Backing Up with Virtualmin and S3

Virtualmin is a great open source server management tool. In fact, its what I use for my hosting. Amazon S3 is a great, affordable online storage service. What do you get when you combine them? A great way to back up your servers.

Virtualmin has had support for local and remote backups for some time now, but the idea of weekly 8GB FTP sessions to my home server doesn’t seem so grand (it would interrupt the Linux ISO torrents). So I signed up with S3, and for less than the cost of a egg mcmuffin, I can keep 4 weeks of full system backups available for restore at a moments notice.

This guide assumes you’ve got Virtualmin Pro (not sure if the free version does S3 – it does, give it a try!), and an active S3 account.

Unused SQL Query

I was moving some of my code to .Net 3.5 earlier this week and cleaning up some of the migration issues. One of the warnings was that readJobs was an unused local variable. Not too unusual, till I found that it was this gem it was referencing: Dim readJobs As SqlDataReader = cmdJobs.ExecuteReader(CommandBehavior.Default) While readJobs.Read() […]

Going Green in the Home Datacenter

If you’ve been to my place, you know my basement sounds like a hair dryer. I have 5 machines running 24/7 most of the time. Noise and electric bills finally got to me, so I picked up a Kill-A-Watt to track power usage, per machine. What I found out is that having those machines on constantly accounts for 1/3 of my electric bill, almost 330 kilowatt-hours per month.

The 2 biggest hits towards power usage were # of drives, and processor type. More drives = more motors to spin. The most power-hungry drives were the Ultra320 SCSI drives, followed by PATA drives and finally SATAs. Processor power usage seemed to follow a slightly different curve, with a 2nd gen P4 using the most power, followed by P3s, Pentium Ds, and the Core 2 Duo.

Hacking the Panda GateDefender 8100

The Panda GateDefender 8100 is a Linux-based filtering, AV, and intrusion prevention system.  The system I have to work with has a P4 3.4GHz CPU, 1GB of DDR400, and an 80GB SATA drive.  It has one available PCI slot, 2 unused SATA ports, and a CF slot.

While you can get a display on the VGA connector, its not an actual console. To get a console, you’ll need a serial cable. Open up a terminal emulator and set the port to 57600,8,N,1, then power on the machine. To get into the BIOS, press the tab key when prompted.

If you look at the motherboard, you’ll see JP1 is labeled CMOS Reset. I’ve tried this, and it did not seem to actually reset anything, nor did JP8 (NMI) or JP2 (???). I used a tool called CmosPwd to recover the actual password (its ‘adnap17’).  Once in the BIOS, you can move on to getting more access to the box.