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Thursday, December 27, 2018

ASIC’S in Cisco Catalyst switches [Link]

After I started working with Open networking switches, wanted to know more about the Cisco catalyst range I work with every day.
Information on older ASICS is very hard to find, but recently they have started to talk a lot about the new chips like UADP 2.0 with the Catalyst 9k / Nexus launch, This is more likely due to the rise of Desegregated Network Operating Systems DNOS such as Cumulus and PICA8, etc forcing customers to be more aware of what’s under the hood rather than listening and believing shiny PDF files with a laundry list of features.

I've been working on my new blog, finally got it up and running

Friday, June 2, 2017

Install OpenVPN on fireTV (no root required) for NORD (MAC, Windows, Linux)

DISCLAIMER: No copyright infringement intended. This article is for entertainment and educational purposes only,

Alright!! now that's out of the way I'm going to keep this short and simple 

Scope : - 

Install OpenVPN client
import profile with username and password
connect to your preferred VPN server

Use case : - 

  • Secure your fireTV traffic using any OpenVPN supported VPN services=
  • Connect to your home file server/NAS and stream files when traveling via your FireTV or Firestick using your own VPN server (not covered in this article)
  • Watch Streaming services when traveling using your own VPN server (not covered in this article)

Guide :- 

Project Summary 

Hardware - FireTV 4K Latest firmware 

Platform - Windows 10 Enterprise

in this guide im using ADB to install OpenVPN client on my fireTV and use that to connect to the NORDVPN service

All Project files are located on C:\NoRDVPN

Files Needed (Please download these files to your workstation before proceeding)

OpenVPN client APK -

NORDVPN OpenVPN configuration files -

ADBLink -

01. Enable Developer mode on Fire tv

  1. From the Fire TV or Fire TV Stick’s home screen, scroll to “Settings”.
  2. Next, scroll to the right and select “Device”.
  3. Next, scroll down and select “Developer options”.
  4. Then select “ADB debugging” to turn the option to “ON”.

02. Install OpenVPN client via the network using ADBLInk

Install the ADBlink program

Download URL -

Create Device profile and connect 

Launch ADBLink and click on "New"

Fill out the information 

Notes - 

Address  - this is the IP assigned to your FireTV you can get this from the fireTV Network status page under 

“Settings”.> “System”.> “About” > “Network”

You can also get this information from your ARP table, DHCP leases on your DHCP server, etc 

Leave everything else with default values and save the profile

Install APK using ADBLINK

Browse to the location you download all files to and select the OpenVPN APk file 

In this guide the location is "C:\NoRDVPN\"

After a successful install, you will be greeted with the following dialog box 

02. Configure and copy(ADB Push) OVPN configuration files

this step is very important

02-01 Create Login configuration files

Under the same folder where you downloaded files Example - C:\NoRDVPN

create a text file with the following name - login.conf

Edit the file with your favorite text editor 

Enter your NORDVPN credentials in two separate lines (Email address and password)

Save Changes

02-02 Edit the VPN configuration file

Open the VPN configuration files in my case, I picked a US server so my filename is

File the line that reads "auth-user-pass" and replace it with "auth-user-pass login.conf"

Save Changes

02. Push configuration files to the FireTV

  • Click on "File Manager" on adbLink
               Notes - By Default, it will connect to the root of the SDcard on your FireTV 
  • Create a folder (I'm going to call it NORD_VPN)

Find the created "NORD_VPN" folder and double click on it via the left window pane 

Click on "Push"

Browse to the folder (C:/NoRDVPN) and select the two configuration files 

Note - 

Use Shift to select multiple files

Files will be pushed out to the FireTV as soon as you select Choose

Now we are done with the work from your workstation

By the time you reach this step you will have completed the following 

  • Installed OpenVPN on the FireTV system
  • Customized the VPN configuration files
  • Copied the VPN configuration files to the Root of the SDcard on the FireTV system
Note - Next steps are really simple and you only need the fireTV remote to complete these

03. Import VPN profile on FireTV and connect

Browse to your Apps and Games > See All 

Select and launch OpenVPN Client

Use the + sign to add a profile 

Click Import

Browse and Select the ovpn configuration file using the browser 

Click on the imported VPN profile to initiate the connection 

Under the "Settings" Tab make sure "use System proxy" is enabled

Now your fireTV is routing traffic via the VPN 

This is the only outbound connection from the FireTV connecting to the NORDVPN server IP via openVPN port UDP 1194

You can find this IP in the configuration file or by going to the OpenVPN logs Tab

Until next time....Stay Awesome Internetz : ) 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Server 2012R2 Data Deduplication Report - Powershell

I put together this crude little script to send out a report on a  daily basis

it's not that fancy but its functional 

I'm working on the second revision with an HTML body, lists of corrupted files, Resource usage, more features will be added as I dive further into Dedupe CMDlets.

Link to the Script - Dedupe_report.ps1

If you have any suggestions for improvements please comment and share with everyone

# Malinda Ratnayake | 2016
# Can only be run on Windows Server 2012 R2
# Get the date and set the variable
$Now = Get-Date
# Import the cmdlets
Import-Module Deduplication
$logFile01 = "C:\_Scripts\Logs\Dedupe_Report.txt"
# Get the cluster vip and set to variable
$HostName = (Get-WmiObject win32_computersystem).DNSHostName+"."+(Get-WmiObject win32_computersystem).Domain
#$OS = Get-Host {$_.WindowsProductName}
# delete previous days check
del $logFile01
Out-File "$logFile01" -Encoding ASCII
Add-Content $logFile01 "Dedupication Report for $HostName" -Encoding ASCII
Add-Content $logFile01 "`n$Now" -Encoding ASCII
Add-Content $logFile01 "`n" -Encoding ASCII
# Get-DedupJob
Add-Content $logFile01 "Deduplication job Queue" -Encoding ASCII
Add-Content $logFile01 "__________________________________________________________________________" -Encoding ASCII
Get-DedupJob | Format-Table -AutoSize | Out-File -append  -Encoding ASCII $logFile01
Add-Content $logFile01 "`n" -Encoding ASCII
# Get-DedupSchedule
Add-Content $logFile01 "Deduplication Schedule" -Encoding ASCII
Add-Content $logFile01 "__________________________________________________________________________" -Encoding ASCII
Get-DedupSchedule | Format-Table -AutoSize | Out-File -append  -Encoding ASCII $logFile01
#Last Optimization Result and time
Add-Content $logFile01 "Last Optimization Result and time" -Encoding ASCII
Add-Content $logFile01 "__________________________________________________________________________" -Encoding ASCII
Get-DedupStatus | Select-Object  LastOptimizationTime ,LastOptimizationResultMessage | Format-Table -Wrap | Out-File -append  -Encoding ASCII $logFile01
#Last Garbage Collection Result and Time
Add-Content $logFile01 "Last Garbage Collection Result and Time" -Encoding ASCII
Add-Content $logFile01 "__________________________________________________________________________" -Encoding ASCII
Get-DedupStatus | Select-Object LastGarbageCollectionTime ,LastGarbageCollectionResultMessage | Format-Table -Wrap | Out-File -append  -Encoding ASCII $logFile01
# Get-DedupVolume
$DedupVolumeLetter = Get-DedupVolume | select -ExpandProperty Volume
Add-Content $logFile01 "Deduplication Enabled Volumes" -Encoding ASCII
Add-Content $logFile01 "__________________________________________________________________________" -Encoding ASCII
Get-DedupVolume | Format-Table -AutoSize | Out-File -append  -Encoding ASCII $logFile01
Add-Content $logFile01 "Volume $DedupVolumeLetter Details -  " -Encoding ASCII
Get-DedupVolume | FL | Out-File -append  -Encoding ASCII $logFile01
Add-Content $logFile01 "`n" -Encoding ASCII
# Get-DedupStatus
Add-Content $logFile01 "Deduplication Summary" -Encoding ASCII
Add-Content $logFile01 "__________________________________________________________________________" -Encoding ASCII
Get-DedupStatus | Format-Table -AutoSize | Out-File -append  -Encoding ASCII $logFile01
Add-Content $logFile01 "Deduplication Status Details" -Encoding ASCII
Add-Content $logFile01 "__________________________________________________________________________" -Encoding ASCII
Get-DedupStatus | FL | Out-File -append  -Encoding ASCII $logFile01
Add-Content $logFile01 "`n" -Encoding ASCII
# Get-DedupMetadata
Add-Content $logFile01 "Deduplication MetaData" -Encoding ASCII
Add-Content $logFile01 "__________________________________________________________________________" -Encoding ASCII
Add-Content $logFile01 "note - details about how deduplication processed the data on volume $DedupVolumeLetter " -Encoding ASCII
Get-DedupMetadata | FL | Out-File -append  -Encoding ASCII $logFile01
Add-Content $logFile01 "`n" -Encoding ASCII
# Get-Dedupe Events
# Get-Dedupe Events - Resource usage - WIP
Add-Content $logFile01 "Deduplication Events" -Encoding ASCII
Add-Content $logFile01 "__________________________________________________________________________" -Encoding ASCII
Get-WinEvent -MaxEvents 10 -LogName Microsoft-Windows-Deduplication/Diagnostic | where ID -EQ "10243" | FL | Out-File -append  -Encoding ASCII $logFile01
Add-Content $logFile01 "`n" -Encoding ASCII
# Change the -To, -From and -SmtpServer values to match your servers.
$Emailbody = Get-Content -Path $logFile01
[string[]]$recipients = "[email protected]"
Send-MailMessage -To $recipients -From [email protected] -subject "File services - Deduplication Report : $HostName " -SmtpServer -Attachments $logFile01

Friday, May 8, 2015

Cisco ASA WAN Failover IP SLA- Guide

We will proceed assuming 

you already configured the ASA with the primary link

Configured the WAN2 on a port with the static IP or DHCP depending on the connection - you should be able to ping the secondary WAN link gateway from the ASA


Please remove the existing Static Route for the primary WAN link

Configure Route tracking

ASA(config)# route outside <ISP 1(WAN1) Gateway> 1 track 1
ASA(config)# route Backup_Wan <ISP 2 (WAN2) Gateway> 254

Now lets break it down

Line 01 -  you add the WAN1 route with a administrative distance of 1 and we also include the track 1 statement for the SLA monitor tracking (See below)

Line 02 - with the second line we add the default route for the BackupWan link with a higher administrative distance to make it the secondary link

ASA(config)# route outside 1 track 1
ASA(config)# route Backup_Wan 254

Setup SLA monitoring and Route tracking 

ASA(config)# sla monitor 10

Configure the SLA monitor with ID 10

ASA(config-sla-monitor)# type echo protocol ipIcmpEcho interface outside

Configure the monitoring protocol, the target IP for the probe and the interface use

SLA monitor will keep probing the IP we define here and report if its unreachable via the given interface
In this senario im using as the target IP you can use any public IP for monitoring

ASA(config-sla-monitor-echo)# num-packets 4

Number of packets sent to the probe

ASA(config-sla-monitor-echo)# timeout 1000

Timeout value in milliseconds. if you have a slow link as the primary increase the time out accordingly

ASA(config-sla-monitor-echo)# frequency 10

Frequency of the probe in seconds - SLA monitor will probe the IP every 10 seconds

ASA(config)# sla monitor schedule 10 life forever start-time now

Set the ASA to start the SLA monitor now and keep it running for ever

ASA(config)# track 1 rtr 10 reachability

This command will tell the ASA to keep tracking the SLA monitor with the ID:10 and the Default route defined with "Track 1"

if the probe fails to reach the target IP (in this case via the designated interface it will remove the route defined with "Track 1" from the routing table 

The next best possible route in this scenario the backup ISP route with administrative distance of 254 takes its place

Configure dynamic NAT Rules (Important)

nat (inside,<ISP 1(WAN1) Interface Name) source dynamic any interface
nat (inside,<ISP 2(WAN2) Interface Name>) source dynamic any interface

Configure the two NAT statements required so that either interface can provide NATting,

nat (inside,outside) source dynamic any interface
nat (inside,Backup_Wan) source dynamic any interface

This method worked well for me personally and keep in mind i'm no Cisco Guru so if i made a mistake or if you feel like there is a better way to do this please leave comment. its all about the community after all

Until next time stay awesome internetz

Monday, August 11, 2014

How To Stress Test CPU and memeory Using Linux (RedHat\Cent OS) System

This can be useful for

  • troubleshooting hardware/overheating issues
  • Testing new hardware changes, etc

In this case i wanted to stress test my Dell PE 2950 after modding it to reduce the fan noise - link


Model - Dell PE 2950
OS - ESXI 5.5

I cannot get a lot of info from the exsi health monitor and i cannot run any pakages from the esxi shell.

I needed an effective way to test if decreasing the fan speeds have any negative effects on the system under heavy load.

I used a Cent OS 6.5 installed on to an old 8GB USB thumb drive (not live linux. i have it plugged in to the usb port on the server and its just a matter of changing the boot priority in bios to get it up and running)

Sadly there isn't a lot of options for Linux so finally, I ended up running Prime 95 and a few other monitoring tools to perform the task.

Packages and programs used

  • Prime 95 for Linux (Mprime) - link
  • lm_sensors - link
  • OpenIPMI-tools - link

Installing and usage of relevant packages

lm_sensors - link

Read sensory data such as – temperature of cpu cores and ram modules
sudo yum install lm_sensors

It is recommended to run the following command after installation
sudo sensors-detect #Carefully follow the prompts to configure the package

to start monitoring temperature

OpenIPMI-tools - link
yum install OpenIPMI OpenIPMI-tools
chkconfig ipmi on
service ipmi start

# Usage  Examples

# To check firmware version
ipmitool mc info

# Show sensor output
ipmitool sdr list
ipmitool sdr type list
ipmitool sdr type Temperature
ipmitool sdr type Fan
ipmitool sdr type 'Power Supply'

Prime 95 for Linux (Mprime) - link

This will max out all the cores on both sockets and test a lot of ram. This tool is one of my absolute favorites, when over clocking my gaming rig.
# download the package

# Extract
tar zxw mprime2511.tar.gz

# run the program 

Follow the on screen prompts to initiate the test, I used the “blend test”

Test environment

Room Ambient temp – 78* (AC was switched off)

Windows open for good air flow


I ran the prime95 blend test for 60 minutes and It was maxing out all 8 cores and pushing the system to the limit. If it goes through this without a hick up, it should hold up under normal use with no problems.

 I used the following commands with multiple ssh sessions

Monitor cpu usage

Process running time
watch ps -p "pid" -o etime=  

#"pid" - get the pid for prime95 from the “top“

Monitor the temperatures continuously
watch sensors


I didnt collect any logs but rather monitored the ssh sessions for any issues, but im happy to say that cpus and the ram modules held up pretty well with the fan mod under a lot of stress

Max temperature recorded was 87* and it went down after the fans spooled up. 

So there you go. Leave comment and lets us know if you can add anything or correct anything I will update the post.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Reducing Dell PowerEdge (PE) 2950/2900/2800 II/III fan noise - Fan mod + BMC firmware mod (Noob friendly guide)

Dell 2950 III is one of the best bang for the buck servers you can find on Ebaym but there is one problem this server runs very loud by design.

Example (video Credit David Lohle)

I have my lab setup in my room so I had to do something about this.

After wondering around in the OSMA, DRAC and BIOS with no luck, I turned to almighty Google for help.

Turns out Dell decided not to expose the BMC’s fan controller settings to the users. It’s baked in to the firmware.

Reducing the noise involves two mods, hardware and firmware. 

  1. Fan MOD - Lower the Fan speeds to reduce the noise
  2. Firmware mod - Lowering the BMC fan rpm thresholds  


I stress tested the server after the mod, check here for details - Dell PE 2950 Stress test

01. Fan MOD - Lower the Fan speeds to reduce the noise

I stumbled upon this post on the “Blind Caveman’s blog”. -

Apparently he had success with adding a 47ohm resistor in line to all 4 intake fans, he has a very comprehensive guide on the mod.

I’m just going to put the summery of what I did. (Props to Caveman for coming up with this solution)

Items you need

  • 4pc of 47ohm ½ watt resistors. (Radio shack $1.49)
  • Heat Shrink. (Radio shack $4.59)
  • Soldering iron.
Note : You can drop the resistor value to increase the fan voltage

10v = 12 ohms
9v = 2020 ohms
8v = 3030 ohms
7v = 42
42 ohms

Fan Mod - Steps

01. Remove the cover.

02. Remove the fan by pulling the orange tabs and gently lifting up.

 03. Remove the wire clip cut the “Red” wire and solder the resistor in line with the wire.
    Red Wire

04. Re-seat the fans back on the server. (be careful not to let it touch the heat sink right next to it)

    Watch out for the Heat-sink

I just modded the intake fans, OP suggest to mod the PSU fans but I don’t think you need to mess with the power supply fans for 3 reasons. 
        • It’s not going to make a huge difference. (my PE is running below 52db with just the intake fans modded)
        • PSU is Expensive to replace. (on Ebay PSU is around $100 but four Dell 2950 Fans cost less than $10)
        • I believe the PSU units should run very cool and efficient as much as possible.

      So after the mod, I booted up the server, it was running significantly quieter. BUT… yes there’s a huge but....

      Issue 01 - OSMA Errors and fan speed issues

      The fan speeds were ramping up and down every few minutes. 
      When i monitored the fan speeds via DRAC and it showed an error with the fans failing since the idle rpm is lower than the minimum rpm threshold.

      What is  happening

      the BMC lower the fan RPM after the initial boot, since the resistor is in place the lowest RPM is around 1800 and the default minimum RPM error threshold is 2250rpm so the BMC panics, spins the fans back up to 100%, lower them again since the error is cleared. So on. it was going on in a never ending cycle of annoyingness.

      So after some more google fu. I found a post written by a German “Artificial intelligence researcher” who faced the same issue after he swapped out the dell fans with lower RPM ones and since dell refused to help him fix it, he engineered his own fix for this by modifying the BMC firmware to reduce the minimum rpm threshold (how cool is that).

      His name is Arnuschky - Link | Post link

      His post is well written to the point (Kudos to you sir) but its not very noob friendly. :(
      So I’m going to make a step by step guide using his post as reference with few more additions, for anyone who is new to open source and messing with dell firmwares.

      02. Firmware mod - Lowering the BMC fan rpm thresholds

      The solution explained-

      Arnuschky figured out the exact setting in the BMC’s firmware, the check-sums etc to modify the fan rpm thresholds and wrote a very nifty script to help us modify the values on a downloaded firmware file.

      What is BMC (board management controller)

      • Among many other things, fans are controlled by the BMC and the fan curve and all the values are baked in to the firmware.

      • BMC (board management controller) by design will ramp up the RPM of the fans every time you add more hardware to the system such as – Add-on cards, RAM, HDD’s, etc

      What is IPMI

      • Intelligent Platform Management Interface, this tool set can be easily installed on any linux distribution and after you enable IPMI in the BIOS (DRAC interface) you can query sensory data from BMC and configure parameters on the BMC.


      Things you should know –
      • This worked for many people including me. Myself nor anyone involved will not be held responsible for any damages caused by proceeding with the firmware mod.

      • You cannot perform this mod on ESXI. But if you are running a base OS like Redhat/CentOS/Ubuntu you should be good to go.

      • You cannot flash the firmware using a VM (If you know a way please let us know)

      • To modify the firmware you have to be on a Linux server, you can technically flash the modified firmware from windows server. I will add the details later in the post

      Packages required

      • BMC Firmware file – Dell Drivers and support
      • IPMI tools
      • glibc.i686 (If you are on a 64bit OS)

      I have Esxi 5.5 installed on the Dell server so I used a Cent OS 6.4 installation running off a USB stick to do the modifications and flashing

      Enable IPMI on the DRAC interface
      • You can do this by logging in to the DRAC web interface or though the bios screen
      • Press ctrl+E during the post screen to access the DRAC card configuration screen and Enable IPMI

      Setting up IPMI Tools

      yum install OpenIPMI OpenIPMI-tools

      Start\Enable the Service

      chkconfig ipmi on
      service ipmi start

      Run the following commands to see if IPMI is working
      ipmitool sdr type Temperature
      Temp             | 01h | ok  |  3.1 | -48 degrees C
      Temp             | 02h | ok  |  3.2 | -42 degrees C
      Temp             | 05h | ok  | 10.1 | 40 degrees C
      Temp             | 06h | ok  | 10.2 | 40 degrees C
      Ambient Temp     | 08h | ok  |  7.1 | 27 degrees C
      CPU Temp Interf  | 76h | ns  |  7.1 | Disabled

      ipmitool sdr type Fan
      FAN 1 RPM        | 30h | ok  |  7.1 | 4200 RPM
      FAN 2 RPM        | 31h | ok  |  7.1 | 4200 RPM
      FAN 3 RPM        | 32h | ok  |  7.1 | 4200 RPM
      FAN 4 RPM        | 33h | ok  |  7.1 | 4200 RPM
      FAN 5 RPM        | 34h | ok  |  7.1 | 4200 RPM
      FAN 6 RPM        | 35h | ok  |  7.1 | 4200 RPM
      Fan Redundancy   | 75h | ok  |  7.1 | Fully Redundant

      Install glibc.i686

      yum install glibc.i686
      Firmware Flash program is 32bit and it will fail with the following warning on 64bit OS

      /lib/ bad ELF interpreter: No such file or directory

      Download the relevant firmware file

      • Visit -

      • Enter your service tag 

      • Select OS version – Redhat or any other linux flavor (This will allow you to download the .bin file containing the firmware, this is what we need to modify the values)
      To save you time here’s the link for the Dell PE 2950 II, BMC firmware V2.50 - direct link

      mkdir bmcfwmod 
      cd bmcfwmod                                  #create project directory
      wget ""

      Set permissions and extract the firmware .bin file

      chmod 755 BMC_FRMW_LX_R223079.BIN                              # make executable
      sudo mkdir bmc_firmware                                        # create dir as root
      sudo ./BMC_FRMW_LX_R223079.BIN --extract bmc_firmware          # yes, you have to do this as root! :(
      cd bmc_firmware

      Note : You have to extract the bin file in-order to proceed..
      Above commands will extract the firmware bin file, in to the bmc_firmware folder. 
      Check inside the folder to see if you have a file called /payload/bmcflsh.dat.
      If not that means your system is not compatible with this mod. If yes, please continue.

      Patching the firmware file

      You should be in the bmc_firmware directory created above

      Download and run the script

      --no-check-certificate switch is used to get around the cert issue due to the github domain name mismatch
      wget " --no-check-certificate"
      chmod 755    # set permissions
      ./ payload/bmcflsh.dat  #execute the py script on the bmcflsh.dat file

      The script will prompt you with the following screen

      Select your server model in this case I selected Dell PowerEdge 2950 = number 3

      Then it will prompt you to select the fans and adjust the threshold.
      On the DRAC interface the intake fans shows up numbered 1-4,
      I edited the values for the fans 1 thorough 4 (Only the intake fans will be effected)

      Setting the value

      When you select the fan number it will ask you to enter the value for the new threshold
      This should be entered in multiples of 75 for example the default value is 2025 which is a 27x75 so the default value is 27
      So to reduce the threshold value you need to enter something lower than 27
      I choose 18 as the value, this will drop my threshold to 1350rpm (18x75=1350)

      Saving the changes

      After editing the appropriate values, enter “W” to write the changes to the firmware as prompted.
      This will update the bmcflsh.dat with the modified values

      Flashing the modified firmware

      If you are on a 64bit OS make sure you have the glibc.i686 package installed

      LD_LIBRARY_PATH=./hapi/opt/dell/dup/lib:$LD_LIBRARY_PATH ./bmcfl32l -i=payload/bmcflsh.dat –f

      This will map the necessary Shared Libraries and execute the bmcfl32l to flash the firmware file

      Fans will rev up and stop for a brief moment during the update, don’t worry it will spool up again in a second.
      You do not need to reboot to see the changes, but do a reboot just in case.
      So there you go, your Dell 2950 should be purring away on the shelf silently.

      You should disable the IPMI on DRAC since it is a big security risk.

      Tested for more 24 hours

      Update: Dell PE 2950 Stress test after the mod

      • No noticeable temperature difference with the components 
      • No post errors 
      • No OMSA or DRAC errors 

      Noise Level comparison

      Before the mod

      After the mod

      Its a very long post and its almost morning. so forgive me for any grammar, spelling or formatting mistakes.

      Until next time.......