Powershell and automation – QA

I automate task with moving information between systems interfaces that require additional information from me that neither system provides, but the other requires.

After an update one of these systems was moved to a new server do to system requirements and the other stayed on server it was at because it has not been update to run on new windows server. The process for manipulating what was going through interfaces was pretty straight forward. Its when the interfaces are on two different servers things become interesting or head ache causing.

There are 2 data sets that travel through the interface, only one of them requires any manipulation. The manipulation adds a value based on zip code. A very poorly written C# console application takes care of this it works and is very easy to maintain. Power shell scripts are used in a few places, one gets al of the file names to be manipulated for the console application. The second moves the first data set to the other server. There was a third to move the second data set to the other server, this was replaced with another console application to move what was process.

Found the second power shell script which is a basically a move-item command would occasionally decide a network drive was not mapped when it ran in the schedule task, but if it was ran from bat file the schedule task used the it was fine. The network drive did not lose connection. the question is why is it doing this just with the schedule task.
It could be a quirky issue with task scheduler in Windows 2012.

After a tweet to the script to use UNC path instead of the network drive mapping, which works with executing bat file that contains the script. will have to wait for next schedule task to run to see, if it errors out or some other strange condition occurs.

The bottom line is testing and some more testing. The process steps are very straight forward. However you do not know when something will throw you a curve ball in production and operate very differently than what it has been. It looks like the scheduled task is not always running clean – the only error in event log of any uses was concerning the mapped drive that was being used. So make sure you can test every condition you can think of and then test some more.


The Cloud


My thoughts on the Cloud.

There are any number of things i would do in the Cloud.

Just because it has been moved to the Cloud its easier.  There can be any number of management issues ot user learning curves because of the move or just how the cloud provider operates.   Some of these issue will make it more difficult on those who are supporting it.

Then there is the app for the cloud application for a mobile device.  If the cloud provider does not do any Q&A then you can see issues with the app.  Until the app is fixed then you have no access to data from mobile device.   Can also see other issues arise on web interface for those accessing the cloud from desktops or laptops.


My rambles on Cloud……











Garmin Swim watch

Over the holidays I got a Garmin swim watch. I have couple issues with it keeping track of laps correctly, as the accelerometer that is built into is not always registering changes when I do my turns. For freestyle it miss about 5% of my turns, but for breaststroke it is missing about 20% of my turns. I even went and looked at FAQ on topic about this and have no changes in results.

I am still pretty sure this can be a useful tool for a USMS swimmer.

“Architecture of Network Systems” this book should be in your reading list.

November 6th I started reading Architecture of Network Systems, I finished it today. It was a most informative read.
If you are new to networking or want to have a better understand of network architecture from basic level. This is a must read book.

The amount of detail in Physical layer hardware, from switch fabrics and processors used in networking, makes this on of the best books I have read on Networking in a long time. Also the detail discussion of various layers in networking stack and their functions. The chapter dealing with QOS and security is very well worth the cost of the book.

In previous post I had mention the Author names, but here they are again: Dimitrios Serpanos and Tilman Wolf.

Reading new book

Just start reading Architecture of Network Systems, written by Dimintrios Serpanos and Tilman Wolf.
Looks like its going to be a wonderful read.

Wish this book had been published a few years earlier.
will revise this post after I finish the book.

Windows 10

After about 2 months of using Windows 10, I really like it. changes to the user interface are okay, and currently I like the edge browser over previous version on IE. With anything new there can be some rough edges, and there are with Windows 10, I have had a few days that I had to just end and restart Edge, nothing major, in general its a good operating system.


This is a drive by post for me, thought I should post something, I have not in awhile,  normal life has just gotten in the way, hopefully back to a regular routine of posts soon.

CCNA Cloud Exam 1 Section 3 topics part 2

Identify key features of Cisco UCS

  • 3.1.c B-Series
  • 3.1.d C-Series


After review datasheets for B-series and C-series servers,  they list features,  leaning for the below for a good start for  section 3 exam topics. However  these might have to be narrowed down a bit.   what I have currently is a large list  will try to narrow it down later.

B-series features

Unified fabric –  Manage blade and rack servers from the Cisco UCS 6100 or 6200 Series Fabric Interconnects using Cisco UCS Manager

Centralized management and stateless computing – ●Through Cisco UCS Manager service profiles, reduces the number of manual steps required to deploy servers in the data center, improving server policy consistency and coherency

 ● Allows servers and support infrastructure to be provisioned in minutes instead of days, shifting IT’s focus from maintenance to strategic initiatives
 ● Reduces configuration errors significantly as blades are added or repurposed
 ● Enables service profile movement from blade to blade, rack server to blade, blade to rack server, or blade to blade in another chassis
Autodiscovery and configuration – Requires no configuration; as with all Cisco UCS components, blades are automatically recognized and configured by Cisco UCS Manager
Extensive monitoring Through Cisco UCS Manager, provides extensive environmental monitoring for each blade

 Allows use of user thresholds to optimize environmental management of the blade
Large memory footprint – 48 DIMM slots provide configuration flexibility, performance, and expansion (B420 M3 large amout of ram can be added to servers….)
Bandwidth of up to 160 Gbps –  ●3 mezzanine connectors enable up to 160 Gbps bandwidth:

1 dedicated connector for Cisco VIC 1240 mLOM
2 connectors for Cisco VIC 1280, VIC port expander, or third-party network adapter cards
● Cisco VIC support:
Cisco VIC 1240 provides 4x 10-Gbps bandwidth for Ethernet and FCoE traffic
Cisco VIC 1280 provides 8x 10-Gbps bandwidth Ethernet and FCoE traffic
VIC port expander for the Cisco VIC 1240 provides 4x 10-Gbps for Ethernet and FCoE traffic
OS image deployment flexibility   
2 Cisco FlexFlash secure digital high-capacity (SDHC) flash card sockets as an option for redundant OS images

● 16 GB SD flash memory cards available
Up to 4 TB of internal storage
 ●Up to 4 hot-pluggable SAS or SATA HDDs or SSDs for up to 4 TB of internal storage

● LSI SAS 2208R integrated controller
● RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 support
● Optional 1-GB flash-backed write cache
4-socket computing using cost-effective Intel Xeon processor E5-4600 and
E5-4600 v2 product family
●Support for 2-socket and 4-socket configurations

● 4, 6, 8, 10, or 12 cores, varying by processor model
● Automated energy efficiency reduces energy costs by automatically putting the processor and memory in the lowest available power state while still delivering the performance required and flexible virtualization technology that optimizes performance for virtualized environments, including processor support for migration and direct I/O
● Support for Intel Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX), which provides new instructions that can significantly improve performance for applications that rely on floating-point or vector computations
● Through the increased performance provided by the Intel Xeon processor E5-4600 and E5-4600 v2 product family, UCS B420 M3 offers an improved price-to-performance ratio that complements the 4-socket blade portfolio
● Hardened protection for virtual and cloud Environments: Establish trusted pools of virtual resources with Intel ® Trusted Execution Technology (Intel ® TXT). Intel TXT ensures that physical servers and hypervisors boot only into cryptographically verified “known good states.” It safeguards your business more effectively by protecting your platform from the insertion of malware during or prior to launch

C-Series Features


2133-MHz DDR4 Memory

24 slots for registered DIMMs (RDIMMs) or load-reduced DIMMs (LRDIMMs) that deliver significant improvement in application performance. The Cisco UCS C240 M4 server supports up to 3 DIMMs per channel at 1866-MHz speeds with LRDIMMs.


1 or 2 Intel® Xeon® processor E5-2600 v3 product family CPUs

The Intel® Xeon® processor E5-2600 v3 product family is designed to deliver the best combination of performance, built-in capabilities, and cost-effectiveness:

  Over twice the performance and more cores (up to 18 cores per socket) than the previous generationIntel® Xeon® processor
  Low power, high speed DDR4 memory technology
  Increased performance with Intel AVX2
  Increased in virtual machine density
  Automated energy efficiency that reduces energy costs by automatically putting the processor and memory in the lowest available power state while still delivering the performance required and flexible virtualization technology that optimizes performance for virtualized environments, including processor support for migration and direct I/O
  Cisco UCS C-Series servers keep pace withIntel® Xeon® processor innovation by offering the latest processors that increase processor frequency and improve security features. With the increased performance provided by theIntel® Xeon® processor E5-2600 v3 product family, Cisco UCS C-Series Rack Servers offer an improved price-to-performance ratio, making Cisco UCS servers among the best values in the industry
Support for up to 6 PCIe 3.0 slots, 4 of which are full-height, full-length
  Flexibility, increased performance, and compatibility with industry standards

  Substantially increased bandwidth compared to the previous generation, with more flexibility and backward compatibility with PCIe 2.0
  Greater I/O performance and flexibility
Support for a modular LAN-on-motherboard (mLOM) slot
  New to the Cisco UCS C240 M4 server, the mLOM slot can be used to install a Cisco VIC or third-party NIC without consuming a PCIe slot, providing greater I/O expandability
40-Gbps unified network fabric
  Low-latency, lossless, 40-Gbps Ethernet and industry-standard FCoE and native Fibre Channel fabric

  Wire-once deployment model: changing I/O configurations no longer requires you to install adapters and cables, racks and switches
  Fewer interface cards, cables, and upstream network ports to purchase, power, configure, and maintain
Virtualization optimization
  Cisco Data Center Virtual Machine Fabric Extender (VM-FEX) and Adapter FEX technologies, I/O virtualization, andIntel® Xeon® processor E5-2600 v3 product family features, extending the network directly to virtual machines

  Consistent and scalable operational model
  Increased security and efficiency with reduced complexity
  Capability to move virtual machine security features and policies from rack to rack or rack to blade
Unified management (when integrated into Cisco UCS)
  Can be deployed as a standalone server or in a UCS-managed environment

  When combined with Cisco UCS, the entire solution can be managed as a single entity with Cisco UCS Manager, improving operational efficiency and flexibility
  Service profiles and templates implement role- and policy-based management, enabling more effective use of skilled server, network, and storage administrators
  Automated provisioning and increased business agility, allowing data center managers to provision applications in minutes rather than days by associating a service profile with a new added or repurposed Cisco UCS C240 M4 server
  Capability to move service profiles from rack server to another rack server, blade to rack server, or rack to blade server in minutes instead of hours or days
High-capacity, flexible, hot-swappable internal storage
  Up 24 small form-factor (SFF) or 12 large form-factor (LFF) drives plus 2 optional SFF boot drives for local storage, providing redundancy options and ease of serviceability

  Balanced performance and capacity to meet application needs:
   15K rpm SAS drives for highest performance
   10K rpm SAS drives for high performance and value
   7.2K rpm SATA drives for high capacity and value
Cisco 12-Gbps SAS Modular RAID controller
  Cisco 12Gbps Modular RAID PCIe Gen 3.0 controller provides enterprise-class data protection for up to 24 SAS, SATA, or SSDs.

  RAID card is plugged into a dedicated PCIe slot, leaving all remaining PCIe slots available for other I/O expansion cards.
  Available with configurable DDR3 Cache memory: 1-, 2-, or 4-GB flash-backed write cache (FBWC) options
  RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50 and 60 supported.
Software RAID option
  The software RAID option supports RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 for up to 8 SATA HDDs or SSDs
Cisco Integrated Management Controller (IMC)
  Web user-interface for server management; remote keyboard, video, and mouse (KVM); virtual media; and administration

  Virtual media support for remote CD and DVD drives as if local
  Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) 2.0 support for out-of-band management through third-party enterprise management systems
  Command-line interface (CLI) for server management
  Provides UCS visibility and control to management ecosystem partners using a comprehensive XML API
Advanced reliability, availability, and serviceability (RAS) features
  Hot-swappable, front-accessible drives

  Redundant Cisco FlexFlash SD cards
  Dual-redundant fans and hot-swappable, redundant power supplies for enterprise-class reliability and uptime
  Convenient latching lid for easy access to internal server
  Tool-free CPU insertion allows for processor upgrades and replacements with reduced risk of damage
  Tool-free access to all serviceable items, and color-coded indicators to guide users to hot-pluggable and serviceable items
Security Features
  Trusted Platform Module (TPM) is a chip (microcontroller) that can securely store artifacts used to authenticate the platform (server). These artifacts can include passwords, certificates, or encryption keys. TPM 1.2 SPI-based module is supported.

  Locking bezel option can be mounted to the front of the chassis to prevent unauthorized access to the drives.
Cisco Flexible Flash (FlexFlash) Secure Digital (SD) cards
The server supports two redundant internal Cisco FlexFlash SD cards, which can be used to install a boot OS or embedded hypervisor

  Cisco FlexFlash SD cards also support Utility mode with out-of-band update of utility partitions