Over the years, I’ve chewed through quite a few different routers, firewalls, even virtual appliances to connect my home network to the internet. Though most of these provided positive experiences, all of them had at least one point of friction, sometimes to the point of being a dealbreaker. PFSense is a great platform, but has terrible ethics. Sophos is proprietary and has an awful CLI. Untangle feels more like an ad than a product.
Think of it like, “OpenStack for cheapskates." There are plenty of ways to automate the provisioning of virtual machines, and while this isn’t the best way it certainly works great for me. I am fortunate enough to have a very heterogeneous environment at home; aside from a few appliances nearly all my virtual machines are running Ubuntu 18.04. This approach certainly won’t work for those who have a mixed environment with different versions Linux, Windows, and BSD derivatives.
Do you ever just update everything? There’s a few times you might need to do this. For example, some nasty vulnerability comes along and ruins your week. Or maybe you just want to be super up to date because you have a strange compulsion to have the latest and greatest of everything. Ether way, here’s my solution: Use Ansible inventories to update all your servers I wrote this playbook as a simple way to ‘freshen up’ my homelab after months of neglect.
No, I would not like to say hello, Cortana. Nothing is as monotonous, boring, and brain-numbingly automatable as installing Windows, installing applications, joining a domain, and clicking all the right boxes in all the right places. And it’s even worse in the latest versions of Windows 10, where we’re greeted by the condescending robot voice of Halo’s deceptive antagonist artificial intelligence during the OOBE setup phase. I’ve taken a particular liking to MDT, Microsoft’s solution to the absolute eye-glazing snorefest of configuring a new workstation or server.
Deploying MSI installers with group policy is super neat and super handy…. Most of the time. Sometimes, though, you need a bit more than just the default options when pushing out packages, and for those of us that don’t have a wheelbarrow full of money to burn on System Center there are two ways to do this: Use a GP Preference Item to distribute a configuration file to managed systems Create a transform set to apply to the MSI installer file While the first approach at first seems more straightforward, it does lead to the inevitable “GPO Spaghetti” once packages are added and removed.