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Category: devops

How this site is built and updated

We've been (very) infrequently updating this blog thing since 2006. In that time it's had a number of homes: it probably started as a VM on a machine under the desk in my office, then it spent years flipping between running directly and indirectly (as a VM) on servers in our datacenter. After our old hardware started failing, we moved it to the cloud, running on an EC2 server. Now, it's running in a container. Initially, this blog was created to test and document this new fangled SAML authentication protocol, starting with mod_shib (from Shibboleth v1. When Shibboleth v2 was released, we switched to SAML 2.0 and mod_shib2.

In late 2014, our team started deploying Drupal websites on AWS using Docker images running on CoreOS. As part of that effort we created a base LAMP image using Ubuntu. We also added SimpleSAMLphp to the image to support authentication, since it had features that were a better fit for our environment than mod_shib2 (mainly that there was no separate daemon, like shibd, and that it could store session data in the same database as Drupal, making load balancing much simpler).

In early 2015 we started merging the two efforts, resulting in this new containerized, load-balanced, and easily updated version of our blog.

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I Broke My Pi’s Networking!

While messing around with Raspberry Pis, Docker, bridged networks, wireless networks, etc. I managed to bork my Pis. If this happened at home, I could use a serial console cable, or plug the Pi into the spare HDMI port on my monitor and use a USB keyboard, or attach a USB SD card reader to another Pi. Unfortunately, this happened at work, where I have no Pi console cable, no HDMI monitor (one downside to the Apple Thunderbolt Display), no USB keyboard and no USB SD card reader (although since I borked both Pis, the SD card reader would have been useless).

I did have my Macbook Pro and its SD reader, and several Ubuntu Vagrant boxes (running on VirtualBox).

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