May 4, 2019
by dhoytt
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Site Network Rework

Moving site back to ASUS RT-N66U old router after going to the Linksys 3200ACM router that failed on me each time I went out of town leaving my sites, smart devices, cameras and other items unreachable through the network route through the Linksys. I worked with Linksys support up to 3rd level and the only solutions they had for any issues was to delete my config and start over which I couldn’t do remotely and of course is not a long term solution and they hadn’t updated or implemented fixes since January 2018 and yes I could go DD-WRT which was a plan but I decided not on this Belkin product ,which bought out the Linksys name in 2013, I found out. This was the second time the Linksys router failed on me as this current router is an RMA brand new product for the prior router with same model that failed totally losing it’s configuration before!

Luckily I did have some remote capabilities through other routers and I was able to hop on to my servers via that route and switched over my dhoytt.com site and music server and point my DNS to another static IP about a month ago.

I then to alter routes on my W2012 media streaming server, my Linux Centos 7 music IceCast music relay server that also monitors many of my systems to properly get my music streams out. I had to open up ports through another router via my LAN once in to the static ip address I pointed my music streams and websites to. I then added a static route on the Linksys that had stopped communicating over the WAN but still had LAN connectivity to go through my security camera server as it was straddling all my networks and was able to communicate to most of my smart devices.

I did have to take down temporarily my hoytt.biz site. I walked a friend of mine through connecting a network cable to a third NIC I had on my Zoneminder physical server I had setup to my camera network.

Now I came back home due to a family issue and during this time I’m also correcting my router remote access issues. First I of course removed the Linksys 3200ACM and purchased a new ASUS AC86U which pretty much worked well except had interference issues with my other routers and routes in the areas over wireless so after almost a week I took it back and I’m back on my old but reliable ASUS RT-N66U.

I moved all my routing on my servers back to the original networks and pointed my DNS for dhoytt.com to my prior static ip.address and brought back up hoytt.biz. All of my music server streams are as they originally were and connecting my smart devices back where they belong. This is why I go for dependability and not flash look at all this work I had to do, and I truly understated the amount of effort it took to do this remotely from a slow internet connection I had that would stall where I was half a world away.

So if you noticed any minor glitches this morning that was me switching things over to the way its been for the most part for many years concept wise save my constant upgrading and changing the underlying technologies. I also updated several of my servers OS. As DNS propagates there may be some minor connectivity but if you use FQDN instead of actual hard coded ip.addesses you should reach my sites just fine. There may be a few things I have missed but not bad for an hour or so of actual work. I may also still get a new route but still holding out for the best ROI.

February 21, 2019
by dhoytt
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Newly Built Systems Come Back Quickly After Power Outage

After a power outage just a few moments ago I think this is the fastest one of my virtual and NAS environments has ever recovered after booting up! No curruption to speak of and XCP-ng and FreeNAS recovered effortlessly!

Hopefully in the future my UPS can carry me a few moments more after I spread the loads out and continue to get get more efficient systems plus tune some systems for low power usage if possible. My Linux work station survives every power shutdown under 2 hours without powering off.

February 16, 2019
by dhoytt
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New Virtual Environment Almost Set

My new XCP-ng environment is just about completely set I just need one more 8tb SAS drive with the same geometry to put into one of the pools on my FreeNAS server. One of the prior 8tb drives was a Sun\Oracle brand and its LFF geometry was slightly off of the other 8tb same model Hitachi drives so I will move that 8tb SAS to a workstation and new one into the pool for VM’s.

I needed to make sure my new XCP-ng Hypervisors hardware was updated to the newest firmware levels after testing initial functionality with XCP-ng with the Dell r710’s I picked up for the Hypervisors. Initially trying to update the r710’s via iDrac produced all types of failures uploading the packages into iDrac. Then trying to update the r710’s via the cli of XCP-ng didn’t have all the software libraries needed for the firmware scripts from Dell to work. I tried Openmanage as well.

Here’s a list of errors I received:

  • “The firmware image file is not valid for iDRAC firmware update”,
  • the file copied to the partition did not match the original file
  • Trying to update through iDrac after extracting the iDrac firmware file.

Well you get the picture so what I ultimately decided to do was take one of my spare hard drives I have put it in a hot swap tray for the r710 migrate all of the VM’s to the other XCP-ng server,take out the boot drive and other drives in the r710 and install Centos 7 to the drive and then run the firmware update scripts from Dell from Centos 7. This worked very well without the errors except to install the needed libraries via yum.

I then just moved all of the VM’s to the other XCP-ng hypervisor and then updated the other r710 from a minimal Centos7 OS install as well.

The big deal about updating my firmware was to make sure that whatever IPMI platform (iDrac from Dell, ILO from HP or IPMI Supermicro) I used was fully updated and useful for when I’m out of town. I chose Dell servers with iDrac because that’s what has the best price point at this time in the surplus market. For some reason there are very little HP servers though I prefer their ILO over Dell’s iDrac.

Now that firmware and bios updates of the hardware are handled onward to make further improvements and other projects!

February 3, 2019
by dhoytt
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Taught a Valuable Lesson Super Bowl Day

With my Rams, a team I have followed since I was in elementary school in the Super Bowl I was debating going to my normal Super Bowl party. I then decide I’m going and will take some pulled pork and maybe some prime rib made all the rubs and sauces, cleaned my Traeger then brine and injected the pork butt and got ready to throw the meat on the grill in the early morning then go back to bed. Well my Trager controller didn’t power up at all and the I had to start the troubleshooting @ 3:30 AM.

I grabbed my lantern and hand held spot light I use for fishing. The GFI wasn’t popped, electric outlet was powering other devices I plugged in, took the controller loose fuse wasn’t blown and everything was connected.

Called Traeger support a few hours later and they went over my troubleshooting steps and mentioned something I thought I checked but hadn’t fully checked which was to make sure that my pellets I had left in weren’t wet. I had dug my hand in and all pellets were dry to feel and didn’t feel wet.

I went to Emigh Ace hardware and picked up a controller a place I normally get my pellets. I had been there yesterday and talked to them about upgrading my controller to one with wireless but my model I couldn’t updated to wireless. I didn’t know yesterday my controller was out when I was there.

So this morning replaced my controller which didn’t take long but kept my pellets in that seemed dry but the controller kept stopping and giving errors. So I scooped up all my pellets and there was very minimal wet dust on the auger bit deep down that takes the pellets into the place the pellets burn that was a bit hardened. I got my Wet Vac and vacuumed that out put back in a few pellets and everything started working correctly!

The lesson learned is empty your Traeger pellets when its wet outside even without a direct hit from rain as the dust will absorb the moisture in the air and cause your Traeger issues. I was unable to attend my Super Bowl party because I wanted to be awake to watch my favorite team in the Super Bowl and cook my prepped meat, plus had to buy a new controlled because I didn’t take my pellets out of the Traeger in between my grill usages.

WEll GO RAMS!!

February 2, 2019
by dhoytt
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Moving FreeNAS and XCP-ng into Position Migrating VM’s to XCP-ng

Well I moved my new FreeNAS along with one of my new XCP-ng hypervisors into the racks to start taking over my environment for storage and my new virtualization. I’ll detail the technical aspect later. I hooked both up to my storage networks and copied and migrated some little used test VM’s from my Xenserver 7.1 environment without any issues using XCP-ng Center win Windows 10. Both were migrated cross pool to new storage so that was nice. I really didn’t add anything to an SR connected to my FreeNAS system . I need to create some iSCSI targets and though that doesn’t take long I didn’t feel like it since I was sneezing non-stop after getting behind my dusty racks (another part of this whole project I need to tackle) and was sneezing hard enough I didn’t want to be near a wall for fear of hitting my head and needed to make a store run to pick up medicine.

I basically just transferred from local storage f my XenServer 7.1 pool to the local pool of my XCP-ng pool.

Next steps will be to migrate a live VM to the new XCP-ng environment and then retiring my old Xenserver hypervisor and the old physical hardware. I also have some old VM’s in a VMWare 5.5 ESXi environment I need to export over.

Well time for bed and I am still cramming projects in but some will not get work done since my Rams are in the Super Bowl and will be ready to watch them Saturday. I decided my projects and time spent on my computer room, solar install, cameras setup with Zoneminder, smart home, landscaping was better used here than for Super Bowl tickets and that whole weekend. Just a timing issue but go RAMS Sunday is yours!

January 29, 2019
by dhoytt
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Switching to XCP-ng Hypervisor

I had started testing and working stoppng and going with oVirt for the past month or so as my new hardware has started coming in but I’ve now switched my attention to XCP-ng. I have gotten so much further in one late evening with XCP-ng than a month plus with oVirt. I’m now ready to move my NAS running FreeNAS in place once I get another drive as someone sent an 8TB SAS drive without any shock padding so I have to return that back and get from another source.

Testing with oVirt I had issues just getting the management Host Engine VM to stay up or even install. With XCP-ng install went fine to my new server, NICS came up (I had to login and manually start the NIC’s for Ovirt via CLI).

Yes I’m familar with XCP-ng as I had been working with Xen, XCP and Xenserver. XCP-ng is the latest commnity version restart its seems of XCP since Citrix removed so many features suddenly from the community version last year.

Its great so far in a few hours I have already setup the hypervisor shared out iSCSI paths from FreeNAS, started using Xen Orchestra wed UI and then discovered XCP-ng Center for windows that mirrors Xen Center. Looked around quite a bit on the CLI mostly looking at NFS options. Created VM’s and they are installing very fast using my NFS library OS ISO’s going to my iSCSI SR’s.

I also discovered that I could import my current XenServer enviornment into this XCP-ng community Center as well as use the Xen Orchestra premium web UI for a brief time that seems to have some cool VM ipmort features I may be able to use to import my VM’s from my old enviornment I hope.

I really had no idea they had been doing so much with this XCP-ng and it looks like they have a very active community!

Wow its really late and I need to go to bed I have a ton of projects and things I need to do other than this but this is huge as well.

More later on this XCP-ng!

January 27, 2019
by dhoytt
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UPS Battery Update

Updated one of my Liebert GTX UPS and the extension cabinet. Did this earlier than I wanted since the UPS went into total failure as it seems all the batteries have reached end of life obviously as evidenced by the visual swelling this is not one of the UPS that I had replaced the batteries on after buying from someone who had bought out a decommissioned data center.

I’m still updating other aspects of my infrastructure like NAS that’s running FreeNAS, hypervisors (testing Ovirt), rebuilding Zoneminder server, installing additional cameras for security, updating my network backbone, and building a smart environment the Open Source way. So this UPS going out was not in the plans until later. The effectiveness of the UPS wasn’t at peak so the batteries conditions explain the bad uptime for small outages it should withstand.

Here’s some after and before pictures of the UPS batteries and systems I have in place currently.

January 27, 2019
by dhoytt
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Pics From L.A.Rams 2019 Playoff Game Against the Cowboys

Some pictures from the L.A. Rams 2019 playoff win against the Dallas Cowboys! Been a Rams fan for a very long time and it’s great to have them back in California!

I also have some pics from the hotel I stayed in the Millennium Biltmore in downtown L.A.

GO RAMS beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl! I have a lot to do so it seems I will not make the Super Bowl but will be watching and yelling!

December 20, 2018
by dhoytt
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Getting Set for New FreeNAS Hardware Build

Getting set for new first major rebuild of my NAS system in several years. I have updated drives, replaced motherboards with same generation motherboards, up-sized drives switched chassis even but always with similar hardware.  I will be swapping to a new chassis, motherboard, RAM, hard drives, CPU, SAS hard drive controller, backplane, cables, FreeNAS version and layout of storage usage. This will help as my build and organization became difficult to fully utilize my full capacity for virtualization iSCSI targets and what I was using for storage of multimedia, files and backups. I will also with the larger capacity drives have less spindles spinning, more efficient power supplies and less rack space taken.

Here’s what I have so far:

Chassis: Supermicro sc825 (hot swap backplane)

Motherboard: Supermicro X9DRi-LN4F

CPU’s: matched pair INTEL Xeon E5-2690 2.90Ghz

Memory: 4 X 8GB DDR3 PC3L-10600R 1333MHz 240pin 

Controller: LSI SAS 9341-8I 12GB 8PORT PC-E 3.0 SAS SATA RAID CONTROLLER

Drive controller cables: Silverstone CPS06 600mm SFF-8643 to SFF-8087 w/ Sideband Thick Cable (SGPIO)

Hard Drives:  HGST Ultrastar He8 | HUH728080AL5200 | 0F23268 | 8TB SAS 12Gb/s 7200 RPM 128MB Cache 3.5″

Second power supply: SuperMicro 1U 1280W Power Supply PWS-1K28P-SQ

This is the chassis I picked up locally from a posting on Craigslist which had a pretty decent Supermicro x8dte-f motherboard , LSI SAS 9211-8i, a D33025 dual GB NIC, plus a Supermicro Mini-SAS pass thru cable (CBL-0167L). 

This is the front of the chassis with hot swap bays

This is what it looked like before on boot up.

This is the chassis stripped down ready for the new parts that are surrounding it

Normally it wouldn’t take very long to build this but my house is a mess as well as my work area and computer room so I will do some tidying up before starting my build. This is a build I have been putting off for a few years mainly trying to do this with my old chassis’s and trying to rebuild a more efficient room cooling component and switching those ideas around which is still on my radar along with switching away from old (Xenserver) to new virtualization (oVirt) Hypervisors and platform so stay tuned for that as well as I have those systems in house ready to build as well!

That’s it for now New build coming up plus transfer of data which is the real reason I needed to hurry with the NAS/FreeNAS build as a priority over other parts of the project.