New Year’s Resolution: Getting Organized!

A new year comes with new resolution. I take some time to clean up my shabby server bench, both physically and digitally.

So with 2020 finally here, I’ve come up with my vision for the year (pun was 100% intended). Last year, my goal was to get fit and stay active, which I managed to do by going to my local gym and pool roughly twice a week. Now, in addition to keeping that going, my goal for this year is to keep myself organized: more than I was last year. So that’s what I started working on this past weekend.

I spent last weekend reorganizing the physical server stuff I had in my basement. I don’t have a server rack or anything; only the standard old “hand-me-down” desktops that I converted into servers. In the photo below, I have two machines. The one on the right is the machine that I’ve been using for the last 3 or so years. It has my virtual machines for various things, like the anime club stuff I’m running, and my blog. The one on the left was my old machine before I got the other one. It’s an older machine that I recently brought back to life because I bought new 8TB drives for storage, and the other computer didn’t have enough drive slots to hook them up. In addition, I have both machines hooked up to the UPS on the right, and a KVM above for console access (if need be).

Server bench in the basement, with 2 PCs and a UPS.

Not only did I need to get myself more organized in real life, but also my digital life, too. One of the things I did was reorganize my files on my virtual machines. My main daily driver VM had a bunch of files only accessible from within the VM using a virtual hard disk (VHD). This VHD was taking up way too much space on my actual hard drive, and I couldn’t really compress it down, so I took out all the files from it, nuked the VHD, and mounted the share back on my VM, effectively giving me back ~100GB of usable space.

I also found out about some interesting things while working with my Hyper-V VMs. First, don’t even try messing with the actual VHD permissions. I think I restricted the permissions a while back, but stripped a particularly important group off of my VM folder called Virtual Machines. I ended up not being able to do snapshots on my VMs until I:

  1. Did a hacky robocopy of my pre-existing Hyper-V config folder that contained the permission (since you really can’t assign it to the folder again using the permissions GUI on Windows Server 2012 R2).
  2. Used the Hyper-V move tool to “move” my VHD into that folder (no downtime for my VM, so that was nice).

After that, I was able to snapshot my VM before I destroyed that VHD I was talking about above.

Secondly, I use Resilio Sync to keep my files organized. Switching from an NTFS virtual drive mount to a SMB share mount using CIFS on my Linux VM caused Sync not to work. Had to do some digging around, but it was due to the fact that I wasn’t giving the right UID and GID arguments in my /etc/fstab entry. I didn’t specify one, so it was giving root:root, but since my Sync daemon was running under my own username, it couldn’t detect or update the timestamps on my files properly, and failed to sync. This little StackExchange link helped me a lot. After fixing the permissions, my files started syncing again, so hurray for backups again!

Cleaning up that old VHD was pretty good. I managed to find some old photos from 2006-2007 that have just been sitting there. Some of them I had backed up, while others weren’t. I consolidated those with the rest of the photos I had, so now I have ~200GB of family photos backed up.

Now that I have that done, it will make keeping everything organized a little bit easier. I still have a ways to go, but I think I have things set up in a way that I can hopefully stay organized.

Anyways, that’s all I have this time around. Until next time!
~Lui

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Injabie3
A random person that loves Japanese Pop Culture, specifically Japanese Anime and Music. =D

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