Wednesday, June 3, 2015


ImageMagick Under PHP-FPM and Chroot

We’re a big fan of PHP-FPM and chrooting, all of our deployments use this along with per-site UIDs to ensure complete isolation and resource control. This week we ran into an issue where a client needed the ImageMagick PECL module (and therefore the ImageMagick package) installed. After configuring the extension and reloading PHP-FPM we saw… Read more »

Monday, April 27, 2015


FreeBSD Compatible USB 3.0 PCIe Cards

While looking to add USB 3.0 ports to two servers which had no motherboard ports we tested out two different cards: Syba USB 3.0 PCIe x1 2.0 Card – 2-Port with internal 19 Pin USB 3.0 Header (Model SD-PEX20139) Insignia USB 3.0 PCIe x1 2.0 Card – 2-Port (Model NS-PCCUP53) Performance was both good and… Read more »

Monday, March 16, 2015


When To Switch From Cloud Servers to Dedicated Servers

Cloud servers provide a turn key solution to a lot of problems, however they can quickly become an expensive crutch that hides problems rather than solving them. A lot of companies start out with one or two cloud servers then increase resources on them or provision more as their product grows. Quickly this can turn… Read more »

Monday, December 15, 2014


Review: Velocity Solo x2 PCIe 2.0 x2 SATA 6 Gbps

Add an SSD to your already full 1U rackmount server! Recently A-Team Systems deployed a number of 1U rackmount servers with four hot-swap SATA bays, all of which we populated to give us maximum ZFS performance (and  capacity) across as many spindles as possible. We also wanted to get the performance of SSDs for certain… Read more »

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


SOLVED: _openpam_check_error_code(): pam_sm_acct_mgmt(): unexpected return value 4

While diagnosing a server that I couldn’t SSH into using my LDAP account I ran into the below errors. I had seen it before but couldn’t remember what caused it: Jul 30 22:12:57 serverhost sshd[2195]: SSH: Server;Ltype: Version;Remote: 172.17.22.10-43231;Protocol: 2.0;Client: OpenSSH_5.8p2 FreeBSD-20110503 Jul 30 22:12:57 serverhost sshd[2195]: SSH: Server;Ltype: Kex;Remote: 172.17.22.10-43231;Enc: aes128-ctr;MAC: hmac-md5;Comp: none [preauth]… Read more »

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Intranet Server Security & Maintenance

Do internal servers really need to be monitored, maintained and updated like a public facing Internet server? There are two aspects to this question, the first being maintenance and monitoring, and the second being internal server security (which is closely related to maintenance in that updates fix security issues). Internal Server Maintenance An internal (or… Read more »

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Goodbye MB/GB/TB, Hello MiB/GiB/TiB

Since the popular rise of the personal computer users have asked the time old question: “Why does my 100 gigabyte hard drive only give me 93 gigabytes when I format it?” The answer lies with the 2nd use of the word “gigabyte” in that sentence.  In reality when we say “gigabyte” we don’t mean 1,000,000,000 bytes,… Read more »

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Using powerd(8) To Increase FreeBSD Performance By Over 10%

Modern Intel CPUs employ a technology called TurboBoost which works in conjunction with Intel’s SpeedStep technology to temporarily overclock specific cores (sometimes at over 2x the advertised speed) when thermal and power limits allow. SpeedStep is the selective and rapid slowing down, idling and possibly even sleeping of cores which are not being used or… Read more »

Friday, July 6, 2012


HOWTO: FreeBSD Partition Alignment for RAID, SSDs & 4k Disk Drives

Last Updated January 21st, 2017. This article is really popular, I’ll do my best to keep it up to date! I’ve added notes about enabling TRIM support. Aligning Partitions Under FreeBSD for Optimum Performance with RAID Arrays, SSDs and 4k Disk Drives Note: These instructions have been verified to work for FreeBSD 9.1, FreeBSD 9.2,… Read more »

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