sysadmin

Trying to automate the initial OSSEC installation steps

I haven't got around to packaging OSSEC for Debian yet - mainly because I haven't decided how to handle the fact that OSSEC uses a server->agent model that depends on the generation/importing of unique keys for communication (not unlike Puppet with SSL certificates), from an automation/Puppet perspective.

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Excluding IPs from HTTP auth when Apache is behind Varnish

I had a situation whereby I had to protect a site with HTTP auth, but exclude a certain IP address or two from having to use HTTP auth (e.g loadtesting).

The problem was, the site was also behind a Varnish proxy. So I couldn't do 'Allow from (ip)' in the Apache settings, because the IP would always be the IP address of the Varnish server at this point.

And obviously, I couldn't 'Allow from (varnish ip)' because that's the same as not having any HTTP auth at all :)

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NoClassDefFoundError on Solr replication slave

I've recently been working on a project for a client that required Solr 3.4 (which we implemented using these packages for Ubuntu 10.04)

Additionally, in production we've implemented two solr servers in replication (one master, one slave).

Having never done this before, I followed the example in the solrconfig.xml that was commented out, as well as this documentation.

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Enforcing apt-get update prior to any packages installing via Puppet

I've been having weird, inconsistent bugs occur when running Puppet especially on new systems (where it's more obvious).

Specifically: I've seen cases where a manifest Notifies the apt-get update Exec to refresh the apt database, and suddenly the next series of package installs have failed with 'could not find package'.

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Debunking myths about hiring a sysadmin consultant

As a consultant, I have a wide range of clients that differ greatly in their appreciation / approach to hiring sysadmins to help them with their infrastructure.

A common situation I find myself in is being approached by a potential client interested in my services, who at the same time, expresses doubts or wariness about whether they want my services or not!

Here are some of the myths/concerns I hear, or am asked to explain/defend my service to nervous new clients:

I think we're too small a company to need/afford sysadmin services.

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