Archive for the ‘System Administration’ Category

How to circumvent internet filtering and enhance privacy

The whole world knows about the so called “Great Wall” that protects the Chinese people from dangerous western ideals, the serious concerns about internet privacy in the United Kingdom, now we have Australia making a real push towards internet filtering legislation as well as all of North America and most of Europe signing on with the ACTA legislation. Of course we still have Iran blocking news, social media and even gmail. But even countries that we wouldn’t expect to support censorship are signing bad legislation, such as France, New Zealand, and Ireland.

For at least a decade the very idea of filtering information was something first world countries laughed at as a tactic only dictatorships and xenophobes would seriously consider, now it seems the stage is changing and governments and ISPs are becoming more open to the idea of national censorship.

This is a terrible, and dangerous trend. I for one hope the aussies block the forced internet filtering law and I hope the whole world sees ACTA as the scam that it is. There is a quote that I often like to cite when the topic of internet filtering comes up, “The internet sees censorship as damage, and automatically routes around it”. Unfortunately, when censorship happens at the ISP level, that automatic routing is broken, so you have to do some manual routing to circumvent the broken tubes.

I think it is important to know how to get around censorship schemes and I believe that the greater the number of people with this knowledge the better off the internet, and the world will be. So here’s how to circumvent internet censorship, the VPN.

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Building a home Network Attached Storage server. Part 3: Wrapping up and product reviews

It’s taken me a quarter of a year to write this series, partially because I wanted to make sure I got it right, partially because I’m a lazy writer. But now the wait is over, here is the third and final installment of the NAS series about my home NAS server build.

80MB/s Network Throughput!

80MB/sec across the network!

In this article I will discuss the final garnishing that you need to do to get you NAS to fire and forget server status. I will also give you my reviews of the various pieces of hardware that I used and offer a general wrap up statement on the project.

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Building a home Network Attached Storage server. Part 2: RAID Setup

This is Part 2 in the Building a home Network Attached Storage server series. In this article I will talk about some of the options for the RAID arrays and the art of RAID configuration.

Now that we know what hardware this system is going to be built on we have to decide what technology is going to run it all. We still have several options for RAID controllers and software.

One item that really needs to be mentioned is that if you use Windows computers to access the NAS you will want to use Windows Vista, 7 or Server 2008 as the NAS operating system. This is for one simple reason, Windows Vista in 2006 introduced Server Message Block 2.0. SMB2 is a massive boost to network file transfer speeds. Where an XP machine may only be able to send 50MB/s over the network, the same machine running SMB2 will be pushing 80MB/s. So if you are going to be using Windows on your desktop, you probably want to be using Windows on your NAS.

The first step is deciding what RAID controller you are going to use for the system.

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Building a home Network Attached Storage server. Part 1: Hardware

Antec 1200 computer case

Recently I built a home NAS file server to finally consolidate all of my data into one easily managed network location. I have worked with Network Attached Storage systems before, and I’ve even played with SAN solutions before, but this was my first time building one from scratch.

The goal of this project is to have a massive, always-on, redundant, and wicked fast network accessible storage drive where I can save all of the files from my massive media collection for permanent archive. This central location will be my grand file repository for basically everything. Ideally I should be able to loose my desktop and laptop drives without losing anything that I care about.

I’ve had plenty of time to define exactly what I needed in a file server, and requirements were actually pretty simple:

  • Separate system and storage arrays
  • RAID failure protection on both arrays
  • At least 7 terabytes of usable storage
  • At least 60 MB/s of real world network throughput
  • Expandable base that I can add storage to when it become necessary
  • Excellent hard drive cooling
  • Reasonably low power requirements
  • Less than $2,000 total

This is the story of my particular NAS build and some of the stuff I learned during the course of this project.

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Firewall script tool for iptables

iptables rules script

If you run a public linux server of any kind then you should have a firewall running. Hopefully you already know that. I prefer iptables because it is so powerful, however the iptables language is a little less than intuitive.

If you’re just getting started with iptables and you want a good strong rule set to use or learn from then check out the Easy Firewall Generator for IPTables. This is a great little tool that will give you a shell script with a very nice rule set.

Just fill out the form and save the script to your server. Run the shell script and you have a great firewall with good logging. Though don’t auto-run the script on bootup until you are absolutely sure that you have the rules perfect, iptables can and will happily lock you out of your own server for good.