Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fun with Firewalls

We have a couple of boxes at a local Denver co-location facility for the training business, SQL Share. Our firewall died a few weeks ago, and so I called a friend that I've typically used for network stuff. He found us one on eBay for $200 and last night was the time to install it. We'd been trying to coordinate things, and last night worked.

I'd given him the IPs and setup, and some preliminary work had been done yesterday, but there are things that you can't test until you get the real network set up. I should have known things were bad when we arrived and I couldn't get Jordan in at first. The security is tight and I hadn't said "2 people" so we needed to wait and get authorization from the company I rent space from. Once that was done, we got in and needed to get cage nuts into the rack for the firewall.

There's a shelf right above us and we had little space. I managed to use a screwdriver to get the top two nuts in. Then I went to get the last one in and couldn't. So I tried to squeeze it with finger and slipped, cutting below the thumbnail, and starting to bleed a little. While I sucked on it to get the bleeding stopped, Jordan told me I didn't need to mess with it that way and then proceeded to do the same thing.

A nice delay while both of us stopped the bleeding. Then we mounted things, got it plugged in, and started to configure it. Jordan did the work while I stood around, coughing in the extremely dry air of the colo. Fortunately we were in the hot aisle, and not the cold one, but it was still hard.

We had issues getting the firewall to first allow things out, and then to allow things back in. It's a little flaky to work with IOS, and you have to go slow. We kept having issues and things went slow. Our expected 30-60 minutes turned into 120 almost. We finally narrowed it down to the ARP cache in the ISP switches. Once that was done, things looked OK. He drove to Barnes and Noble to check things from the outside while I hit the bank for funds.

We met up, thinks were fine, and called it a night.

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