Lab Updates

So late last year I picked up a refurbished Dell PowerEdge R610 to use as a VM host to replace the 2950 Gen3. I still need to get more memory for it as I only have it outfitted with 64 GB currently. I still want to get 1-2 more R610s so I can get rid of the R900. I might get a 4th if I get into anything requiring super heavy lifting that i can dedicate to said task. Originally I was going to scrap the 2950 but have since decided to try doing a FreeNAS build around it. It only has 6 bays which I’ve filled with 2TB drives and replaced a couple of the 4GB memory modules with 8GB modules bringing the total up to 40GB (I’ll probably replace the remaining 6 later in the year). So far it’s handling my iSCSI stuff for the XenServer boxes, I’d like to move everything else over but that would require a suitable controller and some sort of 3.5″ disk shelf/enclosure that I haven’t located yet (at least without having to pay $$$$$, short of going on eBay and hoping for the best). If I can get that done I’ll probably take the AMD system that is in my original NAS build and use it for a new workstation.

The Week Ahead..

Welcome to severe weather season everybody. Make sure your weather radio is plugged in & has a good battery (along with a backup method (or methods) to receive warnings).

Today (5/16/19)

Tomorrow (5/17/19)

Saturday (5/18/19)

Tuesday (5/21/19)


So I’d rather be in Florida the rest of the week but it’s not happening obviously. So for anyone on my friends list who are headed down to MCO (have fun) here’s a short forecast I tossed together. I meant to do this earlier in the week but due to computer problems I didn’t get much done this weekend. I may try to do an updated one tonight that runs out a little further if my meetings don’t run late.

Today (All times EDT)
Dinner (5 PM): Low 70s
Evening (8 PM): Upper 60s
Overnight (1 AM): Mid 60s

Breakfast (8 AM): Mid 60s
Lunch (11 AM): Low – Mid 70s
Dinner (5 PM): Upper 70s
Evening (8 PM): Low 70s
Overnight: Around 70

Breakfast (8 AM): Upper 60s
Lunch (11 AM): Upper 70s – Low 80s
Dinner (5 PM): Mid – Upper 80s
Evening (8 PM): Upper 70s – Low 80s
Overnight: Low – Mid 70s

Breakfast (8 AM): Upper 60s
Lunch: Upper 70s – Low 80s
Dinner (5 PM): Upper 80s

Projects II

So I discovered the CPU I was going to use in building a Hyper-V or VMWare test box has only a single core. I think I’ll end up using it for a pfSense or OPNsense box instead and do something else for the hypervisor test box, maybe use the hardware from my current NAS after I build a replacement for it.

Occasionally I’ve run into some bottlenecks with the NAS which I think are I/O rather than CPU, I just haven’t figured out if I need more RAM, more disks or some combination thereof. I’ve wondered if I need to add a SSD or two but I’m not sure if that would help or not either. Current config has most of my data, including the XenServer storage on a 6x3TB RAID-Z2 using the WD Red drives. Contemplating if adding SSDs for either SLOG and/or L2ARC would help. Thinking if I can build a new machine I’ll put in 1 6×3 vDev and migrate everything over and then add the 6×3 from the existing machine as a 2nd vdev?

Meet the new boss same as the old boss…

So the Madrid City Council punted the public safety building down the road yet again, again citing funds. (While somehow having $7 MILLION for Public Works?) Guess instead of a new and improved mayor & city council we got the same mayor & council we had just with different bodies in the seats. Seriously, how many years does it take to build ONE BUILDING. The mayor and council need to just come clean and admit they never had any intention of building the new public safety building because they keep letting the Public Works Director go on spending sprees every year. Save everyone the trouble, quit making empty promises you have no intention of ever keeping.

2020? Projects

(If you’re wondering about the title it’s that I doubt I’ll have the budget for any of this in the coming year so maybe next year..maybe.)

I think going forward I’m going to go back to building my PCs instead of buying machines, except obviously for if I replace my going on 10 year old laptop. Maybe buy a refurbished machine for a server depending on the use case but otherwise probably just go back to custom build – I could probably use the practice anyway since I think my last build was my NAS and that was in 2015. In the mean time I’ve been slowly adding/upgrading the PC I use as my primary what I can, which I’m still needing to add more memory and an upgraded network card since for some strange reason the onboard from HP is only 10/100 despite being on a new enough board to support an AMD Phenom II X4 840T. At some point though I’d like to build a new machine so I can support better graphics cards and more memory. (HP shipped with Intel graphics I think and I added a 1GB Radeon 5570 PCI Express card to be able to handle my 3 monitor setup.)

NAS Upgrades / FreeNAS Mk II
So in 2015 I built a new storage box to handle all my file storage and to be a central storage for my home lab virtual machines instead of chunks of storage spread out all over the place. However I did this more on a “how fast/cheap can I get this done?” method than planning for expandability/performance. I’m considering building a second one to use just for my XenServer VMs and leaving the first unit for file storage. I’m not sure how much I can upgrade to increase performance other than maybe additional memory – I’m currently only running 16 GB while the board supports 64 GB. I currently have all 12 bays filled, 7 3TB WD Red, 4 1TB Seagate Enterprise (migrated from old fileserver) and a 400 GB drive I threw in as it was laying around. I don’t have any SSDs installed, and none of the drives are assigned to L2ARC or ZIL so maybe replacing 1-2 of the 1TB drives with SSDs for those could help maybe. Any capacity increase would have to come from swapping out drives with larger capacity drives. I’ve debated about building a second unit to handle just the VM storage but I’m not sure if I will do that yet. I should note I’m not saturating the NICs yet so any bottleneck is likely in the storage itself (short of something in the switch – Cisco 2948G-GE-TX – preventing use of the full gigabit links).

Additional VM Host(s)
I currently have 2 Dell PowerEdge servers being used to run VMs however due to time between purchases they are far from matched.. one is a 2950 and the other is a R900. At some point I’d like to maybe build (or maybe buy) some closer to the R900 to give some room and allow for fail-overs as the R900 occasionally reboots itself. The 2950 doesn’t have the memory to handle all of the VMs failing over from the R900 (32 GB vs 128 GB). The reboots might just be a bad memory module but I haven’t torn the machine apart to try and diagnose this. Perhaps also adding some higher speed (10/40Gbit) network cards for future use (ie storage)

I’m sure I will probably come up with more going down the road but thought this would work for a post since the weather has not been noteworthy outside of being unusually warm for January.

(EDIT 1/6/19 12:55 AM – I realized I forgot a build)

VMWare/Hyper-V Host

I should probably build a small-ish host to try out running Hyper-V and/or VMWare that I can blow up if need be just to get some hands-on time since my main environment is built on XenServer. I think I have some parts towards this I can use so mainly probably just finding a motherboard that fits.


I’ll let the graphics do the explaining.


This is a test post with the new ‘Gutenberg’ editor in WordPress. The last time I tried to use it was about a month ago and couldn’t even attach the image to the post I was trying to make, I ended up starting again with the regular editor just to be able to complete the post.

Test GIF

After some initial trials I seemed to have discovered at least partial cause to the image upload issues.. now why I was not seeing the issue in the classic editor last time I have no idea, as the cause (configuration on my nginx load balancer) should have resulted in the same error.

All The Rain

So how much rain has fallen? Short answer: a lot. The image below is a radar estimate from the NWS radar (KDMX) in Des Moines that I grabbed this morning.

(I tried to post it then but had issues getting the image to upload into WordPress, apparently something to do with Gutenberg since I’m writing now in the classic editor.)

July 31, 2018

Warning: Political post incoming.

Having been reading/listenting to the goings-on at city hall since April’s shitstorm has left me rather.. disappointed? disturbed? I’m not sure how to put it, but whatever it is – it is not good. People have been asking for the city council to be more transparent about things, but rather than making efforts to do so council members have balked or even seem offended that their word alone isn’t sufficient. Personally, why should I believe someone who has given me no reason to trust them? You say one thing but then fail to back it up through your actions. The council says they’re going to build a new public safety building, yet over 10 years later – no building, not even dirt work done.

At the council meeting on June 18th it was revealed that the Mayor/IT Director (yes, you read that right) disclosed the passwords to the police department’s email accounts to the county attorney and county sheriff. When asked why this was done he seemed to try to dodge the question, only to finally answer “because I have personal reasons”. If I as an IT person did that in any job I would be subject to disciplinary action, likely up to and including termination. What he did was inexcusable. Second, his explanation makes me question his ability as Mayor to do what’s right for the community instead of simply pursuing his personal wishes.

Also on the June 18th the Mayor and several city council members insisted on revisiting the idea of putting a computer in the police vehicles “to improve officer safety”. Now I can understand proposing the idea, but when the officers say it won’t do what the council thinks it will do, why keep insisting? Also it was revealed that apparently nobody can seem to find the chief’s contract. How do you lose a department head’s employment contract? Or is the city’s record keeping just that pathetically poor?

And then there was the Facebook post on the “Madrid Mayor” page on June 30th. I’d link to it, but the page has since been largely deleted. However someone grabbed a screenshot so I will quote from it:

 "Saturday's educational information for those that feel strongly sitting behind a computer screen clamoring for live feeds
 from the council meetings via from what I understand a YouTube channel."

I really do not care if it’s just recorded and uploaded later versus live streamed, as long as it is posted. Since I work in Des Moines and the council insists on meeting in the middle of the afternoon it makes it impossible for me to attend a meeting in person. But apparently the interim-Mayor thinks that since I work outside the city I do not have a right to know what is going on in city hall.

"Right now we are averaging only about 10 views per council meeting."

How can any one watch them when as far as I can tell they either a) do not exist, or b) are not published anywhere that they can be readily found.

Frankly at this point, as far as I’m concerned any claims about transparency from the current mayor & council are empty and meaningless. I don’t know who I’m voting for on the 31st, but at this point it won’t be either of the two current individuals.

I am tired of the empty promises. Don’t tell me you are going to do something, or that you support something, show me by your actions. Shut up and do it, maybe then I will start to believe you.