Friday, August 29, 2014

If you give a Dynamics GP consultant a new NAS...

By Steve Endow

There was once a Dynamics GP consultant who had a file server in his Global Data Center of his Global Corporate Headquarters.  It was a fine file server, but having worked hard for many years, it started to show warning signs of imminent failure.  Since the file server stored several terabytes of virtual machine backups, file backups, machine backups, and over a decade worth of MSDN and Dynamics GP software, it was pretty important.

So the consultant ordered a Synology DS1813+ NAS with six 4 TB drives to replace it.  And so the tale begins...

When the new Synology arrived, the consultant had to get it unboxed and install the drives.

He then had to make room in his server cabinet in the aforementioned Global Data Center for the new NAS and get it plugged in.

After getting the NAS configured and the drive array initialized, he wanted to enable the link aggregation on a few of the four network ports.  But his gigabit network switch didn't support link aggregation.

So he had to order a new switch.  When the switch arrived, he discovered that it was a previously returned product and someone had put a refurbished switch, of a completely different model, in the new switch box. (People seriously do that kind of thing??)  So he had to return the switch to Amazon and get a replacement.

When the new, proper, switch arrived two days later (Go Prime!), he swapped out the switch in his server cabinet and got everything re-wired.

Now that the new switch was hooked up, he had to configure it.  Late on a weeknight, with the useless switch documentation, he spent several hours trying to figure out how to enable link aggregation.  After losing all network connectivity a few times, he finally found a friendly blog post that explained how to properly configure the switch to use link aggregation with the Synology NAS.  Victory.

With link aggregation enabled, he then had to push the terabytes of data from the old file server, move a few more terabytes of files from his desktop, reconfigure robocopy scripts, and change backup software to all point to the new NAS.  He briefly considered deleting a few terabytes of old files to make his life easier, but what fun would that be?

He was thrilled to do all of this fun stuff.  During his free time.  After 11pm on weekdays.

Though everything worked great, and since he had link aggregation on the NAS, he figured he might as well setup NIC teaming on his HyperV server to speed up VHD backups and file transfers.

So he then had to shop for a second server network card.  When it arrived two days later (Bam! Prime!), in between developing Dynamics GP integrations, he went to install it in the HyperV server.  While installing the network card, he noticed that the inside of the server had a nice blanket of dust.

Since the machine was pulled out and opened up, he figured he might as well clean out the dust.  So he rolled out his air compressor and fired it up.

After unplugging the server, setting it outside, and donning a P100 respirator, he blew out the dust, creating an epic dust storm that contributed noticeably to the Los Angeles air pollution index.

With that done, he put the server back and plugged in all of the cables, crossing his fingers that nothing had been fried in the process (been there, done that).  He gave thanks to the computer gods when the server booted up just fine.

Now that the second NIC is installed, he still has to configure NIC teaming and setup another link aggregation "LAG" on the switch.

Once that is done, he should be able to sit back, watch data fly across his network, and...

...actually get some REAL work done.

Steve Endow is a Microsoft MVP for Dynamics GP and a Dynamics GP Certified IT Professional in Los Angeles.  He is the owner of Precipio Services, which provides Dynamics GP integrations, customizations, and automation solutions.

You can also find him on Google+ and Twitter


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