vmware esxi @home

I’ve been getting a bunch of emails about the progress I’ve been making on my VMWare ESXi server.  I figured it might merit a post.

So far, I got three VM’s each running CentOS 5.2.  One is a ZenOSS installation, one is a Trixbox installation, and one is a stock linux install that I plan to use for Web and PHP developing.

What’s interesting about the 3rd on, is that I cloned it from a snapshot of the first one.  But now I’m getting ahead of myself.

First off, in answer to most of the questions, I am experience NO problems with my Trixbox install.  Keep in mind, I am using RAID 0 with three 72GB SCSI drives in a Dell 1750.  These are NOT IDE drives.   I noticed no stuttering or voice quality issues.  Second, keep in mind this is for our home and not a busy office.

Interestingly enough, my biggest problem has been power outages.  The power goes off and the box goes down but comes back up.  I don’t know of a way to automatically power on the VM’s or start them from the command line.  If you know, let ME know please!

The second question I get is, how’s my power bill.  Actually, it seems fine.  My wife hasn’t said anything about it being high or abnormal so “mums the word.”

VMware, Trixbox 2.4, and Viatalk

As I promised, I’d update more often about some of the things I’ve been working on.  In my other posts, I’ve been playing around with VMWare ESXi in my basement on an older Dell 1750.

I had a couple of goals.

  • Update my Trixbox (Asterisk) installation
  • Run SpaceWalk
  • Run ZenOSS
  • Have a linux utility box
  • Screw around and push VMWare’s ESXi until it cried for mercy

Update my Trixbox (Asterisk) installation

I still get a lot of traffic to my site since I have some detailed instructions for setting up ViaTalk with Trixbox.  Some time recently, my current server, version 2.2 stopped working reliably.  The Tin Foil hat crowd pointed their fingers at Comcast but I couldn’t buy that in my hearts of hearts.  Sure enough, ViaTalk updated some of there settings and I could get my Trixbox installation working about 50% of the time.

So, version 2.4 has come out.  So I started fresh.  All my VM’s are 2 CPU’s with 4GB RAM.  ESX|ESXi does a great job of abstracting the amount of memory so even thought the OS sees all 4GB’s, the VM is really only taking up about 150MB’s on the hypervisor; YMMV.

After screwing around (the back up and restore method DID NOT work), I finally got a “golden image.”  I got in the habit of snapshotting my VM image so I could always roll back if need be instead of suffering another complete install.

I have my VM’s to have their filesystem on the drives in the 1750, but the swap is actually served off NFS on my Freebsd box, (you might ask yourself why I did this.  Remember, I wanted to see the breaking points of the VM’s so I did some things intentionally that would create some overhead).

I got everything set up and it worked great… except on tiny thing.  Now, I have to have:

Allow Anonymous Inbound SIP Calls?

Setting this to ‘yes’ will potentially allow ANYBODY to call into your Asterisk server using the SIP protocol

It should only be used if you fully understand the impact of allowing anonymous calls into your server

set to “Yes” in order to receive calls.  Otherwise, callers get “This number is not in service” when they ring our number.    It took me awhile to find this.  It’s in the General Settings.

I have to say that it is working MUCH better.   I tried to run Trixbox under Microsoft’s Virtual PC about a year ago and it sucked.   Granted, the Dell 1750 is much different than my powerful, homebuilt WinXP desktop, but I must admit that I was a little skeptical.

Even setting up my Cisco 7960 was easy.  I did have to refer to my older posts trying to remember how to unlock my phone.

The Rest… more to come…

The rest of the items I mentioned will come in other posts, otherwise I might be here all night.

multiple updates on various junk

I’ve been busy. It’s been good and I see progress being made. I see the light at the end of the tunnel. So, this post is going to be a mini-update to a bunch of stuff I got in the hopper.

Tmobile Wing

Man, I love this thing. Today I put new skins on it, and installed some really great apps. I’ll provide a more detailed post on it. Going from PalmOS to WM6 was painless and easy. I almost don’t even think of it. I miss on flash card program but other than that, I don’t think I’ll ever go back to a Palm-based phone.

XMBC on the Xbox

My brother-in-law is really happy with his hacked Xbox. We watched all sorts of international TV this weekend. I found this after poking around. Why hadn’t I found it before?

I found some great games I am playing on my Xbox. ChessMaster was really hard to find:


I am getting a lot of hits on my website for Trixbox related things. I hope you guys are finding it helpful. I’d love to hear some feedback.

Continue reading

cool beans

I saw I got a mention over at the Earthlink blog about my new Tmobile Wing. Now, I feel I am on the hook for delivering some decent content. Shouldn’t be a problem since I have a lot to say about my new Wing. In a Nutshell, I love it.

Now, I know here in the U.S we are about 10 years behind the rest of the world with cellular technology. We have no nationwide 3G network. However, my wife and I have been long-time Tmobile customers ever since we had a cell phone with Powertel. I saw the posting in November about Tmobile getting the huge FCC contract, which made little news here in the US but I think this is a pretty good thing for us Tmobile customers;

I’ll probably provide a more detailed review of the Wing but right now, I’m sort of riding high since I just made my first SIP call from the Wing, which is registering with my Trixbox here at home.

Tmobile now has a phone, which I believe at this point is only available in Seattle, that can make calls over WiFi or the GSM network. The Wing has a pretty robust WiFi setup so I was thinking how cool it would be to use SIP at home. I don’t really use Skype a whole lot so I haven’t tried it, (but it is on my list of things to do).  I’ll have to wait and see, but it appears that as long I am on my home WiFi setup, I can register via SIP to my SIP server and make and receive calls, (as long as I add my “extension” to the call hunt), via my Wing. I like that idea… it’s pretty cool, if you ask me.

If you are curious how I am making SIP calls from my Wing, I am using SJphone for Windows Mobile.  It’s free!

More to come…

trixbox update to 2.2, part II

If you read my post last night regarding my upgrade to Trixbox 2.2, you’ll see that I was back up and running before going to bed.  It was late, and at first I thought that my upgrade went well, but I was a little disappointed to see that my UI didn’t look exactly like it did in the video.  Something didn’t look right, but I didn’t get any errors.  Upon a re-read of the forum, I realized that it looks like I upgraded the OS to the latest version, but not the UI and who knows what else.

From the forums, it appears that there are a lot of successful installs, and the degree of success depends on exactly what version/build of Trixbox you were running.  For what ever reason, I have to run the following commands to get completely updated:

  1. yum clean
  2. yum make cache
  3. yum install -y tbm-GUIcore.noarch

Now, everything looks like it should in as compared to the video on the Trixbox website.   I’ll do a reboot just to be safe.
Alas, now I am getting errors when I try to load the packages list.  This is also reported in the above mentioned thread.

Warning: fread(): Length parameter must be greater than 0. in /var/www/html/maint/includes/functions/genYumArray.php on line 21

Warning: fread(): Length parameter must be greater than 0. in /var/www/html/maint/includes/functions/genYumArray.php on line 196

A bug and fix were submitted.  Sure enough, I was missing three of the files on this page:

That indeed, fixed it.

Time to upgrade Trixbox to 2.2 tonight

I’ve mentioned recently that Trixbox released their final 2.2 version. I’m running 2.1 and have been enjoying a great amount of success with that version. If it ain’t broke, do I need to fix it? I’ve always been on the bleeding edge of things so my gut says yeah, I need to upgrade. It’s a real problem for me. I always need to try the latest firmware, software, version of whatever I have. Sometimes it has gotten me into trouble, (with my wife), but it will just gnaw away at me until I do something about. That’s the case with the recent release of Trixbox 2.2. I’ve been watching the forums and I believe tonight is the night to make the jump.

(gawd, I hate that Rhapsody’s Comcast client takes FOREVER to load; don’t they know I am trying to stuff while listening to some ‘tunes!?!?!?)

So, anyways, here’s what’s new in 2.2:

Some of the things I like is the “dashboard” that is the first thing you’d see when logging as ‘admin.’ The UI looks pretty sweet. On my existing system, I catch a memory leak from time to time that affects my system’s performance, so I like being able to see that sort of info on the front page. The Web UI to administrate the network will help a lot of people who may not know how to configure network interfaces. My setup isn’t typical for most home users. You can read about it here.

The update instructions can be found in the Trixbox forums:

You can NOT run trixbox-update.sh to upgrade to 2.2!!!

Upgrade via the package manager by installing tbm-GUICore or by running yum update at the command line.

I picked the “yum update” route. Man, I wished I made a backup before I started. I had to update 177 packages at 225MB.

You see, here’s my problem. I can really only work on this stuff at home when everyone is in bed. It’s already midnight and if the family wakes up to an inoperable phone system, we might as well put in the order for a new land line; shudder! But, the downloads are flying by, this may not be too bad. Might be time to refresh my Vodka. In case you are interested, I use VNC to admin my boxes from my WinXP system upstairs; the UNIX and Linux boxes are in the basement.

While this is continuing to download, I feel like we finally have a chance to talk. You know what pisses me off? Here’s a list (unrelated to the the actual update):

  • People who don’t put shopping cars back into the cart coral at supermarket parking lots. You are one lazy mo-fo.
  • People talking on cell phones in high speed, high density traffic. Get a headset, dumbass.
  • News reporters (on TV) who use their hands too much when giving a report. By the way, does it really make a story more interesting if you are standing outside of closed office of something you are doing the piece about? Lame.

I could go on, but the downloads are almost finished. Let me refresh my drink while it finishes up. Oh man, 385 packages are now being updated! How painless will this be??? The updates are done. I am going to make the assumption that I need to reboot. I hope it comes back up!

It came up, but if I went to a web browser, it looked like the older version. What did I miss? If I go to Asterisk menu, I am getting MySQL errors like the password is wrong. However, if I go to the “Asterisk Info” page, it appears with the UI seen in the video.

[nativecode=Access denied for user 'asteriskuser'@'localhost' (using password: YES)] ** mysql://asteriskuser:XXXXXXXXXX@localhost/asterisk

This requires more investigation! I had changed the default password when I initially set all of this up, but I can’t remember what the original password was for the user.

I couldn’t find it anywhere on the web and I couldn’t log it, so I tried installing phpwebadmin, specifically tbm-phpmyadmin.noarch. I was able to reset the password to the one I had specified in:

  • /etc/asterisk/manager.conf

I rebooted once I reset the password. After the reboot, I was able to call out okay, but it was too late to try calling in, (and risk waking up the boss). So far so good.

I had installed Munin manually last go around, but now when I tried to access it via the TB interface, I got a spewload of errors. Small potatoes. I’ll worry about it later.

I’m wiped out so off to bed… and more later as I delve into this project.

EDIT: Part II of this can be found here: Trixbox Upgrade part II

cisco 7960 and trixbox

I’ve been able to borrow a brand spankin’ new Cisco 7960 SIP phone to play around with with my Trixbox server. This appears to be a really nice phone with a lot of features and a quality product. The phone seems to be pre-provisioned with my company’s settings and I am trying to figure out a way to “unlock” it to use with my Trixbox server.

I would consider this an advanced topic for myself since I don’t often get a chance to get my hands on cool hardware like this. The Trixbox server has some tftp files pre-installed but nothing really specific or the required provisioning files for my situation. The Cisco phone wants to phone home to the preconfigured tftp server. Sniffing the traffic and spoofing DNS is trivial but still a lot of work that I don’t need to do if I can figure out how to unlock this thing. I did find these links that appear to be useful, at least initially.

Obviously, I need to get into the details, but as I do, I’ll post my results.

ViaTalk, Trixbox, and your IVR

I set up a quick page on my ViaTalk setup. You can access the link via this page:

ViaTalk and Trixbox

Like I said before, this is a really slick setup. I have a different “time condition” for the weekend that will give the caller a chance to call our cell phones if we don’t answer the main line within 30 seconds. The trial and error paid off since I have a much better understanding of how it’s all glued together.