Friday, 27 July 2012

Further adventures with the HP N40L and Dragonfly BSD

Since my last post, I've tried a bunch of different things with this box. These include:

  • Xenserver with the following virtual machines:
    • Ubuntu Server
    • Windows Home Server 2011
    • FreeNAS
    • DragonflyBSD
  • Ubuntu Server
  • Linux Mint 13
Having the 2TB mirror has caused many of the problems. FreeNAS simply crashed and used 100% of CPU the as soon as I tried to copy a file. Dragonfly wouldn't install. Ubuntu took 4 days to build a software RAID and then when we had a power failure, the RAID failed to build again. There was a lot of frustration and perhaps a cranky swear word or two.

Eventually I decided to follow this route:
  • Installed Linux Mint 13 on the box, set up a software RAID for the large disks, and left the other disks simply as an install disk and an archive disk. 
  • moved all the data from my Netgear Stora to the new server
  • I've deployed it to replace my server and my media PC, allowing me to ditch two PCs, one UPS and the Stora.
Yes I'm going a bit greener :-) Thus far it's going quite well. I've managed to also build up a Dragonfly BSD backup server as well.

I took my old server and put the disks from my Stora and from an external USB drive that had a failed power converter. With 3 x 2 TB Disks and a 1 TB disk in the system I wanted a way to effectively use all that disk space. It's not for live data, just for periodic backups. The HAMMER file system is awesome for this because there is no fsck on boot - it's live and happening straight away. Dragonfly is also very lightweight and runs well on the system I've got. The HAMMER filesystem has a lot going for it too - I was able to add the three disks into a single filesystem of 5.5TB and it does the normal snapshots built into HAMMER. The set up and the speed it created the filesystems with was excellent. I had one small issue with my USB DVD drive during the installation which caused the whole thing to fall in a heap but once I used a USB drive the installation went quickly and smoothly.

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