Just A Box of Disks

Ian Pallfreeman ip at mcc.ac.uk
Tue Oct 31 15:59:03 GMT 2000

> Over the years I've always used tape backups, with these experiences:

Ditto. One possible description of me is "tape junkie"... I was forced to
write tape archiving software for a Pr1me, many years ago, and never quite
recovered from the experience.

> My HP DDS2 drive looks as if it has died, so once again I am evaluating
> cost effective options.

DDS drives aren't terribly effective as backup devices; and the media is
only designed for re-recording a few times, not day after day.

If you can afford one, try a Exabyte. Those which look like a 1970s cassette
recorder are perfectly OK, even if they look shite; the most unreliable part
of these seems to be the "cable wart" power supply.

> One I'm contemplating is a not very powerful PC (system unit only, 128
> MB, Celeron 600, Intel PCI 10/100 network card, floppy, low end video
> card), stuffed with 4 * at least 30 GB IDE drives, used as a file (and
> perhaps mail) server, with much of the space used by Vinum mirrored and
> striped drives, or even RAID5.  I suspect that this will be cheaper
> than, say, a Quantum Snap 1000 server.  I also suspect that buying a
> built machine will also be cheaper than buying the bits.

Why not get an add-on IDE controller or two, assuming you've got PCI slots
to spare? Dabs are doing Promise ATA66 controllers for 25 quid.

> I've never used Vinum - does it work?  Any lurking gotchas?  (At one
> time I experienced endless woe because of Sequent's volume manager).

Veritas for me. Ugh.

The only part of vinum I haven't tried is the RAID5. Everything else seems
utterly fine. My only (very trivial) complaint is that it's too verbose
during booting.

> Any hope of Adapec's AAA-UDMA IDE RAID card being supported by FreeBSD?
> Grepping the last month or so's current doesn't show any mention of
> this, so I suspect that it is not coming real soon.

Why d'ya want that? I've had (am still having) bad experiences with RAID
cards; if I was to do it all again, I'd stick with software RAID.



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