Keith Smith - My Blog - Twitter @_KeithIT

Keith Smith - My Blog - Twitter @_KeithIT


Enable SSH login with Root

Friday, September 4, 2015 - Posted by Keith A. Smith, in Linux

I recently had a need to ssh into a *nix box using the root credentials for a particular situation. It took me a few minutes to figure out the following
  1. Open up /etc/ssh/sshd_config and set “PermitRootLogin” to “yes”. (Mine was set to “without-password”)
  2. I then restarted the sshd process. This is done by killing the existing one (use ps -aux|grep sshd to get the process ID, then use kill to zap it), then restarting /usr/sbin/sshd

Once I was done I did the above steps again but changing the "PermitRootLogin" to "without-password"
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Our time in Seattle

Wednesday, August 26, 2015 - Posted by Keith A. Smith, in Journal of thoughts

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My Thoughts on Docker

Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - Posted by Keith A. Smith, in Journal of thoughts

Docker uses Linux LXC to encapsulate a fixed environment into which you have built some software that depends on a stable config and wants isolation from everything else. To the software it feels like it is alone on a machine, but actually it is alone in what Docker calls a container. You can have 100s to 1000s of containers running on one machine. You can also group containers together to make larger projects. Obviously with the encapsulation, you can patch or upgrade the OS without any fear it will break something running in a container. Unlike VMware the encapsulation is not on the chip level with a hypervisor, but on the OS level. So those big servers you have, the ones that can easily run heaps of things, but you don't really want to have heaps of VMs? (which really just passes the update/patch/reboot buck, if you think about it), these can run heaps of Containers. In my opinion Docker reminds me of bsd 4.0 jails, developed in 2000 for a hosting company which predated Solaris zones.

Docker has many concerns, particularly around security, which in turn can be a gating or otherwise limiting factor in acceptance by several industries. This is the nature of open source - there are many options as every individual that disagrees with someone else spawns his own solution addressing what he views as the most important problems. In the end there are many container options, even just in the case of linux. Companies that have embraced container-based virtualization more often have more than just one such technology in place. This year's openstack summit showed this strongly. I do see great potential with containers. One of the caveats i am facing right now when designing my potential future architecture, it is redundancy/availability. There is no live migration of containers. So you have to consider tthat. You would have redundant containers, but i can see where IP addressing can get a bit complicated when using keepalive or ucarp. And this is because they wouldnt work at the container level, but at the docker host level. If you lose a container, the virtual IPs wouldnt be active on the other host. And docker uses its own network addressing for the containers. Therefore, essentially each docker host is a "router".
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xackup for xenserver

Saturday, June 20, 2015 - Posted by Keith A. Smith, in Xen

I recently was tasked with to rebuild an entire xenserver farm, i started to put together a plan of action on how I was going to accomplish this. I started thinking about the servers, I figured I could grab a USB sticks and create some bootable USB sticks from the xenserver iso. Next I made note of all the hypervisor network settings (screen shots are the best way to go) so that part was covered, lastly can the virtual guest and storage. A new NAS was going to be in play so i needed to find a way to backup the guest and export them, I found a software called xackup which was priced right but I wanted to vet it before making a purchase. I downloaded the trial (14 days for the elite version) installed on a test machine to put it through its paces, I backed up one guest while it was running to see how it would handle it. 

The backup ran smooth and didn't cause any errors or outages which was great, now I wanted to test the restore capabilities of xackup. Since the virtual guest I was working with wasn't important I powered it off and deleted it, yes you read that right. Since I haven't used this product before I did have an xenserver export (e.g. .xva) file just in case xackup failed me. I proceeded to restore the virtual guest with xackup, about 20mins later the restore was complete and the guest vm was in great shape which i define as (virtual disk restored & attached, network settings correct, OS start up clean, etc) once all I confirmed all that I knew this was going to be my tool of choice. I proceeded to backup all the virtual guest which took quite bit of time then i reviewed the log reports for each virtual guest backup, they all were successful with no errors.

I then shutdown all the guest, followed by the hypervisors and lastly the storage array. Next I swap out the hypervisors along with storage, with all the new gear in place I get the install for xenserver going on all the hypervisors. While the installs were running for xenserver, I setup the LUNs on the NAS so the I can point the hypervisors at the correct targets. Once the xenserver installs were completed, I setup the network addressing and make sure the NTP is working correctly (I have had issues with this in the past) then I launch xencenter so I can setup the networking on the hypervisors, create a pool,add the hypervisors to the pool then finally map the CIFS and iSCSI storage. 

Now here comes the fun part i need to restore all the virtual guest, I launched the xackup software so I can start restores but at that point in noticed that there is no way to restore all the guest at the same time nor anyway to schedule the restores. That was a big flaw to me since you can schedule multiple backups, so I was stuck having to restore each guest two at time (I had 2 laptops running with the xackup on it) and eventually everything was backup and running on new shinny gear. I have made a few suggestions to the developers of xackup but overall I think its a great tool for the price and its simple, effective and affordable.
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Automate everything!!! with less code

Wednesday, June 3, 2015 - Posted by Keith A. Smith, in Automation

I have been writing scripts (e.g. vbsscipt,BATCH,Powershell,BASH,etc) to automate various redundant tasks over the past decade. A  few years ago I discovered a software called winautomation, I never got a chance to put it through its paces....until recently. I needed to have some sql backups moved from one location to another, this had to take place on a daily basis. In the past I would have wrote a powershell script or BATCH file to handle this, then use the task scheduler to run the script at the needed time. Instead I decided to give winautomation a shot at this, I downloaded the trial version & installed it on the box I needed the tasks to run. After that I opened up the console and I noticed so many available actions sorted by category (e.g. system actions - run a application,etc conditional statements,loops) and the list goes on. I created a job then inserted a move files action, next I put in the source and destination for the transfer. In the winautomation world it looks like

I ran this job and it worked!!! which was great. Now I wanted to add a house cleaning task which was I wanted to only retain 30days of data in the destination, to this I wrote a powershell script to do this for now, {code}Get-ChildItem -Path "driveletter:\" -Recurse | Where-Object LastWriteTIme -LT (Get-Date).AddDays(-30) | Remove-Item {/code} and saved it. Now the really cool thing I saw is that it has the ability to record mouse & keystrokes via a macro recorder, I figured I would try the next phase of this with the macro recorder.  I started the macro recorder and proceeded to open powershell, then I did cd / cd folderlocation followed by .\remove30dayoldfile.ps1 finally ctrl+alt+s to stop the macro recording.  The job actions resulted in 2 line entries


With all of this in a single job now I save then run it. The result ends up being exactly what I wanted, to finish it off I added a schedule trigger so it can run at the time & date that I needed and lastly a send email notification
once the schedule trigger was complete. So far this has been working great, I will be purchasing this because it will be a huge time saver to automate certain task very easily instead of writing complex code.
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