Remembering Steve – Part 3

While I was at Great Ape Trust of Iowa, I had built an XSan installation that I used to host user home directories off of. This wasn’t a very standard configuration, albeit one that was marketed and supported by Apple.

As is customary, I will wait to install a new operating system until at least one point release is distributed. This was the case with 10.5.1 client and server, which I installed one night in early 2008. I installed it, then went home and to bed.

The next morning, all hell breaks loose.

At some point during the morning, a particular user logs in, and all of the files on the server disappear.

I reboot the server, and the files are back. Then they disappear again. Reboot, and they’re back. Up, down, up, down.

I revert the server to a backup of the previous version, and then start a series of long nights trying to figure out why I couldn’t keep things stable.

At one point, I send a 2 AM rant to, saying that with all the hell 10.5 has put me through regarding XSan, the least they could do is make iCal server not suck in 10.6.

The next day, I get a call.. “Hello, my name is so-and-so from Apple Executive Relations, we understand that you are having a problem with your XSan. I’m going to get you in touch with the XSan engineers to assist with the problem.”

It turns out that there is a bug in the server software that was only reliably triggered by my configuration. Once I found the parameters, and relayed them to the engineer, they were able to duplicate the bug in their test installation, and they sent me a patch to test. That patch was then included in 10.5.2.

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