Well last weekend was one of the most frustrating weekends I've ever experienced. I just now can start to talk about it I was so peeved. Never have I had such a frustrating time with a server.
Friday I was to repartition and reinstall from backup an SBS 2003 install on a simple Poweredge 750. Little did I know that it would turn into the horror story that was. The below is a time period of what happened. What can you learn from my horror story? Even the most experienced of installers will run into problems that will just confound you no end. Microsoft integration with vendors still lacks in some areas as installations shouldn't be this difficult Could the normal small business owner have gotten through this one. NO way. That's why going with a partner that is committed for the long haul is worth it.
This weekend I plan on doing nothing and enjoying it!
Here's the horror story recap:
1PM – Wait for server backup to complete
2:30 PM – Server backup completed, begin installation of new partitions and OS
3:00 PM – Begin to notice that OS will not copy properly to Array. Cannot boot Windows if this will not occur.
4:00 PM – 1st support call with Dell. Engineer determines that DVD drive is bad and will order new one. Will get shipped out and delivered via tech on Monday.
5:00 PM – I determine to get external drive (at TAZ Networks cost) to continue installation and get job done.
6:00 PM – Finally test 2nd external drive after returning with a failed first drive that was purchased. OS will still not copy.
7:15 PM – Start call with 2nd engineer from Dell and inform him that CD/DVD is not the problem.
8:45 PM – Call ends with Engineer wanting Array to fully rebuild before continuing. This will take 3-4 hrs. No sense in client having me on site.
9:00 PM – Leave for night
12:30 PM – Arrive for day’s work. Notice that Array rebuild happened just fine.
1:00 PM – Test first OS install and problem still exists. Send email to Engineer from previous night to call and work with me.
1:30 PM – Dell Engineer calls and we begin to work through problems again. Trying and retrying different array and CD configurations. Engineer also talks to various server groups.
3:30 PM – Engineer decides that problem is in either HDD, RAID Controller, Motherboard, cables, DVD. Will send tech out on Tuesday. I inform him of possibility of 4 hr call today. Informs me of $599 fee. Will get back to him after talking with mgmt for approval.
4:00 PM – Mgmt leaves vm with approval. Automatically email Dell engineer to start 4 hour support call.
5:13 PM – Dell responds with case number and 4 hour response time begins.
6:15 PM – Dell parts arrive from logistics company. 8 boxes in all. Left in server room.
6:45 PM – With time to kill I start to download some Dell management CD’s and try some different combinations of installs.
7:30 PM – Find out that new Dell Server Assistant CD for PE 750 (v8.6) works with Windows Server 2003 SP1. Install starts up and immediately does fine. Try old Management CD and works fine with regular Windows Server 2003 CD that was just burned. Evidently incompatibility with some OS cd’s and Dell Server Assistant CD’s.
7:48 PM – Email Engineer at Dell and cancel service call immediately.
8:30 PM – Finished installing new array, partitions, and new Windows Server 2003 OS to restore the SBS image from backup.
8:35 PM – Restore begun.
11:10 PM – Restore completes
11:15 PM – Boot up and blue screen and reboots!
11:30 PM – Restart Installation and recovery
12:30 AM – OS done
12:45 AM – Start restore again
3:30 AM – Restore completes
3:35 AM – Problems arise again with reboots and blue screen
3:40-6:00 AM – Try and diagnose reboot problems (go home for sleep)
12:30 PM – Arrive on site
12:45 PM – Begin installation and Microsoft PSS support call.
3:45 PM – End Microsoft support call. PSS has me do several installations and reboots. Concludes that hardware is to blame and that I should get the OEM disks from Dell as well.
4:00 PM – Call initiated to Dell support.
4:15 PM – Dell initiates 4 hour response as follow up to yesterday’s call.
4:30 PM – Begin to build backup server
8:00 PM – Tech calls to say he has flat tire and will be late
9:00 PM – Tech arrives on site. Replaces motherboard, power supply, disk drive, CERC Controller, cables, SATA HDD.
9:30 PM – Begin installation again.
10:00 PM – Backup server completed and ready to go.
10:30 PM – Installation concludes. Dell immediately begins to blue screen and reboot.
10:45 PM – Begin to put in backup server and test all functionality. Mail is incoming and being rec’d fine.
11:00 PM – Leave for day.