About me

Paolo Iannelli Picture

Paolo Iannelli

Big Daddy at Mega Labs

Amsterdam Area, Netherlands
Information Technology and Services
C, Python, Big Data, Scalability, High Availability, Performance
Expert Software Engineer with more than 12 years of experience.
Strong in critical thinking, problem solving and high performance architectures.
Paolo Iannelli Labs Rss

Working to Disk Nukem

Posted on : 04-01-2012 | By : Paolo Iannelli | In : C, Security, Software Development, System Administration

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Hello folks,

shortly, I’m currently working on Disk Nukem, a data destroy utility based on DBAN.

Disk Nukem will be able to perform same operations as DBAN as well as reporting data via a web API and to web-based GUI interface, an updated kernel for device’s compatibility and others enhancements.

If you want to check it out, take a look at : http://github.com/piannelli !

If you like it, join the development!


Cheers :)

How To connect to Virtual Machines (VMWare) using VNC

Posted on : 16-07-2011 | By : Paolo Iannelli | In : System Administration, Virtualization

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If you need to connect to a Virtual Machine but you cannot use the VMWare console for different reasons (for instance you are travelling and you have only your macbook pro with you, that doesn’t run VMWare vSphere), you might be interested in this how to.
You will be able to connect to a virtual machine, simply using a VNC client like RealVNC or UltraVNC, as soon as the virtual machine is running.

To achieve this, your virtual machine needs to be turned off and you should go to the settings page.

Go now to Options -> General -> Configuration parameters… and add 4 new rows :

  • RemoteDisplay.vnc.enabled = TRUE
  • RemoteDisplay.vnc.key = leave empty, will be auto-filled
  • RemoteDisplay.vnc.password = 8 characters password
  • RemoteDisplay.vnc.port = anything between 5000 and 5999

Once you filled up all the fields, you may click OK and start the virtual machine.

Using a VNC client, you should be able to connect now to the VM using the VM Host ip address (or FQDN) and the port specified, along with your 8 bytes password.

Although this is a cool feature, you have to take in account that VNC uses a week password encryption protocol and that VNC traffic is sent thru the network unencrypted. You may connect to VNC also tunneling through a SSH connection, but this is not part of this tutorial.

Briefly, I would recommend to use this functionality only if you plain to encrypt data via the above-mentioned tunnel or when you have no other choices rather than the official VMWare management console (that encrypt communication using SSL certificates). It might also still be appreciable to use this feature only on private environments, where no data is exposed to the Internet.
I hope this post was useful  and if you have any questions, just let me know!

FIX : extconf.rb:1:in `require’: no such file to load — mkmf (LoadError)

Posted on : 31-05-2011 | By : Paolo Iannelli | In : Ruby, Software Development, System Administration

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If you ever run into this error while installing gems :

  • extconf.rb:1:in `require’: no such file to load — mkmf (LoadError)

and you are running Ubuntu/Debian, all you need to do is typing this command :

  • sudo apt-get install ruby1.8-dev

Problem solved !

How to rename network interface in Ubuntu / Debian / SUSE / Linux

Posted on : 25-05-2011 | By : Paolo Iannelli | In : Linux administration, System Administration

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To rename a network interface in linux is easy, as long as you know how to do it !

Open the file “/etc/udev/rules.d/70-persistent-net.rules” and look for something like this :

This will be written in a single line, but for displaying reasons I had to split it in 3 lines

If you just want to rename the interface with mac address 00:11:22:33:44:55 to “eth0“, in this case you would just change the name stated in the NAME parameter.

  • NOTE : you don’t have to change the KERNEL parameter.

After doing this, remember also to check your /etc/network/interfaces file to reflect the interface’s name change.

Finally, restart the networking with :

That’s it !

Enable PXE FLASH on Intel server’s NIC cards Intel PRO 100 / 1000 MT and others with IBAUTIL and BOOTUTIL

Posted on : 19-05-2011 | By : Paolo Iannelli | In : Hardware Upgrade, System Administration

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Do you have an Intel NIC card (single, dual or quad) that doesn’t show any PXE ROM during server’s startup, therefore being unable to boot your server from PXE?
I have the solution for you.

From Intel’s website, looking at the page about “Intel Boot Agent” we can read :

Intel Boot Agent: When enabled, the computer can initiate PXE/RPL boot if a valid flash image is present on the NIC.


  • Desktop adapters are normally shipped with both WOL and the Boot Agent (for PXE) enabled.
  • Server adapters are normally shipped with both WOL and the Boot Agent (for PXE) disabled.

To enable or disable these features you MUST use IBAUTIL.

So, if also you thought “WTF? Shouldn’t be the other way round?”, then we are on same wavelength.

Preparing boot disk

In order to solve the problem, you need to use the IBAUTIL / BOOTUTIL utility and this must be run only under a DOS environment.
To make things easier, I prepared a DR-DOS boot image that you can use to boot from USB or, if you have a DRAC/ILO/IPMI interface, to mount it directly as virtual floppy.
BOOTUTIL is actually a newer version of IBAUTIL and I recommend you to use it on newer and old adapters. For old adapters like Intel Pro/100 BOOTUTIL should work fine, but if it doesn’t, use IBAUTIL ;)

If you have a USB stick, you may use the ZIP version, unpack it and prepare the stick with HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool. Once the USB drive is formatted with a bootable boot sector, you will only need to copy the ZIP content to the drive. The ISO CD is tested and works well also on old HP iLO100 controllers

Flashing your devices

After your server started in DR-DOS environment, you should be able to type

and the result will be something like this :

The example you see above is one of the worse one : when you get the message “FLASH Not Present”, it can means 2 things : either the FLASH ROM is disabled or the FLASH is physically missing from the device, therefore you won’t be able to flash any PXE ROM to it.

Here there is a list of most commonly used commands (replace ibautil with bootutil if you want to use that) :

Enable FLASH ROM on all adapters
  • ibautil -all -flashenable
Disable FLASH ROM on all adapters
  • ibautil -all -flashdisable
Enable Setup Menu on all adapters
  • ibautil -all -setupenable
Disable Setup Menu on all adapters
  • ibautil -all -setupdisable
Enable WOL on all adapters
  • ibautil -all -wolenable
Disable WOL on all adapters
  • ibautil -all -woldisable
Install a new PXE FLASH in all adapters
  • ibautil -all -install pxe
Upgrade FLASH in all adapters
  • ibautil -all -upgrade
Upgrade FLASH in all adapters with PXE and iSCSI support
  • bootutil -all -up=combo
Upgrade FLASH in all adapters with only PXE support
  • bootutil -all -up=pxe

To work only on a specific nic, you may use the parameter -nic=X instead of -all, where X is the NIC number.

In the image I included also latest flash versions so you can flash almost any Intel Card.

If you wonder what is the Setup Menu, I can tell you that is something like the following that you can trigger on boot :

After a successful flashing, you will get something like this :

I hope this was informative for you and if you have any questions, please leave me a comment below !