Vista bad. Windows 7 good.

I (Greg Porter) recently dumped XP as my home machine operating system.  The main reason I had XP was to play games, and now that new games require DirectX 10, which requires Vista, I said goodbye.

So I went with Debian. Read more

It’s Christmas in February

At Cal Poly, we’ve needed more storage in the lab for a while.  We recently got a Fibre Channel HP EVA 4100 disk array.  It’s pretty sweet. Read more

Secure Shell Load Balancing (On The Cheap!)

At work, I (Greg Porter) have a lot of students (hundreds) that need to use ssh to log into a couple of unix hosts. Most of the students use one particular host, When vogon gets busy, or fork bombed, or hangs, all those users are SOL. It’d be nice if we had multiple ssh hosts behind some sort of ssh load balancer. Of course, we can’t afford a real load balancer.

We figured it out with iptables, and so far it seems to work. Read more!

An associate and I (Greg Porter) have started a new web site,, where we will chronicle all the fancy tricks we do with Unix/Linux/Active Directory integration, providing unified home directories to Unix/Linux/Windows clients using Solaris with ZFS, NFS and SAMBA, managing hundreds of Linux workstations withYUM, etc., etc.  Check it out!

Using the Citrix web client with Fedora

Cuesta College, one of the places I (Greg Porter) teach, only allows you to access your email 2 ways.  You can use their web based Outlook Web Access, which looks really lame and clunky if you’re not using Internet Explorer.  (I use Firefox on Fedora.)  The other way you can access your mail is by using Cuesta’s Citrix Presentation Server which uses the Citrix ICA Client plugin for your browser to get access to remote apps at Cuesta like Outlook or Office.  (No other access methods are allowed, no POP, no IMAP, my mail is “stuck” on campus.  I could launch into a rant about how silly that is, but I’ll do that another day.)

There’s a couple-three flaming hoops you have to jump through to get Firefox to use the ICA client… Read more

Hmm… SATA Really *IS* Slower than Fibre Channel

I (Greg Porter) said in an earlier post that we were using CentOS5 with a Sun Storedge 3511 SATA Array to serve up NFSv4 home directories to Linux clients and SAMBA home directories to Windows users. In benchmarks this setup proved faster. But the stuff hit the fan when the quarter started and the users started pounding on it… Read more

I Haven’t Died….

Or anything… It’s just been busy, really busy at work. But we have gotten:

  • Fedora 7 and CentOS 5 to authenticate against Active Directory
  • A CentOS 5 linux server to serve up home directories (including roving profiles) to Linux, Unix, and Windows clients with AD Kerberos
  • Sun Ray Server Software (running Sun Ray thin clients) on CentOS 5 working with AD and Linux NFS home directories

And you know what? CentOS 5, serving NFS home directories off of a SATA array, is between 6 and 20 times faster than our (decent) Solaris SPARC servers with fibre channel array using Solaris 10. They were here before I was, but they’re only like 10 months old. They should be *FASTER* than Linux.

More soon.

Sun 3510 and 3511 Disk Arrays

We have 2 Sun StorEdge 35XX disk arrays. Two Solaris hosts are directly attached to a Sun StorEdge 3510 Fibre Channel Array. One linux host has a similar Sun StorEdge 3511 Fibre Channel Array. The 3510 uses 10K RPM FC disks (fast), the 3511 uses slower (but larger) 7.2K RPM SATA disks. Other than that, the arrays are very similar. I didn’t think much of them (why don’t we have a *REAL* SAN?) but they are decent little arrays… Read more

Sun Ray Server Software 4, Beta Update 2 – running on CentOS

Here’s my quick notes on getting SRSS 4, Beta Update 2 (the latest) running on Centos 4.4. Read more

Clustering: Don’t turn the Rocks firewall off unless you know what you’re doing…

Recently Professor Diana Franklin was awarded an NSF grant to build a small high performance computing cluster here on campus. As the “friendly neighborhood system administrator” I volunteered to help build and run it. We chose UCSD’s Rocks Linux based clustering software for it. Rocks comes”out of the box” with most thing installed and configured correctly, even complicated things like Ganglia, a cluster monitor, or Sun Grid Engine, a job scheduler. Rocks makes it easy. Having said that, however, don’t tinker with Rocks components unless you know what you are doing… Read more