Support Site Woes

Over the past week, I’ve been creating an internal Exchange best practice/check list document so that we can standardise on how we configure Exchange servers for our clients. This document includes a number of items including information on configuring AV scanners to exclude certain Exchange folders. I thought it best to provide the reader of this document direct links to knowledgebase articles on various AV products. I attempted to cover the following vendors:

Troubleshooting Applications

I spend a lot of time troubleshooting applications on Windows XP and Windows Terminal Server. The challenge, especially in Terminal Server environments is to get applications running and still keep the environment secure. This means spending time with the Sysinternals tools and various others. Brian Madden has started posting videos and presentations from this years BriForum. The first video and slide deck are a great resource for those of us who deploy and manage applications. Definitely worth a watch:

Lessons from the field - Backup Active Directory

Backup the system state on your domain controllers. “Like duh!” you say, well that’s what I said too. I spent Friday a client’s site where a domain controller had gone down and they were experiencing issues with logons and Exchange. The client has/has four domain controllers, one at each of their four sites and all were marked as Global Catalog(ue)s. However once this single DC went down, due to hardware failure, AD essentially went bye-bye. Backups were no good and all the usual diagnostic tools would only show the downed DC as the lone GC. We could not seize the Schema Master and after spending about 6 hours on the phone with PSS, the decision was made to start again with a new domain, DC and Exchange server. Lots of fun that could have been avoided with products like Microsoft Operations Manager or NetIQ AppManager. I still don’t understand why these types of products are generally a hard sell.

Citrix Application Isolation Environment launch delays

In a previous topic, I used the Application Isolation Environment feature in Citrix Presentation Server 4.0 to solve an issue where sites require different versions on the Java VM. A side effect of this was, however, that the application would take around 60 seconds to launch. Turns out the issue pops up on Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 and has to do with certificate autoenrollment. Essentially a 60 second delay is implemented to speed things up… Hmm, let ponder that for a second, accept it and move on. To relieve my application launch delay issue, I created the following registry key, the planets aligned, and all worked well.

IIS and Site Identifiers

Having previously having issues installing an applications on IIS where the Default Web Site (i.e. the site with an identifier of 1) no longer exists, I was hesitant to edit the METABASE.XML. So I bit the bullet, stopped IIS, opened METABASE.XML in Notepad and changed all instances of the existing identifier to 1, saved and restarted IIS, and away she went. Bowl me over with a feather, by jove she works!