Reducing power usage part 2

Since posting part 1 of reducing power, I received the order of my ASRock and have re-used the hard drives from the previous Shuttle I had. The Shuttle wasn’t loud by any stretch, but the ASRock is incredibly quiet. To the point where I have to check it’s still running!

After previously being impressed with how long my hard drives have lasted, one went pop during a power failure. That’s a bit disappointing, but the drives are only Western Digital Blue’s which are just generic consumer desktop disks.

Continue reading Reducing power usage part 2

Reducing power usage part 1

A good 7 years ago, I bought a Shuttle SX38P2 Pro which has been running pretty much 24/7 ever since. Recently the PSU fan has been struggling, but I can’t complain for the time it’s been in use. Over those 7ish years I’ve suffered a single drive failure.

# smartctl -a /dev/ada0 | grep Power_On_Hours
9 Power_On_Hours 0x0032 081 081 000 Old_age Always - 13972
# smartctl -a /dev/ada1 | grep Power_On_Hours
9 Power_On_Hours 0x0032 015 015 000 Old_age Always - 62738

As the fan was struggling, I contacted Shuttle to ask about replacements but received no reply. That was disappointing, but I guess understandable as the model has been discontinued (I didn’t think the cooling was model-specific though).

Continue reading Reducing power usage part 1

Unifi Protect

I decided to buy a Unify G3-Flex. I’m already a user of some of the SDN products that Ubiquity have in their range, and was interested in their video offering. The G3-Flex was the cheapest way to get in to the range so I figured it was worth a punt.

Sadly, the video controller (pretty much required if you want the nice functionality, or if you’re not going to create your own) doesn’t support ARM so you cannot install this on a Raspberry Pi. That’s disappointing as you can install the SDN controller on a Pi fairly happily (for how much longer is open to debate. It feels as though the Cloud Key is the preferred option for Ubiquity going forward. Won’t lie, don’t want one.) There is also an NVR you can buy if you don’t want to build your own controller. For one camera costing $79, it made no sense to splash out $365 on a controller when I can build my own for free.

Continue reading Unifi Protect

VMware Skyline Update

Just a quick update on my VMware Skyline usage. Since my last post on Skyline, it seems to have been updated. Cool!

The filters still don’t get retained if you click on an issue then go back. But, there are more filter options now – There used to be 4 categories there’s now maybe 7 which is useful for more complex environments.

On the overview page, you can now scroll past the first 15 findings. It appears you now have infinite scroll, allowing you to see all findings. This is good!

I still don’t see a way to tell when something was first discovered as a finding.

If a finding is attributed to more than 10 assets, you can now scroll and see them all rather than just the first 10 and having to guess on the names of the other assets. This is a big improvement indeed.

You can now also select to see all findings for a vCentre or cluster (for example), rather than having to select each host individually. Again, another useful improvement.

We’re starting to move towards a version 2 release. Thank’s, VMware! Please keep releasing improvements.

vSphere 6.7 Upgrade – PSC’s

I’ve recently upgraded our environment from vSphere 6.0 (shush, it’s still in support until March 2020). Fairly standard setup really, a couple of vCenter’s, a couple of PSC’s (to allow ELM), and several hosts. We also ran the HTML 5 Fling as nobody wants to use that god-awful web client which was forced on us for some reason. Yes, it’s been years. No, I’m not over it.

I won’t go in to how to perform the upgrade, that’s well documented and often repeated already, I’ll just point out a couple of things I noticed.

Continue reading vSphere 6.7 Upgrade – PSC’s

VMware Communities

The VMware Communities are an interesting beast. I’ve not really bothered with them in the past, possibly because I feel there’s nothing I can add. But upon reading them recently, I’ve noticed something which is a bit weird and possibly interesting (but probably not).

There have been enough posts of this type for me to notice. An example:

Example of odd posts on VMware communities
Example of odd posts on VMware communities

The posts all follow this structure – Link to an author who appears to be unrelated to anything, link to a VMware knowledgebase article that is probably related to the question, give a publication name and product version, then finish with a one sentence question.

Continue reading VMware Communities

VMware Skyline

So, VMware have a proactive support product called Skyline. You install an appliance, the Skyline Collector, in to your environment then point it at your vCenter server(s). From there, the collector monitors your environment and uploads the details to the VMware Cloud for analysis. The results are then presented to you in a portal.

Skyline overview page
Skyline overview page

Skyline is currently on release The portal, sadly, is not a version 2 release. Whilst it does give a reasonable overview, it doesn’t quite function as I’d expect. If you apply any filters (for example, ‘Critical’ findings for ‘Compute’), click on a finding, then click the back button on the web page, the filters are removed. A minor thing, for sure, but frustrating anyway.

The ‘Date Found’ field seems to simply show the date that it was last found rather than first found. So, if you have a lot of findings (as above) and the number increases there appears to be no real way of working out what is new.

The overview page doesn’t scroll past the first 15 findings, so you have to apply filters to see all the data. This may be OK in an environment with less than 15 findings, but after that you have to remember when each finding was made – there’s no obvious way to see this – so you can tell what is a new finding.

Continue reading VMware Skyline

Amazon Lightsail and DNS

So, Amazon Lightsail is a nice idea. You can host all kinds of things with it, pretty simply and pretty cheaply (oh, hi this website!) Something I found to be missing was the explanation of how to get DNS to work correctly. I wrote it off to updating my NS records after the initial response had been cached. So, waited patiently for 48 hours long hours. No joy.

Re-read the documentation. Yes, all happy that I’d followed that. Still nothing. Deleted the zone in Lightsail to re-create it. Still nothing. Well, this is frustrating!

What I found to be missing (and missing from the documentation) is that if you update your NS records in a Route 53 hosted domain, you have to also delete the hosted zone in Route 53. I only found this by chance when I noticed that the updated NS records I’d created didn’t match what I was seeing in the Route 53 control panel. How annoying! The Amazon documentation would work beautifully if you register your domain with another registrar, but falls short when using their own services. Continue reading Amazon Lightsail and DNS

That boring first entry

We all like to think we’re important…

So, this is just an excuse to take some notes on the things I’m doing. I’m sure another voice is needed on the internet to give their opinions and explain how someone did things. Right?

I suspect this will mostly be about home automation, bits of script/code, and things I get up to with Virtualisation. Let’s see how this goes.