homelab

Setting up a Mikrotik 10 Gbps Switch the first time

Since I've done this four times now... and each time it's just a session of reading the docs, searching the forums, etc. until I get everything configured just so, I thought I'd document how I bring up a new MikroTik switch.

Mikrotik Cloud Router Switch CRS309-1G-8S+in

I personally love the CRS309-1G-8S+IN, and have three of them running in my homelab. They're less than $250, with 8 10 Gbps SFP+ ports, a 1 Gbps RJ45 port, and a serial console port.

But the best thing for my home use is they are fanless. Blissful silence, outside of a couple beeps the first time you plug it in.

Self-hosting with AT&T Fiber Internet

Today I got AT&T Fiber Internet installed at my house, and I thought I'd document a few things I observed during and after the install.

They trenched fiber boxes between pairs of houses in my neighborhood. It seems like they have little fiber hubs for 8 houses in a set, and those little hubs connect back to the main neighborhood box with an 8 or 10-strand cable, directly buried in the ground.

Apparently my street's main run was kinked somewhere, and only one of the strands had full signal, so I'm the lucky winner who signed up first, and I get that fiber until they run a new cable underground :)

BGW320 AT&T Internet Gateway - Fiber

First look: ASUSTOR's new 12-bay all-M.2 NVMe SSD NAS

Last year, after I started a search for a good out-of-the-box all-flash-storage setup for a video editing NAS, I floated the idea of an all-M.2 NVMe NAS to ASUSTOR. I am not the first person with the idea, nor is ASUSTOR the first prebuilt NAS company to build one (that honor goes QNAP, with their TBS-453DX).

But I do think the concept can be executed to suit different needs—like in my case, video editing over a 10 Gbps network with minimal latency for at least one concurrent user with multiple 4K streams and sometimes complex edits, without lower-bitrate transcoded media (e.g. ProRes RAW).

ASUSTOR Flashstor 12 Pro - front and top

Moving my PC into my rack in a 2U case

This week I finally moved my gaming/Linux PC into my little office rack—it's that 2U box above the UPS at the bottom:

2U Gaming and Linux PC in small studio rack

I remembered seeing Linus Tech Tips' 4U build in a video a couple years ago—but he has a full 42U rack in his basement. I don't have that much space—just 2U (technically 3U if I wanted) in my little under-desk studio rack.

So after working with them last year on a similar build (but with a prototype case), I got in touch with MyElectronics and they sent over their new production Mini ITX short-depth 2U PC case.

Homelab Pi Rack upgrade, just in time for AnsibleFest 2022

AnsibleFest is fast approaching, and this year it'll finally be back in person, in Chicago. Since that's a short jaunt from St. Louis, I'll be headed up to talk about my Homelab this year!

More specifically, I'll be giving a talk titled Ansible for the Homelab, and I'll walk through how I have at least part of my sprawling homelab environment automated using Ansible.

Raspberry Pi Rack Pro by UCTRONICS

BliKVM PCIe puts a computer in your computer

BliKVM PCIe with Raspberry Pi CM4 running PiKVM

This is the BliKVM PCIe, a full computer on a PCI Express card. This is an IP KVM (Internet Protocol Keyboard-Video-Mouse) that can be put inside another computer or server.

Most server motherboards already have remote 'lights-out' management functionality built in. Most frequently this is referred to as IPMI (Intelligent Platform Management Interface, but Dell calls it iDRAC, and HPE calls it ILO.

Cosplaying as a Sysadmin

An ode to the homelabber:

Gold Cosplaying as a Sysadmin T-Shirt by Jeff Geerling

As a software developer, I never was a true sysadmin. I never pulled a server to replace a failed drive at 3 a.m. I never got to roll my little maintenance cart through a cold aisle, with hearing protection to keep my fragile eardrums from rupturing amidst a sea of 100+ dB screaming server fans...

Resetting IPMI and upgrading BIOS on a Supermicro motherboard under FreeBSD (or not)

That title is awfully specific.

ASPEED SoC on Supermicro Motherboard powering IPMI

But I was building a new FreeBSD server with a used SuperMicro motherboard with IPMI. The default password was changed from ADMIN (or maybe it's a new enough board that it's a random password), and when I was booted into FreeBSD, I wanted to reset the IPMI settings so I could be sure I was starting fresh.

ipmitool that came with my FreeBSD install doesn't seem to be able to reset IPMI to factory defaults, so I tried running ipmicfg from Supermicro's website (which is annoying to download—you have to fill out a form and a Captcha for the privilege).