HomeLab Adventures: The Expansioning

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Supermicro X8DT3

Over the last few months, I have been building out more and more virtual machines in my HomeLab ESX Cluster.  Its time to expand.

First came a four node Ceph Cluster, then an OpenStack Juno environment, and then an OpenStack Icehouse environment. Plus, I still needed to build out a Docker/Kubernetes test environment. It started to become apparent that I needed to add more capacity. Especially memory.

I figured it was time to dive into my hardware closet and see if I had any decent hardware. Luckily I was able to find a Supermicro X8DT3, and a couple of Xeon X5550s. I was off to a good start, but what I needed most was RAM. A bit more digging and I was able to find a box of 4gb Dimms , I needed 12 total… I found exactly that.

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1/2 of Memory Dimms Installed

Next, I needed to find a case. I did not feel like dropping $100+ on a new E-ATX case, especially if I did not know if my motherboard was actually working. Luckily I found the a used Cooler Master XM on Ebay. $60 shipped was worth the risk. It was not even used, and was in great shape. You can see the original sticker still in place over the dual hot swap drive bay.

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Somebody Donated this Beast to the Salvation Army

I also needed a power supply, but I was not looking forward to dropping $100+ on a massive modular PSU. Instead I picked up a mid-range 650W power supply off Amazon along with a 8pin CPU splitter. 650W should be plenty to push two 90w Xeons. I read somewhere that DDR3 memory is fairly power efficient, around 2-5 watts per dim. I figured I was safe since I was not going to stuff this new box full of disks. I have a freenas box for that.

Once all my parts arrived, I spent an evening cobbling everything together.  Much to my surprise the system booted without issue. A firmware upgrade was in order, so I finished that off in no time flat.

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It Lives

A bit more digging through the pile turned up an LSI-8888elp raid controller. I plan to run two reclaimed 250GB drives in raid1 config (with a cold spare still in the closet) to give me a bit of local storage, and an ssd drive for the OS.

Had the pleasure of working with this beauty on my test bench. Makes system building much more enjoyable.

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Next up — install ESXi and add to the cluster. This will bring my total ESXI server count to three, perfect for a true cluster. All systems have same motherboards, CPUs, and memory configuration.

Insync: The Powerful Google Drive Client For Linux

Insync

Insync is a very powerful and full featured Google Drive client for Windows, Mac, and Linux. I ran across Insync when I was looking for a Google Drive client for Linux after I kicked Dropbox to the curb and switching over to Google Drive for all my cloud storage needs.

In all honestly, if it wasn’t for the Insync client I do not think that I would have made the switch at all, as Google does not even offer a basic GUI client for Linux. Really Google?

PSA: The integration that Google Drive provides into Google Photos, Google Music, Google Docs, and Gmail is well worth the switch from Dropbox in my opinion, and 1TB for only 9 bucks a month is hard to beat (100GB is only $1.99 a month). Just having a Gmail account gives you access to 15GB of free space… so there is no reason not to give it a try.

Ok now back to the topic at hand.

Note that a personal license of the Insync Google Drive client is not free, rather it costs $15. However you can download and try it risk free and without entering any credit card info. This one time fee for a personal license allows you to run and install Insync on multiple machines. Currently I have it installed on 4 separate Linux workstations/laptops. Its well worth cash.

Installing Insync is very easy and well documented so I am not going to go into that topic here. Rather lets talk about using Insync on Linux.

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Configure Syslog Logging Levels on the Asus RT-AC66U Router


4614_WizardStressToy_1

So here is a quick little one that I figured out the other day. Having just setup a Splunk server at home I wanted to make sure that I was not going to hit the data limit of 500mb a day for the free version of Splunk. I figured out pretty fast that my ASUS RT-AC66U was a very chatty-cathy when it came to syslog… sending me all sorts of very raw data that I was, at least at first, not so sure I was interested in indexing. So I hit the cli and started poking around.

First off, before we jump in, let’s make sure that we are all on the same page. First thing to note is that I am running the custom Merlin firmware, however that doubt that the stock firmware is much different. Second, let’s make sure that we all know how to configure syslog on our Asus.

To setup forwarding syslog to a remote syslog server, you first client on “Administration” in the “Advanced Settings” panel on the left. Then select the “System” tab near the top of the page. Scroll down to “Miscellaneous”. This section is shown below. Enter the IP address of your syslog server (or Splunk server in this case) in the “Remote Log Server” field.

syslog_asus

Now lets get down to the business of adjusting our logging level. First you need to ssh into your router.

Note that it appears that by default the log level is set to 7.

admin@RT-AC66U: # nvram show | grep log_level
log_level=7

Now before you get too excited, I am actually not sure that the main log level adheres to rfc5424. I have yet to find any published documentation from Asus to confirm this. However, according to this guy’s blog, this configuration might be a bit less chatty. Note that there are a few additional settings here which you can play around with. With these settings, I am assuming that 1 is on, and 0 if off. I am still experimenting.

admin@RT-AC66U: # nvram set log_level=2
admin@RT-AC66U: # nvram set log_enable=1
admin@RT-AC66U: # nvram set log_rejected=1
admin@RT-AC66U: # nvram set log_dropped=1
admin@RT-AC66U: # nvram set log_accepted=0

Now lets save our change and reboot

admin@RT-AC66U: # nvram commit
admin@RT-AC66U: # reboot

Note that there also is a vpn_loglevel=3 setting that can be configured via nvram. This setting might be useful to those running a VPN server on their router.

HomeLab Adventures: My HomeLab Overview

motherboard

Today I am finally going to take the time write an article about my lab. A while back, I had posted an article detailing the FreeNas server that I built to provide shared storage to my virtualization lab. However, today I am going to attempt to dive in deep and write, in at least a bit of detail, about the other components of my lab.

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Wall mounted network rack in lab

 

Network

Over the last few years I have collected quite a bit of network gear. My job has given me the ability to take home decommissioned equipment from time to time, and Craigslist has helped me round out my collection. Below is what I currently have deployed. Not everything is powered on currently, as its crazy loud when all those tiny fans are a’screaming.

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Wall mounted network rack in office

The equipment is distributed between my home office, and my lab in the next room over. Everything is racked and stacked in wall mounted telco/network racks. A patch panel, and a number of copper runs connect everything together.

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HomeLab: Simple Cisco EIGRP Setup

Sugar_skull_by_nickgo79EIGRP (Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol), is a Cisco proprietary routing protocol (until recently). When a router runs EIGRP, it keeps a copy of its neighbors routing table. If I router cannot find a route it its, or its neighbor's routing table, it will query its neighbors who in turn query their neighbors.

Exactly how routing protocols work is serious business, but dont worry we are not going to go into that here. Below is the process that I used to setup EIGRP on a Cisco 2811.

Before we do anything, lets get into Configuration mode (conf t).

r-2811-1#conf t

 

Your first step is going to be to enable IP Routing on your device. But before you do so, make sure that you have configured a Gateway of Last Restort. I did not and had to hook up the old console cable.

The IP of this router is 10.1.0.2, and its directly connected to 10.1.0.1, which is its last resort first hop, so lets configure that .

r-2811-1(config)#ip route 0.0.0.0 0.0.0.0 10.1.0.1

 

Ok so now lets enable IP Routing

r-2811-1(config)#ip routing

 

Now lets start EIGRP and chose an AS number. Note that I used 10 on the other three routers in my setup so thats what we are going to use here.

r-2811-1(config)#router eigrp 10

 

Now we need to tell the router what networks are connected to it (or in this case, will be connected to it). This is the information that the router will share with its neighbors.

r-2811-1(config-router)#network 10.3.0.0

 

In this instance my ourside interface is on 10.1.0.0/16, and its inside interface will serve up 10.3.0.0./16.

Dont forget to save your work

r-2811-1#copy run start

 

Related articles

HomeLab: Simple SSH Setup on a Cisco Router
HomeLab: Cisco 2621 Router Password Recovery/Factory Reset
Hour 40: OSPF the new advanced link-state protocol
Route Redistribution: Protocol Rules + EIGRP Redistribution
Eigrp
Hour 31: IGP Review EIGRP

HomeLab: Upgrading Cisco IOS Via tftp on RHEL

0012fbf7_mediumSo I was planning on blogging about this process simply because I keep forgetting it. Being that I am in the middle of building out my lab, and have a ton of old cisco hardware with ancient images, I have found myself going through the process of updating firmware quite a bit as I tinker with different IOS images.

The first thing that you are going to need is a tftp server, which I am running on my Fedora 18 desktop. Its a very easy setup, and has been simply documented on the link below. Note the article below is specfically about how to setup a tftp server on RHEL, however the process is pretty much the same.

How to Install a tftp Server on RHEL

Now if you are looking to setup a tftp server on Windows, well I cannot help you there. If I recall you just download and install a server app, and away you go.

Below is another link that I have found that also does a fine job of explaining the Cisco side of the process simply, without getting too technical and long winded.

How to Upgrade Cisco IOS Images

 

Related articles

HomeLab: The Cisco 3560G
HomeLab: Configuring the NTP Client on a Cisco Catalyst Switches
Configuring TFTP in Linux
Best Cisco IOS switch for home use
Cisco IOS: Basic Configuration of a Switch.
Cisco IOS : How to configure passwords.