Microsoft Ignite Australia 2017 – Day 1

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Today was the first day of Microsoft Ignite Australia 2017 and I am very lucky to have the opportunity to attend!

Microsoft Ignite is the successor of Microsoft TechEd, which had a 2 decade history after being first held in Australia in 1994.

I plan to post about my experiences over the next few days.

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Resolving Unknown Data Sources in Dell OpenManage Essentials

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Have you ever looked in OpenManage Essentials and seen the above when looking at a device? I recently had this experience when checking on a number of older servers that we were not receiving alerts properly for.

Checking on the iDRAC and server it appeared that the management agents were running and correctly configured so that the OME server could contact the device, but attempts to discover and inventory were still failing. What was going on?

The Dell Troubleshooting Tool is an excellent  utility by Dell to interrogate devices using variety of protocols. Querying the iDRAC using WSMAN soon found the problem:

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Many of thew older servers had internal SSL certificates installed on them, which had subsequently expired. As most of the servers had been decommissioned, renewing the certificates had been overlooked.

Getting rid of the expired certificate is not as straight forward as it should be, with no ability in the iDRAC6 web interface to delete the certificate. This was resolved by accessing the IDRAC via SSH and using the racadm command:

racadm sslresetcfg

After the iDRAC interface rebooted to apply changes, OME was then able to discover and inventory the iDRAC interface.

The Dell troubleshooting tool proved to be a very useful tool in the infrastructure admin’s toolbox for dealing with non-obvious management protocol issues.

Linux Conference Australia 2017

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Last week I attended Linux Conference Australia that was this year hosted in Hobart Tasmania. The weeklong event has the first 2 days dedicated to mini conferences before the selected presentations over the following 3 days.

I was actually there by virtue of being a speaker and mini conference organiser for the Open Radio mini conference. If this may interest you, you can read about it over here on my Radio Blog. Unfortunately this meant a clash with the sysadmin miniconf, but there will be time to catch up on that.

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MSIgnite NZ 2016 – Righting the Right Rights with Jess Dodson

If you are an Active Directory Administrator, Check out this presentation by MVP Jess Dodson on AD Security and Maintenance which was presented in the main hall at MSIgnite NZ a couple of weeks ago.

https://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Ignite/New-Zealand-2016/M354

Some of you may already be familiar with Jess’s work over at Girlgerms Online and if not, these is definitely one of the better systems administration blogs in Australia 🙂

Edit 6/11/16 – WordPress is not correctly embedding video – looks fine in editor, but shows a link when published. have updated URL to direct link to the Channel 9 site.

iDRAC Firmware 2.40.40 Introduces New TLS Settings, May Stop Dell OME Discovery/Inventory

iDRAC firmware 2.40.40 was released on 17th Oct 2016. Details can be found by following this link.

We have recently had the need to upgrade our iDRAC firmware to 2.40.40 on one of our servers while troubleshooting another issue with Dell and found shortly after that this particular server was no longer able to be discovered by Dell OpenManage Essentials.

We found that the TLS protocol the iDRAC set after updating was set to version 1.2, which is not supported by Windows operating systems less than Server 2012 R2 (Our OME server runs on Windows Server 2012). There is a patch available to fix this. This is all covered in the driver release notes.

The other alternative, which we have chosen to do for now  as this firmware is only on one device is to set the iDRAC to use the older TLS protocol, which can be found under the iDRAC Network Settings in the services tab:

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I’ll apply the Microsoft patch to the system, and then set the TLS back to v1.2

SAGE-AU Becomes ITPA

A couple of weeks ago SAGE-AU announced that it was undergoing a name change and rebrand, to become the IT Professional Association, ITPA.

As a long time SAGE-AU and now ITPA member, this has come as little surprise. This has been something that has been on the cards for close to 4 years now. It does however mean good things for the organisation.

I’ll spare you the details – these can be found in their press release and in the launch webinar.

What I will say though is that if you are an IT Professional in Australia, your representation to government and industry is weak. Only 5% of people who identify as IT Professionals in Australia are members of a professional body like ITPA,  ACS or AISA compared to say, accountants, who have near 100% membership to CPA or ICAA.

In order to gain a voice and support in the IT industry, consider joining a professional organisation. ITPA offers free associate membership, which also gives you access to free short courses.

A Fresh Start

After a long break between posts over the last two years, is time to for The Practical Admin to have a bit of an update to reflect the changes in his skill sets and equipment availability.

Most of my absence was directly related to being actively involved with SAGE-AU (Now ITPA) for 3 years which included being editor for their monthly newsletter. Since stepping down in 2015 I have been heavily involved in some local community groups.

I now mostly work with Dell Hardware, which means I do a bit with the Dell OpenManage platform of tools. I still mainly work on the Windows Server platform, and have interests in the areas of automation, PKI and platform management. These days my involvement with getting hands on with hardware is minimal.

What this means for the Blog is you’ll see a whole lot more stuff on the Dell OpenManage Platform, Microsoft Windows Server, and more. It also means that many of my hardware scripts, (Such as iLO PS Library) will no longer be supported as I have no ability to test them any more.

Here’s to a return of The Practical Admin.