Linux Device Change Breaks Encrypted Swap

Linux disk partition names such as /dev/sda1, /dev/sda2 are not as fixed as they once were. From time to time they can change. Perhaps due to a hardware change or kernel upgrade, or sometimes for no apparent reason. If and when this happens on your system, things can break. In this case, an encrypted swap partition had been configured as “/dev/sda6”, and failed to activate following a change in the the /dev/sdXX partition names. This article describes the symptoms and a fix.

The article also discusses a bug affecting Ubuntu 14.04 based distributions, which can make it more difficult to recover an encrypted swap configuration broken by a device name change. Continue reading

Debian 7 to Debian 8 Migration Gotchas

Debian 8 (jessie) was released in April 2015, ten months ago at the time of writing. Some sites will have upgraded by now, and others might be considering the move. This article provides a list of issues encountered after upgrading several servers from Debian 7 (wheezy) to Debian 8. These are system administration issues in the most part, though some might also be of interest to application support staff. Continue reading

Repairing and Recovering a Broken ESXi VM

This post describes the recovery of a broken virtual machine within ESXi 5.1 (update 1). The VM was damaged in several ways: the vmxf file was missing, and so was one of the vmdk files. The system was down and not bootable due to the missing files. In addition, the root password had been lost and needed recovery. The same procedure, or parts of it, should work for other ESXi VMs. The broken VM was running Red Hat, but that barely impacts the procedure, apart from the password recovery bit. Continue reading

Upgrading ESXi from 5.0.0 to 5.0.0 Update 3

After a security scan showed vulnerabilities, a recent client of mine requested the above update. The target server was a stand alone HP DL360 running ESXi version 5.0 (GA). The upgrade was performed with the following procedure, which should work equally as well for other ESXi versions. A system reboot is required. Continue reading

BL460c G7 Blade Cannot see NC542m Mezzanine Card

This post explains how to install the mlx4 driver into ESXi 5.1 in order that it can see and communicate with the NC542m 2-port Ethernet adapter card.  The card was fairly new (at the time) and ESXi 5.1 could not see it by default. Continue reading

How to Rename the Default Raspberry Pi User

The Raspberry Pi comes with a default user called “pi”, whose initial password is also set to a well known default. While this makes it easy to use the system, it is not very secure. Anyone with physical access to your Pi could login with these widely known credentials. Furthermore, if you have enabled the SSH server, users on the local network could do the same.

Even if you have changed the “pi” user password, just having a user name that is universally known is still a security risk. The following article explains how to safely rename the “pi” user to something more secure. Continue reading

How to Delete a Route in Red Hat 6.6

Deleting a route from the routing table in Linux should be simple. However, the syntax of the route command can be a little fussy.

I wanted to remove the first entry in the routing table shown below: Continue reading

List Virtual Machines on ESXi

ESXi is popular hypervisor product from VMware. It comes with several management GUIs including Vsphere and VCenter. Command line tools are also bundled, though they are used more rarely. This article describes a short script to list all virtual machines on the system.

The script is below. It is intended to run under the Busybox shell, the default environment when you ssh directly into the system hosting ESXi. Continue reading

Some Raspberry Pi 2 Benchmarks

This article presents a few informal benchmarks comparing the Raspberry Pi to the Raspberry Pi 2. The original Pi has a single core ARM v6 processor. The Pi 2 is quad core, ARM v7, and clocked faster than the Pi 1. But is it really six times as fast, as the makers claim ? Short answer: yes it is. And then some. Continue reading

Simple Owncloud Installation on Raspberry Pi 2

The Raspberry Pi’s low power consumption makes it well suited to the role of always-on server. This post describes how to install Owncloud onto the Pi. Owncloud is an open source software package providing remote file sharing services, similar to Dropbox. But with Owncloud, you retain ownership, security and control of the shared data. Owncloud works well on a Pi 2 and Pi 3 but will run very slowly on a Pi 1.

Update 20th November 2016 – There is a newer version of this article. Please see Simple Nextcloud Installation on Raspberry Pi. Nextcloud was forked from ownCloud in June 2016. It now seems to have become the natural successor to Owncloud. I recommend using Nextcloud rather than Owncloud. This article remains on line because it might be helpful to existing Owncloud users, particularly the parts about upgrading and using external USB media.

UPDATE 16th July 2016 – Nextcloud was forked from Owncloud in June 2016. The procedure below can be used both for Owncloud and the initial release of Nextcloud (version 9.0.52). Thanks to Dan for this information.

My Raspberry Pi 2 was purchased from RS Components in the UK. It was installed with Raspbian “Jessie” (Debian 8) by applying the image “2016-02-09-raspbian-jessie.img” downloaded from the raspberrypi.org downloads page. The following procedure was then performed without any further pre-work (other than enabling ssh in the basic setup). Continue reading