John Bowdre

Verified
  • @johndotbowdre
  • Wrangler of imaginary computers
  • He/him
  • Huntsville, AL
By day, I manage a large virtualized server environment, with a focus on learning to leverage cloud and automation technologies to make that task a bit easier. My big project from the past year or so has been a vRealize Automation implementation to streamline our server deployments, and I've been sharing some of what I've learned in that process on my blog.

By night, I help out on Google's product support forums as a Product Expert, where I support Pixel phones, Pixel Buds, Chromebooks (especially Pixelbooks), Wear OS, Google Fit, and Stadia. Helping users troubleshoot their issues scratches my problem-solving itch, and it helps me learn more about the Google products I use.

On weekends, I race my daily-driven 2014 Subaru BRZ in local autocross events or wrench on a 1974 VW Karmann Ghia.

And in the free time I have left, I game on Stadia; being able to seamlessly shift between gaming on my TV or Chromebook or phone is such a slick trick, and has made gaming convenient enough for me to get back into it after a 10 year break.
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Positions

Enterprise Architect

  • Teledyne Technologies
  • Dec 2018 - Present

Systems Administrator

  • Alutiiq
  • Oct 2013 - Dec 2018

IT Manager

  • The Atlantic Group
  • Jul 2011 - Oct 2013

Field Engineer

  • AAR Integrated Technologies
  • Jul 2008 - Jul 2011

Satellite Wideband and Telemetry Systems Journeyman

  • Alabama Air National Guard
  • Oct 2003 - Oct 2009

John's Adventures

My 2021 Highlights

10 Highlights

🪄 VMware vRA

12 Highlights

🔧'74 VW Ghia

12 Highlights

🏎 Autocross

7 Highlights

2022

Jan 21, 2022
Jan 21, 2022
Finished reading a book
I recently finished Androids by Chet Haase, which tells the story of how the right people came together to work on the right project at the right time and produced what would become the most popular operating system in the world. 

It reminded me about my first experience with Android, booting a pre-cupcake release off of my HTC TyTN II's sdcard thanks to some clever folks at the XDA Developers forum. It was buggy as hell (after all, it was a hacky port running on a Windows Mobile phone) but was so unlike anything I'd used before. I bought a Nexus One shortly thereafter and have been using Android ever since. 

I really enjoyed reading about Android's origin story and everything that led up to those early releases. This book offers a rare glimpse inside Google's walls and tells much of the story through the words of various team members. 

Definitely worth checking out if you're into Android!
Jan 12, 2022
Jan 12, 2022
Wrote an article
Used Kubernetes
Used VMware Tanzu
Deployed a project in a homelab
Learned by doing
+ 3
I deployed VMware Tanzu Community Edition in my homelab

I let the momentum from my recent Docker efforts carry me through getting VMware's free Tanzu Community Edition Kubernetes platform up and running in my homelab. I find that I learn things much better when I have a project to work on rather than just going through the motions of a lab exercise, so I also went ahead and deployed my containerized phpIPAM solution on my new k8s cluster.

And, as always, I wrote up some notes on how I did it:
https://www.virtuallypotato.com/tanzu-community-edition-k8s-homelab/

I've got more work to do but this feels like a great start - and it's my first time actually getting practical with Kubernetes so I learned quite a bit along the way!
Jan 10, 2022
Jan 10, 2022
Published a Docker image
Learned Docker
Learned by doing
+ 1
I published my first Docker image, a phpIPAM remote scan agent

I've been doing some tinkering in the last week or so to shift the phpIPAM setup I'm using for my vRealize Automation homelab to containers, with the ultimate goal of creating a flexible way to run remote scan agents across my large production environment. I found the phpipam-docker project which would handle the primary server needs nicely and I was able to migrate the database over to that without any trouble.

For the agent side of things, phpipam-agent provides a way to run the scan agent on a separate server, and this project puts it in a Docker container but didn't quite meet my needs. 
So I used that project as a base and applied some additional configuration options to make it a little bit more flexible and (eventually) got a working Docker image that I can use.  I learned a ton about Docker in the process, and now I can move on to my next learning challenge: deploying this to a Tanzu Community Edition Kubernetes cluster. 

Jan 01, 2022
Jan 01, 2022
Wrote an article
Implemented a Tailscale mesh VPN

Secure Networking Made Simple with Tailscale


For my first post of 2022, I explored my recent love affair with Tailscale and shared a bit about how I'm using it for simple, secure access to all of my servers no matter where I (or they) may be.

Seriously, I can't get over what a great job Tailscale does making a flexible mesh VPN architecture achievable for even a server jockey like myself. I'm just mad that I didn't discover Tailscale sooner!


2021

Dec 23, 2021
Dec 23, 2021
Wrote an article
Used Docker-Compose
Migrated a Product
+ 1
Snikket Private XMPP Chat on Oracle Cloud Free Tier


I recently migrated my Snikket secure XMPP server from Google Cloud to colocate it with my Matrix server in Oracle's Cloud. I took the opportunity to document a bit of the process on my blog:


Dec 19, 2021
Dec 19, 2021
Migrated a blog
Used Hugo
Used Netlify
Wrote an article
+ 2
I rebuilt my personal blog to move from Jekyll to Hugo, and migrated the hosting from GitHub Pages to Netlify.

It took me a couple of weeks of hacking on it in my free time but I'm pretty happy with the result - and thrilled with how Netlify made the transition!

https://www.virtuallypotato.com/hello-hugo/
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