#server admin Articles


Pelican plugin updates

One of the advantages of our recent pivot to gitlab is that I'm spending some time looking at existing repositories and doing some updates. Most of my repos are private and hosted on our private gitlab server. For public code, I generally place it on GitHub. With the recent automation …

Deploying with Gitlab

In June, I mentioned in an article about Docker on SmartOS that we are doing some work with GitLab these days as a replacement for my venerable Gitolite server (and, to an increasing extent Jenkins). Deploying from Pelican I'm likely going to write more on GitLab in the near future …

Docker on SmartOS

This spring, there was a some movement on the Illumos/SmartOS front in implementing features to better support running LX zones with Linux variants. Since Docker images (generally) run on Linux underpinnings, support for running Docker images on SmartOS are dependent upon this support working correctly. For those familiar with …

Pivoting Elasticsearch data

As I've possibly mentioned here before, ClueTrust is using Elasticsearch to perform analysis of log information. Recently, I finally decided to take some our telemetry inforamtion and pull it in to Elasticsearch as a data exploration and statistical tool. Importing structured XML data into Elasticsearch Although there are some filters …

Always check your arguments

Quite a while back, RS wrote a comprehensive ansible role for handling Let's Encrypt certificate issuance and renewal. We both use this role extensively, which is why it was a significant issue when it suddenly started throwing type errors deep inside of the dnspython library during an nsupdate call in …

2021 Backup Software

As we approach another World Backup Day, I figured it was time for me to revise my 2013 backup article for a more up-to-date view of what my backup situation is and what I am currently recommending. My basic backup strategy, as outlined in the previous article, hasn't changed significantly …

pre-commit and Pelican

Putting pre-commit to use I mentioned in a previous post about pre-commit, a tool for maintaining code consistency through simple management of pre-commit checks. The first place I decided to give this a whirl was on my blog sites. As you may be aware, I moved my blog sites (both …

pre-commit

Introducing pre-commit hooks I recently became aware of the open-source project: pre-commit, which is "A framework for managing and maintaining multi-language pre-commit hooks." The key feature of pre-commit is that it creates an execution environment for itself in order to enable running hooks without messing with (or creating conflicts with …

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 …

Static pages-18 months on

In 2018, I wrote about the move to convert Gaige's Pages to a static generation model. I followed this up in mid-December of that year describing the drop in processing and response time. After 18 months of running the site (and Cartographica's Blog as well) on Pelican, I wanted to …

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 …

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 …


Follow-up on static pages

At the beginning of the month, I wrote about the move to convert Gaige's Pages to a static generation model. Today I'm following up with some performance graphs. There's absolutely nothing surprising here, but it's good to see nonetheless that things work as they should. Look to the right of …

Replacing a RAID set under El Capitan

Over Thanksgiving, one of the two drives in my "Big Disk" RAID (it was a mirror of 2 2TB drives that I used to store large things that aren't worth having on the SSD on my Mac Pro). Generally speaking, my response to failures with SMART (especially with cheap spinning …