Introducion for me and my system

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Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:10 pm

Introducion for me and my system

Postby genel » Fri Oct 26, 2012 11:47 am

I thought it would be interesting to introduce myself and my system. If this is not the right place to do that or if no one cares, feel free to delete or ignore this.

This was brought on by Bigfoot65 saying that something I had done was needlessly complicated, and since I have often been accused of that, I thought about posting this. (Bigfoot65 has been very helpful and friendly and this is not intended as any kind of zing at him.)

I am a systems programmer for a living and I have been for about 35 years. (Yes I AM an OLD FART.) I am a past member of the 802.1 committee and currently do communications research at the University of Texas. So, my brain works differently than most people's and I have an odd sense of what is complicated and what is not.

So, I have this network at home, its got a router, an additional access point, a mail server (you can write me at a little NAS and a Windows computer with a 4TB RAID system on it. Mostly I use the computers at home for toys, though I do run a CAD program to design furniture. The most important thing on the network are the family photos (since 1998 we have not used film). I keep a copy of them on the RAID and back them up to the NAS and periodically to Blue Ray, which I keep in a safe.

The servers live in a little room (called the wiring closet) along with my 5kva UPS. The wiring closet has it's own air conditioner that runs all summer and I can go weeks without going in there.

So, I was pretty happy with my little network and I'm pretty busy (in addition to my job, I am building a house doing all the work myself), so I just let it run along. Then one day a couple of weeks ago the RAID controller burns up, the fan quit and the drive overheated (while I was watching a movie on my Nexus which just kinda locked up). My take away lesson from this is don't trust your stuff to proprietary RAID controllers.

Now the NAS, which is a My Book World Edition is getting long in the tooth (about 5 years old), the mail server runs on a Windows Vista machine that can't be upgraded and is about 7 years old. So I decided that it was about time to replace quite a bit of the stuff. Also I have become interested in running a DLNA server for our music collection which lives on the NAS.

Did I mention that I was cheap? Yeah, my wallet squeaks when I open it.

So I bought some parts at Frys and put a new system together. I harvested the drives from the RAID (both of which had good copies of the data on them, hooray for RAID 0). The only thing I spent more than the minimum for was the mother board and the case, which is large, has has room for 6 hard drives 4 CD drives and places for 10 fans (its going to be in the wiring closet I don't care how much noise it makes). I got a mother board with 6 SATA connectors and several expansion slots and room for 4 memory sticks. Everything else is bottom feeder stuff, it can be upgraded later if needed. Still I spent about $500 on the system.

I decided to go with Ubuntu server edition, because it is cheap and does not have artificial limits on the number of users. Because I like to play with things, I decided to put everything up on virtual machines and only run the VM host on the native platform. I choose Virtual box, not JUST because its free, but because I knew how to set it up and use it.

The system is headless and will look like this when its all done. (The second 2TB drive is still being used in the live until I can get the files off of it.)

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+---------------+ | Actual System | +---------------+ | +-----------+ + ---------------------+ +-----------| Boot Disk |----+---| Ubuntu boot partition| | 500 GB | | + ---------------------+ +-----------+ | | | | | +----------------------+ | +---| Ubuntu swap partition| | | +----------------------+ | | | | +----------------------+ | +---| Greyhole LZ for VM | | | | 100 GB | | | +----------------------+ | | | | +----------------------+ | +---| Greyhole Storage | | | for VM 200GB | | +----------------------+ | +-----------+ +-------------------------+ | 2TB Disk1 +--------| single partition for VM + +-----------+ +-------------------------+ | | +-----------+ +-------------------------+ | 2TB Disk2 +--------| single partition for VM + +-----------+ +-------------------------+

Now the first thing I want to put up is a file server. I looked at straight Samba on Ubuntu and seriously at FreeNAS. But after reading about Amahi, I decided to give it a try. So here is what the virtual machine I put it in looks like:

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+----------------+ | Virtual System | | HDA | +----------------+ | | +-----------+ + ---------------------+ +-----------| Boot Disk |--------| Ubuntu boot partition| | 100 GB | + ---------------------+ +-----------+ | | +-------------+ +------------------+ | Greyhole LZ +------| single partition + +-------------+ +------------------+ | | +---------------+ +------------------+ | Greyhole +----| single partition | | storage 200GB | | | +---------------+ +------------------+ | | +-----------+ +------------------+ | 2TB Disk1 +--------| single partition + +-----------+ +------------------+ | | +-----------+ +------------------+ | 2TB Disk2 +--------| single partition + +-----------+ +------------------+
The idea is that this will provide file services to the whole house and to all of the other virtual machines. The boot disk is a *.VDI format virtual disk, the LZ and 200GB storage are mapped with VMDK files that map LVM slices on the root disks. The 2TB disks are mapped VMDK files to the entire physical disk. In theory I can take them out, put them on a plain Linux system and read them. (Hmmm, need to try that.)

So that is my first system, last night I cleared out the earlier VMs and built the HDA sysem and installed the OS and Amahi. I am currently having an issue with greyhole, but I am sure we will get that sorted out.

My biggest problem is lack of time. I have spent all of my time at home for a week on this and I am now behind schedule on the cabinets I am building for the kitchen. My wife will tolerate me spending some cash on the project, but she wants her kitchen done soon. So I need the file server up and running, VERY SOON.

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Re: Introducion for me and my system

Postby sgtfoo » Fri Oct 26, 2012 5:19 pm

Welcome to the community, and may you continue with the tinkering, as that's what cost-conscious Linux users do best!

Maybe I missed it in the write-up, but what hypervisor are you using?

Also, if you get a chance to take photos, add them to the thread where we all posted photos of the rigs. viewtopic.php?f=14&t=614

As for your hard drive failures... as much as they may cost, enterprise-level drives will last longer than consumer-grade drives.
HDA: VM inside oVirt FX-8300 95w (2 cores for HDA), 32GB RAM (2GB for HDA)
My PC: FX-8300, 16GB RAM, 3x 1TB HDDs, Radeon HD6970 2GB video; Win10 Pro x64
Other: PC, Asus 1215n (LXLE), Debian openZFS server (3x(2x2tb) mirrors)
Modem&Network: Thomson DCM475; Asus RT-AC66U; HP 1800-24G switch

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Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:10 pm

Re: Introducion for me and my system

Postby genel » Fri Oct 26, 2012 6:27 pm

I am using VirtualBox running on top of Ubuntu Sever.

When I get it done, I'll do some photos.

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Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:10 pm

Re: Introducion for me and my system

Postby genel » Fri Nov 02, 2012 6:49 am

I finished the basic setup last night adding the second 2TB drive after moving all of the files from it to the new system. I wanted to move the files because the old drive was in NTFS format and I wanted the new system to use Linux native format, so I copied all the files over the network. It's about 1 TB of data and that took quite a while to move.

I had some problem with the VM and virtual drives during the last step of the setup. I don't really understand what happened: after the shutdown to add the new drive the VM would not restart. There were messages on the console about problems with one of the drives (The one marked "Greyhole Storage for VM 200GB".) Eventually I removed all of the drives from the virtual machine and then added them back, the problem seems to be gone now.

So, tonight I will button it up and put it in its home in the wiring closet.

BTW: I did do a test and it does work to shut down the virtual machine and mount the 2TB drives from the host OS. This only works when you give the entire physical disk to the VM, it will not work for LVM partitions attached to the VM as virtual physical drives (my landing zone and the above mentioned 200GB storage space).

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Re: Introducion for me and my system

Postby thisispoki » Fri Dec 28, 2012 3:02 am

Did you leave the stock firmware on your MBWE? I got sick-and-tired of being restricted by the OS (I hate Busybox) and after installing all kinds of replacement utilities, I bit the bullet and replaced the whole OS with Debian.

I've been wondering about replacing my bare-metal Amahi (Fedora 14) install with Proxmox, running Amahi in a VM, so that I can add further VMs and trial server applications without affecting my mission-critical server. I will need to change my motherboard when I get around to doing this, as it's currently an ION mini-itx and I'm not sure that it'll have the horsepower for all the VMs. I will also need to investigate drive pooling then, as I'm currently using RAID-0.

In conclusion, your complex set up isn't too different from mine. Perhaps we're both over-complicated weirdos ... and perhaps it's because we're both ancient computer techs.

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Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:10 pm

Re: Introducion for me and my system

Postby genel » Tue Jan 15, 2013 9:16 pm

I never messed with the MBWE, I am not that big on hacking devices that I paid money for. So I just used it as a NAS it was very slow. Once my HDA was up and running and all the files moved off of it, I decided to sacrifice it. The drive is over 5 years old at this point, I I pulled it out and put it in a portable enclosure to use for utility purposes. The rest of the MBWE I tossed.

Posts: 56
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:10 pm

Re: Introducion for me and my system

Postby genel » Tue Jan 15, 2013 9:17 pm

I have not updated this is quite a while. So, to bring it up to date:

I was unhappy with the performance of the system based on VirtualBox. As I said in another post, the disk performance was very slow. So I changed the system to use proxmox. This was quite a bit of work but has been completed for a while now. Amahi running under proxmox works pretty good. The disk I/O is at least twice as fast as it was under VirtualBox.

I have a HDA running in one VM. I have a VM running Windows 7 with my mail server and some other windows stuff I want. I set it up as a 32 bit system so I can run some old 16 bit software I still need access to. I have a Ubuntu system I run for learning more about Linux stuff.

Shortly after getting the system working I added two more 2TB disks, these were Seagate Barracuda drives. Not long after adding these two I noticed that the relocated sector count was incrementing quite a bit on the BOOT DRIVE. Seagate replaced it under warranty, but replacing the boot drive on this system was a lot of work and I am not happy with that and may be hesitant to buy more Seagate drives. The two Hatachi drives have been flawless despite having been overheated in their original enclosure.

Changes from the original plan shown in the diagram above are:
The boot disk is now 1TB.
There is no Greyhole storage on the boot drive.
There are 4 drives in the Greyhold pool each with 2 TB.
The host OS is Proxmox not Ubuntu.

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