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Gary Williams
Gary Williams
Gary is a virtualisation, storage and Windows systems administrator who also occasionally ventures into Linux and networking and cloud areas. Container user, Windows tech, Veeam Vanguard, Spiceworks moderator. A very firm believer that the best way to solve a problem is to start with a hot cup of tea.

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Posted by Gary Williams on July 31, 2018
Using the AWS cli to backup to AWS from a remote server

I run a few small non-AWS hosted VM’s for things like my blog and email. These VM’s are typically run on LAMP stack style environments with a few customizations for monitoring and reporting that I like to run on the servers. Because of the hosted nature of the servers, I will admit that I did not always back up the content as often as I should.

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Posted by Gary Williams on May 22, 2018
Install Gitlab, HTTPS and the container registry

Many of us view Gitlab as something that only developers may use. Indeed, these guys love it, but are they the only ones who may find it handy? That’s time to dispel that myth! Gitlab is more than the cool repository for scripts of any size and shape. It is a feature-rich solution, so that won’t be fair to leave that thing on the table.

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Posted by Gary Williams on March 15, 2018
Demystifying HTTPS

This blog is going to be all about the secure certificate side of things, by setting these headers you reduce the chances of certain types of probes and attacks from being successful. The server itself and whatever applications you are running on it still need to be upgraded and configured to reduce the chances of someone gaining unauthorised access to your systems.

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Posted by Gary Williams on December 7, 2017
Deploying Microsoft LAPS

As a summary, LAPS is the Local Administration Password solution from Microsoft. This software changes the local administrator password on a selection of machines on a schedule and stores that password in plain text in Active Directory. The first time I came across LAPS was when I hear about project Honolulu and I’ll admit that I hadn’t heard about it before which is something of a shame because LAPS is one of those very handy little add-ins that Microsoft should be offering as part of the core AD experience. For those who haven’t come across LAPS before, LAPS is a handy tool for scenarios where you need to change or set the local admin password to something random because you need to give out that password.

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Posted by Gary Williams on November 1, 2017
Looking at the human factors in security breaches

There have been a lot of high profile security breaches this year, the highest profile has to be that of Equifax as that is a breach which has the potential to run and run for some time to come. Deloitte also got breached and alongside those large companies which should have known better, there have been various others impacting systems such as Disqus. Of course, once it was made clear how the breach occurred, a lot was said about how bad it is that the breaches accorded and how it should never have happened and this is quite valid from a technical standpoint but, the reasons that these security issues were allowed to exist go far beyond the technical and into the realm of human factors.

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Posted by Gary Williams on August 10, 2017
Disaster Recovery and why hypervisor HA may not be best

A lot of the time I see and speak to people asking about DR solutions when what they really want is HA with a few backups so I wanted to use a blog article to go through some of the technical terms used in conjunction with DR. When people say “I want DR”, I’ll ask them about the sort of disasters they are looking to protect against and most of the time the response is “I want to keep working if my hypervisor crashes”.

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Posted by Gary Williams on May 25, 2017
You can’t have too much monitoring

One of the things I come across time and again is a lack of monitoring in what are supposed to be corporate environments. I am honestly surprised at how little monitoring is carried out on infrastructure. These days, it is quite possible to carry out some very in-depth monitoring by using a freely available software on Linux and Windows. In this article, I’m going to go through the various monitoring tools that I use to monitor both production and my lab environment.

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Posted by Gary Williams on April 12, 2017
VMware’s Photon and containers in VMware

The past month has been categorized as something of a performance and upgrades challenge as one of the constant calls I hear is “application X is going to slow”, of course, a month ago it was fine but today it isn’t and normally this is just down to increasing load. One of the common fixes for increasing load is to add more vCPU and RAM but often that can cause its own set of problems especially when NUMA boundaries are crossed and when vCPU contention pushes things a little too far.

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Posted by Gary Williams on March 13, 2017
Using Blue/Green environments to avoid a Gitlab style outage

As most of you are probably aware, Gitlab is, in part, a source code hosting repository which suffered something of a major outage just a few weeks ago. Unusually, they posted a very full and frank report on what actually happened. It’s very rare for a company to do this and even rarer for it to be made public, I wish more companies would do this, even if it was just an internal review with the blame put on the process, it would at least highlight where the weaknesses are in the infrastructure.

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Posted by Gary Williams on February 8, 2017
Fighting Azure AD Connects custom installer

I’ve recently been spending more and more time looking into various cloud technologies such as AWS and Azure. One of the projects I’ve been working on required the on-premises active directory to be extended to Azure to allow for a future introduction of various Office365 elements. The process for doing this is fairly easy as it’s just a matter of installing the Azure Active Directory Connect tool onto a server, creating the domain in the Azure portal and then waiting for Azure AD connect to Sync.

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