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Private Cloud Authors: Pat Romanski, Sarah Lahav, Liz McMillan, Ian Khan, Dan Stolts

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Private Cloud: Blog Post

The Cloud on Your Terms: Lessons Learned

Part 18 - here are the lessons we learned building our own Private Cloud

So day three now of lessons learned within this blog series. Kevin started us out with his lessons here, then yesterday Brian Lewis told us what he learned, and now today is my turn. Part of this post originally appeared on my blog October 5, hey I wrote it so I gave myself permission to leverage here:


Last week I was part of a team that traveled to San Jose, CA. Our mission was to get some hands-on experience, and build a test lab that we can use to demo System Center, Private Cloud, VDI, Clustering, etc. etc., etc. for our events over the next few months.

Our Monday got off to a slow start, President Obama was in Silicon Valley to give a "LinkedIn" chat (not sure why he couldn't have done this remotely), but do you know what happens to "the 101" when The President is on the move? I got out of the car in the middle of the lane on the 101 and took this picture.


We didn't move 5 feet for about 15 minutes.....

Our plan was to build out these five Dell Servers we got. Document what we did, so the next two teams could come in and repeat our steps.

Monday we installed Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 on all five boxes, we thought we were cool doing for Thumb drives (much faster) than DVD installs.


Basically we took the defaults, didn't really think about the drives, or partitions, or much. The Dell R710's came with 2 or 6 TWO Terabyte drives. We just did install. Then realized the ones with 2 drives were striped, but why couldn't we see the other drive? Yep Server has a 2 Terabyte boot partition limit. Oops. So we wanted to move around a couple of drives (add more to one machine, only leave one in others). So it was off to "undo the stripping" move the drives, and yes now Tuesday, start over with the installs, but BEFORE we did, we created a 2 Terabyte partition for the OS, and another partition for the rest of the storage. Ah learning's (or being stupid from the cold).

We also took the chance to make sure hardware virtualization was installed on all five servers. It wasn't that we thought we got them all. On Friday we had issues with the second server Hyper-v2. With a little research, Hyper-v service was failing (we even re-installed Hyper-v roll) Yes it would let us install the role of Hyper-v without hardware virtualization turned on. So always double check your BIOS and make sure hardware virtualization is turned on. We had to prove it ourselves that is what really happened, I took a screen shot of the server.


I will post more on the fun week; I learned a lot. I have more appreciation for all you Server Admins out there. Makes me realize how much worry the cloud will take out of this stuff.

Now we weren't 100% of the time extremely hard at work; we like to play also, so one evening we made it over to Santa Cruz and got a ride on this:

But that's another story.....

We survived "being Stupid" from the cold. Yes our test lab is up and running now. More later!

More Stories By John Weston

John Weston is a Cloud IT Pro Evangelist for Microsoft. During the last ten years he has spoken to thousands of IT Professionals across the country. Before joining Microsoft full time, he spent six years as an MCT, training people at a local college and getting new Microsoft hires up to speed. He holds more certifications than he can remember, but the list definitely includes MCITP, MCSE, MCDBA, MCT, and CCNA. Before becoming and MCT, Weston co-owned a software development and consulting firm that was a Microsoft Partner based in Dallas. His primary blog includes

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