Pi-Hole and LibreNMS Virtual Fun on the Quieter2Q Mini PC – Part 6: Proxmox

📅 July 2, 2022
Proxmox is another virtualization environment based on Linux that allows you to create and manage virtual machines from within a web browser. It’s free, and it works great on the Mele Quieter2Q mini PC (Part 1).

In this article, we will replace VirtualBox with the free version of Proxmox 7.2 to see if we can achieve the same result of running Pi-Hole and LibreNMS in their own VMs.

Does it work? Yes, and the end result is the same as with VirtualBox. Proxmox simply provides another option. Here are my results.

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Swapping the Ducky Keyboard Guts

📅 June 4, 2022
“Will the Ducky 3 keyboard innards work with the Ducky 2 keyboard case?”

Keyboard internals. Innards. Guts. Disjecta membra. Whatever you want to call it, the Ducky One 2 and Ducky One 3 keyboards are similar in design internally, so can they swap their internal circuit boards with each other?

Yes! “But why would you want to do this?” some might ask. The hot-swappable feature of keyboards is one of the best ideas since Legos. While the Ducky 3 offers that, its case styling seems a tad bit large and echo-y (especially for the space bar). The Ducky One 2 keyboard feels a bit more solid and sound dampened, plus I like its squarish style better.

Why not combine the best of both worlds? Swap the Ducky One 3’s hot-swappable plate into the Ducky One 2’s case. Does this work? Is certainly does, but there are few things to be aware of. Here is my experience.

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Pi-Hole and LibreNMS Virtual Fun on the Quieter2Q Mini PC – Part 5: SNMP Install

📅 June 1, 2022
“How can I monitor more devices?”

With the biggie LibreNMS installation complete, we can now add devices to LibreNMS for monitoring. But can we add anything or must some conditions be met?

In order for LibreNMS to monitor a network device like a champ, the device must support SNMP. These devices run SNMP agents that communicate with LibreNMS, the SNMP server.

We have two devices we can add to our monitoring mix: the Quieter2Q host system itself and the VM running Pi-Hole. Right now, neither contains an SNMP agent, but we can fix that! This article will show how to install an SNMP agent in each Ubuntu Server and add it to LibreNMS. Then, we will add a non-SNMP device in order to check its availability.

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Pi-Hole and LibreNMS Virtual Fun on the Quieter2Q Mini PC – Part 4: LibreNMS VM

📅 May 31, 2022
“Hey, router! Watcha doin’?”

A network monitoring system (NMS) allows us to monitor the performance and status of networking hardware, such as managed switches, routers, and servers. It operates using its own, dedicated protocol called SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) configured in a server-client arrangement where the NMS software (the server) polls SNMP agents (the clients).

The SNMP agents, when polled, return information about themselves that is then converted into pretty, multi-colored graphs by the NMS so we can answer basic questions about the network and its users. Questions such as,

“Which Ethernet port has the most activity?”

“What is the CPU temperature of the file server?”

“Has the fan failed in the router?”

“Why does Little Suzi’s computer show two hour’s worth of outgoing streaming activity at 1:00 AM every Saturday?”

…and much, much more.

A great piece of free software to achieve this is called LibreNMS, and we will install this in its own VirtualBox virtual machine (VM) running on the Quieter2Q.

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Pi-Hole and LibreNMS Virtual Fun on the Quieter2Q Mini PC – Part 3: Pi-Hole VM

📅 May 30, 2022
With Ubuntu Server 22.04 set up and running as our host operating system, we are now ready to install VirtualBox and create our first virtual machine (VM) running Pi-Hole in its own Ubuntu Server 22.04 environment.

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Pi-Hole and LibreNMS Virtual Fun on the Quieter2Q Mini PC – Part 2: Ubuntu Server

📅 May 29, 2022
Following the description of the Quieter2Q mini PC hardware in Part 1, it is time to install an operating system.

We will install Ubuntu Server 22.04 since it lacks any extra software that normally installs during a typical GUI-based Linux distribution. For example, we will have no need for LibreOffice, so there is no need to install it. We can save storage space.

The main purpose of the mini PC is to run VirtualBox so we can run Pi-Hole and LibreNMS each inside its own virtual machine (VM). Therefore, we want to keep overhead to a minimum. This means no GUI. The mini PC will run as a headless system anyway, so there is no need to connect a monitor, keyboard, or mouse except during the installation.

Ubuntu Server requires a little more know-how than a GUI distribution, so this article will walk you through the steps needed to do this.

Ready to learn? Let’s have fun!

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Pi-Hole and LibreNMS Virtual Fun on the Quieter2Q Mini PC – Part 1: The Hardware

📅 May 28, 2022
“A mini pc is great, but how does it perform as a network device hosting Pi-Hole and LibreNMS virtual machines?”

The Intel NUC project has proven to be a friendly genie that can grant almost any wish one might have on a private LAN. “SSH, FTP, DLNA, DNS, NFS — your wish is my command.” Just install it, forget it, go, and let the NUC run and run and run with practically no problems whatsoever.

This kind of reliability encourages bloat. After all, why not install Cockpit, VirtualBox, and an Apache2 repository server as well? Over time, the number of servers installed on a single device like this becomes tricky to manage and can eventually conflict. For example, Pi-Hole wants Lighttpd and LibreNMS wants Apache2 or nginx.

Surely, there must be an easier way to manage all of this, and indeed there is! The answer? Use a second mini PC to handle other services, such as Pi-Hole and LibreNMS, and then let each server run inside its own virtual machine using VirtualBox from the command line.

In this series of articles, we will look into a nifty little piece of computing joy, called the MeLE Quieter2Q, on which we will install Ubuntu Server 22.04, and run Pi-Hole and LibreNMS each inside its own dedicated virtual machine using VirtualBox that we will install and control completely from the command line. No GUI involved in order to save overhead.

Does it work, and if so, how well? In this part, we will look at the Quieter2Q hardware and compare storage benchmarks between eMMC and NVMe.

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Akko CS Jelly Black Switches and the Ducky One 3 Keyboard

📅 May 6, 2022
Does the Sakura switch feel too light? Try this!

What would be a good switch for heavy typing? The Akko Radiant Red switches worked out well, but Akko also offers a Jelly Black linear switch, which is…black.

The Radiant Red and Jelly Black switches appear to be identical in their performance. Are there any differences besides the color?

I had the chance to try them both out with the Ducky One 3 mechanical keyboard, and here are my thoughts.

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Akko CS Sakura Switches and the Ducky One 3 Keyboard

📅 May 4, 2022
“Can we make it pinker?”

In my quest to experiment with a variety of swappable switches, my next switch was chosen for the most scientific reason of all: looks!

The Ducky One 3 Fuji keyboard has a light pink theme, and it turns out that the light-pink Akko CS Sakura switch is a closer match than that Akko CS Jelly Pink switches.

Is there anything else different about the Sakura switches? Here are my thoughts.

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Akko CS Jelly Pink Switches and the Ducky One 3 Keyboard

📅 April 28, 2022
“What? Another switch?”

Absolutely! I am having great fun with my Ducky One 3 Fuji mechanical keyboard with hot-swappable switches, and I wanted to try another style of switch to see how much the keyboard would change.

This time, I opted for a switch that complemented the Fuji’s light pink color scheme: the Akko CS Jelly Pink switch!

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