Monthly Archives: August 2014

Building my Home Lab

I’m putting together a home lab which I will use to learn/test/play with new technologies. A virtual environment allows you to create test environments which help with studying for MCP, VCP or other IT exams.

Here is what I have so far:

Networking:
Cisco SG300-10 Managed Switch

Router:
Alix 2-3 running pfSense. I got this router from Yawarra Tiny Computers a few years ago and its as solid as a rock.

Server:
I have yet to put this together. I was previously using a Dell PowerEdge T110. I found that server to be too big and too noisy. It also maxed out at 16GB of RAM. Here are the parts I got for the new server:

RAM: Kingston Hyper X Fury HX316C10FBK2/16 (x2 for 32GB RAM).

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Q87M-MK – This board has two NICs and supports Intel vPro.

CPU: Intel Core i5 4690S – This CPU supports all virtualisation requirements, plus it has vPro, which allows remote KVM.

PSU: Corsair VS350

Case: Silverstone SG02B-F Black Micro ATX

I will be installing VMware ESXi 5.5 on this machine. ESXi 5.5 does not include the driver for the network interfaces used on this board, so I used the instructions here to create a custom install ISO, which I hope can be mounted remotely using the vPro feature.

My next post will have the results of this setup!

Installing MythTV on Debian

Here is my method for setting up MythTV on Debian 7 (Wheezy). I chose Debian as I found it the most stable Linux distribution and also allowed for a very minimal installation. This is a backend only setup as I use XBMC as the frontend on another PC.

Note: The commands below are run as the root user unless specified.

  1. Install Debian. I used the network install ISO, set up on a USB stick. During installation I did not choose to install any packages other than SSH.
  2. Login via SSH. I use PuTTY on my Windows machine. In order to get mythtv-setup to work, you will need to install an X Windows server. I use Xming.
  3. In PuTTY, enable X11 forwarding. Enter localhost:0 for the X display location. Make sure Xming is running before connecting.
  4. Update /etc/apt/sources.list. We need to add the repository at deb-multimedia.org, so MythTV can be installed.
    deb http://www.deb-multimedia.org wheezy main non-free
    deb http://www.deb-multimedia.org wheezy-backports main
    
  5. Add non-free to the existing sources as well. This was required to download the firmware for the Sony PlayTV tuner I’m using.
  6. Run the following to install the deb-multimedia package source.
    apt-get update
    apt-get install deb-multimedia-keyring
    apt-get update
    
  7. Here I’m installing the firmware for the tuner, as well as ntp client and the X Windows Server.
    apt-get install firmware-linux-nonfree xorg ntp
    
  8. Install MythTV. We need to install from the Wheezy-Backports repository as the stable one does not have the latest version.
    apt-get -t wheezy-backports install mythtv mythweb
    
  9. I open access to Apache for access to MythWeb on the local subnet. Edit /etc/mythtv/mythweb.conf.
    Allow from <Subnet>/24
    

    Where is your LAN IPv4 network address.

  10. Restart the Apache server for the above change to take effect.
    /etc/init.d/apache2 restart
    
  11. Create MythTV storage directories. I have a drive mounted to /mnt/storage, and create a directory here called mythtv. Under this I create two directories, one for recorded TV, the other for the live TV buffer. I then give the mythtv user read and write permission on the directories.
    cd /mnt/storage
    mkdir mythtv
    mkdir mythtv/recordedtv
    mkdir mythtv/livetv
    chown mythtv:mythtv recordedtv/
    chown mythtv:mythtv livetv/
    chmod 755 recordedtv/
    chmod 755 livetv/
    
  12. Run mythtv-setup as your non-root user. Refer to the MythTV Wiki for setup help.
  13. Make sure mythtv-backend is running. You can start the backend like so.
    /etc/init.d/mythtv-backend start
    
  14. The MythTV backend should now be ready.