Category Archives: sysadmin

Back to the Future: Converting a Server VM to Bare Metal

It might seem like stepping back in time, but sometimes you start something with a VM and the desire for resources and usage skyrockets and you need to transplant it onto a bare metal server.  This was my situation with … Continue reading

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How to Use Self-signed SSL Certificates for Plex Media Server

Plex is a fork of the Open Source Kodi (previously XBMC) project from 2008, the Plex Media Server has evolved into what amounts to a free,  personal Netflix + Spotify that lets you stream home content to devices or browsers … Continue reading

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Quick and Dirty SSH Key Management with Python

Sometimes I need to quickly copy SSH keys to remote systems in a pinch.  I can do this with the Ansible authorized_key module but that’s not always available.  I might be on a random system and Ansible or external internet … Continue reading

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Fun and Automation with Git Hooks

Git is more than just an awesome, decentralized version control system (VCS) – it can also drive lots of useful automation by triggering actions to deploy infrastructure and services based on event and commit-based hooks.  You can drive a lot … Continue reading

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Automate Infrastructure Docs with Python, WordPress and Foreman

“It’s not done unless it’s documented,” says the wise Ops sage.  Frequently updated documentation is critical, it’s also one of the most neglected parts of technology.  Learn how we auto-generate server resource wiki data with Python, WordPress and Foreman.

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Automate SuperMicro Server Provisioning or Die Trying

We use Foreman for systems provisioning and recently received a large shipment of Supermicro for Ceph.  Out of the box they were a lot of trouble to get integrated/automated at the same level of our Dell gear but we managed, … Continue reading

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Switching from Mutt to Neomutt

“All mail clients suck. This one just sucks less,” so says mutt author Michael Elkins.  This is true for me over the last 10years as mutt along with offlineimap and notmuch allowed me battle the unwieldy, barbarous deluge of mailing … Continue reading

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Tmux for GNU Screen Refugees and Vim Users

I use GNU Screen on servers to manage working sessions and perform long-running or persistent tasks. Lately I’ve been using tmux locally on my work desktop/laptop, finding it better suited for most terminal activity.  Here’s how I set it up … Continue reading

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Automate Nagios Monitoring with Ansible

Infrastructure monitoring is important and there’s lots of tools for it.  I’m fond of Nagios – it’s very mature and customizable but it’s also a giant pain in the ass to setup.  Here’s how to save time deploying and managing … Continue reading

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Fun and Profit with Reverse SSH Tunnels and AutoSSH

Sometimes you just need to get to things remotely.  Those things might be behind an unbudging firewall with no way to forward proper ports for remote access, or perhaps you just want it setup access to resources this way.  I … Continue reading

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Secure, Distributed Password Resources with GPG, Git and Vim

There are many tools to manage passwords and sensitive resources, some cost money or are closed commercial products.  I’m going to show you how to create a secure, distributed and encrypted remote password repository using Open Source tools like GPG … Continue reading

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Browbeat Is now an OpenStack Project

Browbeat is an Open Source performance tuning and analysis tool for OpenStack clouds, and something I’ve been contributing to lately on my new team.  As of this OpenStack commit Browbeat has moved to the openstack.org namespace and is on the … Continue reading

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Quick and Dirty Remote Execution with Ansible

Ansible is a wonderful tool for orchestration, configuration management and automating a lot of tasks you’d never want to do by hand.  Sometimes you just need to get in there and run a few commands across a bunch of different … Continue reading

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Automate 7 Days to Die Game Server Deployment with Ansible

7 Days to Die is an extremely fun apocalyptic zombie survival crafting game with much less emphasis on the crafting and more on survival.  It’s a cross between the good building aspects of Minecraft, with the bleak realism of Rust … Continue reading

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Manage Test/Development Linux VMs with qcow2 and Libvirt

I often need to quickly revert virtual machines used for testing to a known good, vanilla state without doing anything by hand.  QEMU provides a great set of tools to help.  Here’s a simple tool to wrap all of it … Continue reading

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