If you use linux and have never come across this statement (or just realized this in the course of working with the OS), then let me be the first to tell you this critical truth…

Everything is a bloody file.”

While this holistic statement isn’t quite 100% true, it’s close enough that if you adopt it as your life verse and it becomes your “modus operandi” for working in Linux, you will go farther faster.

It is so ubiquitous there is a wikipedia page devoted to it.

This opens up some novel concepts… for example, because everything is represented by a file, it means almost anything can be easily scripted… hence part of the fun of Linux…

For all of you out there like me who came from the Windows world, “Everything is a File” can also be a keen point of frustration if no one has ever made this statement to you and explained some of the implications. I have done my service and made the statement, I will leave it up to you to research and discover the implications. Go forth and research and then come back and keep reading.

Now, I am going to move on and start my first article in the new “Everything is a File” series in which I am going to attempt to tackle some of the most common files found on Debian Linux variants and explain their usage. To kick things off, I am going to document a file that I have to look up commonly; FSTAB. (the whole point of my blog is to create a place that I can just search my own notes rather than Googling (and re-Googling 6 months later) for other peoples’ notes)
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I have decided to give Ubuntu 17.04 LTS Desktop a go. On a whim I installed it on a laptop I had lying about (being an IT person they tend to proliferate over a given period of time in my office… older units becoming doorstops, newer units lovely “Jenga” blocks and maybe the occasional Proxmox cluster…) Since this seems to be the final days of Unity (which I actually don’t mind as a Desktop all that much), I figured now was a good time to take another poke at it as a daily personal driver. I was happy to come across an option for full disk encryption during the install process and wanted to pass my few thoughts on it along. (more…)

I had a VM using RAW storage format on a ZFS storage object. I needed to delete the RAW hard drive files but couldn’t find them and the “remove” button was greyed out. One post mentioned using “qm rescan” which then allowed the poster to use the remove button but that didn’t work for me. After some research I found out that virtual drives on ZFS storage aren’t actually files but are “ZVOL”s. After a bit more research I came across the solution below to remove these drives manually. (more…)

If you load Proxmox 4.0 from OVH or any of their affiliates you end up with a partition scheme that gives you one big logical volume for data that is formatted to EXT3.

That will work but it isn’t desirable. Starting with Proxmox 3.4, support for the ZFS filesystem was added. ZFS is more than just a file system though and as a result it adds in enhanced functionality. In this article I will be walking through how to transition from the OVH, KimSufi, SoYouStart default partition layout on an existing system running Proxmox to a layout with ZFS. (more…)

I wrote a new script today to keep me up-to-date on how full the boot partition is on my Ubuntu servers. I actually administer quite a few of them and it can become a real issue if the boot drive hits 100% full, which it commonly does. The reason for this is that the boot partition by default is quite small (usually under 200 MB) and will fill up, often over the course of only a few months, with kernel files.

I have seen some servers carry on just fine when this occurs, I have also seen other servers exhibit some really odd behavior. Either way, it is best avoided.

The problem (and the blessing) is that Ubuntu Server is Linux… which means it requires very little administrative intervention month to month because (unlike another well-known and much used server platform) Linux tends to just work and work and work and work.

Very early on I went in for a job interview in IT. At the time I was a freshly minted MCITP, and knew very little about anything outside of Microsoft. The gentleman interviewing me asked me what my experience with Linux was, to which I replied “very little.” He then thought for a moment and said, “Well that really doesn’t matter, we have several Linux servers and the primary issue we run into is that we forget about them for 3 – 5 years until a power supply or spinning disk dies.”

That sums up most Linux setups in a nutshell. All that to say, it legitimately might be several months in-between administrative server logins. A fact which most admins are quite thrilled about.

When I started realizing that Ubuntu Server was going to require regular intervention, albeit fairly lightweight stuff, I was a bit bummed. It probably isn’t a horrible thing, rock solid stability aside it is still a good idea to login now and again to keep your software packages up to date. However that tendency to “set it and forget it” remains.

Long story short, I needed an automated alert system.

Solution, a shell script running as a cron job that will shoot me an email.

If you are following along, we are now going to dive in to the practical instruction bit. (more…)