Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Redlight - Greenlight

There were a couple of tweaks that were missing from yesterday's post.  One of the things I've worked hard to do in my work environment is create visual queues throughout our servers that should raise red flags about the role of the machine you're currently working on plays.

One of the ways is to put a background image on every desktop, including the RDP login screens that identify the common name for the server color coded to it's role in Development (green), Test (yellow) or Production (red).

Props to FlamingText.com for their service.  It's there that I make all my images.  HERE is a link to their site with the fields pre-populated to create a yellow on black image with the white drop shadow.  Just change the text and submit your image for creation (http://goo.gl/mKqE).

In addition to that I color the command prompt text to match with the following .reg file:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Command Processor]
# 0c = Red = Production
# 0e = Yellow = Test
# 0a = Green = Dev
# 0b = Blue = DRP

You probably also noticed that each machine "common name" is descriptive.  If you work like I do you have at least 2 monitors full of stuff, multiple RDP sessions open and a stream of people meandering by your desk.  So, when I switch back to a RDP window that I opened hours ago, the desktop is covered and I open a command prompt with RED text I am reminded that I am on a Production server.  Time to slow down and double check what I'm doing.

Speaking of common names: make things easier for your users.  Who wants to remember LAX-VSI-X-WEB1 or LAX-VSI-X-DB2K8 (Los Angeles, Virtual Server Instance, DRP, Web1 or DB2k8) when DRPWEB or DRPDB can get you there?  Use CNAMES in your DNS servers to keep it as simple as possible.

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