5 TB server

Valentin Bud valentin.bud at gmail.com
Sun Nov 30 07:45:41 PST 2008

On Fri, Nov 28, 2008 at 9:45 PM, Karl Vogel <vogelke+software at pobox.com> wrote:
>>> On Fri, 28 Nov 2008 15:48:45 +0200,
>>> "Valentin Bud" <valentin.bud at gmail.com> said:
> V> I have to come up with a solution for a company that has as we speak 4 TB
> V> of data spread among 3 computers with lots of HDDs.  Of course I've
> V> recommend them to buy a server for that storage capacity and for data
> V> organization.
>   Good idea.  We had a similar problem here; a SuperMicro server tanked,
>   and the company that provided the warranty went bankrupt, so all we had
>   were 12 perfectly good 400-Gb SATA drives and nowhere to put them.
>   The drives were the big-cost item, so I didn't want to just dump them.
>   We finally bought two empty IBM x3400 8-bay enclosures plus some IBM
>   SAS 3.5" hot-swap trays, and it's working like a charm.
> V> I thought of going on the ZFS way (on FreeBSD of course) with some raidz.
>   In my experience, completely new filesystems or operating systems need
>   at least 5 years in the field to weed out all the weird corner-cases.
>   I might trust ZFS on Sun hardware (*with* vendor support) at this point,
>   but I'd wait awhile before trying it on anything else.

I perfectly agree with you and yes there might be monsters out there
in the ZFS on FreeBSD but the fact that us (the community) embrace the
change and apply it makes the development of it possible and even faster.
I don't want to offend anyone or to start a war this is just my opinion.

>   This isn't a slam at ZFS or the FreeBSD porters, it's just recognition
>   of the fact that some types of software development are *not* time-
>   compressible, regardless of who's doing the work.
> V> One of the problems is that the server will stay in their office so it
> V> has to be quite silent.
>   Not a good idea, especially if this data is their bread-and-butter.
>   You can walk out the door with a system this size on your shoulder,
>   so I'd recommend a locked room with reasonable cooling and *clean*
>   power.  You don't need a 10-foot-tall zillion-dollar Liebert A/C,
>   but you absolutely need a UPS that can take care of power spikes;
>   the more moderate the environment, the less likely you are to have a
>   hardware failure.

I have thought about a decent UPS and already told them that they should
install an alarm system of some sort because neither I nor any IT company
can warranty them physical security. The room is not possible :|, that
would have
been great. What do you think about a rack of some sort?

>   I don't use disk mirroring because 99% of our problems come from humans
>   rather than hardware.  If someone zaps the wrong file, a mirror will
>   simply replicate that mistake; we have two matching servers in separate
>   rooms, and we run rsync nightly to back up the production box without
>   deleting any files.  I also run hourly backups on the production box
>   to store anything that's been modified in the last 60 minutes, which
>   gives us a nice file history and takes care of most recovery problems.

This is the actual technology i apply ATM in one of the offices in which
i have 2 BSD boxes. I thought about using RAID because of the amount of data
and the safety of it and plus the second box is out of the question ATM :|.

>   With two servers, I can use basic UFS filesystems and get fine I/O
>   performance with minimum maintenance.

thank you for your thoughts,

> --
> Karl Vogel                      I don't speak for the USAF or my company
> The first product Motorola started to develop was a record player for cars.
> At that time, the most known player on the market was Victrola, so they
> called themselves Motorola.   --possibly-true item for a lull in conversation
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