server admin Articles


Bacula Restore Testing

Originally this was going to contain a brief Bacula, 6 months on section at the start. Of course, that became much too detailed, so I split them up, however I would encourage you to read it. Restore Testing Backup is the most obvious part of doing backups. Almost everyone's aware …

Bacula 6 months on

It's been about six months since I originally wrote Welcome Bacula, describing our transition to Bacula from our previous solution (and a bit of history even before that). If you haven't read it, it might be worth a read. Although not quite 6 months since I wrote the first piece …

Trapped in the ice

We've heard it all before: AWS is expensive, and you need to watch out for the hidden sharp edges of their pricing model. Today I provide a small lesson in that concept. History ClueTrust has run through a number of backup methodologies over the year, originally using Retrospect (when they …

So much LDAP, so little time

The background Many years ago, all of my systems were pets. I tried to make them easier to manage by standardizing on a single operating system (MacOS X Server at the time) and used management tools that were part of that suite. As time moved forward, Apple decided to concentrate …

Welcome Bacula

I wasn't originally going to write this up on the blog, but considering that we've just finished our transition from our old backup software (BRU, no link) to Bacula community edition and considering that it's World Backup Day, it seemed like it would make sense. As many of you are …

ssh key choices

This weekend, Rob and I had been testing the use of hardware keys to secure ssh sessions, especially for back-end console access and certain administrative functions. Since the hardware keys are a special case, and cannot be added to the ssh-agent, we were slinging around a fair number of command …

Update to nginx_alias_map

I've been doing a bunch of maintenance on my two blogs (company and personal) and one purpose has been to track down malformed and mis-mapped URLs on the site. Since both have been through changes in the underlying blog engine a couple of times, there are multiple sets of URLs …

Client Certs and Intermediate CAs

Why client certificates? RS wrote about Preventing drive-bys with client certs and although we'd discussed this method for some time, I hadn't deployed it yet. However, some recent log-spelunking had led me to determine that I liked the idea of a second layer of protection on some of my sites …

Ansible become: useful and dangerous

OK, now that I have your attention with the catchy title, let me get right into the reason behind this post. Rob has been doing a lot of work lately on a set of roles to provision raspberry pi systems. I'm grateful for the work in this area, because frankly …

Separating Ansible roles for fun and profit

At ClueTrust, we use a lot of automation to run our systems. It's mostly how just a couple of us can manage hundreds of virtual servers and keep them up-to-date and operational. A few years back, I moved from using Puppet to Ansible, mostly at the suggestion of RS, who …


Pelican plugin for NGINX redirection

When I set out to move Gaige's Pages to a static web generator, chronicled in Gaige's Pages moves to static generation, I stated one of the reasons that I favored Pelican was because it is written in python, which is a language that I'm intimately familiar with. Not surprisingly, that …

SmartOS, Postfix and IPv6

As part of completing our shut-down of 2007-vintage Xserves at the hosting center, we're moving a lot of servers to SmartOS (or at least SmartOS-hosted VMs). We've been really happy with the system so far. Here's a quick story of the power of this environment. As part of the transition …

Nice set of Nagios scripts for OS X

When digging around for information about Apple's new Caching Server, I happened across this informative article about Caching Server for Mavericks by Dan Barrett. Definitely worth a read if you're interested in finding out how to make the most of your network connection with your Macs. However, from there, I …

Trouble setting Shadow Passwords in OSX Server

This is definitely not for non-administrators. However, I spent some serious time today trying to track this down, so let me save somebody some time here with this tidbit. It all started when I noticed that some of my users on my OSX Server machine were unable to access private …

Quick mass installation of developer tools

The XCode 2.1 developer tools is a very large package (pushing well over .5GB), and now you have one CD and want to install it on a fleet of machines. Note: this can help with installing almost anything... I was just about to use one of my favorite tools …