Bryan Ross's Picture

Bryan Ross

Edinburgh, Scotland http://www.liquidstate.net/ 150 posts

Platform Engineering Manager at Sky TV, specialising in web-scale systems with a passion for devops, infrastructure-as-code and automation.

Jenkins behind an Nginx Reverse Proxy

Here at Liquidstate HQ, we use the Jenkins continuous integration server for a wide variety of tasks: Web front end for various scripts Scheduling odd-jobs to run regularly Running various tasks when changes are made to our local Gogs git repositories. Unfortunately, it seems getting anything but a non-trivial installation »

Securing SSH with Authy 2FA

Securing Your Server If you have servers accessible from the Internet, either hosted on the cloud or perhaps a home server that you allow incoming connections to, then you've no doubt worried about how to keep your server secure. In this post we'll demonstrate how you can quickly and easily »

Graphite

We love graphs here at Liquidstate HQ. After over a decade of building scalable infrastructure, we've learned the hard way that if you're not monitoring it, then you're not managing it! What is Graphite? Graphite is a scalable a real-time graphing system commonly used in conjuction with Collectd and Statsd »

Remote Desktop for Mac with Windows 8.1

I loathe those problems that require lots of fiddling but ultimately turn out to be very simple to fix! Hindsight is wonderful thing! Today's challenge was making a Remote Desktop connection from my MacBook to my home server running Windows 8. This worked perfectly until I recently upgraded to Windows »

Windows 8.1 on HP Microserver N40L

Here at Liquidstate HQ, we have a simple HP Microserver N40L running Microsoft Windows that acts as our fileserver. I recently made the mistake of trying to upgrade to Windows 8.1. What a drama. After two days of googling, fiddling, and general hair pulling, it seems there's a fairly »

How I use IFTTT

IFTTT, short for "If This Then That" (and pronounced "ift"), is a free service that lets you connect various "channels" together through simple conditional statements known as "Recipes". There are over 120 channels available, ranging from social media websites to online storage, mobile phones and even programmable light bulbs! IFTTT »

Stop Brute-force attacks using IPTables

There's quite a few dedicates bits of software like SSHGuard, blockhosts, denyhosts and fail2ban that will monitor your server logs looking for suspicious activity and then block the source IP - usually though a host-based firewall. They're all fine bits of software, but basic throttling of connections is usually enough »

Liquid Prompt

Liquid Prompt adds smart, adaptive functionality to your Bash or Zsh shell prompt. It adds useful information to your prompt based as you need it. For example, if your battery starts running low, an orange symbol will be added to your prompt. Or, if you're working in a git or »

Text-based histrograms of log files

Have you ever wanted to count the number of log entries grouped by a particular field? For example, reporting how many hits you've received per IP address in an Apache or Nginx log file, or perhaps sort by the response type? Installation Simply add the following histogram function to your »

Openstack Havana Home Lab on CentOS6 with external networking

The Liquidstate Lab Server is an aged Dell PowerEdge 840, which used to run a whitebox version of ESXi 4.  However, times change and I didn't fancy trying to re-do all the driver work to get ESXi 5 (or soon 6) installed.  So, instead, I decided to deploy OpenStack instead. »

Freenode on WeeChat on CentOS 6

IRC (Internet Relay Chat) seems to be making a bit of a come back as of late, so I thought it was about time I made a more permanent presence, rather than just popping in via web clients from time to time.  Here's some instructions on installing WeeChat on CentOS »

Vagrant Fedora 19 Box using Veewee and RVM

I'm currently doing some development work with Red Hat OpenShift Origin, which is primarily (currently) developed for Fedora 19.  As part of my efforts to fix up the Puppet module used for deployment, I wanted the ability to quickly spin up new clean Fedora 19 virtual machines. Enter Vagrant.  Vagrant »

Dell DRAC 4/P with Windows 8

The Liquidstate Lab contains a Dell PowerEdge 840 tower server with a DRAC 4/P lights-out card.  The DRAC card is great for remote administration, but unfortunately its firmware is now a little out of date.  When trying to open a console from a modern PC, you'll likely get an »

Pimping PuTTY

In my last role, SecureCRT was my console of choice, but my new employer doesn't offer it sadly.  So, instead, I've diligently being using PuTTY, a very popular freely available open source SSH client for Windows. PuTTY is perfectly functionable out of the box, but I thought I'd share a »

How to restart Windows 8 from an Remote Desktop Connection (RDP)

Here at Liquidstate, we have a home server running Windows 8.  It might seem like a simple thing, but today I drew a blank when trying to restart the server remotely from a Remote Desktop Connection (RDP).  If you try the normal routes, then the only option available to you »

My HP MicroServer (N40L)

I've been using an HP ProLiant MicroServer (N40L) as my  home server for about 3 months now.  It's been a reliable little work horse and has ticked along quite happily.  I thought it was maybe time for me to share some of my thoughts on the box. Like most people, »

Task Management is only half the story

Most people have a task management system of some description, even if its just some very high level goals scribbled on a scrap of paper.  However, writing a to-do list is only half the story.  No matter how good the task list, many people will struggle to get ahead and »

How to quickly convert Mbps to GB per day

I've been working on a few data centre migration projects recently and a common question is "given x Mbps network throughput, how many gigs of data can we transfer per day?"  And, the same question in reverse, "what is the minimum bandwidth required to transmit a given a number of »

I'm Bryan Ross, and This Is How I Work

LifeHacker has an interesting feature where various people (mostly entrepreneurs) are asked to answer a few questions that give an insight as to how they might work.  Correlation does not imply causation, and I'm not sure you'd want my mediocre "success" anyway, so you should take this post with a »

Become an Outlook Searching Ninja!

In my previous post about Stop Filing Emails, I suggested that tools like Outlook Instant Search (and GMail Search) were not sufficiently reliable to allow you to simply store all your emails in one big archive and use search filters to recall on-demand, rather than spending all your time manually »

How to Manage Your CrashPlan Server Remotely

In my previous posts, I've explained how to Install CrashPlan on a Headless Linux Server and then how to use SSH port forwarding to manage it from a Windows desktop.  In this post, I'll show you how to control your headless CrashPlan server without the need for SSH - meaning »

A more efficient you!

One of the things I pride myself on at work is my productivity and organisational skills.  Its not something that comes naturally as I have a tendency to become distracted by the latest new thing.  I've tried various methods of organising my workload and over time, I've adapted a system »

SSH Two Factor Authentication

Here at Liquidstate, we have a few Linux systems that have their SSH daemons exposed to the Internet. In this post, I'll show you how we've used the Google Authenticator App to enable Two Factor Authentication for remote (SSH) logins. Once enabled, your Linux system will require a six-digit security »

Dropbox Two Factor Authentication

You've no doubt wondered how secure your password is; the short story is that it isnt!  Two-factor authentication has been used for online banking for years, but it is now an increasingly common option for logging in to online services like Google and Dropbox that requires something the user knows »

Using RemoteApp with VMware ESXi in 7 Easy Steps

Have you tried XP Mode in Windows 7?  Or VMware Unity in Workstation?  Quite cool isn't it!  Wouldn't it be nice if you could have the same seamlessly integration of applications running on a remote computer or from a virtual machine running on a VMware ESXi host?  Well . . . you can! »

Installing CrashPlan on a headless Linux Server

Installing CrashPlan is really easy.  The installer has its own (text-based) installation script that will fetch a copy of the latest software and pre-requisites, like a compatible Java Runtime Environment.  Once installed, the CrashPlan agent will automatically update itself when a new version becomes available. So, lets go ahead and »

Don't forget to backup your home file server too!

I recently had an interesting chat with my wife about prized belongings.  If there was a fire in our house and we could only grab one (materialistic) thing as we ran for the door, what would it be?  The answer surprised me: "your server thingy". As with most geek homes, »