Category: "Storage"

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  05:22:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 839 words  
Categories: Hardware, Computer, Networking, Storage, Ubuntu

Converted box to use RAID1


box is such an important server to my home network, while the last time it failed wasn't due to drive failure...there had been times in its past where it was.

And, since I was playing around with RAID a lot on orac, I decided that it was probably time that I convert box to do RAID.

It doesn't need a lot of has always been a 40GB harddrive of some sort. That had come either as stock in the off-lease system I built it around or from a ReplayTV. The latest incarnation of 'box', a Thinkcentre S51, used SATA drives, so spare drives wasn't something I had a pile of for it.

Now being a Thinkcentre S51, there wasn't much in the way of internal options of doing RAID, but there was a second SATA port on the motherboard. And, it did have USB at first I was looking at creating RAID using an external harddrive. Either USB or SATA. Leaning towards SATA (had purchased a SATA bracket).

But, I was looking for a pair of small SATA first one the same size as the current, but then a pair of small/same would do....and more procrastination.

But, then the K-State Student Union computer store had a clearance table out...and on it where various sizes of 2.5" SATA drives. And, I recalled seeing an adapter that would allow me to mount a pair of 2.5" SATA drives in a 3.5" drive bay. There was even a version that had on board RAID (and could do USB)....similar to one of the RAID enclosures connected to orac. Though I wanted to go with mdadm managing my raid in software, since it was a little bit better known to me in its setup, management and recovery. The latter is kind of important, since at work we've had fun in trying to recover systems using hardware RAID after a card/board swap or having it tell us its status by some mean other than wondering if a light shouldn't be on or something while passing by it in the data center.

But, the table had come out before I was going on my winter I wasn't in a position to figure things out and buy it. Later when I came back from holidays, I saw that some of the 2.5" drives were still available...and had been marked down even further. The big ones were gone, and a co-worker mentioned that he had gotten a pair of 250G for just such a use. There was a single 80G and 3 120G left. So, either I could get a single enclosure and go with the old external mount of drive plan....or get a pair of 120G drives and explore the 2x2.5 to 3.5 bay adapter route. I ended up buying all 3 of the 120G drives, figuring that I'd have a cold spare for down the road.

I then checked eBay for the adapter....and bought the one that wasn't RAID or anything. I chose a seller that shipped USPS, and it just made it in on New Year's Eve.

During the thinking and research phase, I found the linked to details on how to do what I wanted.... And, I pretty much used it (with minor adjustments to suit my needs, like the differences of my ubuntu release, or that I was going to swtich to having /home on /dev/md1. Or that I wasn't going to reuse the old drive in the conversion, etc.

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  06:44:48 pm, by The Dreamer   , 161 words  
Categories: Hardware, Momitsu V880N, Storage

iozone read/write performance of RAID1 vg's

Was discussion storage speeds with some friends over I wondered if I could get some data comparing the performance.

vg0 is are two internal SATA drives, each on their own SATA channel, being mirrored. vg1 is the SANS Digital pair of drives, sharing a SATA channel via Port Multiplication, being mirrored.

Guess the graphs show that the internal drives are faster for small files....though for larger the difference goes away, so that things are comparable.

As it is....vg1 is mainly my MMCVideo filesystem - MMC (Momitsu Media Center). So, the files tend to be large and sequentially read/written.

Meanwhile, I've already removed the old MMCVideo logical volume from vg0 and doubled the size of /home. Even though now that I think of it, there's stuff under /home that might better go in its own logical volume(s) that I have room to create them.

Or later go on that HP MediaSmart Server that I've been dreaming of adding to my network.... :hmm:


  07:59:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 381 words  
Categories: Hardware, Storage, Ubuntu

SANS Digital TowerRAID TR2UT-B & ubuntu 8.04LTS

I've been wanting to try a Port Multiplier eSATA enclosure on my Ubuntu 8.04LTS Server, known as 'orac', for sometime. But, keep getting sidelined by how much it would cost to get a 5-bay enclosure and 5 drives... it would only be a matter of time that the price of drives would come down.

But, storage has been tight on my file server and it has been causing issues, and I know I'm going to have tons more stuff to add to it. The server current is just a pair of 500GB internal drives mirrored in RAID1. So, I started looking at options to add 1TB of RAID1 storage. I considered buying two discrete external 1TB drives....or buying an external enclosure that does RAID1. When I came across the SANS Digital TowerRAID TR2UT enclosure, and a few other like it....I narrowed on this one because it was under $100 and available under Amazon Prime. But, this enclosure sat in my cart 'saved for later'.

The reason I considered the enclosure was that it purports to do various RAID configurations on its own, additional it can be just JBOD and connect to a Port Multiplier port on 'orac'. If the drive didn't work on Port Multiplier, I could resort to the other options....additionally, it does if it just doesn't work on eSATA I could use it that way. Especially, should I later get 5 bay PM eSata boxes and displace this one. And, there's that thought that I might get an Airport Extreme and do TimeMachine backups to a USB attached storage....

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  07:53:57 pm, by The Dreamer   , 351 words  
Categories: Hardware, Computer, Storage

I got an APC BX1300LCD

I didn't really plan on getting this UPS, but I was planning to get a UPS.

I had been eyeballing the CyberPowerSystems CP1000AVRLCD. The university computer store had one in for $145. While has it for ~$109. Though wasn't quite sure how to work delivery of the around my work schedule.

If the difference hadn't been so wide, I might have taken the plunge and grabbed the UPS from the university computer store. One factor over other (smaller) choices was that it had 5 battery backed outlets. Which means I could put all of 'gumby' and its external drives on it, and one for temporarily placing 'box'.

But, then today I was out eating lunch with some co-workers...and my quest for a new UPS came not in a hurry to get back to work after lunch, we popped into Wal-Mart. Which oddly doesn't seem to sell UPSs? Couldn't confirm, because nobody would help me as I stood around in the electronics department....

So, then we popped over to Best Buy. Of the came down to the Geek Squad 1285VA and an APC 1300VA. The APC was ~$3 cheaper, and had a hair more capacity. Though the capacity isn't really a big deal for what I'm using. But, that one choice was APC and it was slightly cheaper...I went with that one.

Plus the APC has 6 battery protected outlets, while the Geek Squad (which I already have one of) only has 4 (I also have the CyberPowerSystems version). This means I could put all the things I wanted directly onto the UPS, plus I threw the LCD monitor onto it as well. sold a BR1300LCD, which from what I've read the difference is the BR model can trim over-voltage conditions in its AVR, while the BX can only boost under-voltage conditions. I don't know of a situation here where I've seen overvoltage, so I think I can get away without it. I know this was a problem back when I was living in Ohio though.

Meanwhile, there's a new 500GB SATA drive sitting on a desk waiting to be installed into 'orac'.

Tags: apc, best buy, ups


  01:43:00 am, by The Dreamer   , 107 words  
Categories: General, Storage, Quicken/TurboTax

Did my 2008 Taxes

Intended to just quickly enter the W2 and 1099 forms, to get a rough idea of how bad I'll owe this year.

But, preliminary findings is that I'll get a refund of $2288 from federal and $384 from state. This is largely due to the deductions of being a home owner....or perhaps entirely....

I'll go sleep on the this...and then review things in closer detail tomorrow and then see about e-filing.

Full story »


  06:30:24 pm, by The Dreamer   , 226 words  
Categories: Stuff, Computer, Travel, Storage

I'm back....

....after upgrading the other harddrive in my main desktop. I finally got around to doing it. Sure was a pain being without my main computer. All the things I wanted to do online (and offline), but couldn't. Sure, some of the (online) things I could've done from other computers (and some I did)...but there were things that were unique to this one.

This should be it for upgrades this this computer until I finally break down and get a new one....whether it'll be the latest and greatest with Windows 7 or I finally make the switch to a Mac (or perhaps Linux will be mainstream?)....who knows.

Meanwhile, it looks like I'm in the market for a new watch already. :..(

Full story »


  08:03:48 pm, by The Dreamer   , 640 words  
Categories: Wireless/iPhone, Travel, Home, Storage, Amateur Radio

Failed HD upgrade.

I was all in a rush last week to upgrade the other drive in my primary desktop. Partly because the plan was to use the old drive as the backup drive of my other computer. Guess, I'll just have to go without backups for a while longer.

I had resorted to ordering the drive from instead of my usual source, because I wanted to know that it was going to show up for certain on a certain day before the weekend.

And, it appeared as desired on Friday. But, first Saturday I was volunteering my Amateur Radio skills to do communications at a SAG for the Yellow Brick Road Race. And, I was way too tired to take on a project like this when I got home. Being up early and being kept up by a yapping dog downstairs was part of the reason. Also being nice than expected and standing in the sun near the end probably didn't help either. But, it was cool. Though it has me thinking that maybe I'll continue to hold out for the Yaesu VX-8R, instead of wimping out and getting the VX-7R. Probably do so by deferring the upgrade of my mobile phone until next year. (likely to be a decision between Google Android or a Blackberry...choice of carrier might be as solidly decided as well either.)

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  11:07:18 pm, by The Dreamer   , 239 words  
Categories: Software, Computer, Travel, Storage

This evenings activities

Today after lunch, I popped into the K-State Computer Store....and walked out with an Iomega Ultramax 1TB External Harddrive - dual interface (USB 2.0 & FW400). Sticker price was $205, but it rang up as $199 + Tax.

As soon as I got home from work, I set it up and went to backing up my system using it.

Haven't worked out how to get the other machine backing up....since the old external drives are USB 2.0 only, and the old computer only has FW400 (and USB1.1). But, the SATA enclosure I got for upgrading the internal drives on this computer is also dual interface. So, I suppose if I step up the upgrade of the 250G internal drive to a 500G...the old 250G drive can be backup to my old machine.

Meanwhile, as Ohio Linux Fest looms closer and closer...I decided it was time to upgrade Firefox on my ASUS Eee PC 901. I was kind of annoying that 3.0.3 came out so soon after 3.0.2, but hopefully enough time has passed now that it is safe to upgrade the 3.0.1 to 3.0.3. I think the only thing left is tweak Thunderbird to access a few more email accounts. And, I should be ready to hit the road using it. Think I'll leave the work laptop home this trip. But, I'll probably bring it along for LISA...since I'll probably have to do work during it.

Wonder how the Thunderbird on the EeePC updates.....


  11:20:00 am, by The Dreamer   , 600 words  
Categories: Hardware, Computer, Storage, Ubuntu, Windows

Drive Backup Failure

I'm about to take the plunge on buying an external 1TB drive....I had been eyeballing one on and off for some time.

I currently use a pair of 300GB drives (Maxtor OneTouch II's) to do backups of my main (XP) PC. And, I have one that does backups of my other Windows (2000) PC.

But, recently I ran out of space during a backup....which shouldn't be that surprising, since I had recently upgraded the primary drive from 120GB to 400GB. Total raw capacity 650GB. Initially, the plan was the 1TB drive would supplement my backup capacity. Especially since I plan to upgrade the other drive at some point (250GB to 500GB).

Though the backup was running slower than usual, apparently the drive came up in legacy USB mode after the last power the backup was estimated to take a week or so, instead of the over 8 hours that it had grown to (normally the full runs once every 6 weeks, on Tuesdays while I'm at work....but often it continues to run well into the evening when I get home now)...the incrementals run around 2am and haven't gotten in my way. Though they also only run on weekdays, since they would conflict with tape backups, though I haven't run one in a long time....haven't taken the plunge on getting another pulled drive off of eBay.... Don't know when or if I'll revisit this.

Anyways...I reset the drives (unplugged/replugged) and then they started flying along again....I did notice that one of the drives seemed noisier than the other....and then during the backup, it made some really horrible sounds. So, I guess that drive is failing. Kind of unexpected.

I'm planning that the 1TB drive will support Firewire (the OneTouch II's used to, but I had to change their enclosures....and got USB only ones), hopefully it'll be more reliable. I suspect the USB issue is because not everything I have connected by USB draws power from USB...and some aren't on UPS. ... So switching back to Firewire will hopefully keep things running fast by separating things, if for no other reason....

I had been planning to get a DROBO at some point to be the backup...though it is hard to justify the cost of getting a DROBO just for this type of storage, when I also have a crunch to add storage of other sorts. And, I also have plans to play around with other ways of adding storage....

Meanwhile, I discovered that backups had stopped working some time ago on my other Windows (2000) PC. It spat a disk error when I tried to run one by hand. I tried reformatting the OneTouch II drive, but the format failed. So, I guess that drive is toast. And, I'll be in the market to buy another drive for it.....since that old box only does Firewire. It did have USB (1.1) ports...but some time ago, the port seem to have gotten zapped....because they don't work anymore. The machine has 3 other 300GB drives connected to it for storage. But the OneTouch only backs up system files. The rest is primarily DVArchive storage. And, I'll probably never get around to watching those shows....

The other important archived files are also stored on my (Ubuntu 8.04LTS Server) Linux box (which is doing RAID1. I plan to hang more SATA drives off of it, and see what RAID 5 is like....someday. Would also like to try Port-Multiplying).

So, I guess I'm in the market for 2 Firewire drives.....though the OneTouch II 300GB that was on here was overkill don't know what I'm going to do. This may involve some thought and some juggling..... :??:


  10:30:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 771 words  
Categories: Home Theatre, Hardware, Computer, Storage, Amateur Radio, Ubuntu, Windows

Upgrading the primary drive in TARDIS

Once again, after some thought yesterday, I decided that I'm going to pass on getting a new Windows XP computer. Even though I was eyeballing something based around a Phenom X4 based system. And, my old XP machine is almost 5 years old....and new systems are getting scarce.

What I'm now thinking about is getting both a Mac Mini (for my Home Theater, though this may change or get dropped...depending on my mood, etc.) and an iMac (for the bedroom). What I'll then do is get VMWare Fusion for the iMac, should the need for a newer Windows environment arise. The only question is the timing of the iMac, and the thought of getting an iPod touch. (which cuts into my plan to get a VX8R?)

Anyways...I decided that if I'm going to keep the old XP machine, I should stop procrastinating on upgrading the drives in it. I had seen warnings that the primary drive was going to fail, and had purchased Acronis Easy Migrate a while back with the plan of upgrading this drive. It is only a 120GB drive. I could of gotten larger, but I didn't think I would need all that space at the time. Though I had since added a secondary drive of 250GB, and even that one is getting kind of full.

So, I was about to make a note to myself to buy a 500GB drive, when it occured to me that I had pulled a 400GB drive from the post-icepocalypse Gateway (Core 2 Quad) machine I had gotten. It came with Vista, but I had no interest in running Vista. It was purchased to replace my Linux server, though I resurrected that its just an Ubuntu play box. Though I was hoping for PM support to do raid on it. But, I haven't taken the plunge to see if it'll work for its just a fast BOINC engine at the moment....and some file storage.

Anyways, I decided to upgrade the primary drive in TARDIS using the 400GB drive. I went and got the USB/Firewire/eSATA to SATA/IDE enclosure that I had purchased and set aside for this purpose and set out to try running Acronis Migrate Easy.

Hooked it up using Firewire first....strange, my computer seems to have gotten too quiet. Seems the firewire interface is disabling my sound. But, when I went to 'migrate' wouldn't. It failed quickly on the reboot, and various other forms of failure. I figured maybe there was a problem with it being on Firewire. So, I switched to USB.

That didn't help. It was reboot and then fail, and then reboot back to before. I slipped other activities in during the process, and eventually it was I called it a night.

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Now instead of subjecting some poor random forum to a long rambling thought, I will try to consolidate those things into this blog where they can be more easily ignored profess to be collected thoughts from my mind.

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