Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Ipsecuritas, must allow ICMP, MAC OS X VPN

So we had this box nonstop pinging a server. This IP was private, so it was easy to tell it was from the VPN zone of the firewall, but I could not tell why someone was doing this. So I filtered this out and waited for the calls to come in. Well, the call came in about someone getting time outs from this server when pulling web traffic across the VPN. Surely, web traffic has nothing to do with ICMP that I filtered. Well, I would be WRONG. It turns out that Ipsecuritas VPN client uses a nonstop ping (once every 3 seconds) to a LAN host that it previously had traffic to in order to keep its tunnel open. Otherwise, IPsecuritas (client side) will tear the tunnel down. Game over for the VPN connection. Bunk! Shame on you Ipsecuritas (or Apple), are you so ghetto that you need to do this? It just seems so bush league. From a sysadmin point of view, you can't think of a better way to do this? How about a proper keep alive packet to the firewall?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sharing stuff

Ok, how can I be of service to someone else? How can I enrich someone else life? How can I ease the suffering of others? These are the questions that I ask in my life. In pursuit of this, I think about experiences that I have had. For some reason, I think it noble to impart any scraps of wisdom that I have picked up along the way. Maybe, I can impart wisdom in the fashion of, "hey I did this and it hurt, so be smart and don't do it, at least not like I did".

With all this in mind, I am going start a series of "Life on nuclear submarine", so that people can get a sense of the tribulations being a crew member. This was a time when I was constantly undergoing strife. Maybe lessons can be taught about not being a sailor, or maybe there are just lessons about being in close proximity to 100 other men.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Bikes for Christmas

So I started this charity project called "". I totally forgot to explain what that was on this forum. Maybe some marketing value will come my way. Here is the thing: It is just me giving bikes away for Christmas. That's it. You got a youngster that needs a new bike, just sign up and I will provide.

Get a bike!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Bacula: Understanding its Pool Resources

I back up about 20 different data sets daily. Each set exists on a separate machine somewhere on our network. I struggled a bit to get Bacula to do what I wanted it to do. Maybe I was looking at the problem wrong, but I felt as though I should formulate my own back up strategies and work with Bacula's configuration to devise the tactics. It seems that you should strategize around Bacula's common usage to make it easier on yourself. Bunk! Bacula does the job, but you need to understand the configuration settings well to get Bacula to do what you really want it to.

First, the pool resource section of the bacula director configuration is a good place to start. This is the stuff I monkey with the most.

My strategy (not thinking about how Bacula does things). I want the following:

1. on the first Monday of the month I want a FULL backup of all data sets.
2. on the 3rd Monday, I want a differential backup everywhere
3. every night other than those two, I want incrementals done.
4. I want a pool for each machine (each data set).
5. I want a maximum of 2 volumes written for each data set
6. the data set will be a month of backups (FULL backup, incrementals, differential, incrementals)
7. once 2 volumes are written out in the above nature, I want the oldest volume recycled. This gives us 2 full months of backups, at best and 1 full month backup at worst, depending on where we are in the backup cycle.

To make this happen, you must do the following:

1. set your "Maximum Volumes" to 2 for all the pools (in pools resource section of bacula-dir.conf)
2. set your "Volume Use Duration" to 1 month.
3. set your "RecycleOldestVolume" to yes
4. set your "Recycle" to yes
5. set your "Purge Oldest Volume" to no
6. set your "AutoPrune" to yes
7. I recommend letting bacula auto-name your Volumes. I mean the pool has a descriptive name, so who cares what the volume is named? So set "LabelFormat" to "vol"

Then g'head and fire off your backups for a month. Then come back to the config and change one setting once your pools each have 2 volumes written in them. In this case 32 days after starting your backups. In bacula-dir.conf change the setting for "Purge Oldest Volume" to yes by doing the following:

1. edit your bacula-dir.conf file for each pool and restart the bacula director.
2. update each Volume in the already written volumes to honor this by issuing a "update volume" at the bconsole and changing this parameter for each volume.

Now you have a self-rotation backup schedule that will maintain itself, more of less.