Amazon EC2 – ext3 mkfs takes 30+ minutes?

I’ve been playing around with Amazon EC2 for a new project I’m working on and so far I’m really impressed. One thing I’ve noticed, however, is that it takes forever to create an ext3 filesystem on a new volume. For example, the below command took over 30 minutes to create the filesystem on a 300 GB volume:

# mke2fs -j -m0 /dev/sdf1
mke2fs 1.40.4 (31-Dec-2007)
Filesystem label=
OS type: Linux
Block size=4096 (log=2)
Fragment size=4096 (log=2)
39321600 inodes, 78642183 blocks
0 blocks (0.00%) reserved for the super user
First data block=0
Maximum filesystem blocks=4294967296
2400 block groups
32768 blocks per group, 32768 fragments per group
16384 inodes per group
Superblock backups stored on blocks:
32768, 98304, 163840, 229376, 294912, 819200, 884736, 1605632, 2654208,
4096000, 7962624, 11239424, 20480000, 23887872, 71663616

Writing inode tables: done
Creating journal (32768 blocks): done
Writing superblocks and filesystem accounting information: done

This filesystem will be automatically checked every 38 mounts or
180 days, whichever comes first. Use tune2fs -c or -i to override.

It took about 30 seconds do do everything up to the writing of the superblocks. Not sure why this takes so long, but it’s happened for every EBS volume I’ve formatted ext3. Annoying. Initially I thought it was hanging, and ended up terminating an instance that wouldn’t shutdown or let me cancel the operation. The terminated instance is still being displayed in the UI with a status of “terminated” and I can’t find any way to remove it from the list.

Outlook 2007 & Exchange 2010 Autodiscover SSL certificate error annoyance

One of the more annoying side effects of migrating my mailbox to Exchange 2010 has been the nagging of Outlook 2007’s Autodiscovery feature. Now, every time I start Outlook I get hit with a certificate error for autodiscover.domain.com. Now, autodiscover.domain.com is a CNAME to mail.domain.com, which is the OWA URL for the CAS. The SSL certificate is valid – but it’s valid for mail.domain.com. I could buy a SSL certificate from GoDaddy for $12.99 (an insanely great price, btw) for “autodiscover” but that would also require using another IP address on the CAS (since you can can only bind one SSL certificate to an IP:port pair), and that seems like a waste of an IP address.

I found a possible solution in KB 940726. Basically you use this cmdlet to change the Autodiscover URI for internal clients:

Set-ClientAccessServer –AutodiscoverServiceInternalUri https://mail.contoso.com/autodiscover/autodiscover.xml

You’d replace mail.contoso.com with the external URL of your OWA server (in my case, mail.domain.com). I’ve made the changes but I think I need to wait for AD propagation. Hopefully this will resolve it, because I don’t want to move everyone’s mailboxes over until this thing is “perfect,” whatever that means.

Edit: I also needed to add a SRV record so Outlook would know what host to check for autodiscovery when outside the domain.

Edit 2:: Also need to install a hotfix or be running Outlook 2007 SP1 or later for the SRV functionality.

Edit 3: It occurs to me that a simpler fix for this issue may be simply to delete the DNS record for autodiscover entirely. That way, when Outlook attempts to open the SSL connection to autodiscover.domain.com, it gets a NXDOMAIN error (should) silently skip it. Unfortunately we have wildcard DNS active for our domain.

Other useful resources:

vCenter: Error parsing the server "(server IP)" "clients.xml" file

I got the above error today after running Windows Update on my XP VM a few days ago. A quick search showed that the error is caused by a Microsoft update to the .NET framework. To resolve it, remove update KB980773 (Add/Remove programs, make sure “Show Updates” is checked; KB980773 is under “Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Service Pack 2”). I removed it and was able to log in without problems.

References:

Edit 10/22/2010: You can also resolve this by upgrading your vCenter client to 4.1, which I recently did. 4.1 is available on vmware.com.

vCenter: Error parsing the server “(server IP)” “clients.xml” file

I got the above error today after running Windows Update on my XP VM a few days ago. A quick search showed that the error is caused by a Microsoft update to the .NET framework. To resolve it, remove update KB980773 (Add/Remove programs, make sure “Show Updates” is checked; KB980773 is under “Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Service Pack 2”). I removed it and was able to log in without problems.

References:

Edit 10/22/2010: You can also resolve this by upgrading your vCenter client to 4.1, which I recently did. 4.1 is available on vmware.com.