Apple Training Day 5

Today was the final day of training here in Cupertino. Things wound down today, and we took the beta of the test for this class.

We started the day out with mail services. We set up the mail server, and enabled SSL for encryption. We then went through troubleshooting SSL issues. Nothing too exotic here, but if you don’t know where the certificates go, you would have to dig around. We then set up mail to be forwarded through procmail and into spam assassin. Spam filtering on the server is a good thing.

Next we were on to backup methods and strategies. We went over backup scheduling schemes like the tower of hanoi and son-father-grandfather schemes. We also went over using hdiutil and rsync for backup.

Then we were on to IP failover. Mac OS X server uses a heartbeat daemon to send pings out to the subnet broadcast address every second. Our backup server watches for these pings, and if it doesn’t see them, will take over the IP of the server. This works really well. However, when the server comes back up, and starts pinging again, it will be in conflict with the other server, so you have to do a little scripting to kill the interface until the backup drops the IP.

We went over a variety of mind boggling failover scenarios including multiple Xserve RAIDs, and Xserves. It was frightening to see what people have to do to ensure 99.999% uptime.

Then we took the test. Because this was the Beta class, we were the guinea pigs for the test. I was really worried, this is the hardest class Apple offers, and is supposedly on par with if not harder than the MSCE.

Turns out I passed. Hurray!

Over all, training was a good experience. The class offered a lot of information that is hard to find anywhere else. A lot of work went into preparing the course, even if it took almost a year to do. Was it worth the money? I would say yes. It’s expensive, but worthwhile for the information you get.