A weekend of shuffling
#283 Henry, Monday, 21 September 2015 11:00 AM (Category: Hardware)
(Tags: drobo backblaze backup caffeine harddisk)

I had a very successful weekend, and had no losses. That's always a good thing.

First, I had to update the webserver at home. It had two 80 gig hard drives in it, and as it hosts my books and comics and photos, those two 80 gig drives were at the limit.

I grabbed one of my spare computers and built it up from scratch. I made notes as I set up sendmail, mariadb, php, apache, and the web environment, and then transferred the databases and the data. I switched it in as the webserver and it worked just fine. Then I took the good webserver and did surgery. The two 80 gig drives came out, and a 500 gig boot drive went in, and a 3 terabyte drive went in as the home directory. The home directory has the databases, the websites, everything. Makes it easy to backup. I've always loathed the default locations for databases and Apache data, so I relocate them to suit myself.

I had problems initially with the 3 T drive. I still use fdisk to partition disks. It doesn't work on a 3 T drive. I had to do some research about big drives, and ended up using gdisk. That switched from a DOS/MBR style partition to a GPT style partition. I've never heard of this stuff. I guess I am really behind the times with hardware. But gdisk did the job and I got one big partition and I set up the ext4 filesystem. Another first - I've been using ext3 for such a long time, and only recently noticed that ext4 was available.

Up till about five years ago, every hardware advance meant more speed, more benefits. Then it hit a wall, and it all became good enough and I had no incentive to update hardware. There was no real benefit to me. So I keep using older computers that are good enough, and really only need newer and bigger hard disks.

But anyway, the big disk went in and that was a success. I set the webserver up, using my notes from the spare webserver, and then transferred the latest data to it and kicked it live. Perfect.

I then turned to my desktop. I had a 1 T drive in that, and a 500 gig secondary drive for data. The 1 T drive was about 90% full, and the 500 gig drive was about 50% full. That second drive was also making grunting and grinding noises, so it was not going to last.

I had one final ex-Drobo 3 terabyte drive left. Rather than have it sit idle, I decided to put it into service.

First step was to back everything up. I used the Drobo. I have, through painful trial and error, learnt how to keep the Drobo functioning well. I leave it attached to the Mac Mini all the time. But not mounted. I mount it manually when I need it, I use it, and then I unmount it. That keeps it functioning nicely. But not having it mounted permanently means that I can't use it with Backblaze which needs access to it for a few months to do the initial backup. And when I am using the Drobo, I have to turn on Caffeine which prevents the Mac Mini from going into power saving mode, as that really screws with the Drobo.

I backed up everything I could on my desktop to the Drobo. Shut down the desktop, inserted the 3 T drive. Started the desktop, used gdisk on it (glad I learnt that on the previous project), mounted it on /tmp and copied my home directories to it. Checked it carefully, all good, so erased everything under /home, edited /etc/fstab to mount the 3 T drive as /home, and then rebooted.

Nice. Worked first time. Dropbox required a big restart and log in, but everything else just worked. I still have to transfer some stuff from the Drobo back, but will do that tonight.

All in all, my projects for the weekend were successful. I didn't have to work through the night, and I didn't have any failures. Best upgrades I've done in a long time.