Showing posts from 2015

Installing and configuring Raspbian Jessie on a Raspberry Pi B+

I blogged before about configuring a Raspberry Pi B+ with Raspbian Wheezy. Here are some notes I took today while going through the whole process again, but this time with the latest Raspbian version, Jessie, from 2015-11-21. Many steps are the same, but I will add instructions for configuring a wireless connection.

1) Bought micro SD card. Note: DO NOT get a regular SD card for the B+ because it will not fit in the SD card slot. You need a micro SD card.

2) Inserted the SD card via an SD USB adaptor in my MacBook Pro.

3) Went to the command line and ran df to see which volume the SD card was mounted as. In my case, it was /dev/disk2s1.

4) Unmounted the SD card from my Mac. I initially tried 'sudo umount /dev/disk2s1' but the system told me to use 'diskutil unmount', so the command that worked for me was:

$ diskutil unmount /dev/disk2s1

5) Downloaded from Unzipped it to obtain the image f…

Protecting your site for free with Let's Encrypt SSL certificates and acmetool

The buzz level around Let's Encrypt has been more elevated lately, due to their opening up their service as a public beta. If you don't know what Let's Encrypt is, it's a Certificate Authority which provides SSL certificates free of charge. The twist is that they implement a protocol called ACME ("Automated Certificate Management Environment") for automating the management of domain-validation certificates, based on a simple JSON-over-HTTPS interface. Read more technical details about Let's Encrypt here.

The certificates from Let's Encrypt have a short life of 90 days, and this is done on purpose so that they encourage web site administrators to renew them programatically and automatically. In what follows, I'll walk you through how to obtain and install Let's Encrypt certificates for nginx on Ubuntu. I will use a tool called acmetool, and not the official Let's Encrypt client tools, because acmetool generates standalone SSL keys and certs…

Initial experiences with the Prometheus monitoring system

I've been looking for a while for a monitoring system written in Go, self-contained and easy to deploy. I think I finally found what I was looking for in Prometheus, a monitoring system open-sourced by SoundCloud and started there by ex-Googlers who took their inspiration from Google's Borgmon system.

Prometheus is a pull system, where the monitoring server pulls data from its clients by hitting a special HTTP handler exposed by each client ("/metrics" by default) and retrieving a list of metrics from that handler. The output of /metrics is plain text, which makes it fairly easily parseable by humans as well, and also helps in troubleshooting.

Here's a subset of the OS-level metrics that are exposed by a client running the node_exporter Prometheus binary (and available when you hit http://client_ip_or_name:9100/metrics):

# HELP node_cpu Seconds the cpus spent in each mode. # TYPE node_cpu counter node_cpu{cpu="cpu0",mode="guest"} 0 node_cpu{cpu…