Extreme fan noise with an HP ProLiant ML110 G7

A little while back I posted some initial impressions of the Hewlett Packard ML110 G7, and noted:

“One review made mention of the ML110’s quiet operation and how it would not be noticed in an office environment. Well, unless your office happens to be on the factory floor of an air conditioning manufacturing plant, you’re going to notice this thing…”

Out of curiosity I decided to look into this a bit more. It turns out a whole bunch of other folks have encountered the same thing, and if you perform an online search for “HP ML110 G7 fan noise” you’ll find many forum posts with all manner of straw clutching – from running every firmware and BIOS update under the sun, to nuking warranties with third-party cooling hacks.

One thing I noted with my unit was the actual reported fan speeds via the LOM were in the order of 31%/13%/10% for the three fans respectively – which hardly accounts for what sounds like a system with its fans running absolutely full tilt (completely unsuitable for office operation).

Buried in one forum post was information apparently passed on from HP’s support personnel to an affected customer, advising them to reseat the front fan (referred to as the PCI fan in the service manual), as apparently it may become dislodged during shipping. Sounded rather odd to me as clearly the fan itself is functioning (a bit too well…), but as it turns out this totally nailed the problem. After disconnecting the fan’s motherboard connectors and physically removing the component, then letting the system boot, POST and shutdown with a fan error, then reconnecting everything and powering it back up, the server is now quiet.

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Updating iLO3 firmware on an HP ML110 G7

Hewlett Packard’s website is an embarrassing mess. Don’t go looking for an easy-to-find page for the iLO3 with a one-click firmware download, because you won’t find one. The state of HP’s site is a rant for a future post, but for now here’s a quick guide to getting your hands on the latest iLO3 revision. The sole catch is that you’ll need a Microsoft Windows-based PC at some stage, irrespective of which OS you have installed on the server itself (OpenIndiana in my case).

First, go to HP’s product page for the ML110 G7. Next, we’ll choose “Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2″ (blech…) as our OS:

HP ML110 G7 product page

Look for the Lights Out Management Firmware section, and click the relevant link to start the download (we’ll go for a 64-bit Windows target OS):

Download the iLO3 installation file

Now, run the downloaded executable file (named “cp022549.exe” in this example) on a Windows-based system (Windows 7 or Windows 8 will do just fine) and extract (not install) the file contents to disk:

Extract the downloaded file contents

Look for the .bin file in the extracted files – this is the one we need:

Look for the firmware BIN file

Now, go to the iLO3 admin BUI, upload the .bin file, and wait for the update to complete. Once the LOM reboots, verify the firmware version:

Prepare to upload the BIN file

Firmware file is uploading

Updating to the latest firmware

Before:

Compare the old firmware version to the newest

After:

iLO3 firmware is now at the latest version

Fixing TeamViewer on Ubuntu 64 bit (tvwine.dll.so)

Folks running older versions of TeamViewer (version 6 for Business in my case) on the 64 bit (i.e. the default download) release of Ubuntu may have run into the following error after installing and trying to launch it:

TeamViewer launch error on Ubuntu 64 bit

In short, the solution which worked for me is in this post:

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1936044&page=2&p=11764595#post11764595

I’m still reasonably happy with TeamViewer – it works well, and they’ve as yet resisted the urge to railroad their customers into a rental-only model. It’s for this latter reason I’ll be sticking with the product come time to upgrade.

Endpoint-encrypted email with Thunderbird and Enigmail

Thanks to Thunderbird and Enigmail, anyone wanting to securely contact me over email can now do so.

Regarding Enigmail, setup is reasonably quick and easy (thanks to Enigmail’s wizard), but it’s definitely something most folks would need help with from someone with technical know-how. Anyone local who would like to claw back a little of their privacy in the post-Snowden era is welcome to drop me a line for assistance.

Setting up Gmail Calendar and Tasks sync in Thunderbird

(Updated: added a missing screengrab)

With the latest versions of Thunderbird, and the Lightning and Provider for Google Calendar add-ons, Thunderbird now supports full Gmail Calendar and Tasks synchronisation. As the setup has changed somewhat from previous versions of these add-ons we’re going to cover the current procedure in this blog post.

We are using Thunderbird 31.2.0 on Ubuntu 14.04.

If you’ve already installed these two add-ons and you’re synchronising your Gmail calendar, please delete the calendar from Thunderbird (this unsubscribes from the calendar only, and leaves all server-side data intact), and uninstall the add-ons. Restart Thunderbird to get back to a clean-slate state.

Now, using the Thunderbird Add-ons Manager, search for and install both the Lightning and Provider for Google Calendar add-ons:

Install the Lightining add-on

Install the Provider for Google Calendar add-on

Restart Thunderbird to complete the installation process.

Next, switch to the Calendar tab in Thunderbird. Right-click in the area where the default Thunderbird calendar is visible and create a new calendar:

Create a new calendar

We now work through the “Create New Calendar” wizard. In the first two screens that appear, we want to add a calendar on the network, and this should be a Google Calendar:

Add a calendar on the network

Add a Google Calendar

You’ll now be prompted to enter your email address: this should be the Gmail address of the associated calendar you wish to synchronise:

Enter your Gmail address

Thunderbird will then list the calendars and task lists available to be synced. Tick these as you need:

Adding Calendars and Tasks lists

If all goes well you’ll see a dialogue indicating the wizard has finished, and, after a brief delay (during which the interface might not be responsive) your Gmail Calendar and Tasks will be synchronised:

Dialogue indicating the wizard is finished

Google Calendar and Tasks synced

At the far right-hand-side of the above screengrab you can see our tasks lists (only containing a single task in this example). These are synced with your Gmail account.

Nice try, Windows…

…but, no thanks ;)

Ubuntu installation disk warning

Forking GlassFish Redux: Payara Server

In the time since I last wrote about the need for a fork of Oracle’s GlassFish Server, Oracle have effectively removed the viability of GlassFish as a production system by killing off professional support in favour of their megabucks closed-source WebLogic product. This was a completely unsurprising move, and simply added to the mountain of orphaned and abandoned techhnology inherited from Oracle’s Sun acquisition (to which we can add some more recent additions).

Fortunately, and largely due to the wisdom of Sun to originally open source the product, a new player in the Java app server scene has appeared with what is to all intents and purposes the GlassFish fork we’ve been waiting for: Payara Server.

You can check out their website at: http://www.payara.co.uk/home. As mentioned on their site: “We take GlassFish upstream. We support it, fix it, enhance it. We release it as open source Payara Server.”

Do I have funds or a current use case to pay for professional support for an app server yet? No. Do I want to use the same product I’ll eventually be using in production while I’m in the startup/setup phase, easily and without restriction? Yes. Will I pay for support if the use case requires it, and if it guarantees a healthy product/project down the line in the best spirit of open source? Happily, and especially if it’s from the same vendor offering the product to begin with. Not rocket science, and when a vendor throws too many obstacles in my path I’ll simply switch to an alternative which does afford me these freedoms.

Looking forward to trying this out.

On Mozilla’s search deal with Yahoo

Google gets to get on with the business of locking users into their own ecosystem, Yahoo gets to expand the presence of their competing search engine, and Mozilla likely gets paid handsomely for the deal. Win/win.

cf. https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/2014/11/19/yahoo-and-mozilla-form-strategic-partnership/

Android’s better browser?

Folks using Android aren’t in much doubt about which is the better browser:

Firefox for Android vs Google Chrome Play Store ratings

Custom Firefox Sync servers now supported again for Firefox for Android

Around the Firefox v29 timeline, Mozilla changed the authentication mechanism for Firefox Sync to use Firefox Accounts. Consequently, the setup method for custom self-hosted Firefox Sync servers changed (note that my guide has yet to be updated), and for a few releases Firefox for Android did not support the new model.

Fortunately, custom Sync server connectivity has been restored as of Firefox for Android version 33. The full guide (including an add-on which enables custom sync server addresses) can be found on Nick Alexander’s blog.

Note that if you’re using a “non-standard” port for either your custom Sync or Firefox Account servers, you’ll run into the bug described at https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1046020, which as Nick says manifests itself as an authentication error. The workaround suggested is to use Firefox Beta, which works for me.

It’s terrific that Mozilla continues to offer its users the choice of self-hosting their solutions.

Firefox Sync on Android