Making all other blogs seem exciting!
RSS icon Home icon
  • ESX, Linux LVM, file system expansion and you.

    Posted on December 9th, 2009 ashinn No comments

    I see quite a few methods being used out there for logicial volume expansion. Everything from what I’m about to post all the way down to folks using cloning tools like Ghost and Clonezilla. Heres how I do it, and it works good for me. Note that I typically do these offline, for no other reason than I’ve biffed enough servers in my life to not be in a rush. If you’re needing 5-9’s uptime, look for another blog. It seems more than anything I have to expand / and so that also can play into this.

    Likely a good idea to visit the LVM man pages and/or this site if your LVM is a bit weak: read this and maybe also this.

    1. Shutdown the VM.
    2. Extend the VMDK you’re working with. You have a couple choices here. You can either extend it from the service console like so: vmkfstools -X 5G /path/to/the/vmdk (would add 5GB to that VMDK) or you can also extend it in the Virtual Infrastructure Client. If you use the service console, look at the options for vmkfstools for the exact syntax for your case.
    3. I think it goes without saying you should have backups and/or snapshots of the VM.
    4. Boot the LiveCD for your particular flavor of Linux. There are LVM LiveCD’s out there too, and also I bet a Knoppix disc might even work if in a pinch. I happen to run SLES & openSUSE pretty much exclusivly and the LiveCD’s work pretty well.
    5. Use fdisk and partition your new found space properly. Make sure you change the type to LVM (8e). If you’re not savvy with fdisk, you should likely stop now.
    6. So lets say the new partition you created is /dev/sda5. You now need to create a new physical volume, use the command: pvcreate /dev/sda5 and with any luck it’ll complete.
    7. Now you need to extend the volume group to the physical volume you just added. Use the command: vgextend *volumenamehere* /dev/sda5. Use vgdisplay if you don’t know which volume group you need to extend off the top of your head.
    8. Finally, its time to extend the logical volume itself. Use this command: lvextend -L 5GB /your/logical/volume/here. Use lvdisplay if you don’t know which LV you want to extend by heart. In this example I added 5GB to the volume. If you wanted to consume all space on the VG, you’d use something like this: lvextend -l +100%FREE /your/logical/volume/here
    9. At this point, if everything worked, you can expand the file system. On the systems I administrate we typically use XFS these days. XFS requires the filesystem to be online to grow. So while in the LiveCD you can quickly mount say /dev/system/root to /mnt and then execute xfs_growfs /mnt. Research the proper way to grow whatever file system YOU happen to use.
    10. Reboot the VM and make sure all is well.

    Till next time…

  • Quick & dirty PXE boot server using openSuSE.

    Posted on June 7th, 2009 ashinn No comments

    Lately I’ve been dinking around with Clonezilla and other free disk imaging systems (more on that later), and using CD’s or USB keys can get tiring very fast. Besides Solaris Jumpstart servers, I’d really never gone down this path before. Turns out its quite simple, and you should be able to get it going in 20-30 minutes tops!

    I’m going to assume the readers of this have some cursory knowledge here. It should be noted that I added a DNS & Squid server to the mix here only because my server build VLAN is isolated from the world. I wanted to be able to patch them current after the image was deployed. If you don’t have those requirements, don’t install them.

    Quick network overview: My PXE boot server VM has one foot in a network with internet access, and the other foot is in an isolated build network. From this isolated network I image, patch and then scan the new machines for vulnerabilities.

    1.) Install the operating system. For this example I used openSuSE 11.1 on a pretty low-rent VM. Think 256MB of RAM and 4GB of disk or there abouts.

    2.) After you have the operating system installed, add the following packages with yast:

    • bind
    • yast2-dns-server
    • atftp
    • syslinux
    • dhcp-server
    • yast2-dhcp-server
    • squid
    • yast2-squid

    Yast will then complain about needing a bunch of dependencies, so just let it rip.

    Okay, so now that you have all of that installed.

    3.) Configure the DNS server with the appropriate forwarders (if you want) and all that jazz. However you like just so that the server can resolve. If you want, setup a fake dns zone like serverbuild.local. You could even setup a reverse zone for your bogus privately IP’d build network if you’re feeling really froggy.

    4.) Configure & start the DHCP server with appropriate IP range, IP to bind to (you most likely don’t want to have DHCP server on your public side!) and dynamic DNS to the aforementioned configured DNS server, should you so choose. The last three lines are PXE boot/tftp boot specific. Here is my /etc/dhcpd.conf:

    option domain-name “serverbuild.local”;
    option domain-name-servers;
    default-lease-time 14400;
    ddns-update-style none;
    subnet netmask {
    default-lease-time 14400;
    max-lease-time 28800;
    server-name “”;
    filename “/tftpboot/pxelinux.0”;

    5.) Configure & start the TFTP server. Once again I’d restrict this to your private side, unless you really want a TFTP server open to lots of folks (you don’t). Here is my /etc/sysconfig/attftpd:

    ## Path:    Network/FTP/Atftpd
    ## Description: ATFTP Configuration
    ## Type:    string
    ## Default: “–daemon ”
    # atftpd options
    ATFTPD_OPTIONS=”–logfile /var/log/atftpd.log –daemon –user tftp -v”

    ## Type:    yesno
    ## Default: no
    # Use inetd instead of daemon

    ## Type:    string
    ## Default: “/tftpboot”
    #  TFTP directory must be a world readable/writable directory.
    #  By default /tftpboot is assumed.

    ## Type:    string
    ## Default: “”
    #  Whitespace seperated list of IP addresses which ATFTPD binds to.
    #  One instance of the service is started on each IP address.
    #  By default atftpd will listen on all available IP addresses/interfaces.

    6.) Hopefully I’m coherent enough on the following steps:

    If it doesn’t already exsist, make a /tftpboot directory and copy /usr/share/syslinux/pxelinux.0 to /tftpboot. While you’re at it also make a directory called /tftpboot/pxelinux.cfg.

    7.) Create a file with the following contents named /tftpboot/pxelinux.cfg/default:

    default harddisk

    # hard disk
    label harddisk
    localboot 0x80

    # clonezilla live
    label clonezilla
    kernel vmlinuz1
    append initrd=initrd1.img boot=live union=aufs noswap noprompt ip=frommedia fetch=tftp://SERVERIPHERE/filesystem.squashfs

    implicit 1
    gfxboot bootlogo
    display message
    prompt 1
    timeout 600

    Change the SERVERIPHERE to represent your TFTP servers private IP.

    8.) Obtain the latest Clonezilla live cd .zip file, or one you’ve created custom (more on that later!). Unzip the .zip file in a location of your chosing and then copy live/vmlinuz1, live/initrd1.img and filesystem.squashfs to /tftpboot.

    In case you’re not in the know, vmlinuz1 = the kernel, initrd1.img = initial RAM disk image and filesystem.squashfs = the file system with all of the fun clonezilla stuff in it. I’m over simplifying things here, but whatever.

    For more details, see this link:

    9.) Create the message file you’ll see when your machine PXE boots named /tftpboot/message. This is what mine contains:

    Clonezilla PXE Boot

    To start the imaging system enter ‘clonezilla’ and press enter.

    Available boot options:

    harddisk – Boot from Harddisk (this is default)
    clonezilla – CloneZille Live CD

    Assuming you have all of the services started, you should now see this menu on the server(s) you wish to image. Type clonezilla and in theory the Clonezilla build environment should begin to load. This all works very nicely on my IBM blade servers.

    While in this example I focused on Clonezilla, you could replace (or add) any linux kernel & initrd (plus any other associated files) your little heart desires in the /tftpboot/pxelinux.cfg/default. Like for example a RedHat server build environment or whatever you might need. I assume you could easily shove in a BartPE/WinPE image too if you wanted.

    I’ll run through this again later in the week to make sure I didn’t miss something huge.

    I didn’t really get into configuration of the Squid proxy I guess, but there are plenty of HOW-TO’s out there for that!

    Till next time…

  • Manually reactivate LVM’s in Linux

    Posted on March 2nd, 2009 ashinn No comments

    I’m not sure what the deal is, but often when you boot Linux up single user you only get the root volume group activated. This could be totally normal behavior, and no big deal. When you have /usr /var and other portions of the file system broken up … it becomes a big deal.

    After looking around the lvm man page awhile, this worked for me.


    # lvm lvscan
    Failed to find sysfs mont point
    inactive ‘/dev/var/var [7.99 GB] inherit
    ACTIVE ‘/dev/system/root [7.80 GB] inherit
    ACTIVE ‘/dev/system/swap [2.00 GB] inherit

    Execute this:

    # lvm vgsan
    # lvm vgchange -ay


    # lvm lvscan
    Failed to find sysfs mont point
    ACTIVE ‘/dev/var/var [7.99 GB] inherit
    ACTIVE ‘/dev/system/root [7.80 GB] inherit
    ACTIVE ‘/dev/system/swap [2.00 GB] inherit

    You may now mount volumes as normal for maintenance.