Tech Smorgasbord #5

An on-going reference series for interesting technology or projects which deserve further investigation, or for technical documentation (of one media format or another) that looks to be especially good reference material.

Free tech ebooks

Let’s start with something everybody loves – freebies! The New Stack has launched a new series of books on Docker and they’re giving them away. The first book is out now with four more books planned to be released over the next six months:

  1. Book 1: The Docker & Container Ecosystem
  2. Book 2: Applications & Microservices with Docker & Containers (coming in January)
  3. Book 3: Automation & Orchestration with Docker & Containers (coming in March)
  4. Book 4: Networking, Security & Storage with Docker & Containers (coming in May)
  5. Book 5: Monitoring & Management with Docker & Containers (coming in June)

SDN under Ravello

Ravello Systems has some truly great tech enabling nested virtualization in the cloud, and many people have jumped on the bandwagon of running some – or in some cases all – of their home labs using Ravello rather than on their own equipment. It helps, of course, that Ravello have a very active presence in the VMware and OpenStack communities, provide free trials of their product, and even offer free accounts to VMware vExperts. Thanks to this, we’ve seen an explosion of blogs detailing how to run various software using Ravello’s Smart Labs – even software defined networking (SDN) technology.


Thomas Beaumont (@tleej) has a great series on running VMware’s NSX under Ravello – which lead to him being chosen as one of the three winners in Ravello’s recent blog writing contest.

Cumulus Networks

If you’d rather play with Cumulus Linux instead, Christian Elsen (@ChristianElsen) has you covered with a great post on getting it working with Ravello:

Network automation

Speaking of networking, O’Reilly has just published an Early Release edition of the upcoming Network Programmabiility and Automation book by Jason Edelman (@jedelman8), Scott Lowe (@scott_lowe), and Matt Oswalt (@Mierdin). With this authorial lineup the book is practically guaranteed to be a must-read for those inclined towards either networking or automation.

In the meantime, you can check out a couple recent blog posts by Jason on the same subject:

OpenConfig, Data Models, and APIs

Network Automation with Ansible – Dynamically Configuring Interface Descriptions

Clustering with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7

UnixArena (@UnixArena) has a highly detailed 8-part (so far, at least) series covering clustering under RHEL7 with Pacemaker. Pacemaker is one of the critical software components providing cluster high availability for both RHEL and OpenStack.


Mac OS X Hypervisor Framework

With the release of Mac OS 10.10 (Yosemite), Apple added an intriguing new feature to the operating system with very little fan fare. The release notes only offered this brief paragraph:

Hypervisor (Hypervisor.framework). The Hypervisor framework allows virtualization vendors to build virtualization solutions on top of OS X without needing to deploy third-party kernel extensions (KEXTs). Included is a lightweight hypervisor that enables virtualization of the host CPUs.

Since then, there hasn’t been a lot of further discussion on the topic, either – except for the fine folks at First there was a fascinating article in January of last year on using the framework to run a DOS emulator (hvdos), and then in June came the announcement of xhyve, a port of FreeBSD’s bhyve hypervisor.

(Interesting aside: bhyve was initially developed and open-sourced by NetApp back in 2011, and you can find more information, including numerous conference presentations and recordings on the FreeBSD site.)

And now Veertu Labs has launched their new virtualization product for the Mac based on Apple’s hypervisor framework. Maish Saidel-Keesing (@maishk) has a good write up here:

I haven’t played with it yet myself, but I’m looking forwad to giving it a spin, while still keeping an eye on xhyve’s future.

All CLI all the time

If you’ve perused much of my prior posts, you’ll know that I enjoy using the CLI quite a bit – whether it’s for the operating system, an application, or an infrastructure device, textual interfaces just seem more fun and (usually) more efficient to me. Sadly, despite the UNIX power of Mac OS X, its rich CLI is often overlooked so it was a nice surprise to stumble across Herb Bischoff’s Awesome OS X Command Line. It’s by no means exhaustive, but there’s quite a few little tips, tricks, and hints captured of which I wasn’t previously aware.

I also came across a nice study guide for PowerCLI put together by Christophe Calvet which includes a good conceptual introduction and links to a number of additional resources for both PowerCLI and PowerShell.

Attack Methods for Gaining Domain Admin Rights in Active Directory

Earlier in my IT career I spent a large amount of time on the job dealing with security issues: physical security systems, firewalls, operating system hardening, corporate security policies, etc.  While it’s been a few years since I’ve  had any real security responsibilities, infosec remains an area of significant interest to me. This article by Sean Metcalf (@PyroTek3) is a nicely detailed examination of some of the common vulnerabilities in Microsoft’s Active Directory today and how to mitigate against them. Lots of references and backing sources provides a treasure trove of related reading.




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