and the lab is up

Posted in Geekfest on August 13th, 2016 by juan

Ok so I got it working on Sunday, but I’ve had a long week and didn’t have a chance to update. The C6100 is up and running. I’ve moved it into the DCF and surprisingly, the noise on it is actually so little, I can not hear it through the door. That was one of my biggest concerns. Long story short, the process was involved, but mostly because the SSL certs on the management IPs are so outdated.

So all that said, this is what I ended up with:

I’ve never had that much compute, memory, storage, or anything. That was a very, very large data center not long ago.

Cool. Now on to other cool stuff.

Oh… and a couple of things to note in case someone is actually reading this.

The back of the C6100 gets **hot**. I noticed in the move from my office into DCF that the USB thumb drives I’m using for boot were very hot. I’m concerned that it’s going to take them beyond supported limits, so I bought a set of little pig tails to have them off the motherboard.

Also – this thing runs relatively low power, but it is sucking about 660 watts being mostly idle. I’m going to have to buy another power supply and another UPS to make sure that I survive more than 5 minutes of outage.

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Another fresh start

Posted in Geekfest on August 7th, 2016 by juan

So, like usual, I’m sitting on a plane and have little to do. Figured that this is a good time to start writing for my blog again. It’s been much ignored recently, but a new update to Ulysses just came out and it supports posting directly to WordPress sites.

There’s been much that has changed since I last posted. Much has changed in my personal life, but much has also changed in my nerdery. My home network now has over 45(!) things with IP addresses on them. This is forcing me to make a change that I did not want to do. For years I’ve been running the Home Edition of Sophos UTM. I really couldn’t be any more pleased with the functionality of it, but for whatever reason, it is limited to only 50 internal IPs. Now, granted, when I first got the software, that seemed like a ridiculous number. But, as with all such things (640K of RAM – who’ll ever use that much?), the time has come for me to move on. My first attempt was to use the next generation firewall from Sophos. Well that failed 30 minutes into me trying to use it. Many of my devices have static IP addresses handed out to them via the DHCP server. When I was taking those address into the new firewall, it TIMED OUT ON ME AFTER I PUT THEM ALL IN. Yup 30 minutes of laboriously entering MAC addresses, IP addresses, and host names – the damned thing failed. You see, Sophos didn’t develop a migration tool from the old UTM to the new “goodness”. Time to move on.

So – this weekend, I’m going to pfsense. It’s not as slick. It doesn’t do all the UTM stuff. It’s clearly written by folks that are nerds like me and not professional UI dudes (no disrespect intended). I’m going to miss some of the features of Sophos, but I have to move on.

Why you ask? Well – that’s the good part of this story. I just bought a new (well to me), Dell C6100 four node blade system for my home lab. It’s going to bring 32 cores, 192GB of RAM, and lots of other things to the home DCF (Data Control Facility for you new readers). That gives me enough juice to run most of the “hard core” stuff my vendors are trying to shove into Datalink. It’ll be fun having a really nice home cluster again.

But … to get that guy on my network, I’m going to have to doll out at least 12 more IPs just for the hardware. Imagine home many more I’m going to have to hand out once I start firing that guy up full of VMs.

Yeah – I’m a nerd and have first world problems – but that’s how I learn and make a living.

More to come…


so I remember

Posted in Commentary, Geekfest, Musings on March 10th, 2011 by juan

One of my clear recollections of my early computer usage was the day that I bought my first hard drive. At 5 MEGA BYTES it seemed a luxury beyond all imagining. It only cost me $3,000.00. In 1980.

Had the same feeling in the mid 80’s when I upgraded my Amiga to 2MB of RAM (remember the sidekick?) and a 40 MB hard drive. It seemed like RAM beyond measure. Storage beyond possible utilization.

In the early 90’s my work gave me a computer with a super high rez screen, UNIX, 4 MB of RAM, and 1GB of hard disk, and a SPARC Based UNIX operating system with INTERNETS. Mere PC’s were useless to me. Imagine the _power_ of my configuration.

In the early 2000’s (naught’s?), my laptop came with dozens and dozens of GB’s of hard disk space, and a Gigabyte of RAM. It used windows, but that’s before OSX became stable.

By the mid 2000’s my laptop had a 17″ screen with super high rez screen, 120 GB’s of hard disk, 1.5 GB of RAM, and UNIXes. Welcome to the vortex of Steve. The power was mind boggling.

In the mid 2010’s my laptop still had a 17″ screen, but hi-rez to a new level, 8GB of RAM, and 500GB of HD. The processor had two cores each of which is nothing less than a super computer.

By the late 2010’s I got the first desktop I’ve used consistently since the early 90’s UNIX workstations. It has a 27″ inch screen, 8 cores of super duper computer horsepower, more RAM than I have used yet (no swap), it’s connected to 20+ TB of storage in my home gigabit network. My DCF has officially exceeded a [LOC](

My current laptop has 128GB of storage, 4GB of RAM, and two cores.

Say what?

What just happened? When did it become a feature for less to be more?

Simple: we have too much juice. All around. What we __can get__ and what we __use__ are worlds apart now.


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