Thursday, July 28, 2011

"Link is not ready" when downloading stage2.img in RHEL/CentOS 5 kickstart install - or watch those typos!

I recently had a kickstart install of a HP blade BL460c G1 that would get part way through booting into the kickstart process but fail when loading the stage2.img file. It seemed to load updates.img and product.img fine.

It was late in a 12 hour day in the data center. I couldn't figure it out. I updated the firmware. Same issue. The machine was fine booting from PXE into the HP diagnostic and firmware images, but not fine once inside the RHEL 5.6 install.  After much head scratching and Googling, I found this:

RHEL 5.4 kickstart occasionally fails on HP BL460 G1 and G6 blades

https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=547746

which, lacking a conclusion, didn't help.

I gave up.

Went home. Got a good night's sleep. Went back to the data center the next morning.

Changed to a different release (5.5) in the kickstart and PXE boot file. Same issue.

I got suspicious about the kickstart file. The RHEL install goes on the PXE network configuration (DHCP) until it gets to parsing the kickstart. Then it reconfigures the network according to what's in the kickstart. I had a static network configuration in the kickstart. I had checked it the day before, but didn't notice anything.

But this time I saw the issue. I had not defined the gateway in the static configuration. Once I defined it, the machine installed normally.

Lessons learned?

  • 12h days don't necessarily mean more productivity. Any progress can easily be killed by fatigue-induced errors. If your admins are working 12h days, you either need more admins or you need to stop what you are doing to evaluate why your infrastructure requires 12h days. Fatigue will bite you.  I will be evaluating our infrastructure.
  • If your infrastructure requirements allow DHCP (ours do not in this case), use it. Simplicity prevents errors. In this case, the "network" line in the kickstart would have simply said '--bootproto dhcp' and I would not have had to worry about the other change points (gateway, ip, etc.).

Friday, July 8, 2011

How do you add music to the YouTube AudioSwap library?

So you want to add your new music to YouTube's Audioswap library...

 Someone asked me how to add their music to YouTube's AudioSwap library. YouTube licenses music from distributors which have distribution contracts with artists or publishers. Music distribution companies can ask to join the Audioswap program. Individuals do not seem to be able to join at this time.

 If you want your music on Audioswap, you have two choices. First, you can research distribution companies to find a company that is already part of the Audioswap program, and then sign a contract to have them distribute your music. Second, you can form your own distribution company and then ask Google if your company can join the Audioswap program.

 According to this article on YouTube's blog, one Audioswap distributor is Rumblefish. The Music Snob blog has two articles on Rumblefish's licensing process ([1], [2]). I haven't tried this process, yet. Your mileage may vary.

 [Update] Boooo! Horatiu Indrei emailed to say that Rumblefish told him that they are "no longer accepting music submissions for AudioSwap". Please comment if you know of anyone at Google that can provide the list of distributors from which they license AudioSwap content. Thanks!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Opinion: IT is the craft of optimizing business work-flow.

Three flows comprise business, product, information, and money. The fundament task of IT is to reduce or eliminate friction in these flows. Money friction is any part of a business process that costs time or money. Product friction is any part that delays a product or wastes material. Information friction is any part that impedes the conveyance of information needed to complete the process or make a decision. Toyota calls these frictions "muda" or waste.