Monday, June 23, 2008

How not to set up Foundations - #01 in a series

I almost didn't install Foundations server on a customer site today.

Just to set the scene I'll tell you that I run my own LFS server (Server1) internally and it was running perfectly. My WinXP workstations were seeing the internet, the firewall was active, DHCP was running well, FTP access was there... generally I was getting all of the services you expect from LFS and I had a happy little network.

Over the weekend I'd burned in the new X-Series (Server2) for a client using the LFS utilities with no problem. I then plugged Server2 into my hub and booted from the LFS CD and used the server console to configure the installation ready for transporting to the customer's site (allocated IP address, started DHCP etc) then used Webconfig from my XP workstation to access Server2.

I'm not yet down to the thirty minute setup time that's promised in the LFS documentation but I'm getting closer with every fresh install. Now I can zip through the first couple of screens on automatic pilot - create admin account, log in, allocate server name, software activation, reboot to run from hard drive yada yada its all looking good.

So why couldn't I run software activation this time? The Server2 status screen told me that I had no internet access which made no sense at all since my Win XP workstation had browser access to the internet and to Server1 and to Server2 and it could ping both servers. How could one PC on the network see the internet and Server2 not see the internet? Swapping cables and connections to check for faulty components made no sense since I had a perfectly good http connection from my workstation to Server2.

(Stop me if you've guessed the answer)

The problem was obvious once Lotus support told me the answer. In the 'Local Network' screen under 'Advanced Settings' my eth0 setting was showing the mode was set to 'Forced'. In other words, when setting up Server 2 I had allocated an IP address for it in the initial server setup screen and also activated DHCP. Now I had both servers thinking they were in charge of IP addressing on my network and since Server 1 controlled internet access via its eth1 port then Server2 was never going to win that battle. Server1 was doing its job and refusing to play ball with any server which did not acknowledge its control. My workstation had no problem accessing Server2 since I was typing the required IP address plus port 8043 directly into the browser navigation bar.

The problem was that I had been trying too hard to duplicate the client's environment on my own network. Once I disabled DHCP and ran Netscan on Server2 to delete the existing IP information it acknowledged that Server1 was Boss Hog of my network so it was allowed to go out and play on the web. Software activation ran perfectly and now Server2 is installed on my client's site doing what it's designed to do.

Thanks to Rob at Lotus (Nitix) support for getting me out of that one.

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