Archive for March, 2013


There are nine server roles you can install on Server Core:

  1. AD DS – Active Directory Domain Services
  2. AD LDS – Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services
  3. DNS – Domain Name System
  4. DHCP – Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol
  5. File Services
  6. Print Services
  7. Streaming Media Services
  8. Web Server (IIS)
  9. Hyper-V

Server Core is built solely to run only these nine server roles.  Nothing else.

RAID Configuration Best Practices

Throughout my career, I have seen many different practices on which levels of RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) to use.  This post is referring to the traditional RAID form as there are now a few new forms of RAID that I believe in the future will supplant the original type.  Here are my recommendations and best practices that have served me well through the years.

  • RAID 0 – fastest performance, but also highest chance of failure.  With one drive failure, you will lose the entire array.  Best used as a scratch disk and data that can be lost.
  • RAID 1 – optimal for operating system (OS) installation with 2 drives.
  • RAID 5 – not recommended for any arrays larger than a couple terabytes because of the high chance of an unrecoverable read error (URE) and tolerance of only 1 drive failure.  I have seen too many UREs with RAID 5 that prevent a successful rebuild.  A URE happens when there is corrupt data in the array preventing a successful recovery from a degraded state.  Requires a minimum of 3 drives.
  • RAID 6 – recommended for data stores where reads are more important than writes.  Tolerates 2 drive failures and significantly less chance of experiencing a URE.  Requires a minimum of 4 drives.
  • RAID 10 – most expensive, but has the best performance and resiliency.  Requires a minimum of 4 disks.  It is striped (for performance) and mirrored (for redundancy).

NOTE: RAID is not a replacement for backups.  A good backup strategy that involves testing the backup is a necessity for a production environment.

Also, do yourself a favor and never use RAID 5.  I’ve seen too many failures, headaches and trouble caused by its usage.

Another type of RAID that I recommend and is my first recommendation is using a ZFS file system that has similar options, but better performance and resiliency with background data scrubbing.  The generic name for that type of RAID is called RAIDZ.  I’ll touch on examples and further explanations of this new state-of-the-art form of RAID in another post.

Installation

Download Hamachi2 deb from the LogMeIn download page.
https://secure.logmein.com/US/labs

When the download completes:

  1. Open up a terminal window.
  2. Change to the directory housing the newly downloaded .deb file.
  3. Issue the command

    sudo dpkg -i logmein-hamachi_XXX_xxx.deb

    (Where XXX is the release number and xxx is the architecture for your hardware). NOTE: If your installation doesn’t complete, you might need to open up Synaptic to “fix” the broken packages. This is an easy way to catch all of the dependencies.

  4. Type your sudo password and hit Enter.
  5. Allow the installation to complete.

Now you are ready to install the GUI.  Instead of downloading a .deb file, we are going to add the PPA for Haguichi to our system.  Once the PPA is added, Haguichi can be installed using apt-get. Here are the steps:

  1. Open up a terminal.
  2. Issue the command

    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/haguichi

  3. Issue the command

    sudo apt-get update

  4. Issue the command

    sudo apt-get install haguichi

Haguichi client has been more reliable than Hamachi GUI.

Connect to, or create a VPN network

Click Applications | Internet | Haguichi. When the Haguichi window opens (at left), click Client | Join Network.  A new window will open where you can enter the credentials for the VPN you want to join.

You can also create a new network by clicking Client | Create Network.  You will have to enter a name and a password for that network.

Make sure your password follows standard strong password practices. Do NOT create a week password for a VPN network connection.

Now set the proxy settings in your browser to use the secure Hamachi+Privoxy proxy.

Install and Setup Privoxy

Privoxy is a free, open source web proxy.  It will be installed on your machine that you would like to connect to as your proxy.

  1. Download Privoxy from Sourceforge for your system and install. Privoxy is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
  2. After you’ve installed Privoxy, launch the application. (If you’re running a firewall, you may need to give it access to open a port.) In Windows, Privoxy loads as a blank window.  It doesn’t mean it isn’t working and you can close this window; Privoxy will still be running in your system tray.
  3. Configure Privoxy to transmit traffic through your Hamachi setup
  4. Right-click Privoxy in the system tray and select Edit > Main Configuration.  Notepad will open with a text file called config.txt; this is Privoxy’s main configuration file.
  5. Press Ctrl+f and search for listen-address 127.0.0.1:8118. Most of the code is commented out with # in front of it.
  6. Type listen-address followed by the IP address created by Hamachi (i.e., listen-address 25.xxx.xxx.xx:8118).
  7. Save config.txt and restart Privoxy.

Chrome Privoxy Configuration

How to Secure and Encrypt Your Web Browsing on Public Networks (with Hamachi and Privoxy)

  1. Install the Proxy Switchy extension. Once installed, it should automatically open a new tab with its options.  (If it doesn’t, right-click the Proxy Switchy icon in your toolbar and select Options.)
  2. Enter a profile name—(i.e. Privoxy.
  3. In the HTTP Proxy box under Manual Configuration, enter the Hamachi VPN IP address to the computer where you set up your proxy. Set the port to 8118.  (Remember: Hamachi needs to be running on both computers when you want to use this proxy, and you can get the IP of any other computer on your Hamachi network by right-clicking the computer name and selecting Copy address.)
  4. Click Save and you’re done.

Whenever you want to browse using your secure proxy—just click the Proxy Switchy icon in Chrome, then select your Privoxy connection.

Conclusion

If you need to connect a Linux machine to a Hamachi VPN (or need to quickly create a VPN network), Hamachi2 and either Hamachi GUI or Haguichi are fantastic options. The setup time is short an the tools are user-friendly.  OpenVPN is another good option, but is much more complex to configure.

However, the source code of the Haugichi software is 100% open source, it does rely on the Hamachi service which uses non-open source software.

Linux ‘rdesktop’ Command

Linux is great, but there will more than likely always be a need to remote desktop into a Windows machine.

Open a terminal window and type the following command to initiate a session:

rdesktop [machine/ip address] -flag

 

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