Aug 012012

The following problem can be reproduced on all Mac OS X Lion clients:

When you set your Adobe After Effects CS5.5 render output path to a folder on an NFS volume shared by an Windows 2008 R2 server the render process stalls. After that the machine has to be hard reset!

While doing some server and network protocol performance tests we discovered the described problem. We also set up a dedicated Windows NFS test server and a Mac OS Lion client to verify it. Other NFS servers are working as expected.

It looks like that After Effect tries to set a lock on the render destination file. During that something (??) goes wrong and the process stalls. After that the NFS kernel extension is still dead locked (??) and you need to hard reset your Mac.

To work around this issue the “sync” mount command line option can be used! This causes a big performance loss but at least it allows you to render to the NFS volume.

mkdir mountpoint
mount -t nfs -o sync server:/sharepoint mountpoint

Further details about the sync/async operation can be found in the exports man page.

Jul 182012

Sometimes you might want to provide local admin permissions to an Active Directory user.

This can be archived by different solutions:

Automatically obtain the settings from the AD using the Directory Utility

Add an AD group to the local admin group (as described here)

sudo dseditgroup -o edit -a "DOMAIN\group name" -t group admin

Add the domain user to the local admin group

sudo dseditgroup -o edit -a usernametoadd -t user admin

More information can be found at the “Managing OS X Blog

PS: Maybe you are also interested in how the change the ID of a user the right way.

Jul 182012

Recently a new customer contacted us regarding the integration of OS X devices into his already deployed WiFi infrastructure.

They have several access points that create a company wide WPA2 Enterprise 802.1X network. WiFi access is controlled by a Windows RADIUS server and requires a per user certificate that can be obtained from the Windows Certification Service.

Until now they manually requested the certificate on a Windows machine using MMC‘s Certificate Snap-In and transfered it to the Mac’s user Keychain.


This steps can be automated with the help of the Windows Web Certificate Service and OS X Lion’s Configuration Profiles.

Here’s what you need:

  • Windows Web Certificate Service (http://certserv.mydomain.private/certsrv)
    Details can be found in the MSDN.
  • OS X Lion or higher
  • Hand-written configuration profiles as described in Apple’s KB entry.
    You can download my demo profiles here.

If you also have to support older Mac OS X versions you can use the Web Certificate Service to semi-automate the process. Additionally other operating systems (like GNU/Linux) are also able to obtain certificates!


Apr 162012

Recently I installed Archiware’s PresStore at a local university and had a very strange problem.

First of all I want to give you an overview

Mac Pro & Quantum Superloader 3

The Mac Pro is the main component of the backup and archive workflow. It is used to configure all the jobs and saves them to LTO5. During my tests I used a file based library.


The PC is used to produce audio files. The problem is that on the PCs multiple backup copies of an unchanged file are created while using PresStore’s backup feature.

My proceeding

Reading the support documents

First I search around in Archiware’s knowledgebase and found the article titled “Why does PresSTORE sync or backup a file once more?

With the help of this I enabled logging – then created the following workflow to reproduce the problem:

How to reproduce

On the local drive D: I created a new folder and on the Mac Pro server I added a new backup job (including a new file based library as destination) for this folder.

Whenever I added a file to the folder and started the job the new data was successfully copied – everything worked as expected.

But if I started the same job again without modifying the folder (not even touching it) the file gets copied again – therefore a lot of space on the tapes is wasted.

Here’s the interesting part of the log:

[13/Apr/2012:16:30:05][3764.10f4][-fwlkt:10f4-] Dev: BcxIndex: NEW entry /D/test/
[13/Apr/2012:16:31:23][3764.9f0][-fwlkt:9f0-] Dev: BcxIndex: UPD ctime (1334327405 > 1334327400) /D/test/

What’s going wrong

At first I thought that a third party application is changing the file so I used Process Explorer to capture all events. – But to my surprise no access to the file was captured!

Possible solution 1

In the end I gave up and contacted the support. They replied very fast and reported that this problem is caused by a “feature”.

Windows does not have a real ctime file information – sometimes when a file attribute is changed the modification date is not updated but the archive flag is set. Therefore a file with a set archive flag is backed up twice!

To work around this behavior you have to enabled “Scan files before backup” in the “Additional options” of the specific backup job.

Here’s a video of this solution

Possible solution 2

The support also told me about a second possibility: disabling the ctime check on the server.

This is done by adding the following lines to the configuration file /usr/local/aw/conf/lexxsrv.8000

ns_section ns/server/$server/module/bixindex
ns_param testInodeChangeTime 0

As this change disables the ctime check completely on all clients there are some sideffects. Therefore the following changes will NOT trigger an incremental backup:

  • extended attributes are changed (Mac)
  • POSIX and ACL permission change (Mac)
  • file attributes (Windows)
  • streams (Windows)
  • permissions (Windows)

Full backups and content changes still backup the file!

Mar 092012

Just a short list with some useful tipps for installing a new Microsoft SBS 2011 Server.

Mar 092012

I often have to migrate mailservers therefore it’s important for me to have a tool like imapsync.

Imapsync, as the name suggests, is used to sync a source and a destination imap mailbox. It’s highly customizable and can be scripted using the powerful command line interface.

I don’t want to write a full tutorial (see herehere or here) but instead give you a short overview.


Simple usage overview

imapsync --host1 --user1 foo --password1 secret1 --host2 --user2 bar --password2 secret2

For further information see the man page.


This is the most important part of this posting. Here I will list problems that I encountered.

imapsync quits in the middle of a synchronization

This is most likely caused by a broken Mail::IMAPClient library. Try to download a (newer) version here and include it using perl’s “-I” command line parameter

“xx BAD Command Argument Error. 11” is printed

I had this problem once using an Exchange 2011 as the destination. It means that the current message exceeds the maximum message size. See this post for how to fix it.

Mar 062012

Today I migrated a Microsoft SBS 2003 Server to a VMware ESXi 5.0 host.

At first I tried to convert the running server using the VMware vCenter Converter. It finished quite fast (~40GB in half an hour) over gigabit ethernet and even booted up. But instead of showing the login form, it reported, that the ActiveDirectory could not be started. I tried all the suggested solutions provided by Microsoft’s knowledge base article (KB240655) without success.

Then I used Seagate’s DiscWizard from the Hiren BootCD to create an Acronis disk images and migrated it using the converter. At first it estimated over 5 hours, so I changed some settings (nothing really special) – the next try took only 30! minutes. Additionally this time no error showed up and everything worked as expected!

Fazit: Always do an offline migration – it will save you hours!