Move Hosting to a RPi

I’ve been using my website host for about 12 years now and slowly the costs have gone up. It started around 7 years ago when my yearly plan went from $40 to $60 or so. I shrugged it off and chalked it up to rising costs. When I got the bill this month I was actually shocked. It was around $100 and it made me think why am I paying for a hosting when I can  can do it myself on a Raspberry PI!

In the next few months I’ll look in to options and post the best three to hopefully get feedback on whats the best.

DIY Computers are Fun

I recently got my Samsung 950 NVMe drive back from Samsung since it developed some bad blocks. The RMA process was quick and I’m glad Samsung honors their warranty. I send them event logs saying bad blocks were found and use SpinRite for a backup visual of the bad blocks. Whilst in NVMe limbo I used my old 850 Evo and ran into a few issues with my motherboard that I figured I should write down so other people don’t have to loose a weekend like I did.

Bad Blocks are Bad.

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PRTG Raspberry Pi and SNMP Walk in to a Bar

I’ve been toying with the idea of using a Arduino and Bluetooth to monitor temperature for random projects and general interest. A year or so ago I set one up, cobbled together rather, an Arduino to talk to Xively so I can chart my fermenting and cold crashing temperatures. It didn’t have Bluetooth but it worked for a month or two then freeze and all I would have to do is flash the Arduino with the code again and it would work. I was able to get information for my wedding beers and a few others but one of the many downfalls was the Arduino needed to plugged in to the network, no built in Wi-Fi, and like many other things once the cable is unplugged and no one notices the project goes by the wayside.

 

Now my curiosity is peeked again. Intel released the Edison which has dual core 500MHZ CPU, 1GB of running memory, 4GB of storage, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. It’s also about the size of a quarter and works with a lot of the Arduino tech. Besides being insanely hard to solder the pinouts it makes for a powerful enough computer to run Linux for about $50, plus the cost of add-ons. This is where the Raspberry Pi comes in the picture. The Edison and Pi are about the same, for my use, and with some digging I found a video that someone did exactly what I wanted. Sadly he didn’t link to any code or have any more information about it but now I know it’s possible.

Intel Edison
Intel Edison

I won’t go into the details now but after two failed attempts and a week of giving up one late night I was able to get the temperature probe to return its temperature to the SNMP in the Pi and setup PRTG to query the OID so I can make the fancy graphs below. I’ll make a separate post about what I did, mainly so I remember, and my future plans.

PRTG and RPi working
Temperature in my office for the past two hours.
2 Day Chart
Temperature in my office for the past two days.
30 day chart
Temperature in my office for the past thirdly days.

Teaming Network Connections in Windows Server 2012 R2

I just got a new, used, Intel Quad Port Network Card and I wanted to make sure it worked. I was thinking about installing it in to a test box and moving a few big files and some pictures back and forth to verify that it worked but then I remembered that Windows Server 2012 includes native Network Teaming. I have servers set-up with Hyper-V port teaming but haven’t really tested it since Windows says its working and when I put the server’s into production I unplug a network card and make sure traffic still flows.

With Windows Server 2012 R2 comes with a “dynamic” mode which allows a hybrid of Address Hash and Hyper-V port load balancing mode.

2016-04-15_121601

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WordPress Update is a Virus?

I tried to update this blog to 4.5 and the updater was getting stuck on “Copying the required files”. I thought it was my hosting provider being slow, it is a shared host, so I waited about 10 minutes and the updater was still on “Copying the required files”. For some reason I pressed the back button and tried again. Still nothing after waiting 20 minutes.

The second time I tried the update some files were updated and others were left alone. How did I know this? When I went to log back in i got the error below.

Warning: require_once(/homepages/14/d164163635/htdocs/blog/wp-includes/class-wp-site.php): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /homepages/14/d164163635/htdocs/blog/wp-includes/ms-settings.php on line 17

Fatal error: require_once(): Failed opening required ‘/homepages/14/d164163635/htdocs/blog/wp-includes/class-wp-site.php’ (include_path=’.:/usr/lib/php5.6′) in /homepages/14/d164163635/htdocs/blog/wp-includes/ms-settings.phpon line 17

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Remote Server Administration

For a few weeks now I’ve been rebuilding my lab so I brush up on SCVMM and other cool technologies, InfiniBand anyone? With having a multiple lab servers for testing it becomes pretty hard to keep track of all my securely generated passwords and ports needed for web, SSH, Monitoring etc.

Enter RDM, or Remote Desktop Manager, to manage and keep track of a lot of what I would need to put in OneNote or, eek, notepad. RDM has a plugin for KeyPass so I can look up the login or secure notes without having to open RDM and have a simpler way to generate passwords.  It saves your hosts and other data entered on Devolutions server so you won’t loose yours settings if your computer crashes.

 

RDM in Action!
RDM in Action!

One of the best part of RDM, or Remote desktop Managers in general, is that I don’t need to have 15 RDP windows open to test out a few thing, It’s one application with tabs and if you need to you can popout one of them. For my lab I would NAT the RDP ports to the servers or desktops and every RDP window had the same name but different port. I would be away from the lab for a few weeks I would forget what server was what port.

I also like that they have a free edition that has some reduced functionally but when I realized how much more efficient I was I purchased it. Back when I started IT work I was against custom applications that only had one feature. When I would get a new computer I would have to bring over all of the applications and settings. For RDP management I would keep a folder with all of my labs add RDP shortcuts in the folders and make a toolbar out of the folder. It worked for a while since I would typically be on one server and connect though other tools from there but when there.

Before RDM
Before RDM

As you can see the folder option works but it cumbersome really quick and you cant keep quick notes on the servers. Overall RDM is easy to use and has a lot of features that I haven’t even tried yet.

What tools do you use for server management?

Battlefield 4 Runs like Butta.

Playing BF4 at 2560×1440 is a lot of work for the graphic card but I didn’t really think how much an old CPU can limit game play. As you can see below overall usage of the CPU is at 74% with my settings on (auto) Medium.

2016-01-28 10_03_51-2016-01-25 23_25_55-Battlefield 4.png - Picasa Photo Viewer

Funny enough my desktop is finally able to play BF4 achieving above 100 FPS and BF5 is slated to come out at the end of the year.  Hopefully my computer can run it.

Unable to Connect to Synology DSM

I use my Synology almost every day and for the past month I wasn’t able to connect in to it externally though HTTPS port 80 or 443. I tried a few things on my router but I was still getting a Connection Refused error in Chrome and Internet Explorer would say it cant load the page.

I ended up ruling out my router by moving the NAT rule for ports 80 and 443 to another server on my LAN, which worked, so I knew it wasn’t the router or rules that I change often. I found a post saying to disable the QuickConnect, restart the Synology, then enable it again.

It took two tries and sometimes redirecting to the port 5001 doesn’t work but now  CloudStation is able to connect offsite.

2015-12-29 14_44_58-Remote Desktop Manager [ELG-WIN7-1 - HV2]

Update:

I also found this post saying to make sure that HTTPs service is enabled.

2016-01-28 09_35_45-Synology DiskStation - DS1513