The Short: I want to marry you and have your babies.

The Long: First off, this is a bit long and detailed, but there is a point to this in the end. Please be patient. :)

I work for a small software company. Like most small companies, we all wear multiple hats. One of my hats happens to be Director of IT, which is a fancy way of saying the only IT person.

My setup. We have one physical server which hosts a number of VMs. Among these VMs are our build server, source server, accounting server, key generator, and bug tracking database. The physical machine was our one and only domain controller. Not the best setup, I know, but it is a system that evolved over time instead of being planned out. The machine was first setup when the company contained 2 employees in addition to owners.

Saturday night I received an alert that all of the servers went down. A call to the boss confirmed a power outage but the power was now back on. So I head in to work thinking I just needed to power systems back on. However, the machine would not do so. No lights, fans, beeps, nothing. Isn’t this what the big, expensive, fancy UPS was supposed to prevent?

Sunday morning and a volt meter confirmed the power supply and motherboard were a lost cause. Sunday afternoon heralded the arrival of the boss with bag of computer parts. Sadly those parts were lacking a few vital components (heat sink and video card). By then everything was closed so Sunday was a wash.

Monday morning found me at major computer store when it opened to purchase missing parts and head back into the office. I am not a hardware person so assembly was a bit slow. By 2pm we had an assembled machine. My 4pm we discovered the onboard nic would not work with Windows Server and was seriously not recommended for server. A trip home (45 min one way) to steal the 4 port nic my husband intended to use on our home server, and the new nic is installed and running by 6pm. Note: at this point I am alone. My only connection to another person is an IM connection to my husband (he who was so generous to donate his nic).

So now, we should be good. I’m a software person. I know Windows. I supported the server platforms at Microsoft for a while. I do QA. Now it should be easy. Ha!

I move the machine back to its place, power it on and get no video signal. Reset cable on both ends, replace cable, replace monitor. Still no video signal. Power the system up and down a few times, no video signal. Open the case, glare at video card, poke it with finger and on next power up we have a video signal. I’m starting to wonder if I should sacrifice a chicken.

Now the plan was to bring back the original domain controller as a VM. So I bring up Hyper-V, which fails to run. Some fighting, and swearing, and frantic searching discovers a hotfix and SP1 was needed for this particular processor.

A VHD was made of the initial OS drive and it too fails horribly. Attempts at repairs fail horribly. The other VMs are fine, but there are major authentication issues without the domain controller. I can get on, but none of it is in a usable state for the users.

By now we’re approaching midnight and I’m facing 2 options. Rebuild the domain from scratch (the idea of which makes me break out in a cold sweat) or manually try to rebuild the domain on a new machine. I’m looking at the KB articles and feeling like I might loose my lunch, or dinner. Neither which I had had time to eat.

Here enters a man who I love even more than you, my husband. He tells me about this utility called UMove. He tells me that a while back he had begged a free copy of your tools for use on our home network, which you graciously gave him. He tells me that it should do everything in those KB articles automatically.

So, I start make a new VM, soon to be home of our domain controller. I discover the DVD drive was no longer working. (Eventually discovered this to be a loose cable. Wonder if I can find a live chicken in Seattle this time of night.) Drive fixed, new VM made, server installed, updates started.

3AM and I shoot off a status update to bosses then curl up in the floor of the server room to grab a few hours sleep. Office is a converted warehouse which is exceedingly drafty, and cold. Note to self: ask bosses for a sleeping bag.

7am, being informed by coworker that I snore. Steal granola bars from said coworker. Go in search of coffee. Attempt to read documentation for UMove. Caffeine and sugar are not helping mental clarity. By 8am I am on the phone with a very nice gentleman in your support department. He assures me that I am not hallucinating and that the product does indeed do what I need it to do. He answers my questions about licensing and then tells me “Just install it on the machine and run through the wizard. It will go through all of the checks and tell you what you need to do. When you see the Finish button, that means that we think everything is ready to go and it should be successful. At that point, come back to our web site and buy the product.” He also wishes me good luck on my recovery efforts.

So, I install UMove and start it up. It not only told me what roles or features were missing, it very nicely told me exactly where to do to add them. To my addled brain, this was a wonderful feature. By 9am I have purchased the product and am now ready to hit the Finish button.

I click the Finish button. I swear, less then 15 minutes later and it wants to reboot. The machine comes up and I see my domain login screen. I bring up the other VMs, and we now have our build server, accounting server, key generator, and source control are all up and functional. I am told I started laughing uncontrollably.

Now I said there was a point to me going through all of this detail. Throughout this entire process, UMove was the only thing that went right. No hitches, no frustrations, no swearing, no frantic searches to decode cryptic error messages.

Your generosity to give a free copy to a geek to use on his home network kept your name and product in his mind. It gave you a sale (granted only a single machine license) and two people who will tell every other geek they know (and we know a lot) about how your product not only saved my sanity (my husband debates this), but also meant I could go home Tuesday night to a shower and a real bed.

So again, thank you. -M.T.

Posted 2014/04/10
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