Archive for January, 2011

Final Cut Server Client for iPad

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Yes, you heard that right. You can now browse assets, edit metadata, annotate clips and download clip proxies from Final Cut Server using an iPad.

ClipTouch, from Factorial in New Zealand is a slick, sleek client for Final Cut Server. Per the Factorial website, it supports:

– No server configuration required
– Search and discover assets
– Directly download and view clip proxies
– Supports the default proxy setting
– Clip timecode display
– Change asset metadata
– Browse and add annotations
– Archive and Restore assets to any archive device
– Respects permission sets based on your login
– Supports direct and VPN connections

After using it to view some assets that were optimized using the special compressor settings that Factorial posted, I have to say that I’m impressed with how well it works and with how the interface just looks plain sexy. A job well done! Check it out on the App Store.

Defragmenting an Xsan Volume to Reallocate Storage

Friday, January 14th, 2011

In the life of an Xsan shop, you will at one point or another be presented with the need to defragment your volume. Defragmenting a volume is a good way to recover lost performance, but can also be beneficial in other scenarios: defragging is an absolute must after performing a bandwidth-style expansion of your volume, and is often recommended (though not absolutely necessary) when performing a capacity-style expansion. In case you’re confused, a bandwidth expansion is the type of expansion performed when you add LUNs to a specific storage pool. Conversely, a capacity expansion involves simply adding new storage pools to an existing volume.

Because the make-up of a storage pool is drastically altered when a bandwidth expansion is performed, the data is not properly distributed across any of the new LUNs that were added to the pool, this results in a shadow-effect where all capacity of the storage pool is not available for use by the system. Because of this, it is an absolute requirement that a defrag routine is ran. To perform this defrag, we use the standard snfsdefrag command, but we use the special ‘-d’ flag, which ensures that this shadowed storage space is reclaimed and that data is properly distributed across the storage pool:

snfsdefrag -dr /Volumes/MyXsanVolume

There are several scenarios where it may be desirable to rebalance the data on an existing volume. A capacity expansion of a volume will result in one or more new storage pools being added to the volume, but the new storage will not have any data written to it. Alternatively, an allocation strategy of round-robin or fill can, over time, result in a poor distribution of data across your storage. By spreading data across the storage evenly, you ensure that all disks are running at similar capacities, therefore netting more consistent performance across the volume, as disk performance tends to degrade as capacity increases.

When an snfsdefrag is ran, it will defragment files as specified by your parameters, and these files will be distributed onto the volume as per your allocation strategy. If you defragment a volume that has a ‘Fill’ allocation strategy, you will not gain any benefits of having evenly distributed data, though your individual files will no longer be fragmented.

Thus, if your main goal is balance all data across the volume, it will be necessary to change the volume’s allocation strategy to Balance and then defragment the volume. This will result in fragmented files to be relocated the lowest-capacity pool, an extremely effective method for balancing data. In Xsan 2.x, you can change a volume’s allocation strategy at the GUI level, which can be changed while the volume is live. In our experience, the change can be performed live and will not result in Xsan client service interruption to the volume, and active transfers proceed with no disruption. Even so, it’s best to perform the switch at a time when there’s minimal activity (preferably none) on the volume and no active transfers in progress.

Once you’ve converted the volume to the new strategy, you can proceed with the optimization, which is a fairly straightforward defrag performed with the command

snfsdefrag -r /Volumes/VolumeName

This will defragment any files with more than one extent, re-provisioning the optimized files to the next LUN in the allocation strategy. And because we’re now using the Balance strategy, the next LUN will always be the one with the lowest capacity—-our new LUNs, in this case. If, however, you had a healthy Xsan volume, this command may not properly balance data, because fragmented files will be rare. In such an event, run the command

snfsdefrag -r -m 0 /Volumes/VolumeName

This will defragment files with more than 0 extents, which is every file on the system, letting you rest assured that the volume will be nicely balanced at the end of the operation. The main trade off here is that doing so re-provisions all files on the volume, which can be a very time consuming task. If the volume has standard levels of fragmentation, running the command without the flag should do a decent job of balancing without having to operate against non-fragmented files as well.

Migrating the Apple Remote Desktop Database

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Whenever dealing with data migrations, is always important to get a good handle on what data you need to transfer, and the purpose that it serves toward the operation of the program: some elements may be more important to you than others. In the case of Remote Desktop, there are a number of different data stores that you’ll want to be aware of:

  • /Library/Preferences/com.apple.RemoteDesktop.plist – This file contains system-wide preferences, primarily serialization information, which is system-specific (so you’ll need to serialize on the new system using the original serial number).
  • /var/db/RemoteManagement – This database and set of caches contains the Remote Desktop Client database used by client reporting.
  • ~/Library/Application Support/Remote Desktop  – This folder is used to store your command presets (including Unix Send Command templates), your task history, and task manager settings and actions.
  • ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.RemoteDesktop.plist – This file contains the bulk of the Remote Desktop application experience, including the entire computer database, computer lists, scanners, and last but not least, access credentials for all computers in the database.

Once we have an understanding of the data stores utilized by ARD, it’s fairly trivial to transfer the admin database. Assume in the following example that we want to migrate our ARD database from our local computer instance, to a new computer connected via Firewire disk mode and mounted at /Volumes/NewMac. For most cases, all we really have copy over is the main user preference file ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.RemoteDesktop.plist:

cd /Volumes/NewMac/Users/username
cp -p ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.RemoteDesktop.plist Library/Preferences/com.apple.RemoteDesktop.plist

If you have any stored command templates, or want to preserve your task history, copy over the Application Support folder:

cp -pR ~/Library/Application\ Support/Remote\ Desktop/  Library/Application\ Support/Remote\ Desktop/

If your ARD install is collecting reports, you’ll likely want to copy those over as well. Because this database is root-owned, we’ll need to use sudo to copy it:

sudo cp -pR /var/db/RemoteManagement/ /Volumes/NewMac/var/db/RemoteManagement/

That’s it! It’s probably a good idea to restart for good measure, but for the basic ARD admin application, a relaunch should get you up and running with the new database.

iPhone Comes to Verizon

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Today Apple announced that the iPhone will be available on Verizon, just in time for Valentines Day! The rumor sites have been predicting this practically since the iPhone was introduced and it is finally a reality. This move will help to open up the iPhone to additional markets and help bring all the things that make the iPhone great to Verizon. To quote Apple:

Beginning February 10, the phone that changed everything will be available on both AT&T and Verizon Wireless in the United States. Qualified Verizon Wireless customers will also have the exclusive opportunity to pre-order iPhone 4 online on February 3, ahead of general availability.

Whichever network you choose, you’ll get FaceTime video calling, the high-resolution Retina display, a 5-megapixel camera, HD video recording, long battery life, and all the other great features of iPhone 4.


If you are planning on, or have embarked on an iPhone integration into your environment and would like to cover the impact that this move has on that integration, then please feel free to contact your 318 Professional Services Manager or sales@318.com if you do not already have one.

Provisioning TelePacific iNOC On A SonicWALL

Friday, January 7th, 2011

1. Login to SonicWALL

2. Check to see if SNMP is already in use on WAN IPs by checking under Network > Firewall.

ALERT: Enabling SNMP Management on the SonicWALL will cause issues with the SNMP firewall rules. You can ONLY have SNMP SonicWALL Management OR SNMP firewall port forwarding. Not both. This was confirmed with SonicWALL Tech Support.

3. Go to System > Administration

4. Scroll down and put a check mark for “Enable SNMP”

5. Click on Configure

6. Put in whatever you want for System Name, System Contact, System Location. You can leave Asset Number blank. Ask TPAC for their monitoring WAN IP and put that in the “Host 1″ field.

7. Go to Network > Interfaces

8. Click on the Configure icon for the Interface that you want monitored.

9. Put a check mark next to SNMP

10. Click OK

11. You can confirm SNMP is listening by using snmpwalk. On a Mac, the command can be:

snmpwalk -c private -v 2c “wanipaddress of SonicWALL”

or

snmpwalk -c private -v 1 “wanipaddress of SonicWALL”

The SonicWALL utilizes version 1 and 2c for SNMP.

Create a User in Active Directory

Friday, January 7th, 2011

Yesterday, we looked at copying Active Directory accounts, but we hadn’t yet looked at creating new users. To create a new user, it is usually best to first log into a machine that has the Remote Server Administration Tools to run the Active Directory Users and Computers Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in… or the domain controller itself.  You will need to use the administrator login or an account that has administrative privileges.  On the domain controller, after you have logged in, go to the Start menu. Then click on Programs, Administrative Tasks, and choose Active Directory Users and Groups.

At the top click on action, choose new and then user.  It will then ask you for information about the user.  First Name, Last Name and the user name that you want to have the user use. Click next when complete.  The next window will ask you to type in a password for the user and then confirm it.  Standard policy is that you have at least one small character, one large character, and one special character and be at least 8 characters long.

318 Gets a Nod from Fierce CIO Magazine

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Carol Carson, from Fierce CIO, posted some tips from 318 in an article on January 2nd called “Embracing the inevitable tablet onslaught”. The article, which can be found at http://www.fiercecio.com/story/embracing-inevitable-tablet-onslaught/2011-01-02 is a look at some ramifications of consumerization as it eeks its way into mainstream enterprise. As usual, Carol is keen to pick up on enterprise trends in a variety of places: this week, at CES. We hope you enjoy the article!

eWeek Article Featuring Charles Edge

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

318 is in the news yet again. This time as the central figure in an article from eWeek entitled How Influx of iPhones, iPads Impacting Enterprises. The article is available at http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Mobile-and-Wireless/How-Influx-of-iPhone-iPads-Impacting-Enterprises-582284 and focuses on, as the title references, what enterprises are to do with the infiltration of the iPad and iPhone. While the article is specifically geared towards Apple-based devices, the ideas can be used for any other platform as well. In the article, Chris Preimesberger interviews the 318 Director of Technology, Charles Edge and provides a number of answers to some specific questions that enterprises come to the table with when they approach the Apple platform.

If you are adopting Apple into your enterprise, you may have even more questions that need answering. If so, please feel free to contact your 318 Professional Services Manager or sales@318.com if you do not yet have one.

Copy a User in Active Directory

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Creating new users in Active Directory is a fairly straight forward process. But often times it is easier to copy a user than create a new one. If you have a user that belongs to all the groups as you want a new user to be apart of, you can make life easy by making a copy of that user. To do that, you will need to remote into the domain controller with the domain administrator account or an account with administrator privileges.

Once you log on, go to start and then click on programs and choose Administrative Tools. Choose Active Directory Users and Groups. The best thing to do is to search for the user that you want to model the new user after. Before you do the search, go to view and chose Advanced Options. Then do a search. To do a search click on the search button at the top. It is the second to last button

In the next box, type in the name of the user that you want to use as the model. Make sure that Entire directory is selected.

Right click on the user and go to properties. Then click on the object tab. It will list what Organizational Unit that the user is in. Navigate to that user by using the folders on the left side of the screen, then right-click on the user and choose copy. A window will come up and you will need to type in the new users information.

After you complete this process, you will be asked to provide a password. By default, there are some password policies that you will want to maintain. Make sure that the password has at least one lower case, upper case and special case character. It has to be at least 8 characters long.

Once that completes, the new user has been completed and is ready to use, unless you would like to change group memberships, policies, etc.