/after in case they were adding context to the page. It’s not like I’m going to try to remember the pages by heart. And quite often the pages referenced by Brocade were just one page in the middle of a chapter.

For example page 63 in FOS Admin Guide 7 is either about setting ipaddr or routing/FC NAT. I think it’s the FC NAT. Page 77 is either for adressing/WWN based PID assignment or lossless DLS. Page 80 is port numbering schemes for various blades or Forward Error Correction. 99 is verifying syslog/audit log or introduction to RADIUS/LDAP. 117-118 is lossless DLS or overview of IP protocols.
Page 3 in the troubleshooting guide is to the document history or one of the pages with list of common symptoms. Also Page 1 in FCIP Admin Guide is probably not the one they meant :)

There’s some really weird ones in the admin guide. For example page 582 does not exist in FOS admin or 132 is empty in FCIP Admin guide , in both real page counters and the numbers on the pages in the book.

Also some starting/ending points/pages are a little strange, why cut it off there and not the whole chapter/section?

From the Brocade Certified group on facebook I saw that these pages numbers were used to writing a/questions on the exam. Guess this explains why some of the pages are odd, maybe they were written down at a previous version of the document or they just don’t want to document everything :) In the same group they claim that the page they used is the one on the actual page, not the one in for example adobe reader. This means the numbers under Real are the ones pointing to the right pages.

Anyway, with the details from http://community.brocade.com/docs/DOC-2041 here we go:

Updated the numbers on FOS Admin guide (2011-08-18)

  • Fabric OS Administrators Guide v7.0 (53-1002148-02)
    • Pages 63,77,80,99,100,117,118,128,133,137,200,272-281,287-302,372,382,395,404-412,413,418,422-433,435-438,447-481,582
    • Real Pages: 102-103, 120, 139, 168, 173-174, 177, 240, (271-303), 311-343, 410, 412, 422, 435, 444-453, 458-478, 487-521,
  • Fabric OS Command Reference Guide v7.0 (53-1002147-01)
    • Pages 239,244-246,283-290,380-383,609,610,637,653,661-663,701-710,714-717,824,885,930,953-956,1028,1029,1083
    • Real Pages: 273, 278-280, 316-324, 643, 644, 671, 687, 695-697, 735-744, 748-751, 857-858, 918-920, 964, 987-990, 1061-1063
  • Fabric OS Troubleshooting Guide v7.0 (51-1002150-02)
    • Pages 3,22,31,38,92,
    • Real Pages: 23, 43-44, 51-52, 112
  • Brocade 1860 Datasheet (GA-DS-1566-00)
  • Brocade SAN Health Family Data Sheet (GA-DS-870-03)
  • Fabric OS v7.0 Release Notes
    • Pages 11,12
    • Real Pages: 11, 12
  • Brocade Network Advisor SAN User Manual 11.1.x (53-1002167-01)
    • Pages xxxviii,xxxix,47-52,148,202,230-233,647,648,782,911
    • Real Pages: 38-39, 91-96, 192, 246, 274-277, 691-692, 826, 955
  • Brocade Network Advisor Installation Guide 11.1.x (53-1002320-01)
    • Page 9
    • Real Page: 9
  • Fabric OS FCIP Administrator’s Guide (53-1002155-01)
    • Pages 1,6,29-37,54,111-113,132
    • Real Pages: 15, 20-21, 43-52, 68, 125-127
  • Access Gateway Administrator’s Guide (53-1002156-01)
    • Pages 11,22,52,53,67-69,
    • Real Pages: 31, 42, 72-73, 87-89
  • Brocade Adapters Administrator’s Guide (53-1001923-01)
    • Page 35
    • Real Page: 57
  • Pre-release CFP 300 Course (unedited material)
    • Modules 2-8

BCFA – Brocade Certified Fabric Administrator 16G Beta

I am currently going for the BCFP – fabric professional – exam, but I did the BCFA 6 months ago so I’ll re-read the material and of course there’s the new stuff with FOS 7, new hardware, 16g, new ASIC that I should probably learn as well.

Some new stuff

‘fabric name’ is a new feature. But this is also more usable in VF – which is not part of BCFA. Firmware upgrades are the same (phew).
DCFM is now called Network Advisor and it also has IP/routing and MPLS functionality now.
Of course the 16G blades (with the first 8 ports capable of handling 10GB FC) and the FC10-6 blades.
D_port diagnostics (set a port to this before joining it to a trunk, or use it to measure distance on a long distance link, is accurate up to 5m).
IDLE/ARB fill words are no longer necessary to configure (except on 8G platforms and not on Condor3).
Condor3 is the new ASIC for the 16G blades.
New/larger/longer/better ICL between the new directors that use QSFP instead of the crap max 2m copper cable.

Kindle

One thing that’s great about the kindle is that you can put the Brocade material on it (even in PDF) – just change viewing mode to landscape/horizontal and it will look great. Two pages per slide. I still have material from my old so that one works. But the material that is given for free now has 0 access rights so it does not work on the Kindle.

The way I write my personal notes is: write them off from the brocade material in my own words.

  1. I do this on google docs.
  2. I then download it into .doc and then
  3. e-mail it as an attachment to youraccount@free.kindle.com.
  4. Then next time you hook up your kindle to wifi it will download the documents, converted to .azw.

What’s important here is to not use lists, as the conversion from a google doc saved as word and then e-mailed to youraccount@free.kindle.com does not like lists, it only takes the first level in the list.

I instead used headers, lost of them.

This is also nice because you can put a TOC which is clickable on the kindle.

Also pictures work in this conversation.

P6000 – EVA – Command View Simulator

https://h20392.www2.hp.com/portal/swdepot/displayProductInfo.do?productNumber=P6000EVASimulator

Command View EVA is HP’s web based management tool for their EVA/P6000 products.
It’s been looking the same for quite some time except the quite old ones. It’s simple to use compared to other management softwares but sure it has its limitations too. It’s not based on JAVA anyway :)

Install.

Run the install file, this extracted the files but then it said something about it not being correctly installed. I then went to the folder and started the install manually. This completed after a while. After this:

To run it in Windows 7 x64:

Go to start menu -> accessories -> right-click on Command Prompt -> choose “run as Administrator”.

In there type:
cd C:\Program Files (x86)\Hewlett-Packard\HP P6000 EVA Simulator\evasim

Then hit:
setup_cv_env.bat
wait for it to complete

Then hit:
start_bundle.bat

Which will start the simulation services and open a web browser (IE for me even if Firefox is default). It looks like it works fine in Firefox 7 too – just surf to . There is no password required when logging in manually.

IE9 will complain about certificate, say that you agree and then you’re in!

Use

Well, this is where you learn how to do the things in Command View.

For example, create a vdisk, create a replication group, try out continuous access (data replication) and business copy (snapshots, clones). It’s really like the real deal except that probably the error logs aren’t there and you can’t really present any disks to a host. But you can do everything simulated anyway :)

The firmware in the simulator is 10000090 (or CD1528lesl-10000090 ) on HSV300. A pre-release of the XCS firmware? Also the 6100/8100 EVAs in the simulator is on 6.220 – why not on 6.240?

Also do try the SSSU it is installed here C:\Program Files (x86)\Hewlett-Packard\HP P6000 EVA Simulator\evasim\cveva and it works. So you can try scripting, try out scripts before you actually run them in your production system and stuff like that.

Even cvutil is installed. In the same directory as SSSU, just hit ‘cvutil paths’ for example to see the paths your machine has to the EVAs.

To shut down the simulator you can type ‘exit’ in the command windows that are opened by the software. Or just hit CTRL+C or the X in the window :)

Fantasy Book Review – Steven Erikson – The Crippled God – Part 3

Part 3 Review

Part 2
Part 1

I think this book is easier to read than the previous ones. For some reason I kind of like all the thinking, pondering and analyzing that the characters do. They grow on you?
I wonder if it’s just the book or maybe the Kindle assists me in reading;  I’ve been reading quite swiftly (in comparison to how fast I read one of the previous Malazan ‘real’ books).

Of course after 33% there’s a lot of stuff about the bonehunters. They’re walking through the Glass Desert. Hellian is sober and thinks they’re going to Y’Ghatan. They’re not.

Fiddler is quite depressing, most of them are but there’s a good amount of stubborn exceptions that cling on to life like super glue. Urb for example, the under dog. I hope he gets her.

Mappo starts walking through the desert, he meets a D’Ivers (all the butter flies that the Snake met explained) and he is saved by Badalle. Maybe Mappo will find his meaning when he meets these kids. First I thought maybe the kids would meet with the Bonehunters, maybe they still will. But supposedly Mappo is going to find Icarium. But where is he? It’s a bit disorienting – people are going along/across the desert but there’s not any good maps (there is even a world map online if you search for it).

*Update – Aha – it is the Bonehunters who meet the kids first (or at least that’s how I interpreted  the end of the last chapter I read).

The Shake’s fighting down at the breach is also a pretty cool part. Quite a few times in the books there have been a small amount of people holding off another force trying to get through a small opening. This sword-type Husk – there hasn’t been much about these in the previous books now has there?
Take your average fantasy book and then there’s this type of sword that slices through dragons like butter – how often would that be a pretty major chunk of the story? Like how the fabled Heroes go battle some Mountain Troll and get the sword back to it’s rightful heir? About all of them. Not in this book though!
Here the wielder finds it on the b(r)each where the big fight will be :)

Why

One personal reason why I’m writing these review posts as I read the book is because my memory sucks and I don’t feel like rereading the series again sometime soon :) 10000 pages is a lot.

Artwork

There’s some pretty awesome artwork for the Malazan books on deviantart – do check them out!

Kindle

Two more things that are awesome about the kindle: a) it is better in direct sunlight than in the shadow and b) there’s a built-in dictionary that works even offline.

BCFP 16g Exam Studying

Right now I’m reading through the BCFA material and writing what I find useful in a google docs document – later I will take this and send to my Kindle – for some of that memorization :)

Think it’s a good idea to refresh some of the BCFA stuff before tackling the BCFP material, it was about 6 months ago since I took the BCFA and there are of course the new 16G hardware that was available then.

If you’re new to all this – do check out the FC 101 training by Brocade,  it is pretty awesome and I think I’ll listen/read it once or probably more before the exam. It’s good to refresh the fundamentals.

BCFP 16G Beta Exam Material

After the announcement of the available material Fabric OS 7.0.0a has been released.

On the page http://community.brocade.com/docs/DOC-2041 only the first revision of the 7.0 release notes is available.

The BCFA 16G beta course material is also available, probably a good idea to read up on both and do a little rehearsing.

The old attachments are these:

  • 1860_FabricAdapter_DS.pdf (942.3 K)
  • FOS_TrblShoot_v700-02.pdf (1.8 MB)
  • FOS_CmdRef_v700.pdf (4.6 MB)
  • FOS_AdminGd_v700-02.pdf (7.2 MB)
  • FOS_FCIP_AdminGd_v700.pdf (2.8 MB)
  • NetworkAdvisor_SAN_InstallGd_v1110.pdf (450.3 K)
  • NetworkAdvisor_SAN_Manual_v1110.pdf (9.5 MB)
  • v7.0.0_releasenotes_v1.0.pdf (1.5 MB)
  • SH_Family_DS_03.pdf (157.7 K)
  • Brocade_Adapters_v2.3.0.0_Admin_Guide.pdf (1.5 MB)
  • AccessGateway_AdminGd_v700.pdf (919.0 K)

With my notes:

  • 1860_FabricAdapter_DS.pdf (this is just a brochure/data sheet of that product)
  • FOS_TrblShoot_v700-02.pdf (trbl and diag guide, 3 June 2011, 138p)
  • FOS_CmdRef_v700.pdf (cmd reference manual- 29 April 2011, 1132p)
  • FOS_AdminGd_v700-02.pdf (3 June 2011, 580p)
  • FOS_FCIP_AdminGd_v700.pdf (29 April 2011, 136p)
  • NetworkAdvisor_SAN_InstallGd_v1110.pdf (13 May 2011, 47p)
  • NetworkAdvisor_SAN_Manual_v1110.pdf (13 May 2011, 1301p)
  • v7.0.0_releasenotes_v1.0.pdf (29 April 2011, 125p)
  • SH_Family_DS_03.pdf (SAN Health Family, brochure/data sheet)
  • Brocade_Adapters_v2.3.0.0_Admin_Guide.pdf (27 October 2010, 292p)
  • AccessGateway_AdminGd_v700.pdf (29 April 2011, 102p)

The newer versions are not available if you have a registered account on my.brocade.com without any product registered to it. I’ve e-mailed Brocade asking for more access. In the meantime some are available on for example HP.com – but the Brocade release notes are not available there. And the HP Release notes for 7.0.0a have the HP names of the products.
On HP’s site you can go to the manuals for the 8/40 to get some more documents.

Actually it looks like the documents available are quite up to date. I guess the Admin Guides etc don’t update that often anyway. There is however a document in the manuals link above that explains that there have been some changes to some of the Brocade Documents. This might be worth checking out.

The conclusion of this little exercise is that the material available is currently good enough (for me).

Reading encrypted/password protected pdf on Linux

Brocade Logo

The problematic PDF

The CFP300 material on http://community.brocade.com/docs/DOC-2041 is encrypted so that it cannot be printed/re-edited without a password.

If you try to open this with evince (default .pdf viewer in Gnome) it will ask for a password.
pdftotext (comes with the software suite poppler) says:

Error: Weird encryption info
Error: Incorrect password

It’s only the material starting with M0* that has this issue, this has also been seen with other documents. Maybe this is because they were created with a too new version of Adobe Acrobat that evince/pdftotext doesn’t support.
The rest of the material are going to be public and they are user/admin guides anyway. But the M0* files are from the actual course material for the 16G so this is why.

The solution on RHEL6 x64: install FoxitReader. Download the .rpm – then hit ‘rpm -Uvh FoxitReader-1.1-0.fc9.i386.rpm’ and it will be installed. To start it just hit ‘FoxitReader’.

Anyway I think it’s nice of Brocade to pre-release the course material for those doing the beta-test. If you want the real material the cheapest is 650$ and then you get the material, narration of the pdfs (usually good quality, not just reading off the presentations) and a few quite good lab exercises.

The Studying

Just threading along here with the material, slowly but steady.
I’m starting with the NPIV / Access Gateway stuff. It’s a bit more complicated than just a switch that isn’t its own domain, it’s also mapping the virtual WWN to the N_ports (a switch in AG mode has N_ports that connect to F_ports in another switch). Usually N_ports are on hosts’ and targets’ ports and the switches’ has the F_ports.

Ubuntu + Automatic Software Updates

How often do you actually log on to your machine – hit
sudo apt-get update; sudo apt-get upgrade
without reading what the changes are? I do it every time, unless it’s a dist-upgrade we’re talking about.

So how do we get this going?

The tool you’re looking for is called cron-apt.

$sudo apt-get install cron-apt

This installs postfix for you as well (I chose local server, bah to e-mails, no pain, no gain).
After this, edit /etc/cron.d/cron-apt to your preferences.
If you want to see what it does – just hit what it says in that file:

test -x /usr/sbin/cron-apt && /usr/sbin/cron-apt

and see what it does!

Test -x (file exists and execute permission is granted)
Second one runs it (but this did not produce any output)
Check out /var/log/cron-apt/log for details of what it does.

Please note that the cron-apt also runs “apt-get dist-upgrade” which would upgrade your distribution. So be careful.
It also runs autoclean :)

If you want more details – it’s possible to do this other ways (for example with anacron and /or bash scripts).
See this link: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/AutoWeeklyUpdateHowTo

Fantasy Book Review – Steven Erikson – The Crippled God – Part 2

Read about 1/3 of the book now. Here is part 1.

The Review

There’s a lot more ‘Books’ in this one compared to the other one. I’m already at the fourth one. This also means that there is a lot more jumping between sub-stories in this book than all the other ones. It’s really tangible this time: that there’s this huge ‘meeting’ (ok I forgot the word used by Steven Erikson, it’s a big one that starts with co-) of the forces.
Some groups are mentioned maybe once per book, some are not mentioned at all but ‘between’ the lines in some of the other sub-stories’ paths. As usual in the beginning of the Malaz books there is a lot of introspection – not so much action – but instead focus is on building the characters.

This is important but it’s a slow and steady progress which always gets me a bit bored. But then again, a whole book of just action takes the fun out of it, especially with so many characters that it’s hard to keep them separated. I need to have some kind of connection with a character before the action gets interesting. I mean in the end it boils down to some sword/magic fights right? And in earnest just a lot of that sword-hacking is just not for me.

Another thing I enjoy is that it’s not about the same guys in each book! OK, there are some guys that keep on coming back and take quite a central role in the story line(s) – but the actual story is not primarily done through introspection/thoughts by the same characters. This gives the reader the opportunity to get to know some of the other people, surrounding the Bridgeburners & Bonehunters..  they’ve been in basically all books so really – you don’t want another 1000 pages about the same Bridgeburner – it’s just fine with a chapter or snippet here and there – to keep the intrigue up. Also I think there’s a plausible maximum amount of thinking a character can do – or maybe there are these kind of people out there but I guess you never know – this is what’s good with books I guess :)

There’s an abundance of ‘good’ guys in this book. I mean the only really bad folks aren’t really bad (if you discount gods then), they just have a not-so-nice plan to scour the planet of humans. There are evidence/happenings earlier in the series where humans have caught gods unawares (Feather Witch’s stealing of the eye for example) and had  them suffering.

The Kindle

As how’s it going with the Kindle I must say I really enjoy it, except when doing a review like this. It’s just not even close to as handy to jump back a random amount of pages to see what went on there – as it is in a book. But the Kindle wins when it comes to reading while you’re doing other stuff  –  like at lunch – then it’s very handy to just put it on the table and keep on eating and reading at the same time. Just a brief pause every now and then to click to the next page.

Aurora 7 – The future Firefox

Just got an update on Aurora (it’s like daily builds of the latest mozilla – with all the nice updates). I’ve been running it since they made it available and I have not had any issues with it. The only slightly annoying is that almost daily (if you restart the web browser) you have to update it – which on Windows 7 gives you the “can I get elevated permission” dialogue if you have UAC activated. Not so much of an issue but that’s it. Also my plugins work (noscript, adblock+ & webmail notifier).

This new version 7 is supposed to have improved memory usage – NICE.

** Update: the new version is noticeably faster than Aurora 6. I like.

Fantasy Book Review – Steven Erikson – The Crippled God – Part 1

Warning: this post contains spoilers if you haven’t read Dust of Dreams or the previous books in the series Malazan Book of the Fallen.

This post is part of a series, I will create additional one throughout the book (basically I’m just testing which is best: use one post and make updates or create new one every now and then? What do you think?)

End of Dust of Dreams: I didn’t particularly enjoy the K’Chain Che’Malle early in the book (read: before the last three-four chapters). But then I kind of started to like them. Why are they so uncomplicated? There’s a lot of unknowns at the end of this book – which is nice. Some folks haven’t even been clashing yet – Draconus/Ublala – Torrent/Mappo/Setoc – Silchas Ruin. Which proves that the next(last) book is going to be very very exciting. What happened to the Bonehunters? How crazy was Yil’s shadow dance? Is Quick Ben really dead? Was this the meaning? Is Icarium the Azath? Or did he close the gate that the Sky Keeps came from?

When Sinn/Grub arrived at the end and with fire stopped some Sky Keeps, before that there was another poem heard about Held/Rutt and Badalle where she spoke with Icarium. They are connected somehow?

So much unknown going on here. Maybe it will all make sense in the last book? At least some of it I hope will be explained :)

Crippled God

Cover

The Crippled God

Read the end of Dust of Dreams on the Kindle – liked it a lot. Especially when sometimes there is a word I don’t understand I can just point to it and then get a definition. I will read this book completely on the Kindle – what better way to get a good feel for the e-book reader than to give a behemoth like this a go?

 

 

 

 
There are a few tricky words in Erikson’s books.
Off the top of my head I am fond of this word but rarely get the use for it:
susurration (low continuous whispering sound)
altruism (opposite of selfishness)

At this point I feel happy that I’m reaching the end of this series. Will there be more books related to this world by Erikson? The co-creator Ian C Esslemont should come out with three more books (six in total).