February 2018 archive

Personal Weather Station Setup

Homelab Weather Station Weathering the options

As an IT guy, I like metrics and graphs. I like knowing how things are performing. I’ve also always been a bit fascinated by the weather. So naturally I decided to put two and two together and built my own weather station setup. I live out in a rural area and we can get rather high winds and lots of rain at times. This project really started because I wanted to know just how fast the wind would whip through our property.

Data Acquisition

As a techie person, I really wasn’t looking for an out-of-the-box solution. I wanted something a bit more…custom. I spent a lot of time researching various different software and “controllers” for the weather station. I figured I would decided what I was going to use for data acquisition before I picked a sensor suite. I settled on the WeatherBridge Pro from Meteobridge. Not probably the most popular device out there, but I thought it was pretty neat. It lets you report to various weather sites and export the data into MySQL and other various databases. It had quite the price tag at around $450-500. I purchased this in 2015 and overall it has been ok. I do not believe I would purchase a second one. It has had…quirks.. from day one. Occasionally it will hang up and need a reboot, the screen will go silly and need a reboot or I have had it drop off the network and not respond. When it works, it works well. Boots right up and grabs the data from the ISS (below) and reports it to WeatherUnderground and CWOP.

The OS is based off OpenWRT. The web GUI also has some quirks that are more annoying then anything else. Under the services tab, if you add a service, say a MySQL database, and then decide you want to remove it, there is no way to do so.

I’ve also found the the unit itself generates quite a bit of heat and there are no fans or vents on it.

Integrated Sensor Suite

Once settling on an acquisition device, I moved on to the sensor suite. This is the piece of hardware that lives outside and actually does the leg work. I went with the Davis Weather Station 06357. This setup comes with a temperature and humidity sensor, a wind speed (anemometer) and direction vane. These sensor report back to the WeatherBridge Pro over RF at 915MHz. The unit boasts a 1000′ distance, but I have found anything further then a few hundred feet is the limit. This could be a limitation of the WeatherBridge Pro or the Davis ISS. This is a fairly basic setup, which, for what I am doing, is perfectly acceptable. I picked up the mounting hardware as well.

Davis Weather Station 06357 Integrated Sensor Suite

Ambient Weather EZ-30-12 Mounting Kit

Ambient Weather EZ-100-35M 35″ Extension

This setup is mounted to the rail on my deck. I picked this location for ease of accessibility, and the fact that I am not terribly fond of heights so my roof was off limits. It has worked well in it’s current location. I purchased the sensor suite in 2015 and it has been installed since. It has held up well to the cold weather, wind, rain etc. I have been very happy with it.

Summary

All in all, the components I picked for my weather setup have worked out pretty well and I have been relatively happy with it. You can check out the data from my station on WeatherUnderground.

Please feel free to check out some of my latest blog posts or my about me page to learn more!

Permanent link to this article: https://achubbard.com/2018/02/27/personal-weather-station-setup/

Homelab Rebuild – Part 1 – Intro

Homelab Rebuild

For the last year and a half, I have been all about consolidating my gear. I got into this funk where I absolutely wanted nothing to do with enterprise equipment in my home. I wanted to go home and just be home. However, that attitude has sacrificed a lot of my personal learning and growth. I am a guy who LOVES to tinker. Doesn’t really matter what it is, I just love to tinker and I love gear.

After talking with some fellow IT guys during a meeting recently, I realized, I miss having the gear to work on at home. I missed having the resources to test something and not give a care if I break something.

I’ve also recently started this blog and am attempting to teach myself about WordPress, it’s plugins and WAFs (Web Application Firewalls). I felt re-invigorated to acquire some gear new gear. I am hoping this blog, and purchasing some new gear, will keep me interested in a hobby that has turned into a career for me.

 Hardware – Dell R510, R610

Hosts

I have acquired 2 Dell PowerEdge R610s to use in my rebuilt homelab. Both are outfitted with only 16GB of RAM. Ideally, I would love to increase this to 32-48gb of RAM per host. The price was right on the two machines the way they sit so I figured I would just outfit them as needed. As low power is a slight concern for me, I ordered a pair of Xeon L5630s for each machine.

Shared Storage

I would love to have a true Dell SAN to go with the rest of my Dell stack, however, they are subtly out of my price range at the moment. Can you tell? I am a rather big Dell guy when it comes to servers. I picked up an 8 bay Dell R510, was hoping for a 12 bay, but this will give me a start. Honestly, with the size of drives these days, 8 bays should be sufficient for what I am using it for. This will allow me to install my collection of hard drives and pass them through to FreeNAS. I have also picked up a set of 10gb Mellanox cards and cables.

Mellanox Network Cards - 10GB

Dell R510 FreeNAS SAN, Dell R610 Hosts

Network

I picked up a pair of Dell PowerConnect 5524Ps. Initially, I planned on using these as my VM switches and picking up a 48 port Cisco of some variation for my core switch. However, I’ve decided I would use both of these for the time being and forgo the Cisco idea. The 5500 series Dell switches support stacking via HDMI cable, not something I have ever tried, but I scored both switches for a song and this is homelab right?

Dell Switches Homelab Rebuild Network

I did however, purchase a Cisco WS-C2960G-8TC-L switch to hand off my modem to my firewalls. This will give me some redundancy…err at least to my firewalls. Maybe someday I will get a secondary WAN connection and setup some type of failover.

Homelab Rebuild Cisco Network Switch 2960G

VLANs, what good is a homelab without VLANs?

WAN – VLAN5

I will provision 3 ports on the Cisco C2960G on what I call VLAN5. Taking the link from my cable modem, I will feed the WAN into 1 port, and send it out the other 2 additional ports to my redundant firewalls. VLAN5 will only exist on the Cisco switch. By setting up the environment this way, it gives me a little bit of redundancy, at least, in my mind. Obviously my two single points of failure are my cable modem and the Cisco switch.

iSCSI Network – VLAN10

As the hosts will have no local storage, we will need to create this VLAN to handle all of the iSCSI/Storage traffic for both. This VLAN will only be present on the Dell stack.

vMotion Network – VLAN15

This VLAN will allow the movement of virtual machines back and forth between my two hosts.

Production/Home Network – VLAN25

VLAN25 is where most of the err….action…happens. This is where my end devices sit. I don’t typically try to break that stuff up in my home environment. This VLAN will be on both the Dell stack and Cisco switch. It will only be present on the Cisco switch so that I can manage the switch from my workstation.

Security Cam Network – VLAN35

My security cameras were once on VLAN25….with everything else… my network was in essence…flat. I currently have 9 cameras with the plan to add a few more (small farm, we have animals etc so we like to keep an eye on things) – I decided it was time to break them out into their own VLAN. Enter stage left, VLAN35. Some of you reading this may be asking, how does this guy pick his VLAN numbers?? Honestly, the number is in direct correlation to the 3rd octet of the VLAN. So, an example might be, 10.10.35.0/24 – the x.x.35.x is where the number comes from. Just something I came up with and ran with.

Guest Network – VLAN45

I do not typically have a lot of guests at my house, we’re out in the woods and people don’t like to visit. I’m ok with that. However, when we do have the occasional guest, I would rather they be on their own VLAN and have no access to anything other than the internet.

Area 51 – VLAN51

This is a new one for me. VLAN51 will become my secure VLAN. It will have no access to the internet. No access to the rest of the network. Any VMs that are apart of VLAN51 will be shut down when not in use. VLAN51 will be used to network my penetration testing VMs.

Network Layout

Homelab Rebuild Network Design

Power

Since I am moving my office to my basement, I will be working on installing two dedicated circuits for my new lab. My electrical panel is right there and access is fairly easy. Most likely these will be 2 – 20 amp circuits. I am not an electrician, I just play one on the internet. Just kidding, please if you are going to run your own circuits, be aware of the risks involved. I am fairly comfortable working with electricity.

One thing I regret selling is my UPS. That is a pricey component that I will need to re-acquire at some point. I have a couple of smaller ones, and frankly, it’s my homelab, if it goes offline, eh not the end of the world.

Rack

One item that I had a hard time selling when I was consolidating my lab, is my 25u StarTech Open Frame rack. I had advertised it locally numerous times and never had anyone actually come and buy it. So I kept it and I am glad I did. It’s one less thing I need to purchase for the this adventure. I am planning on either enclosing it or putting it in a small server closet in my shop/office. This will hopefully help keep the noise down.

Software – FreeNAS, VMWare, pfSense

Hypervisor

Something I never needed before was a VMUG subscription. I always had access to VMWare products through work. This time around I will be purchasing the $200 subscription so that I can utilize all of the products that come with it. Both of my hosts will be running ESXi. I will also be using the vCenter appliance instead of the Windows based vCenter install since that is the way things are headed anyways.

Shared Storage

Several years ago I utilized FreeNAS as my SAN for a POC (Proof of Concept) for a previous employer. This worked out very well. FreeNAS will be once again utilized for this en-devour. It will be installed on an R510 as stated above. Then I will create an iSCSI target and present that to VMWare as a LUN. Once the LUN has been presented to VMWare, we can go to town building out the Virtual Machines. Fairly straight forward here.

Virtual Machines

As of the moment my virtual machines are…..lacking. I went from having numerous VMs to accomplish one or two tasks down to one physical host and only a couple VMs to do a lot of tasks. Some things on my list to virtualize:

Firewall – pfSense and CARP – this is something I have never tried. Never really had a reason to. I feel like in the spirit of homelab, I should attempt this. Currently I am running a single Untangle firewall on Hyper-V. I love Untangle (so far) but I do not believe there is a way to create a failover cluster. None the less, this could change at any time. I jump from UTM to UTM or Firewall to Firewall. Keeps things exciting you know?

Monitoring – Nagios, Observium (perhaps Grafana will make a debut at some point too)

Domain Controllers – Currently I am working on my Master’s in IT, so I have access to the Microsoft Imagine program, so I will more then likely be spinning up a couple DCs to work with.

File Server (either nextcloud or something)

Security related – AlienVault, Nessus, and a dedicated KALI VM. Perhaps even a couple other pentest VMs on a secure VLAN.

Patch Management – ManageEngine

Web Server – Centos 7/WordPress/MySQL

Home Automation and Security – HomeSeer

Media – Plex (and maybe iHome Media Server too)

Physical Machines

Additionally, aside from my 2 hosts and the R510 SAN, I do have several physical machines present in the lab. One of the biggest tasks will be to remove all of my VMs off my Hyper-V box and turn my Hyper-V box into a BlueIris/Nakivo backup box. I switched to BlueIris from Ubiquiti’s NVR recently, and although I am loving Blue Iris, I find it resource intensive. So I will be leaving it as a physical box. The way I figure it, I can remove all the other tasks off my SuperMicro Mini and then have room for Nakivo along side Blue Iris. That machine has plenty of oomph for those two tasks.

I have a custom built workstation that I can never figure out what to do with, so I ordered up a 2u case and will be racking that as well. This will server as my media ingest machine. By that I mean, when I buy my next lot of DVDs and Bluerays or borrow them, I will use this machine to ingest the media and flip it to my Plex server.

A secure homelab or network environment should have a jump box or jump point. For me, my Intel Skull Canyon NUC will become this. Just a versatile box that is always on. Something I can hit from the field. My NUC will also be tied to a TV or screen in my office so that I can monitor the systems in real time.

*Update*

Check out my latest Home Lab rebuild posts

Dell R610 Intel Xeon CPU Upgrades – to see my progress on the two new hosts!

Add VLANs and Assign Ports on Cisco 2960G Switch – to see some configurations on my WAN switch

Permanent link to this article: https://achubbard.com/2018/02/24/homelab-rebuild-network-hosts-freenas-dell-r510/

Add a VLAN on a Dell PowerConnect 5524p Switch

Adding a VLAN on a Dell PowerConnect 5524 Switch

Having spent the last few years of my career in a Dell networking environment, I have decided that I will be adding a Dell switch to my personal collection. In this tutorial, I will show you how to add a VLAN via the CLI on a Dell PowerConnect 5524p switch. This tutorial assumes you know how to connect to the switch either by a using a console cable or SSH.

Connecting with Putty

Use Putty (or another similar tool) to either SSH or serial/console into your switch. This will get you into the CLI.

Configuring the switch

To begin, we need to enter the configuration mode. To do this, type “conf t” at the prompt and press enter. You will now be in config mode and see (config) to the left of the # sign.

Creating the V-LAN itself is a fairly easy task. Type the command “vlan database” and press the enter key.

Pick your V-LAN number and type “vlan #” and press the enter key. Where the # is, place your vlan number. So, in this tutorial we will use vlan 55.

Basic VLAN Configuration

In order to configure an IP address for our newly created VLAN, we must use the command “interface vlan 55”. This allows us to enter the interface configuration.

Give your V-LAN an IP Address if so desired, use the command “ip address x.x.x.x x.x.x.x” The first set of x’s represents the IP Address, the second set represents the subnet mask. So in my case, the command would be, “ip address 192.168.55.1 255.255.255.0”

Giving your V-LAN a name also helps distinguish what the V-LAN is for. Enter the command “name” followed by the name you have picked. So: name “test vlan”

Before you exit Putty, make sure you issue the command “copy run start” otherwise, if you reboot your switch, you will lose the configuration changes you just made.

 

Please feel free to check out the rest of my blog posts for other tutorials and information from the home lab!

Permanent link to this article: https://achubbard.com/2018/02/09/vlan-configuration-on-dell-powerconnect/

Create Service Groups in Nagios

Create Service Groups in Nagios

Creating service groups in Nagios Core is a pretty easy task. Service Groups allows you to see the status of like services for multiple hosts. If you have numerous hosts or network devices reporting in to Nagios, this is a fantastic feature.

There are a couple of ways to create Service Groups. I find the easiest way is to use WinSCP and Notepad++

The WinSCP and Notepad++ Method

Launch WinSCP and connect to your Nagios machine.

WinSCP will present to you two sides. The Nagios side on the right, and your Windows side on the left. On the left hand side, create a folder called “Nagios_Backup” – You can call this folder whatever you wish. It is purely copying files from Nagios and editing them with Notepad++

Copy the “servicegroup.cfg” from the right hand Nagios folder, to the left hand Windows folder you just created.

On your Windows computer, open up file explorer and navigate to the folder you copied “servicegroup.cfg” to and right click it. Select “Open with Notepad++”

In here you can define your Service Groups. This is a sample config I threw together. You can see any service that you have in Nagios. For me, General_Ping is for miscellaneous devices that I want to see the status of the ping request in Nagios. Network_Ping is where I group all my network devices. CPU_Load shows the CPU Load of various hosts and workstations.

Upon completing your servicegroup.cfg file, you can copy it back to your Nagios server with WinSCP. You will be copying from the left hand side to the right hand side.

Launch Putty and connect to your Nagios server. Issue the command “systemctl restart nagios” and hit enter.

Login to your Nagios web GUI. On the left hand side you will see a list of links. Find the link that says “Service Groups” and click on it.

The link will take you to the Service Groups page within Nagios. You can now see all of your hosts grouped together by service. The screenshot below is of a running Nagios box I have in service.

Permanent link to this article: https://achubbard.com/2018/02/08/create-service-groups-nagios/

Add MIB Files to Ubuntu

Adding MIB files to Ubuntu Manually

This tutorial will cover manually adding MIB, Management Information Base, files to Ubuntu. Specifically, Dell and Ubiquiti MIBs.

You can acquire the Ubiquiti MIBs here:
Ubiquiti MIBs
Ubiquiti UniFi MIBs

Dell Switch MIBs are included within the firmware when you download it from Dell. This process should work for adding just about any MIB to Ubuntu. You can see my post titled “Dell PowerConnect 5524P Firmware Upgrade” to learn how to obtain the Dell firmware.

You will need WinSCP and Putty fohttps://achubbard.com/2018/01/29/dell-powerconnect-5524p-firmware-upgrade/r this tutorial.

Launch WinSCP and navigate to the home directory for the user you logged in as. Within the home directory, right click and create a new folder. I called mine “mibs” to keep things simple. Copy all of your mib files from your computer to this location.

 

Now that the mibs files are located on your Ubuntu server, we need to get them into the correct directory. For this we will use Putty. Open up Putty and connect to your Ubuntu server.

Type the command “sudo cp /home/username/mibs/*.mibs /usr/share/snmp/mibs/”

Where username is, put your account username. So in my case, my command would look like this: sudo cp /home/altach/mibs/*.mibs /usr/share/snmp/mibs/

This will copy all of the files with the .mib file extension to the /usr/share/snmp/mibs/ folder.

 

WGET to manually add MIB files to Ubuntu

Another way to get MIB files on your Ubuntu server is to use the wget command. We will use the Ubiquiti MIBs for this example.

Open Putty and connect to your Ubuntu server. Create and/or navigate to the “tmp” folder. Navigate to it by issuing the command “cd /tmp”

This is where you can now download your Ubiquiti MIB files to.

Type: “sudo wget http://dl.ubnt-ut.com/snmp/UBNT-MIB” and the Ubiquiti MIB file will then be downloaded to your /tmp folder. You can use any folder you wish, I just happend to use a /tmp folder. Issue the command again using the path for the UniFi MIBs if needed.

When the MIBs have been downloaded, you can now copy them to the /usr/share/snmp/mibs/ folder by issuing the command “sudo cp UBNT-* /usr/share/snmp/mibs/

Permanent link to this article: https://achubbard.com/2018/02/08/add-mib-files-ubuntu/

Installing Untangle on Hyper-V

Background

Over the years I have had numerous different types of firewalls and UTMs in my home lab. For a while, I ran an ASA, then migrated to pfSense and soon after that I went over the a Ubiquiti USG-Pro. Looking for my next challenge, I stumbled across Untangle. Although I had heard of Untangle before I had never used it. I figured I would give it a try. Untangle has a home use version available for $50 per year. I purchased a subscription. So far, it has been a fairly decent application. I have been extremely happy with it. For $50 you get Untangle and most of their premium plugins. I thought it was a great deal.

To download and/or purchase Untangle at Home Please click the link below

Untangle at Home

The consumer can download Untangle in a couple of difference forms. ISO 32/64bit, Firmware or as a Virtual Appliance. I thought, great, I can download Untangle, spin up a VM and be on my way. As it turns out, Untangle only provides their appliance as an OVA. This is only supported by VMWare. Here in lies my issue, I am running Hyper-V. I was determined to get it this working either way. Untangle will install on Hyper-V, they just do not provide the virtual appliance.

Determination

Getting Untangle to work on Hyper-V took me some time. I ran into numerous configuration issues along the way. Almost to the point where I gave up on the whole project. However, I was fairly determined to make it work. My background is in ESXi and not Hyper-V so that was where most of my learning curve came from. For me, the biggest hangup was configuring the virtual switch for the WAN. Whatever my issue was, I could not get it to function. Hopefully my blog/tutorial post will help someone get their Untangle instance setup on Hyper-V

Virtual Switch Configuration

Prior to creating a new virtual machine for your Untangle install, open up the Hyper-V Management Console and create 2 virtual switches. The Virtual Switch Manager will help you do this. One will be for the LAN connection, the other will be for the WAN connection. 

WAN Configuration

We will start with the “External” or the WAN switch first. On your physical host, this is where you will plug your ISP’s modem into.

Create your virtual switch. Give it a name that indicates it’s use, so in this case, mine is simply, “WAN”. From the drop down menu under the “External Network” radio button, select the physical adapter that you will use. Be sure to un-check “Allow management operating system to share this network adapter” – this will prevent your host from trying to use it.

 

LAN Configuration

Repeat the virtual switch creation process again, only this time, select the physical network adapter on your host that you will be connecting to your LAN. Select “External” for this switch too. Be sure to check off “Allow management operating system to share this adapter” – this will allow your host to share LAN access with this VM.

Virtual Machine Creation and Specs

Create a new virtual machine. If you need help creating a virtual machine, please see my post titled “CentOS 7 Minimal Installation on Hyper-V”or click on the link to take you there. The only difference with this virtual machine will be the specs. Here is what I have chosen for my install:

Memory: 6gb

Processor: 2 Virtual Processors

Hard Drive: 40gb

Network Adapters: 2 – 1 for LAN, 1 for WAN

Untangle Installation

Once your VM has booted, you will see the “Untangle Installer Boot Menu” – I used the graphical install option

Select your language

Pick your location

Choose your keyboard type

Untangle will show you a system summary before beginning it’s installation process

To continue with the installation, select “yes” to format your VHD.

Write the changes to disk

Untangle will continue it’s base install. This process takes a little while, you may want to go make yourself a coffee and come back.

Untangle has now completed it’s long installation, click on continue and the VM will reboot.

Finalization

With Untangle on Hyper-V I have found that it sometimes has the tendency to appear to be hung up on this spot. Don’t worry though, let it sit and it will come right up. It is not stuck.

When the VM boots up and launches the OS, you will be prompted to go through the initial setup phase. This is fairly straight forward. At this point, you have now installed Untangle on Hyper-V.

I hope this tutorial helps you understand how to get Untangle installed on Hyper-V. It is a fairly straight forward process. Although I ran into some issues initially because I had never done it before.

Permanent link to this article: https://achubbard.com/2018/02/01/installing-untangle-hyper-v/