On the road again…

I’m spending Labor Day weekend at Andrea’s dad’s place in Valparaiso, IN. Much needed grandkid time for him, mini-vacation for us.

We’re such church nerds. On Friday afternoon, we went up to Willow Creek Church for an informal tour of their facility with Mark Stanger, one of their techie guys. Andrea is a theatre nerd (she even has a degree in theatre!) and was duly impressed by what they had at WC. We also got a brief tour afterwards of the IT facilities from Brett (I missed his last name), one of my counterparts there. Technically cool, and professionally informative. It’s nice to see that they face many of the same challenges we do.

Today, we got a chance to go worship at Granger Community Church and break bread (and noodles!) afterwards with Jason Powell and his family. A good time was had by all, and the worship experience was phenomenal. They’re doing some really awesome stuff at GCC that we could definitely learn from. (I found it amusing that today’s message was about work/life balance, right after having had my vacation interrupted last night by our VMWare datastore filling up and causing the database server VM to go on strike due to lack of swap space)

One of the coolest things they have at GCC is the check-in/drop-off process for the kids. If you’re a regular, you check in, get your kids stickered, and then take them to the “launch area”, which is a big tube slide where the kids slide down and pop right into their classroom (unfortunately, Clara wasn’t quite old enough for those classrooms, so we had to cart her down the stairs (where there is a really cool fish tank). Faith went down her slide and popped out the mouth of a giant whale. They have cameras at the top and bottom so you can see them popping out the end and into the classroom. Faith was duly impressed. My immediate thought was that it’s a great way to deal with separation anxiety problems – the kids get a rush of fun, and immediately forget that they’ve just been taken away from mom and dad… and there’s no turning back. I think there’s a metaphor in there for the Christian life too 🙂

The worship experience was, in a word, WOW. They’ve done an incredible job at GCC to make the entire experience immersive and seamless. There’s smooth and logical integration of music, drama, and multimedia that all blend into the message. There’s some really cool technical wizardry going on behind the scenes, but you really don’t have a chance to focus on that, because the experience is so engaging.

On the way back, the kids snoozed, and we passed two things of note…

Valpo has a ski resort. OK, not really a resort, more of a lump in the terrain with a chairlift. To wit:


Where I come from, that would barely be worth bothering with as a sledding hill. Note the snowboarding halfpipe in the second picture.

The other thing that we saw was another Living Water(s) church, that is even smaller than the one Clif‘s wife planted:

And, while I’m posting nerdy pics from my phone, I finally got our rack in something close to its final configuration:


From top to bottom:

  • Sony LIB-81A Tape library (8 slots, 1 AIT-3 drive)
  • Galilee (DR Server) – Dell PE2650
  • Buffalo TeraStation and TeraStation Pro (archival storage)
  • Jericho (ESX Node) – Dell PE2950, 2xIntel 5160, 12GB
  • Jerusalem (ESX Node) – Dell PE2950 2xIntel 5150, 12GB
  • 8-port KVM Console
  • Dell/EMC AX150i iSCSI SAN (1.5TB)
  • UPS for the SAN
  • Dell PowerVault 220 (12x73GB SCSI) (attached to Galilee for DDT backup staging)
  • APC Smart-UPS 2200 (x2)
  • Whitebox security controller PC (in the bottom of the rack)

This makes up almost our entire infrastructure except for telecom and networking.

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