How To Resist Punching Windows 2012 In Its Smug Face

Windows 2012 surely comes from the deranged mind of a resentful Microsoft employee who then got the usability team drunk before releasing it to market. Much of the horror of 2012 was fixed in R2 so why don’t I just use that? Well sadly Sametime 9 does not officially support R2 as a platform only 2012. I’ve done plenty of ST installs since Sametime 9 shipped last Sept but funnily enough all of them on Linux or Windows 2008 R2. So what’s the problem? Let’s go through each of my steps to build….

1. Having checked with IBM support if they’d support Windows 2012 R2 and got a reply that it hadn’t been QA’d but “should work” my customer wanted to try that. Fair enough. I sign on, find IE and start my downloads. Step 1 install DB2
….installer crash
…..repeat many times with different accounts security and options. Installer crash
….remove McAfee (how did that get in there) and try again. Installer crash

Note at this point it isn’t even attempting to install, the installer basically errors immediately. I find similar errors reported for Db2 9.7 back in Windows 2008 R2 early days so we open a PMR and IBM confirm unsupported platform (!)

Pause whilst 4 servers are rebuilt and software is downloaded again

2. Install DB2. Success! But hang on, every time I login there’s no system tray icon and a db2systray error. On digging it appears this is a conflict with Windows 2012 extended security – disable systray or add every user who logs in to either DB2ADMINS or DB2USERS group.

3. But where are the groups? For that I need server settings but that’s nowhere to be found. I tell a lie there’s a 1×1 pixel in the bottom right of the desktop (make sure the entire desktop can fit in your RDP window) hover EXACTLY there for a few seconds (it won’t be instant) and up comes that weird charms right hand side thing including Server Settings – go there and about 5 clicks later I find my way to users and groups..

4. Now test port 50000 is listening. Where’s my command prompt? Where’s my start bar? For that matter where’s my DB2 programs I just installed including my command window? Turns out Windows 2012 did away with all that pesky Start menu “things that aren’t Microsoft” options because why would you need those? (They brought it back in R2). O-Kay call up Start menu press the Windows key. If I do that in my VM through which I have a VPN connection and RDP to the 2012 box – it does bring up the start menu, the start menu to my VM not the RDP box. This is apparently a known problem fixable by pressing Windows key+Alt+Backspace or on my Mac keyboard Cmd+CTRL+Function+back arrow and I have the Metro home screen. Similar to Windows 8 but much less useful since it has no apps listed or even the Command Prompt. Apparently to get that I have to type “run” (into nowhere – just type it) and now I get a line I can enter a search into to find an app

5. Oh and that charms menu we found earlier is the only chance you stand of finding a restart option. Except it’s called “Power” which is WAY more scary but if you go there you can choose restart

6. And don’t get me started on IE and it’s restrictions on concurrent downloads…

Now I have the hang of it it’s fine but how it ever shipped out the door without actually – you know – being tested by real admins beggars belief.

DB2 and SSC built – moving on…

When bad wasadmins go missing

Working yesterday on deploying a new application in a test Connections environment I was logged into the ISC using wasadmin for hours. Eventually I finish my work and restart everything to test.  I go to login to the deployment manager and no account will work, not wasadmin nor any of the LDAP administrative accounts set up.  So what do I do?  Well first I need to work out what’s going wrong and I check SystemOut.log when trying to login and see this error as a root cause

CWWIM2009E The principal ‘AnonymousUser’ does not have the role ‘administrator’ required for the operation ‘GET CONFIGURATION’

Well OK, let’s back up ,since it happened after a reboot the change could have been made any time since the previous restart and wasn’t necessarily related to the work I was doing at all.  First I need to get into the ISC and to do that I need to disable ISC security so I can get in.  I edit security.xml in the /profiles/dmgr/config/cells/<cellname> directory and find the first enabled=”true” in the security tag and change that to enabled=”false” (make sure you save a copy of this file first).  Then stop the dmgr and start it again. I have trouble stopping it as the authentication isn’t working so , since the dmgr is the only WAS server running , I just terminate java.exe from task manager.  Having done that the URL for the dmgr  <hostname>:9043/ibm/console no longer asks for a password and lets me login using just a user name.  and I’m IN – albeit with no security so no way to start servers.

I go look at the Administrative users configured in the system and sure enough the LDAP admin accounts are there but wasadmin is gone.  I can’t add wasadmin because security is disabled and it can’t find the account.  I can work around it but a better solution is to tell the ISC to use the LDAP realm instead of the defaultWimFileBasedRealm (which contains wasadmin).  I go to Global Security, re-enable security from that screen (it was disabled by my earlier security.xml change) and then go into the federated repository and change the realm name from o=defaultWIMFileBasedRealm to whatever my LDAP realm is (in this case “root”) and then change the Primary administrative user name to one of my LDAP admin accounts (in this case gabdavis).

Global Security

Now I can restart dmgr and login to the ISC with the name gabdavis (my ldap account) and its ldap password.  Once in there I can go to Administrative Users and re-add wasadmin with all the roles I need then (if I wanted to) go back to Global Security and revert the realm and primary administrative account back to what was set originally (above).

And that’s it.  I hope this is useful for anyone else who has a wasadmin go astray…Backup your deployment manager profile regularly people !

Wrestling for Space

I like to build VMs for any customer projects I’m working on so the OS and environment will match theirs.  That means I have between 8 – 10 VMs on my machine at any one time and with 500GB of disk I have to be careful of space.  My usual size for a Windows 7 or Windows 8 VM is 30 – 40GB since they usually contain only the OS and some administrative tools like Putty, Winscp, Domino Administrator, Jexplorer, Softerra’s LDAP browser etc.  Windows itself eats up more and more space and I found on one 30GB drive today that the winsxs directory was 12GB.  After doing some research (surely I could clear up some space there?) I ended up running the following command from an administrator run command window

dism /online /cleanup-image /spsuperseded /hidesp

which removed the SP1 one files and cleared up nearly 4GB of space. Add to that clearing out the Temp directory and the Downloads directory and I free up nearly 9GB in total.



Bye Bye Wikis – Hello Knowledge Center and Welcome Back PDFs

Just in time for the release of Connections 5 (on June 26th people – mark your diaries),  the IBM documentation team are slow launching the new Knowledge Center  that is replacing many of the existing Wikis and all of them going forwards with IBM generated content. (clap)(clap)(dance)(clap)(finger click)(more dance)

The Knowledge Center currently links back to the Wikis for some products (such as Connections 4.5) and has generated content for others (such as Sametime yay!).  Eventually all the newer Wiki documentation (for example Connections 5) will disappear and reappear in the Knowledge Center.  I’m definitely in favour of the documentation being sourced authoritatively from IBM once more and not open to general editing for a start but there’s also the option to create your own collections of useful content and then print entire topics to PDF.

That needs repeating WE CAN NOW PRINT DOCUMENTATION TO PDF (and therefore printers) once more by selecting only a parent topic.  I think you need to login first, create a collection and save to PDF but it works beautifully for me.

The Knowledge Center contains documentation for ALL IBM products in one place with Sametime, Connections, Domino etc under ‘Collaboration Solutions”. You can bookmark the products you go to the most to make it more useful or create your own collections.  This is a big step forward from googling and finding Connections 2.5 content higher in the search results than 4.5 or finding stuff by remembering that the databases for the wikis are stwiki and lcwiki!

A huge thank you to the documentation team for recognising the wikis just weren’t working for us and for giving me back my offline pdf documentation.  As the products get ever more complex, so does the documentation and nothing beats printing and reading content for me.

Here’s a link to the Sametime 9 section but you can easily navigate up to other products from there