Wednesday, September 02


Not Exactly Hot-Swap

Popped the pooped drive out of Pepper and swapped it for a new one.

Logged in to the web interface and the only option it gave me was to format the drive.  Whether that means "format the new drive so I can rebuild the array" or "format everything so I can restore 2.4TB of files" I don't know yet.  But only the light for the new drive is blinking right now, and from the progress meter I should know in about 15 minutes.

Update: I am happy and sad.

Happy because it is doing an automatic rebuild.  So I didn't need to spend 3 days backing everything up.  It only took 5 minutes to swap the drive (power off, pop the cover open, remove the backplane, swap the drive rails, replace the backplane and cover, and power on).  And the main light glows red when there's a hardware error, so you can't miss it.  Pretty solid value for $300.

Sad because now that I know it's real, proper RAID, I'd buy another one if I could, but you can't get them anymore.  There are similar small storage appliances around like this or this or this, but they all cost rather more than $300.

The one problem with the Acer EasyStore (which is what Pepper and Salt are) is that a 500MHz Arm CPU can't handle RAID-5 and file serving at anything like the speed of the disks or the network.  I'll forgive that in a cheap, convenient, reliable little box.  But those three similar boxes also appear to have similar hardware and similar performance, but at a not-at-all similar price.

I might end up buying one of them anyway, but not for another couple of paychecks.

Update: Now this is an interesting device.
The Thecus N0503 ComboNAS

It has an Atom processor instead of an Arm, and even the slowest Atom chip is at least twice as fast as the Arm in the EasyStore.  It has 1GB of memory (standard SO-DIMM) compared to 128MB.  Dual gigabit network ports (but no WiFi).  Supports HTTP, NFS and iSCSI as well as CIFS and FTP.  And BitTorrent too.  And a choice of ext3, XFS, and ZFS.  And it's an iTunes server (as is the EasyStore) and a USB print server (which the EasyStore is not).

And it has a switchable drive cage that can support three 3.5" drives mounted horizontally or five 2.5" drives mounted vertically.  That's really kind of neat.

Bit of a shame that it can only hold three 3.5" drives, but the EasyStore, being an older design, only supports drives up to 1TB, so three 1.5TB drives in the Thecus will give me the same available capacity (RAID-5) for about 10% more cost on the drives.  Or about 20% less than what the drives in Pepper cost when I bought them.

The unit itself costs about twice as much as the EasyStore's clearance price, but it has a huge advantage over the models from Western Digital and Buffalo and LaCie: Thecus don't force you to buy your drives with the unit at grossly inflated prices.

I think I've found Sugar.

Indeed, this might also be just the thing for those with an ageing Cobalt Qube handling web server duties.  It doesn't have all the functions of the Qube (like email) but it  does support dual networks and configurable security. 

Since it's clearly based on Linux or BSD, it will be interesting to see what happens once the community get their hands on it.  With a full gigabyte of memory and an Intel-compatible CPU, there's nothing to stop you running a full modern Linux or BSD installation, at least in theory.

Update: It supports RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, and 10, though for 6 and 10 you'd have to be using 2.5" drives.  You can expand your array by replacing the drives one-by-one with larger ones and allowing it to rebuild in between.  You can migrate between RAID levls.  It supports ZFS snapshots.

It's stackable, so you can expand it by just plugging more units into the network and setting them as slaves.  You can add USB or eSATA drives for backup or additional storage.  And it can mount ISO images and export them as drives, but then so can Daemon Tools.

And it even has an expansion slot - apparently PCI - which will fix the lack of WiFi nicely.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 07:24 PM | Comments (8) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
Post contains 733 words, total size 5 kb.

1 It must be a BSD variant. The GPL isn't compatible with ZFS's license.

Posted by: nf at Wednesday, September 02 2009 09:51 PM (SI39V)

2 Very interesting.

I'm looking at a cloud of something like Synocity 209j.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at Friday, September 04 2009 03:46 PM (/ppBw)

3 The Synology 409slim is an interesting widget.  Tiny (12 x 10 x 14cm), takes four 2.5" drives, supports not just file serving, but email, web, and PHP+MySQL.

Unfortunately, it only has 128MB of memory, which just isn't enough.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Saturday, September 05 2009 02:14 PM (PiXy!)

4 The rest area was unusually far off the main road...or they had taken a wrong turn. They had traveled nearly a hundred winding yards and still seen no tables, grills or even a pull off. The little road curved to the left and as they turned the corner, Jack slammed on the brakes and turned hard. It was very nearly too late. The Pacer lightly scraped the overturned car blocking the road. The 3 occupants scampered out as fast as they could.

The car before them was not just upside down, it was thrashed. The left door was missing and parts of the car looked as if a crowbar had been used to pry them open. The front of the car was stove in but what it could have hit was a mystery. There was a disturbingly large amount of drying blood on the light gray pavement.

Allen pulled out his cellphone...and realized that there was no coverage in this part of Florida. Everyone else had the same result. By this time Jack and Lilly were looking for survivors, Jake had gotten the first aid kit out of his trunk, as he did so he threw his keys to Allen. "Go back to that gas station and call for help." Allen hopped into the car and began to back up the narrow road. Jack had far more first aid experience than anyone else, but it was soon apparent that there was no actual body or injured person, just LOTS of blood and a part of a foot. The two backed away from the car and contemplated the fact that the gore had not yet developed much of a rotten stench in the south Florida heat, only slightly mitigated by the cypress trees. After a moment Lilly noticed bloody shoeprints on the pavement...very small shoeprints...heading down the pavement.

As it turned out, the overturned car was only a few yards from the actual rest area, there were 3 picnic tables and grills ...all were overturned. Off to the left was a public restroom. It was there that the shoeprints led. Lilly and Jake sprinted there. The tracks faded before they got to the restroom. The two teens zipped into there respective sides. "Over here Jack!" Jack ran into the Womens restroom to find Lilly holding what appeared to be a 5 or 6 year old boy. He had attached himself to her with a vicelike grip and was shaking like a leaf. As they carried him out he began to scream. The boy kicked screamed and bit at Lilly, successfully prying himself loose and the ran back into the bathroom. The two pursued him but were distracted by a crash. And the sound of breaking glass.....

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at Saturday, September 05 2009 07:22 PM (2rIl8)

5 "WTF!?" yelled Jack. "Oh my God! Another car wreck!" " ALLAN!!!...He was backing out he must have gotten hit by a truck or something. Stay with the kid!" Jack ran off. Lilly ran in to calm the little biting terror, when another crash caused her to stop...then there was another followed by the shattering of glass...then what sounded like something grinding. Realizing that there must be multiple cars involved in the wreck she took off after Jack, reasoning that the boy was unlikely to leave and she might be able to help wi..her train of thought was interrupted by Jack, who was running towards her trying to yell something and gesturing wildly. He jumped over the overturned car quite acrobatically then slipped on the blood and oil quite ignomiously rolling several feet before falling into a heap almost at her feet.

Lilly reached down to help him up. Jack looked up at her, his eyes filled with terror.."Run!!" was all he said. There was, at that moment, an earth shattering kaboom. The overturned car slid off the narrow path...pushed by a huge flailing and squealing  brown mass. Lilly helped Jack to his feet and stared at the monster before her...the massive animal stood up...momentarily stunned...Lilly realized it was a pig....a 14 foot long PIG! But it head was different, longer with tusk that....her observation was cut short be Jack who grabbed her arm and hobbled as fast as one can possibly hobble towards the restroom.

Two more of the huge swine appeared, all three milled about for one merciful moment before running in pursuit of the two, allowing them just enough time to make the restroom.

The door had no lock, but Lilly jammed the steel trashcan against the door. Quite miraculously, it wedged itself at exactly the right angle to jam the door for a moment. Jack tore off one of the stall doors and blocked the restroom door with it..just as 4 thousand pounds of ham slammed against the outer door.

Both realized that the door would be open in seconds. Lilly grabbed the boy...who was by now nearly catatonic with fear. Jack boosted her up to the window. Lilly reached up and got one arm on the roof with assistance from Jack she got the boy up high enough for him to scamper onto the roof, then she followed. There was a crash of splintering wood and bending steel. Jack jumped up  to the window drug himself out, turned around and attempted to lift himself onto the roof, at which point the massive boar slammed into the wall beneath him. The window shook jack fell headfirst to the ground, just at the other two boars rounded the side of the cinderblock structure.

Unable to jump to the roof Jack scampered up a nearby tree as fast as his bruised body could was very nearly not fast enough, he lost his left shoe on one of the boars tusks, but in a few moments had crawled out onto a branch over the restroom building and dropped down to join Lilly and the boy.

After a moment of reflection, Lilly asked the obvious question...."What in the FUCK!...GIANT PIGS!???" How does this happen?"
"Well," answered Jack "If its not just a population of over-sized razorbacks, I'd have to go with radiation....yeah...radiation...that must be it." Lilly then slapped Jake. The two then proceeded to try to comfort the boy and devise a way to get to civilization and warn people about the threat from THE GIANT PIGS.

There Pixy...I did what you asked...will you please fix my blog now.  smile

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at Saturday, September 05 2009 07:24 PM (2rIl8)

6 But you didn't make me a sandwich.sad

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Sunday, September 06 2009 12:29 AM (PiXy!)

7 GODDAMN pixy! You need to put up a contact email SOMEWHERE! Please, send me an email at the mail account on this comment. I need to ask you something. Former beta tester here. Thanks!

Posted by: Will at Sunday, September 06 2009 11:09 AM (YNCpD)

8 Just to clarify... ^that is not me.

Posted by: Will at Monday, September 07 2009 11:09 AM (9dEae)

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