Patrick Schless

I'm a (mostly) ruby/rails developer, living in Chicago. I work at Braintree, and I have lots of side-projects.

Mar 292014
 

qubes-torvm-archI’ve been using QubesOS (a xen/fedora distribution focused heavily on security by isolation) for a couple weeks now, and I’ve been really enjoying it. There are plenty of rough egdes when it comes to user-friendliess (granted, I’m on a beta release), but I’ve been able to get some pretty cool stuff working. Probably the coolest is having an independent VM which acts as a proxy and transparently makes all my (TCP) traffic go through the TOR network. Continue reading »

Mar 012014
 

The next virtualization strategy I’m testing out is KVM. I’m using Proxmox as the management layer (similar to how I used XenServer on top of Xen), and this provides a nice API, command-line interface, and web-based GUI. Proxmox also makes it easy to do common tasks like pool servers and live migrations. To start, the first task is to automate getting a VM running. Continue reading »

Feb 222014
 

Having spent a week playing with various features of XenServer (with a focus on automation), I’ve only scratched the surface of what it can do. I have a sense, though, for the power of the system, and what it would take to get it to work at my company. It has all the features that we need to start, some nice-to-have features that we’ll probably use, and then extras beyond that which we probably won’t play with for the foreseeable future. Continue reading »

Feb 092014
 

One of the great features of a hypervisor management suite like XenServer is the ability to migrate a running VM from one physical host to another without affecting running services on that VM. This allows you to balance VMs appropriately across your hypervisors, as well as evacuate a hypervisor so it’s safe to perform maintenance. Doing this migration through the GUI gives you a step-by-step wizard to help set up appropriate options. For my needs, though, it’s got to be automated via the API. Continue reading »

Feb 032014
 

When creating a new virtual machine in XenServer, the typical path is to clone a pre-built template of the type of linux/Windows you want to install, and add a network repository from which it can grab its packages. While this works well for popular OSes, it doesn’t help when you want to install something. To work through the manual process of installing something custom, I got Vyatta setup using a blank template and a downloaded ISO. Continue reading »

Feb 022014
 

I’m starting to dive into choosing from a variety of server virtualization options for work in order to determine which solution to roll into our environments. First up is XenServer, with which I’ll stand up a pool of a couple machines and test out provisioning new servers, live migration, network isolation, and other cool features. While these tasks are more straightforward using the GUI (official GUI is Windows-only, but there are alternatives), I’m spiking out tooling that does as much as possible via the API (since we’ll want to automate it). Continue reading »

Feb 012014
 

At my job, we have quite a few servers, all on dedicated hardware. Most of our servers relate directly to storing data on disk, and so physical hardware makes sense. For the scores of random, smallish servers, though, physical hardware is overkill. To help manage this inefficiency, we’re looking at various virtualization options, including XenServer, KVM, and containers/jails/zones. Continue reading »

Jun 072013
 

Finished ProductI bought an antique telegraph sounder a while back, and I’ve been working on a project that will click out emails from my Etsy store when I get an order. I’ve gone through several generations, and come up with something I really like. What follows is a description of my process for going from concept to finished piece. The code & PCB are open-source, and can be found on my github. Continue reading »