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This related to networking in general.

How to Create an iSCSI Target & Extent / Share on FreeNAS 9 (and previous versions)

Today, I’m going to guide you through the process of creating an iSCSI target / extent on FreeNAS-9. This will also work on previous versions of FreeNAS, such as version 7 and 8. There are a few different ways you can go about creating an iSCSI share. You can dedicate an entire device (Hard drive, or RAID array) to the iSCSI share, or you can simply create a Volume, and create multiple iSCSI shares and each is simply a file on the volume. This approach works well because you can use part of a volume as an NFS share, part of it as a CIFS share for Windows, and if you want a few separate iSCSI targets you can just create a single file for each. Lets get started.

How to create an iSCSI Target / Share on FreeNAS


First, we need to add a volume using your hard drive or RAID array that is connected to your FreeNAS server. If you have already done this, you can skip this step.  Let’s get started with the rest.

Log into your FreeNAS web interface, and go to Storage > Volumes > Volume Manager.  Fill in a volume name (make sure it starts with a letter, and NOT a number, otherwise you will get an error).  Add one or more of your Available Disks (by clicking the + sign).  Select a RAID type if you wish to do so.  In my case, I’m using hardware RAID, so I will leave the default (single drive stripe, IE, JBOD).  Now click Add Volume.




Now that we have added a volume, we can begin the process of creating an iSCSI share.  This process required multiple steps, in the following order:

  1. Add a Portal
  2. Add an Initiator
  3. Add a Target
  4. Create an Extent (the file that corrasponds to the iSCSI share)
  5. Link the Target and the Extent together
  6. Start the iSCSI service

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FreeNAS 9 Error When Adding Volume – You must specify a new volume name…..

I’ve had quite a few friends and colleagues run into a problem trying to create a volume on FreeNAS.  This applies to FreeNAS 9, as well as older versions such as 8.  The error they get when clicking “Add Volume” is this:

“You must specify a new volume name or select an existing ZFS volume to append a virtual device.”

and under that:

“The volume name must start with letters and may include numbers, “-“, “_” and “.” “

Here is a screenshot:



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How to install ownCloud on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS – Your own Open Source Dropbox

Dropbox is great.  But, you are putting your private, personal data in a corporations hands.  That is a bit scary if you stop and think about it.  The good news is that you can run your own Dropbox, using an Open Source software package called ownCloud.  It’s amazing and works very well.  In this guide, we’ll be installing ownCloud on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS.  It’s not very hard, and when it’s all said and done you have your own personal cloud storage platform that you control.  You can even enable server-side encryption so that if you server is compromised, your data is still safe.  Lets get started.


How to install ownCloud on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS


This tutorial assumes you have installed Ubuntu 14.04 and have updated it to the latest and greatest using the commands below.  Just FYI, I’m installing it on a virtual machine on ESXi 5.5.  So, make sure everything is updated using these two commands.


#  sudo apt-get update

#  sudo apt-get upgrade


Next, we need to install a webserver (Apache), a database server (mysql) and PHP.  This is commonly called the LAMP stack.  Fortunately, this only requires two simple commands now, thanks to taskel.


#  sudo apt-get install taskel

#  sudo taskel install lamp-server


During installation, you will be prompted to set a root password for mysql.  Make sure to set this as a secure password, and do not forget it!


2016-03-03 15_36_10-mike@stash_ ~


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One user cannot add ActiveSync Exchange mailbox to iPhone / Android

Today I ran into a problem that was very unique.  We had one user, with a brand new iPhone, that was unable to successfully add their Exchange Activesync mailbox to their iPhone (this would apply to android as well).  The account would add to the phone, but when they would open the mail app and refresh, they would just get an error message that said “Unable to get mail.”  We could add any other users mailbox to the phone and it would work perfectly.  It ended up having to do with some of the security groups they were a member of, but more importantly, Inheritance had been disabled on their Active Directory account.  We are running Exchange 2013, but I’ve seen this issue apply to Exchange 2010 and other versions as well.

Like I said, we could add the account, but when trying to refresh mail on the phone, we got this nice popup box on the iPhone.





To troubleshoot further, I went to  to see if I could get some more details.  Come to find out, the server was kicking back the following:  “Exchange ActiveSync returned an HTTP 500 response (Internal Server Error).  Only on that one specific user account did we get this error.  Any and every other account worked perfectly.  After some digging and troubleshooting, we found a fix.

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How to add a vLAN to a Cisco UCS using Unified Computing System Manager

Cisco’s UCS platform is an amazing blade infrastructure.  They are extremely reliable, very fast, and easily expanded.  Today, I’m going to briefly go over how to add a vLAN to your Cisco UCS setup, using the Cisco Unified Computing System Manager.  This guide assumes you have already configured the vLAN on your network and you have trunk-enabled ports being fed into your UCS and/or Fabric switches.


Go ahead and log into the Cisco UCS Manager.  Once you have logged in, select the LAN tab, then VLANs (in the left column).  Once there, click the New button, up at the top, and then Create VLANs.


For the VLAN Name/Prefix, give the VLAN a unique identifiable name.  In the VLAN IDs field, you need to enter to exact vLAN ID that was assigned to the vLAN when you configured it on your network infrastructure.  Once you have filled in those two fields, click OK.


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How to add a vLAN to VMware vSphere 5, 5.5, or 6, / ESXi virtual machine network

This is a simple step-by-step guide to adding / assigning a vLAN to a vSwitch virtual machine network on VMware ESXi and vSphere 5, 5.5, and 6.  Another way of putting it is adding a port group to a vSwitch.  It is a pretty straight forward process, but if you’ve never done it before it can be a little confusing.  We are going to create a Virtual Machine Port Group (network) that is assigned exclusively to a vLAN ID.  This guide assumes you have already created the vLAN on your switch and configured a trunk port to your virtualized infrastructure.


First, go ahead and log into the vSphere Client.  Once you have done so, navigate to Home > Inventory > Hosts and Clusters (if using vSphere).  If you are logging directly into an ESXi server, you should already be where you need to be immediately upon logging in.  Select your ESXi host in the left column, and then select the Configuration tab.  Once you are on the Configuration page, select Networking.  Select the Properties of the vSwitch you would like your vLAN to be assigned to.  In my case, I’m selecting the properties of vSwitch0.


2016-03-05 10_12_02- - vSphere Client


Now, we need to add a port group exclusive to the vLAN.  Click on Add.

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How to setup a NAS with GlusterFS Striped & Replicated + NFS on Ubuntu 14.04

Gluster is one of the most amazing storage technologies to hit the Open Source world in quite some time. Since it’s been acquired by Red Hat, it’s growth and adaptation has only been accelerated even more. Some refer to it as software defined storage. I agree with that, if you like to use industry lingo. Gluster allows you to create a pool of storage that can span multiple servers / nodes and grow over time. You can create volumes that mirror or replicate data across multiple servers or you can stripe a volume across multiple servers. You can even strip with redundancy, kind of like a RAID 5 but instead of disks, its servers. Very cool stuff.

Gluster has an NFS server built in. It actually works very well too. This makes it compatible with pretty much every hypervisor there is, such as VMware ESXi, Citrix XenServer, KVM, Proxmox, oVirt, and every other virtualization platform there is. I have yet to come across one that doesn’t support NFS. More so, every OS and server variation also supports NFS. This makes Gluster an excellent choice to build a storage infrastructure on. You can start small and grow it over time, or go all in. Either way, this guide will help you get started.

Today I’m working with four Ubuntu 14.04 LTS servers (virtual machines, actually). Each has a second virtual disk attached, 30GB in size, that will be dedicated to Gluster on each host. I’m going to set up a stripe, with redundancy, across these four nodes, which will be presented as a single NFS share available to a hypervisor for virtual machine storage, or a server for file storage. If you plan on following this guide exactly, go ahead and provision four Ubuntu 14.04 virtual machines with an extra 30GB drive attached to each. 1GB of RAM and 1 CPU will be more than sufficient. Lets get started.

Creating a GlusterFS volume striped + replicated across 4 nodes

FYI, look at the bash prompt label to see which server i’m working on. I.E. mike@gfsu1:~$ is the gfsu1 node. If the bash prompt is a #, that means the instruction needs to be performed on all four nodes.

The four Ubuntu Gluster nodes i’m working with are named:

  • gfsu1 (GlusterFS-Ubuntu-1)
  • gfsu2
  • gfsu3
  • gfsu4

So, just keep an eye out for what node I’m working on based on the bash prompt label. First, make sure everything is updated and upgraded.

#  sudo apt-get update
#  sudo apt-get upgrade

Next, make sure software-properties-common is installed.

#  sudo apt-get install software-properties-common

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