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).

Getting a new IP address via DHCP from Spectrum Internet

Recently this website's been the target of malicious DDoS attacks.

But after accidentally leaking my home IP address in some network benchmarking clips in a recent YouTube video, the same attacker (I assume) decided to point the DDoS cannon at my home IP.

I have things relatively locked down here—more on homelab security coming soon!—but a DDoS isn't something most residential ISPs take too kindly. So it was time for me to recycle my home IP. Lucky for me, I don't pay for a static IP address. That makes home hosting more annoying sometimes, since I have to deal with tunnels and dynamic DNS, but it also means I can hop to a new IP address if one is under attack.

Getting a new IP address

At least with the DOCSIS 3.1 modem I'm using, the overall process is as follows:

Review: MyElectronics Raspberry Pi hot-swap rack system

MyElectronics Raspberry Pi Rack mount system

MyElectronics, a small business in the Netherlands, specializes in small computer rackmount solutions. They sent me these two racks (a 1U and 2U Raspberry Pi rack) and asked me to test them out and compare them to the 3D Printed Raspberry Pi Rack I built earlier this year, based on a design by Russ Ross.

They also have a 3U Raspberry Pi rackmount unit, but I won't be reviewing that here.

The contents of this review are summarized in this video I posted on YouTube: