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Tag: Network

Raspberry Pi Rack Fun, Revisited

In my post from last April (Raspberry Pi Rack Fun!), I discussed a project on building a Raspberry Pi based “rack” solution for various use cases one might have in their home.

It was a fun to build and it worked well until recently. The power supply that I was using decided to move onto the next life. So it was a good time to revisit the Home Lab setup and I decided to scale things down quite a bit.

My original goals were to build out a low cost, low power consumption solution that met a varied set of use cases. Some of those use cases have changed as such it’s a good time to change things up.

One of the uses cases was the PiHole. I had retired the PiHole as I’ve encountered a number of issues with using it on AT&T’s fiber home network solution. In short, if the AT&T gateway is not running DHCP, it started blocking the LAN IP addresses. Calls to AT&T support were less than a stellar experience in this regard. AT&T is running more and more “network security for your own good”. They mean well and for most people what they are doing is helpful, however, there are problems with their solution. As with all gateway products, there are somethings being blocked that should not be blocked. They do have the tools available to the home user to establish an exception for your home network.

I can resolve this issue but that’s a larger project as I would have to replace the home network solution AT&T provides with my own router and wireless access points. It’s not that hard but it’s a project that will have to wait until I have more time and money to throw at it. If I want to use a PiHole, I can manually set my DNS to a PiHole that’s running and that will work fine. I could have setup a PiHole on the new setup in a Docker container but I’d rather set that up when I replace the network infrastructure.

Another use case was the home Intranet website using WordPress. It was a cool thing to have an intranet site for the house. The reality, after a few weeks, no one used it anymore. So, if it’s not being used I’m not going to keep it up and running.

Lastly, the old Lenovo M73 that runs Lansweeper and the Minecraft server. I’ll be keeping that running for now. I did play with setting up a Minecraft server on a Raspberry Pi 4 and it worked, but not as well as it does on the M73. Memory requirements being limited to the 4 gig on the Pi are part of the problem. I may pickup an 8 gig version of the Pi and give that a try.

Lansweeper however is a slight wrinkle. It requires a Windows system on which to run. I would love to find a solution that can run in a Docker container on the Raspberry Pi. Let me know if you know of something I could try out. When I find something that works well, I’ll be posting about it here.

The new “Home Lab” is a single Raspberry Pi 4. I recycled the Pi I was using for the old NAS with a fresh install of the new 64 bit version of the Raspberry Pi OS. A clean install with the newer 64 bit operating system did allow for some performance improvements. I also decided to embrace Docker in this setup as Open Media Vault has support for Docker and Portainer (https://www.portainer.io) built in. Below is what I have running now:

  • PiHomeLab
    • Gone is the “rack”. I have a first generation version of the Argon One case and used that. Argon40 has a variety of cases that I can recommend (https://www.argon40.com/collections/raspberry-pi-cases).
    • PiVPN with Wireguard for remote connectivity.
      • I use this when I am away from my home network and want to read my RSS feeds or connect to other services on my network. They have wonderful guides on how to setup everything at https://pivpn.io.
      • I did have this setup in Docker but it seemed to run better outside of Docker.
    • Open Media Vault (https://www.openmediavault.org).
      • PiMyLifeUp has a great guide for setting this up, many thanks to them for putting up (https://pimylifeup.com/raspberry-pi-openmediavault). Please note that the screenshots may not match the latest version of OMV.
      • I am still using the 500 gig external USB SSD drive that hosts our eBook library, photos and our DVD/Blue-Ray movie digital archive. This is also where I have my Docker storage configured.

As I mentioned, I am using Docker and Portainer inside Open Media Vault. Below is what I am running. If you need the docker-compose files for setting up each of these stacks, head over to my GitHub repository (https://github.com/jrcastine/RPiHomeLab).

  • FreshRSS (https://freshrss.org)
    • Very efficient and stable RSS feed aggregation tool.
    • Multiple app support from Android an iPhone but the mobile website runs very well.
  • CyberChef (https://gchq.github.io/CyberChef)
    • I run a copy locally as sometimes Github is down or I am working with data that I don’t want out on the open Internet.
    • If you are not familiar with this, you really should check it out, it’s a wonderful tool for all kinds of work.
  • OWASP Juice Shop (https://owasp.org/www-project-juice-shop)
    • If you are learning all about web application penetration testing, this is a tool that you will want to use.
    • Built and maintained by the fine people at OWASP (OWASP Top Ten), this is an example of a commerce website that is filled with security holes.
    • As you ‘hack’ this website, you are awarded points for vulnerabilities that you identify. It’s a lot of fun, I highly recommend it!

This setup is working like a champ. It’s not a lot of Docker containers granted but that will grow over time I am sure. With Portainer’s ability to manage more than one Docker instance, I should be able to scale with with additional Raspberry Pi’s should I need to.

Until next time, have a good one!