Geoff N. Hiten Blog

SQL Server thoughts, observations, and comments

MacGyver Moments

Denny Cherry tagged me to write about my best MacGyver Moment.  Usually I ignore blogosphere fluff and just use this space to write what I think is important.  However, #MVP10 just ended and I have a stronger sense of community.  Besides, where else would I mention my second best Macgyver moment was making a BIOS jumper out of a soda can.  Aluminum is conductive and I didn't have any real jumpers lying around.

My best moment is probably my entire home computer network. 

Every system but one is hand-built, usually cobbled together out of spare parts and 'adapted' from its original purpose.

My Primary Domain Controller is a Dell 2300.   The Service Tag indicates it was shipped to the original owner in 1999.  Box has a PERC/1 RAID controller.  I acquired this from a previous employer for $50.  It runs Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition.  Does DNS, DHCP, and RADIUS services as a bonus.  RADIUS authentication is used for VPN and Wireless access.  It is nice to sign in once and be done with it.

The Secondary Domain Controller is an old desktop.  Dual P-III 933 with some extra drives.

My VPN box is a P-II 250 with 384MB of RAM and a 21 GB hard drive.  I did a P-to-V to my Hyper-V box a year or so ago and retired the hardware again.  Dynamic DNS lets me connect no matter how often Comcast shuffles my IP.

The Hyper-V box is a desktop system with 8GB RAM and an AMD Athlon 5000+ processor.  Cost me less than $500 to put together nearly two years ago.  I reasoned that if Vista and Windows 2008 were the same code then Vista 64-bit certified meant the drivers for Vista would load into Windows 2008.  Turns out I was right.

Later I added three 1TB drives but wasn't too happy with how that turned out.  I recovered two of the drives yesterday and am building an iSCSI storage unit. (Much thanks to Starwind.  Great product).  I am using an old AMD 1.1GhZ box with 1.5 GB RAM (cobbled together from three old PCs) as my storave server. 

The Hyper-V box is slated for an OS rebuild to 2008 R2 once I get the storage system worked out.  maybe in a week or two.

A couple of DLink Gigabit switches ties everything together.

Add in the Vonage box, the three PCs, the Wireless-N Access Point, the two notebooks and the XBox and you have gone from MacGyver to darn near Rube Goldberg.

The only thing I really spend money on is power supplies and fans.  I buy top-of-the-line for both.

I even pull and crimp my own cables.

Oh, and if my kids hose up a PC, I have all of their data on a server elsewhere.  Every PC and laptop is pretty much interchangable for email and basic workstation tasks.  That helps a lot too.

Of course I will tag SQLVariant.