First in action, and supported by speech

Every week at Watermark, visitors have a section of our bulletin that they can tear off and let us know how we can serve them.  I love getting to hear what people think, and really love what one visitor shared this week.  I pray that we are always a church that is a church of action supported by our words.

“Speechless. I don’t really know where to start.  My first impression was “whoa, this place is big. The people all look nice and I don’t think I’ll fit in b/c I feel so dirty.” I was intimidated by its size and the appearance.  But when I heard the message, those insecurities dwindled.  The teaching is insightful, biblically sound and wise.  I am grateful that the Lord led me to Watermark.  This church is following the example set forth by Jesus Christ – First in action and supported by speech”

Thankful to be part of what God is doing through this little community of Christ followers.

Oh the temptation…

Great video from our creative team.  Laughed really hard, especially since so many of my friends’ kids were the “actors”.

See the full message on Temptation at

Snapshots in VMware and how to survive them.

vmwareWe survived a rather scary day with one of our main file servers on Sunday.  This server was one that we had only virtualized several weeks before and contains a large amount of critical data. I’m a huge fan of VMware and their products have transformed the way we do IT at Watermark, but yesterday was not fun.

Sunday morning I received a call that the server wasn’t responding, and on further review noticed that the server’s data store was completely out of space.  The server would start for a few minutes, but then error with “There is no more space in the redo log for servername-00002. You may be able to continue by freeing disk space on the relevant partition.”  This was the beginning of our lesson on VMware snapshots.  ***side note, we have Gold Support for VMware, which you think would be good, but no… if you want support outside the hours of 6am-6pm M-F, you need platinum support… Nice***  But I digress.

Last Saturday we had taken a snapshot which we had subsequently forgotten about.  When you take a snap in VMware, the system puts the original VMDK (virtual disk file) into a “holding pattern” and begins to write changes to a new virtual disk file, in our case the servername-00002 file.  The best practice of course, is to do a snapshot, make your changes, and then immediately delete the snapshot; at which point all of the changes will be written back into the original “holding pattern” VMDK and all is well.  Unfortunately, the system doesn’t do anything to remind you that the snap still exists if you forget to do this.  At the time of our discovery, the new 00002 file had grown to the size of 21 gigabytes and had filled up all of the available disk space.  This to me seems like something VMware should implement, a reminder that snaps are growing like crazy and about to take you out at the knees.

So our immediate course of action was to keep the server stopped (it wouldn’t run for more than a few minutes anyway before falling over), and get a complete copy of our file system from the SAN as a backup.  After copying nearly 60 gig from the SAN to a different location, it was time to attempt removal of the snapshot.

We went into Virtual Center, under Snapshots, and snapshot manager and saw the snapshot from last Saturday that we wanted to remove, and promptly removed it.  The task started and then hung at 95% for about fifteen minutes, at which we received a message that the “Operation Timed Out.”

Now, here is the kicker. You would think that a message like that would be a prompting to try again, but after lots of research it appears that the process has not really timed out at all.  Because the “tracking changes” VMDK is so large, it has lots of data to roll back into the original.  So in reality, the process is still running in the background and you just need to give it time to finish.  In fact, many people have said that reissuing the “remove snapshot” command will in-fact kill your data.  Not good VMware.

Fortunately, we found this information out before trying to remove the snap again.  Surely enough, two hours later, the process finished running and we were back to our original VMDK file.  The server started up with plenty of storage available again and all is well.

Like I said earlier, I absolutely love VMware, but I will not be using the snapshot capability in the future.  I think I will stick with EqualLogic snapshots, which seem to be faster AND safer.

I’d love to hear your comments on what we did right/wrong and how VMware has worked for you.

Service Day at Watermark

img_0003Yesterday, several thousand folks from Watermark Community Church took the day off from “going to church” so that we could “be the church” to the city of Dallas.  We boarded school buses until they were all full, and then the rest of us drove to schools all over Dallas to serve.

My oldest daughter and I headed out to Hamilton Park Elementary where we joined an army of volunteers.  We cleaned desks, washed windows, cleaned marker boards, picked up and emptied trash… all while having a great time with other folks that we are connected with at Watermark.  It was great to see the body of Christ come together.  You can read more at the Dallas News article or read people’s stories at the Watermark External Focus blog.

Construction Updates

Some recent photos of the Watermark construction project. Specifically the town center area and the worship center.