Jun 06


Not a lot has been happening of late so no real updates to give. The Shed is mostly done and waiting on the final touches, just been short of cash so have not been able to get them. Car Registration and Insurance is due early next month and that plus the usual pair of tyres to pass safety checks usually cost me around $1000 so I’ve been saving up for that. Probably be another month before I get back to finishing the Shed.

I have been doing a lot of work on the web server machine and the temporary file backup server since the big Raid storage crash. I have another matching server machine I’ve configured up and have rebuilt a new Raid array as the new storage drive. This time its a Raid 6 array using 5 drives initially which I’ll expand to 6 drives as I get them. As said in the last post, it’s going to take a while to purchase 5-6 new raid-spec hard drives… Once this replacement machine is ready I’ll be moving all the websites I host over to it, along with all the other services it runs (Minecraft server, Tiny-Tiny-RSS server, Sickbeard, SabNZB server, rTorrent and a few other things) not a huge job but I need to do it right, the current server has a lot of issues and quirks that I really want to correct this time.

That’s about all, I really need to get myself back into programming, been slacking off too much… Time to pull the Telescope project back together and get into that I think… Long weekend now (3 days) so other than mowing lawns and yard cleaning I should get myself to draw up a project plan and status…

Enough for now. Thanks for reading!

— Radan.

May 11

Delays and Bl00dy Murphy…

Hi all,

So last week was a complete PITA, all projects get pushed to the side thanks to a total failure of a supposed safe storage redundant array. Thanks to Murphy’s Law both the safe and the redundant went out the window.

In technical terms, I had a RAID 5 array of 4 x 2TB HDDs plus one spare. All 5 drives connected to a hardware RAID controller on an older HP DL380G5 Server machine (below). About 5.6TB of space and I’d say about 4.5TB of it used… Sometime on Monday one drive failed, all good as data just rebuilds to the spare, slows down access enough for us to notice: “OK dead drive, I’ll get another”. Tuesday new drive bought and fitted replacing the failed one. Data starts to transfer from the spare to the new active drive… Then the spare fails… OK no big issue, 3 active drives still have enough data to rebuild the new drive so that starts… Then just because it could go wrong it did: A THIRD DRIVE FAILS!!!… So the array shuts down and gives me the big middle finger… Sigh.. OK reboot machine and ask it to re-activate the failed drives… hoping its just a read failure and data is still OK… It comes up, does its parity check and starts rebuilding the data to the new drive again, all good, until, well it fails again during 2nd try at rebuilding.. Reboot again. This time not so good, parity initialization takes almost 2 days to check…. No notice of further rebuilds of data… hmm maybe it means the last rebuild was successful before it failed… so I run a file system check on it… nope… it’s fubar… in all about 95% of my 100GB worth of personal digital photos corrupted, a small chunk of the e-books, half my ~800GB of Anime gone, and 2 episodes of TV shows.. Again thank you Murphy… the ~3TB of TV and Movie Videos that are replaceable are fine, the damn photos that aren’t get destroyed.. thanks… After digging through old DVD backups and portable HDDs I have I managed to recover about 90% of the lost photos.. the rest are gone forever…

Here is my set-up, not pretty but has done me good for a few years until now:

RAID File & Web Server With drives numbered 1 on the left to 6 on the right:

  1. FAILED FIRST Drive – 2TB WD Green.
  2. The spare:  FAILED SECOND! – 2TB Samsung Desktop HDD
  3. Active drive – still ok – 2TB WD Green.
  4. The new drive to replace #1 – 2TB Seagate Desktop HDD
  5. The THIRD FAILED drive! – 2TB WD Green.
  6. Active drive – still ok – 2TB WD Green.

Admittedly these are the cheaper Western Digital GREEN drives and the spare a basic Samsung desktop drive. Not Ideal for a NAS/Raid set-up but still brand name drives. Also the server is designed for 2.5″ SAS/SATA drives in HP Caddies.. 2TB 2.5″ drives are way out of my affordability so I used short SATA extension cables to connect up the 3.5″ drives and bolt them together to a rail for stability. As said this set-up has done me fine for a few years with no issues until now. One drive fail is expected, two fail is possible, but three drives failing? that’s just Murphy trying to upset me…

So now I’ve fired up two spare DELL servers each with 4 x 1TB drives in a RAID-0 array so I get about 3.7TB of space but no data safety. All the recovered data was put on one of these and the second is set-up to mirror all that data to its own identical array so I get some protection on the surviving data.

Since I don’t want these extra servers adding to my power bill (each reports about 200W of power use) this is only temporary.. I’ll need to rebuild the original array with new drives which will possibly take me a few months to afford as this time I’m paying the extra for proper NAS drives… Currently looking at 5 or 6 2TB Seagate NAS drives that I can get locally for about $140 each.. still a lot all up… I’m planning the new array to be a 6-drive RAID-6 array. I’ll still be in trouble with a 3 drive failure but not many other options.. I’ll be doubling safety by making extra copies of things like photos onto spare portable HDD’s and storing them in a safe place…

I now know more about RAID controller configuration and operation than I ever wanted to know…

Until next time. Thanks for reading!

— Radan.

Apr 24

Projects… Too Many Projects.

I don’t know if anyone reads this blog of mine except googlebots and the like, but anyone who might would know I don’t post much. Anyone who knows me personally may or may not know why. I’m a very quiet person, I rarely say anything and pretty much never call anyone. This is not because I don’t like them and certainly not because I don’t care about them. Even my poor family rarely hear from me and whether or not they know it I do care a great deal about them. The reason is I never feel like I have anything good or interesting to say. For some reason I feel I need to have something REALLY important in order to tell anyone about it. Just how I am. Even making this post is a huge step out for me, I’m doing it because I’m starting to feel like I need to get myself out there more. I’m 42 and still working low-end jobs because I’m no good at talking myself up or “Selling” myself for exactly the same reasons.

The other reason people don’t see me much is that most of my spare time is consumed in many little projects and that too is something I need to focus on, not the projects themselves but the number of them and their priorities. I basically have so many in my head right now that it causing issues in itself. Part of writing this post is to start getting myself to communicate better and more often, to get my project listed and managed into priorities, to track them and their progress better as well as show and record all the things I can do. Purely for myself and my own reasons but if anyone else gets something out of it then even better.

So I’m going to attempt to make some lists of Projects I’m working on and also have completed over the recent time. I want to document their progress, make available where possible any hardware or software references as well. I’d like to see if there are any WordPress plugins that may provide some sort of Project Tracker or the like as well. Have to see what’s out there.

Off the top of my head right now, and this list will need fleshing out:

  • Current priority one: The work shed – aka Man Cave or Geek Shed. (Will explain in another post) (in Progress)
  • Version 3 of the Automated Tracking Telescope. (will also need its own post)
  • Private coding project involving embedded android – specifically U-Boot coding. (in Progress)
  • Hardware camera and image processor for the telescope using an FPGA.
  • Rebuild my home web-server that hosts this and other Blogs.
  • Design and build a Pick-n-Place machine – possibly based on the OpenPnP Project. (in Progress)
  • Design and build Version 2 of my own 3D-Printer.
  • “The Game” MMORPG game I was working on previously (on Hold)
  • Sort, clean and recode my large collection of videos/photos/music/e-books.
  • Build a pergola onto this house – then build it into a “Qld room”.
  • More TBA…

Some projects I’ve completed – some need to be documented:

  • The Chook Cage & Coup.
  • A portable chook pen.
  • Version 1 of my 3D Printer. (and lots of prints…)
  • Versions 1 & 2 of a tracking telescope.
  • Rebuilt the controlling hardware and software inside a “cheap” 40W CO2 Laser cutter. (still have more ideas in plan but it is working enough that I could leave it as is).
  • Back end work for various WordPress Blogs and Forums for my partner and some of her groups.
  • other various things

That will do for now. More will come later.

Thanks for reading.

— Radan.