Review: System administration and networking services from @PenguinGenius ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Not_OlesNot_Oles Hosting ProviderContent Writer


It all started the day I dreamed of trying lower level dedicated server network and virtual machine configuration by myself instead of having Proxmox do the configuration for me. So, recently, I moved my MetalVPS server from Proxmox to Debian sid.

As part of the move from Proxmox to Debian sid, I got my clueless self into big trouble when I imagined setting up link layer networking inside the server. I imagined that, with link layer networking, virtual machines could use all sixteen of the server's expensive IPv4 addresses. Routing the extra subnet inside the server would have cost three IP addresses from the subnet, leaving only thirteen available for use by virtual machines. I wanted to use all 16 IPs.

Entire days passed by while I kept trying different network configurations. Eventually it seemed like I must have tried every possible configuration except the one configuration that would have worked! I kept reading and rereading the Hetzner tutorials plus several others that I found. Even posting here at LES and getting great responses wasn't enough to push me to victory.

Ultimately there seemed no choice other than to get help. But, from whom? I asked friends for referrals. I looked on Google. I checked Upwork and Fiverr. Most of the search results were about Microsoft, but I wanted Linux.

Eventually, however, I struck pure gold when I searched for "linux server administration -microsoft". There was this guy, Ratko, who seemed listed everywhere on every freelance site. And all the Ratko pages mentioned "networking." It seemed like Ratko was an exact fit for my problem!

But, which freelancing website to use? I've never used any of them, and so, as usual, I was clueless. I wondered if I could make direct contact with Ratko. It took awhile to figure out his last name. And then I found an email address! So I sent off an email.

Wow! Ratko replied almost immediately! Now, after working with Ratko, I know he always replies almost immediately. I don't know how he replies so fast! Well, "immediately" might be overstating the case. Maybe ten or twenty minutes. But that's amazing!

Ratko seemed to think he could fix my server's network configuration so that my plan to use all sixteen IP addresses in the subnet would work.

I made an account on the server for Ratko. Haha! I cluelessly forgot to install the ssh public key that Ratko had sent me at my request. Haha! :)

After he finally could log in, Ratko suggested changes in my attempted network configuration plus a few changes in Hetzner's or Debian's kernel network configuration and their qemu defaults, plus also a change in my qemu VM launch script.

Haha, well, nothing worked, but that was, as Ratko realized, because I had not left even one VM running. :)

Next it was time to look inside a running VM. I set one up. Ratko courageously and tirelessly fought through all the trouble of setting up an ssh tunnel! He then dove inside the test VM through qemu's VNC console interface!

Well, you will not be surprised that Ratko made a couple of changes to my VM configuration. And then. . . .

Suddenly, everything worked! It was like magic! Ratko comes in, looks carefully but quickly at what I had been trying for weeks. Then he makes a tweak here, there, everywhere. Suddenly, everything just works!

Now a few days and a few reboots, retests, and IP changes later, Ratko's entire configuration seems stable and indeed does appear to work for all the IPs in the subnet. Plus, no complaints from Hetzner!

Next came time for financial reckoning, Ratko asked me to send him an amount I thought was fair. While thinking about what number might be fair, I happened to notice a three digit number in one of the octets of the IP address of our test VM. Although it was an odd number, it nevertheless jumped out as perfect! I immediately sent Ratko that exact number of dollars.

Ratko told me the amount was generous. I won't say for sure that the funds I sent to Ratko were my best spent money ever, but I do say for sure that they might have been.

Working with Ratko is pure joy! Everything remains calm, but there is speed, focus, intensity, nuance, breadth, depth, vast context, wide experience, patience, courtesy, and great generosity! Plus perfect results!

Here is a link to Ratko's LinkedIn.

Highest thanks to Ratko for a super great job! Five stars! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


My biggest problem writing this review is imagining people won't believe what I am saying about Ratko because my review is too good to be true. Well, every language's literature has its classic hero saga genre. So now maybe we have a Beowulf for Linux network and system administration freelancers and their worthy clients.

I am delighted to speak privately with anyone considering hiring Ratko. If you contact me I promise additional superlatives! 🤩

I sent Ratko a few questions in case he wanted to answer them for you guys. I did not include a draft of this review. Ratko's answers are below.

For those interested, a few more tech details are posted here and elsewhere throughout that same thread.

Friendly greetings from New York City and Sonora, MX! 🗽🇺🇸🇲🇽🏜️

Interview with Ratko @PenguinGenius

Hi Tom,

Hey Ratko!
Hope you are doing great!

So far so good ;)

How did you get started with Linux?

25+ years ago :) With Slackware 1.0 distro.

How did you get started with networking?

About same time, 1996. when I started working in Data Center, and I was
at Junior Network Engineer position first.

How did you get started freelancing?

Couple years after I got my regular job at University, as government
doesn't give high salaries :)
Friend of mine asked me to start as QA Engineer for his friends company,
which build some shareware applications for Windows.

How do you and your clients find each other?

Freelancer sites at first, LinkedIn, and finally - satisfied clients
recommendation :)

What has been your most complex and challenging freelance job?

Can't remember, I'm doing this for so many years...

How could your clients make your life easier?

With clear and complete info about problem, access, etc. And timely
response for my additional queries.

What's your schedule on days, nights, and weekends?

8am-3pm - in office at University - sometimes doing some fast freelance
tasks in office when I'm bored.
7pm-10pm - freelance work for clients (or more if needed)
Night - only if world catastrophic failure is in progress :)
Weekends - only super urgent requests (which of course have super-duper
high hourly rate), or some maintenance tasks I have scheduled over
weekend days.

If you also have a regular job, how do you manage conflicts?

I do have regular job. No conflicts - office work is primary. Then
clients' requests scheduled per urgency.
But in office first rule of system administration helps: "Best sysadmin
is one who is not doing anything!"
Meaning - he did all great, and nothing to do more (until any failure).

How can you respond to clients so quickly?

I know my value, and what I can do :)
And I'd like any my client to feel special and to know I take care for

What advice would you give a new freelancer?

Don't Learn to Hack... Hack to Learn!
Even something seems hard - try to apply RTFM rule (Read The Fuckin'
Manual) before start to ask around. Try things (and know how to revert).
And don't feel insecure in yourself - otherwise, this is not for you.

I hope everyone gets the servers they want!


  • Itemized invoice:

    • write two config files: $5
    • know what to write in those two config files: $45
    • deal with clueless administrator: $50
    Thanked by (1)Not_Oles

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  • Running Sid in production might break hard, safer to stay with Testing ...
    (Back when I ran Sid i production, I remember stuff like ifconfig suddenly breaking.) :#

  • Does this configuration applicable to IPv6? I mean can we use all /112 IPv6 and assign all to host & guest?

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  • Not_OlesNot_Oles Hosting ProviderContent Writer

    @chocolateshirt said:
    Does this configuration applicable to IPv6? I mean can we use all /112 IPv6 and assign all to host & guest?

    Hi @chocolateshirt !

    You might be referring to the configuration at

    In that configuration one of the IPv6 IPs is assigned to both the node and the bridge. I think all of the remaining IPs from the assigned IPv6 subnet can be used for VMs.

    Best wishes and kindest regards! :)

    I hope everyone gets the servers they want!

  • @chocolateshirt said:
    Does this configuration applicable to IPv6? I mean can we use all /112 IPv6 and assign all to host & guest?

    You need to spend one for host eth0 and (same one) for bridge interface, and all rest are available for VMs :)

    Thanked by (2)Not_Oles chocolateshirt
  • Not_OlesNot_Oles Hosting ProviderContent Writer

    @flips said:
    Running Sid in production might break hard, safer to stay with Testing ...
    (Back when I ran Sid i production, I remember stuff like ifconfig suddenly breaking.) :#

    Hi @flips!

    Yes, you are 100% right that it is not a good idea to use sid in production.

    As you know, MetalVPS is for fun and not for business use. One of the MetalVPS guys has his stuff on Ansible. I have mine primitively shell scripted. My guess is that the Hetzner installimage script permits me to reinstall the server node in about five minutes. Plus about the same for all my stuff inside the node. So maybe, since it's not production, it's okay to use sid. We can blow up the node and replace it easily.

    Best wishes from Mexico! :)

    Thanked by (1)flips

    I hope everyone gets the servers they want!

  • Thanks, @Not_Oles :)
    As long as you know the risks ... I was young and a bit too adventurous with my work laptop years ago, and some of the bugs was a bit inconvenient ... :#

    Thanked by (1)Not_Oles
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