The VLANs Strike Back

I recently re-did my entire network, changing out switch locations, what ports were plugged into where, and so on. This wasn’t too bad, except I didn’t make note of one thing: which ports were VLAN tagged. This became quite the struggle as I tried to figure out why my WiFi couldn’t access the internet, and why all my servers were inaccessible. I even changed what port the Unifi AP was plugged into to try and kick that VLAN possibility out of the running. Little did I know that BOTH ports I tried to plug the AP into were tagged, so neither could reach the internet. I ended up plugging my RT-N16 back into the modem to see that I had internet, and then moved the switch port the access point was into one more time to find a port that wasn’t tagged. Once I had that, I swapped what port my servers were plugged into to find a non-tagged port, that would get my Unifi controller back up so I could go and clean up the rest and get things back into an operational state.

TLDR: Label or remove VLANs before re-architecting things

Amazon Fire Tablet Rant

I wouldn’t normally go into this, but boy does this product tell me that I’m the product being sold here, not the tablet. Starting with purchasing the tablet, Amazon asked if I wanted my account preloaded and I am glad I said no, or else they would’ve probably subscribed me to every fee possible.

When going through the initial setup, there were multiple pages of “do you want to sign up for this monthly service for $xx/month”, each of which moved the accept and deny buttons, often swapping them from the previous page, so don’t just click quickly through or you’ll have a new monthly bill.

On top of that there was the same situation with permissions, do you want maps to be able to use your permission (oh and allow Amazon to track your permission too, can’t do one and not the other). This really liked like they saw the windows 10 and Google privacy settings and said “we can do worse, much worse”.

One final insult Amazon gave us through this tablet is how it handles its lock screen ads, when the tablet is asleep. It will wake up the screen to play ads, this is just…. one great big slap to the face. Pros: cheap, Cons: Software, now to work on rooting and installing lineage OS, if its possible.

Proxmox VM Misconfiguration Downtime

I’ve got a VM running a critical service on my Proxmox host. This VM doesn’t have any real data to speak of, it just runs a few automated tasks that we rely on, so the virtual disk is rather small for it. For some reason while working on the VM (likely restoring a backup from a previous problem I had), I must’ve restored the VM and made my NAS mount the location of the virtual disk. So my virtual machine has been running off my NAS for a while. Until one day, when I had to bring my NAS down for an extended period, and the service went down too. I spent a bit of time trying to get it back up before realizing that the disk was located on the NAS and the NAS wouldn’t be up for a while. Nevertheless, once the NAS was back up, I moved the disk back to the virtual host where all the other VMs run from… oops.

The Side Effects of RAM Issues

I have been fighting failing parity checks for a few months now on my unraid server. I looked into each disk, checked smart stats and even thought I had found the culprit hard drive that was causing the issues. I still had it in my array but with no data on it just in case. This all happened just before another set of problems arose. The VMs on my server started acting up, crashing, and eventually when logging into one VM, everything crashed due to memory problems. I ran memtest and discovered that one of my RAM sticks was at issue, and from there determined that it simply wasn’t seated properly. After reseating the RAM, everything started working properly again. Parity checks come back clean, no more kernel panics, and the VMs are running stably. One partially unseated RAM stick caused all those issues.

Docker Struggles

I was originally excited when docker was going to be included in the next release of unraid, the concept behind it was solid and sounded like it would make management of my server easier. This was the case for months before docker started acting up. Now I’ve been working on a way to remove any need of docker on my NAS, moving it to a VM or another server due to its instabilities. Issues I’ve run into include it not being able to stop running containers, start stopped containers, create new containers, and preventing Linux from shutting down. I could live with all of the above except the shutdown bug. It doesn’t just prevent shutdown from running, but it prevents the kernel from shutting down at all, and well after the user shells are all offline, so there’s no way to manually kill docker to allow the system to shut down safely. This is exceptionally frustrating and has caused unclean shutdowns when I’ve lost power and even when I’m just doing maintenance, since the only way to restart when docker does this is to do a hard reset. I’m not giving up hope on containers, just going to be a bit more careful around docker, they seem to advertise quite well compared to issues people have had with their software.