Technology Toolbox

Your technology Sherpa for the Microsoft platform

Jeremy Jameson - Founder and Principal



The Original "Jameson Datacenter"

This post originally appeared on my MSDN blog:

Since I no longer work for Microsoft, I have copied it here in case that blog ever goes away.

This morning I was doing some cleanup of my documents folder and I stumbled across a rather old Visio document that showed the beginnings of what I now refer to as the "Jameson Datacenter" (a.k.a. my home lab). For some geeky reason, seeing this again brought a smile to my face and a sense of nostalgia. It also caused me to recall two things:

  1. That old Greatful Dead song "Truckin'" -- specifically the line

    Lately it occurs to me: What a long, strange trip it's been.
    Doh! You would think a guy with a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering could spell "Grateful Dead" correctly! I suppose that I really should do more proofreading before clicking that Publish button ;-)
  2. An article I read about a year ago describing the origin of Google that also included some photos of the original Google infrastructure in the Stanford University computer lab.

Now, please don't misunderstand -- I most certainly am not claiming that the Jameson Datacenter will ever amount to even the most miniscule fraction of what Google grew into in less than a decade. All I'm saying is that in the incredible way the neurons are wired together in the human brain, things that we see very often trigger distant memories with amazing clarity.

For those of you that may not have seen the original Google server farm, I did a quick search this morning and managed to find the following:

If you haven't seen this, take a quick peek. It will surely bring a smile -- if not a burst of laughter.

After enjoying the nostalgia for a moment, I almost deleted the Visio diagram and continued my cleanup effort. However, then I decided that I might as well "archive" this on my blog. It definitely won't help your efforts of deploying Microsoft technology, but I think it's okay for a blog to wander a little every now and then -- perhaps for no other reason than to keep you guessing as to what may come next on the Random Musings of Jeremy Jameson.

Here's the physical architecture of what I now refer to as the "Old Jameson Datacenter":

Old Jameson Datacenter - Physical Architecture
Figure 1: Old Jameson Datacenter - Physical Architecture

Apparently the last time I updated this Visio diagram, I still hadn't decided what to do with all of the Dell servers I had procured through various channels (primarily the Dell Outlet and ebay). Hence the Dell PowerEdge 4300 with the "??" next to it. As I mentioned in my original post on the Jameson Datacenter, this server was the original BEAST (which is now my "Production" database server). However, it has since been replaced with a home-built server.

From the previous figure, you can start to see why I've consolidated these servers in recent years by leveraging virtualization. The power consumption by all of these servers was really rather ridiculous when you consider what I was using these servers for.

Notice that I use to run a back-to-back firewall configuration with a perimeter network (a.k.a. DMZ):

Old Jameson Datacenter - TCP/IP Configuration
Figure 2: Old Jameson Datacenter - TCP/IP Configuration

This is because I had one server with a public (static) IP address and therefore ran a couple of Web sites on the old "ICEMAN" server -- hence the name "ICEMAN", because it was my "IIS" server. Get it? Yeah, I know...more geekiness.

The naming convention was such that the names corresponding to X-Men heroes were all members of the TECHTOOLBOX domain, whereas servers corresponding to X-Men villains were considered "dangerous" and thus not members of the domain. Egad! Does the geekness ever end?! [I wonder if someday when my daughter is much older, she'll ever bother to read this and seriously start to question her father's sanity.]

Anyway, here's the DNS and DHCP configuration for the original farm:

Old Jameson Datacenter - DNS/DHCP Configuration
Figure 1: Old Jameson Datacenter - DNS/DHCP Configuration

There's nothing really too interesting about that, I suppose.

Perhaps the most laughable aspect of the Old Jameson Datacenter -- at least when compared to today -- was the storage infrastructure:

Old Jameson Datacenter - Disk Configuration
Figure 1: Old Jameson Datacenter - Disk Configuration

I can still remember when I thought the 18 GB of RAID1 and 72 GB of RAID5 on that Dell 4300 was fashizzle ;-) [Of course, that was long before I was even aware of the term "fashizzle", but you get my point.]

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this brief diversion down Memory Lane. Perhaps it invoked some distant memories of your own experiences in the world of technology.

Personally, as I'm wrapping up this post, my head is spinning with thoughts of my father's original Apple II+ (which was the first computer I ever "programmed" on) as well as my very own Commodore 64 and all those late nights my dear friend Chris Gatewood and I sat in front of it typing in hundreds of lines of code from a magazine just so we could try to play some silly game based on "sprites." [Note that the games almost never worked due to some error or another, but nevertheless we kept trying anyway.]


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