At Talia, we use Skype as a backup chat mechanism in addition to our own Jabber server. When choosing corporate Skype names, we tend to match the email address, replacing the at sign as that’s invalid on Skype. So “tyler@example.com” becomes Skype user “tyler.example.com”. A while back we discovered that we couldn’t reset the password of one of our staff members, Mohamed. Mohamed could reset his password via the Skype web interface, but couldn’t login afterward.

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It was bound to happen. The IPv4 address pool has nearly run out, IPv6 adoption is moving at a glacial pace, but demand for devices to be IP-enabled is soaring. And so, the vultures have come:

Dear Mr. Wagner,

We would like to invite your company to become a REDACTED Marketplace participant, where you can purchase the rights to unused IPv4 number blocks. There is no cost to become a participant and we currently have significant listings of various size number blocks which can be easily transferred to your company under existing policy.

We are available to discuss how the marketplace works or can provide it to you in writing if you prefer. Please contact me if this interests your company.

Best regards,

XXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXX
Outreach Coordinator, European Market
REDACTED Marketplace Services

I suppose I’m being unfair. The market is simply moving to fill the demand. But this is monetisation of a resource which should be free, infinite, and available to all. And thanks to politics and bad governance, we’ll soon have to pay for even the smallest IPv4 subnet. That will be a bar to entry to individuals and smaller companies, who will find themselves on a second-tier Internet. The one with private IP space, NAT, and the limitations that come with them.

Tonight I tested a Raspberry Pi model B running Raspbian as an OpenVPN-capable router. I used an Apple USB FastEthernet adaptor as the external interface. Results are disappointing. Pushing traffic through the VPN produced 90% CPU usage at about 8 Mbit with the CPU running at 700 MHz (no CPU overclocking). That’s far below what my tests with “openssl speed” produced.

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I use Geany to develop our Puppet source. * However, Geany doesn’t support Puppet manifests natively, and I couldn’t find a working example of someone who has done it. So here it is. Come and index, search engines!

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Job openings at Talia

Talia Logo

We’re interviewing for new Linux administration and systems development positions at Talia. Do you have a few years’ experience under your belt and want a challenge? Or have you used Linux at home and want to make the switch to being paid for it? Apply here:

You’ll be working directly with me as part of a small team. You’ll have plenty of responsibility and input into what you work on, and we’re a pretty fun group.

Update 2013-08-07: We’ve filled both roles. However, you’re always welcome to send me a CV.

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You should really, really get your Cacti RRA settings right before you begin using it. Cacti defaults to polling every 5 minutes, but a lot of enterprise users change this to 1 minute in order to provide higher resolution for troubleshooting problems. Unfortunately, there is a lot of incomplete information on how to do this.

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Cacti Templates

I previously wrote about how Cacti uses rrdtool to store and graph data. Cacti uses templates to define how it interacts with rrdtool as well as how it manages devices. Unfortunately, how objects inherit from these templates varies.

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I have imported Calibre 0.9.18+dfsg1-1bzr and its dependencies into my Apt repository for Ubuntu quantal (and Linux Mint 14). Although this isn’t the latest software release, it is the latest release published in Ubuntu raring. This makes it very easy to backport with pbuilder.

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Cacti and rrdtool

Cacti is a great tool. I use it for collecting and graphing all kinds of data about my servers and networks. But after using it for so many years, I’ve learned its weaknesses. It is quite easy to make a mistake setting up Cacti that you later come to regret – and cannot fix. Before using Cacti to graph real data, you need to understand how it works.

This is the first in a series of related blog posts about Cacti.

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Enable swap on Nas4Free

I recently built a storage server (SAN/NAS/whatever) with Nas4Free on a Supermicro 6037R-E1R16N. If you’ve ever built a SAN, you’ve seen one of these. Lots of disks in a ZFS array, with a filesystem exported via NFS or a volume exported via iSCSI. After almost a month of operation, I discovered that Nas4Free defaults to having no swap space. And this means your storage server will not be stable.

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