New-to-me Server Purchase

Submitted by Scott Dowdle on Sat, 04/02/2016 - 15:48

Gallatin County had an "IT Surplus Sale" today.  I picked up a Dell PowerEdge R710 2U server for only $50.  It is a complete, functional system except they removed the hard drives... so I'm going to have to buy some.  A new 4TB 2.5" Seagate Constellation ES SAS 7200RPM will set me back about $180.

     18 DIMM sockets, 6 populated with 2GB (12GB installed, 288GB max)
     8 2.5" hard drive bays - empty, first two have to be SAS drives, others can be SAS or SATA
     Perc 6 / LSI Logic / Symbios Logic MegaRAID SAS 2108 RAID card
     2 quad-core Intel Xeon E5620 @ 2.40GHz (combined BogoMIPS 76803.42)
     6 GBit ethernet ports (4 onboard, 2 on a descreet card)
     2 Riser cards with 2 empty slots
     Dual power supplies

With only 12GB of RAM, maybe I need to buy some more RAM.  Here's how much the various sizes of DDR3 1600 ECC DIMMs cost:
     4GB DIMM - $48, 8GB DIMM - $65,  16GB DIMM - $118

Dell PowerEdge R710 Layout

Not too bad for $50, eh?  They even threw in a Dell PowerEdge 2950 2U server for free with it.


Video: KVM within KVM, aka Nested

Submitted by Scott Dowdle on Fri, 04/01/2016 - 13:51

A few of us were talking about VDI and KVM in IRC and our buddy kaptk2 told me that nested KVM was working pretty well these days... since Fedora 19 he said.  I had not tried it yet so I thought I'd give it a try.  It worked so well that I thought I'd make a screencast showing it off. The original recording size was 1920x1080 (plus titlebar) and I scaled it down to 1280x734... so full-screen it for a better view beyond the embedded 824x473 video.  Oh, and yes SELinux is enabled and in enforcing mode everywhere.  Umm, and NO, this is NOT an April fools joke!

There is a tiny bit of work to do to get it going but not much.  Add a kernel boot parameter and configure the CPU details for the VM.  For more info, see this:

nested-kvm-on-fedora-23.webm (21 minutes, 21.5 MB)

Video: Comparing Fedora 23 and Korora 23 (Cinnamon)

Submitted by Scott Dowdle on Wed, 03/30/2016 - 17:13

A user with the IRC nick of CoffeeMan wanted to know how Fedora 23 and Korora 23 (Cinnamon edition) compared for resource usage because he was seeing performance differences between the two.  There shouldn't really be much in the way of differnces other than branding and themes... so I created two KVM VMs and installed them both side-by-side.  While I realize that running two VMs at the same time isn't really that bright when it comes to getting accurate performance metrics, it at least gives one an idea how of they compare... and things like the number of processes, CPU usage, RAM used, disk used, etc... shouldn't really vary that much.

While it is a fairly boring, not-much-action video, at least it is small.  28+ minutes at about 16.4 MB.  It is 200Kbit (variable bit-rate) with no audio with a resolution of 1280x491 at 25FPS.  Not too bad.  I have made the default size in the browser be 824x316 so go full screen for a much better view.

fedora23-vs-korora23-resource-usage.webm (28.5 minutes - 16.4 MB)

Video: Drupal 8 Beginner's Course

Submitted by Scott Dowdle on Sun, 02/14/2016 - 18:53

Finally got some free IPs, created some new containers (CentOS 7), and used Software Collections to add newer versions of PHP and Apache. I got Drupal 8 installed and am playing with it. Looking for some good training material, I found a Drupal 8 Beginner Course on YouTube. That's a link to a playlist as the course is spread across 63 videos. I decided to use youtube-dl to download the entire playlist and ffmpeg to join them all together, and then ffmpeg again to re-encode them to webm (vp9/opus) 720x404 at 200Kbit video and 32Kbit audio. Good quality / compression ratio.

Drupal_8_Beginner_Course.webm (4 hours, 10 minutes - 246 MB)

The course creators have quite a range of training videos on their website ( so check them out if so desired. The problem I have with converting all of the content over (from a Drupal 4 site circa 2004), is that some of it is so old. Embedded video formats and players have changed a lot over the years so I'm going to have to do quite a bit of work converting everything for modern standards. I'm sure a lot of the external stuff I've linked to in older articles, probably doesn't exist anymore or has moved. In any event, it will be a lot of work over the coming months but worth it in the end.