Raspberry Pi as a thin client

 The processor on the Raspberry Pi isn't all that fast, so why not offload it? I have a HP ML350 that is mostly idling, except when I need to use PostgreSQL, so I thought to set it up as a desktop server for my Pi.

 

I set up a RDP server since it works well with Linux and also Windows. First thing's first, install xrdp and all other dependencies:

 

apt-get install build-essential libpam0g-dev libssl-dev x11vnc vncviewer fakeroot checkinstall x11vnc xrdp rdesktop

 

How not to order RAM

So, back in June or so, I ordered four sticks of 2GBs of RAM for my main workstation, DDR2 PC6400. Couldn't wait to get them right? So, a month goes by and they finally come in. Now, the board I have right now is a Supermicro X6DVL-EG2 which accepts ECC RAM. I thought my current RAM was non-ECC so I said fuck it and ordered non-ECC RAM. Wrong. RAM came in, tried it, motherboard beeped at me. Fuck. So I sent it back out east for a refund (to Newegg). A week or two goes by until I get the refund so I go ahead and order DDR2 PC6400 RAM.

Oh, great

So, my SCSI drive came in the other day. Dropped it in a drive bay and fired up the server. But oh no, beeping arose. Looked up the beep code and now it's about the processor. Either the processor isn't seated well or I need to replace it. Awesome. I probably should have grounded myself before hand. Strange enough, if I change the jumper settings on the motherboard, from the default 700Mhz to 750Mhz, the beeping stops. Dell says the default speed is 550Mhz but I'm not sure if these are the default processors.

SHOUTcast server

As finicky as I am about music, I'm one of those guys that'll change the song halfway through it. So, I thought I'll set up a local SHOUTcast radio to prevent that and create less distractions.

Download SHOUTcast DNAS either beta or stable (I chose stable) from here. Edit sc_serv.ini in the SHOUTcast program files folder. The only thing you need to change is your password and whether you want a public or private server. Next, download Winamp to make it easier to manage. Also download the SHOUTcast plugin for Winamp (here) and the null output plugin (here).

 

iStat on pfSense and server monitoring

One of my most favourite apps for my iPhone is iStat. It lets me monitor all my *nix servers in a beautiful interface. For my Linux clients, all I had to do was download the client, extract and compile. And since my router is running pfSense (FreeBSD 7.2) I thought I might as well get iStat on there.

 

Apparently, the developers edition of pfSense has all the goodies to compile stuff. Without even thinking of cross compiling, I quickly set up a VM of FreeBSD 7.1 (I know little to nothing of FreeBSD so I opted to get something near 7.2) and started to compile it. I had to get libxml2 first though and for FreeBSD 7. Anyway, logged into pfSense via SSH, fetch'd libxml2 and installed it. Now, since my router had nothing to compile packages with, I built iStat in the FreeBSD virtual machine and transfered the resulting mess to pfSense via SFTP. Now, since I couldn't have run make install in pfSense, I had to create /usr/local/etc/istat.conf and filled it in with the configuration file from another Linux client. I also edited the configuration file to fit the network interface (xl0 instead of eth0).

Looking back, I probably could have done things a little different. Either way, I got the job done. Now I'm happy that I can monitor my entire network with one app. I recommend for those that are in need of a functional server monitor to check out iStat for the iPhone. Be warned that iStat only supports one interface so far.

 

Syslog server on Lenny

So, I installed VMWare Server on my Windows Server 2003 box the other day. Downloaded a Debian Lenny image and got it running. Never dealt with VMWare Server so it's pretty neat to configure virtual machines from a convenient web interface. The web interface was having issues at first, of which I tracked down to IIS. The web UI runs on port 8333 and IIS runs on port 80 of course. Disabled IIS and the web UI was up and running.

 

So it just had to be the Windows box

Photo by MarkyBon

About last week my Windows Server [2003] (I had 2008 on there, then went back to 2003) server wouldn't boot. Since it's not accessed externally, I run TVersity to transcode by movies of which I watch on my 360.  

So, it wouldn't boot up which was great. Kept going into an endless loop, after POST it would keep rebooting. Dead RAM? You'd think it would beep if it was. But nope. Swapped the power supply and still nothing. Loose connection to the case fan? Still, nothing. Only other object that was still plugged in was the hard drive. Unplugged it. Booted normally (though it couldn't since it was the only one). Awesome. Ended up re-installing Server 2003 last night, turned out fine. 

Still puzzles me that it wouldn't boot at all. BIOS detected it fine, but once it tried to boot from the hard drive an endless loop occurred. Working well now, which is a surprise.

 

How to: Simple load balancer setup for web servers

I finally put together a load balancing setup together this weekend, and I'm surprised it was this easy.

What you'll need is three servers, two web servers and one server for the load balancer. It's not recommended that you only use one load balancer since it's a single point of failure (SPOF) but I only had one extra server on hand. For this tutorial, I used Debian Lenny.

 

First thing's first, download and install pound on your load balancer.