Techno Housekeeping

A long weekend (here in the US) combined with a few strategic days off, and I had a long, five day weekend. A few of those days I managed to get out of the house and down to a coffee shop, so I got a bit of work in, and managed to wrap up a bunch of techno housekeeping.

First, with a new laptop and a fresh VM install of Debian 9, I've got all the components in place to reach my ideal PGP setup ‐ my day-to-day keys are on a Yubikey 4, ssh can now forward unix domain sockets, and gpg has well-defined socket locations for the agent that deals with keys. Any key operations on the remote VM tunnel back through ssh to the gpg agent running on my laptop, which passes them along to the Yubikey. PIN protected, touch required for operations, and the key material never leaves the Yubikey. This gives me a deeply warm and fuzzy feeling inside. In a year or so, when I build a new colocation box, my key material won't ever touch it.

The info for this is spread out in a few places, perhaps soon I'll put it all together, at least what I do.

Attempting to straighten out the mess of cables under the TV at home caused me to plug the wrong power adapter back into the USB3 drive I have hanging off a NUC that I use as the secondary site for backups for the colo machine, which sent it into the afterlife. A spare drive and 24 hours later, I had all the material re-synced, but it gave me the gumption to start throwing together a plan to shove those backups into at least a third location. I've been doing backup stuff long enough in my career to definitely not trust stuff backed up to two different locations, and to cast a very wary eye on stuff not backed up to at least three different locations.

I'd been wanting to use the Backblaze B2 storage since I first heard about it. After fooling around with it, it's nowhere near as full featured as S3, which I've used a decent amount, but it works and you certainly can't beat the price. After coming across Filippo Valsorda's review of restic, circumstances aligned and I started shoving copies of my AFS volume dumps into B2, encrypted and tracked with restic. Things are slowly bubbling up, which I attribute to the fact that it's not the world's beefiest USB drive setup. After that's up, I'll send a copy of all my system backups there ‐ I've been using a venerable rsync backup script for over a decade now (I just checked the date in the script header). And, with a new laptop, I have a new drive on the way to use for Carbon Copy Cloner, but, owing to this new allegiance to the "at least three sites" mantra, I'll probably be shoving that into restic as well.

That said, I'm also increasingly coming to the opinion that if you use any cloud service, you should use at least two distinct ones. So, depending on what my B2 bill is like, I may end up shoving restic somewhere else as well, perhaps S3 shoved into Glacier.