Sent back the ReadyNAS

readynasI am so done with anything to do with hard drives.¬† I am starting to want to stop doing anything that deals with creating files that take up lots of space and need to be backed up. (ie photography) But I know this is just “resistance”. (I have been reading “War of Art”, but that is another post coming up)

I gave up and sent the ReadyNAS back to NewEgg. I spent two long nights fighting with something that I thought was a plug and play device.  First, my drives were not recognized. Actually, the first of the three was, no matter which of the three I put in the first slot. Technically, the other two would appear as functioning drives, but on the volumes tab, where you specify drives, raid settings, and volume info, only the first would appear.

I first tried to upgrade the firmware, thinking there might be something flaky going on there. That took everything south. Couldn’t boot. Then tried to do TFTP boot, and a USB boot, but neither worked. It’s packed up and ready to ship to NewEgg. At least they didn’t give me any hassles. I am getting a replcaement, so the saga will continue.

Creating LVM Virtual Drives


Now that we have a raid array created, we are going to create some virtual drives. Why virtual drives? Well, we have one large terabyte drive right now, and if we just put folders in there, it can quickly get cumbersome. You have no control on size of those folders, and permissions can be more difficult. And if you try to share this drive, you can’t assign different drive letters in windows to different folders, just one to the drive. One other issue is file system. I am going to use just a basic file system here, but in the past I have created different file systems based on the type of use ie. large video files, small text files, etc. Making those decisions is beyond the scope of this tutorial, and I have decided that for my purposes now, it doesn’t matter that much. You can decided differently.

What we will discuss is using LVM. This enables you to set up virtual drives that can contain different file systems, and that can be grown and shrunk (usually) to fit the space needs of the system. We will look at maintenance of these file systems at a later tutorial. Here we will create a backup, and a pictures virtual drive. We will not use the full terabyte of space, so that we can grow these as needed, or add another for say music at another time.

I will once again be doing this on an ubuntu system, but the use of these tools is fairly standard across linux distributions.
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Deciding on the NAS Software

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Building a NAS

tuxSo, I hope you have a box ready, because we are going to install some software today. I had said this was going to be built using Linux, but we really should take another look at some of the possibilities. I don’t want to run Windows server on this box. If that is something you are interested in, you will have to use some Google skills. I wan to look at how we can use some Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) to do what we want to do. There are some alternatives to rolling it ourselves, and they are worth a look. But first, lets decide what it is that we want to run on this box, or what capabilities it needs to have.
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The NAS is still down

I got my Western Digital green 1TB drives the other day. That didn’t work. I got a new power supply, thinking that the new drives just took more power than the old clunker could muster. No luck. Still dead. Not sure what the issue is at the moment. I need more time to troubleshoot. The system takes forever to boot, whether it is the existing system disk, or a CD of Ubuntu. It sits there just after a boot logo for a long time. With the drives in, it never gets further. Without them, it eventually continues. I can’t figure out where it gets stalled. What could be causing this?

2 Terrabytes of Backup Goodness. Maybe.

It doesn’t do much good to have any amount of backup if you can’t use it. Right now, the NAS, where I intended to put them appears dead. Not sure what happened. I powered down, put the new drives in, powered up with the newest Ubuntu server disk, and it dies on the install. Now it won’t start up at all. I get the Ubuntu graphic, then a blinking cursor. I am going to have to pull everything out, and put back pieces until it starts up. Just what I wanted to do.

New Flash and Drives

Not a flash drive. A SB800 flash, and two Western Digital 1TB green drives. These should be arriving today via UPS.

I am excited to get the SB800. I have a SB400 right now, but I am looking forward to trying out the new flash wirelessly. That will be cool. Also, the head turns better, there is a pop up bounce card and it will be much easier to gel than the SB400.

The drives were needed. I discovered the other day that both of the raid 1 drives in my NAS were failing. It would appear that the cron job to run smartmon wasn’t working, and I didn’t get an email that the drives were failing. Yikes. Almost all of the properties were saying “old age”. The drives are only 1.5 years old too. I think part of the problem is that they never spin down. I need to figure out how to get that to happen. I don’t really need instantaneous access from my NAS, and it does sit idle (except for the drives unfortunately) most of the time.

More on the new toys as I get to use them…

No room at the inn

I was uploading pictures to my iMac from my camera when I got a warning from Aperture that my computer was running out of space and that if I didn’t do something immediately to advert catastrophe, my library would be corrupted. Well, ok, the message wasn’t that dire, but I was still out of space.

I just don’t have the room on my iMac to hold all the data I want there. I was storing it there, then time machine was making a copy on it’s external drive, then I had two other external drives that I would sync with my pictures (not often enough) and finally I would send my pictures to the NAS so they would be available to anyone on the network. Well, this just isn’t working anymore, and frankly, creates too many copies of my images.

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Resizing a logical volume

I backup my photos from an iMac to a Ubuntu linux box with a simple rsync command.

rsync --exclude=".*" -ave ssh /my/masters userId@x.x.x.y:/media/pictures

This will copy everything new from /my/masters to the backup machine at /media/pictures without copying any “dot” files. This also does not delete anything from the new machine.

Anyway, I was doing the rsync, but ran out of space on the backup box. A ctrl-z, and now I need to make more space. I am running ext3, so it should be just a few commands. First I unmounted (umount) the filesystems just to be sure. Then :

lvextend -L +40G /dev/vg/pictures

This will grow the logical volume by 40 gig. Next we need to resize the filesystem to fill up the space.

resize2fs /dev/vg/pictures

I have done this before, but this time I got a message to run e2fsck first.

e2fsck -f /dev/vg/pictures

This finished without issue, and I then ran the resize2fs command and it finished after a couple of minutes. Remount the filesystem, a “df” and it confirms that there is more space available.

I removed the last file copied to make sure it wasn’t wrecked somehow, and then kicked off the rsync again. It just picked up where it left off.

New storage needed.

I am getting tired of my linux based setup. It just doesn’t work well enough. The biggest issue I have is that everytime it gets powered down (vacation, storm, etc) and comes back up, it doesn’t quite. I always have to execute some command line magic to get everything recognised. I have tried Gentoo, Ubuntu, Mythbuntu, all with the same issue. I think it is the add in SATA card I have in there, but I don’t want to swap out more computer hardware this time.

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