Configuring unbound as a local DNS server

Unbound is a validating, recursive, and caching DNS resolver written in C and much more lightweight than its predecessor, BIND. It was developed with a focus on security and an assumption that every host it interacts with could be malicious. BIND, in comparison, has become too bloated, slow and complicated to maintain. I expect to … [Read more…]

Upgrading the home lab to ESXi 6.0

VSphere 6.0 was released last week so I decided to give it a spin in my home lab. It comes loaded with a lot of features that might not be useful in a smaller virtual environment: virtual volumes, long distance vmotion, VSAN 2.0, etc but it does include significant scalability improvements for various subsystems in the vmkernel. … [Read more…]

Backing up VMs on ESXi

After putting together my home server along with its 4 VMs, I wanted to have a way to back them up periodically to a NFS datastore. Given that one of my drives in a ZFS pool failed recently, I realized that not having a backup of the ESXi datastore itself on which the VMDKs were … [Read more…]

Replacing a disk in a zpool

Of late, I have been seeing a number of S.M.A.R.T errors from one of my drives in the zpool. The drives are raw device mapped into the FreeNAS virtual appliance giving them the appearance and functionality of real disks in the virtual appliance. This allows for FreeNAS to be able to collect and display S.M.A.R.T … [Read more…]

An Ode for a Home Server

Here’s to my home server. An HP Microserver N36L that is running ESX 5.5 and hosts my media, web, NAS and OpenVPN servers: All the data disks are passed through using raw device mapping to FreeNAS which then treats them as JBOD for RAIDZ1. This is fine given that I don’t think of RAIDZ as … [Read more…]

Connecting the dots …

Back when I joined VMware in 2012, I had used VMware’s ESX but not extensively enough to realize the value that this product brings to a data center. As a system admin in a previous life, I found it extremely handy to be able to manage virtual machines versus managing actual physical servers. At Columbia … [Read more…]

Starting out with GNU Radio

I have always been interested in amateur radio; back in India, we never had much exposure since my city did not have a ham radio club. I remember setting up a random wire antenna and connecting it up at the roof on the sixth floor of the apartment we lived in. I could receive Germany, … [Read more…]