Showing posts with label storage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label storage. Show all posts

November 30, 2009

Pogoplug - an easy NAS from your USB disks

pogoplug linux NAS device
Have a few external USB disks laying around you'd like to make them available to everyone in the house without leaving your computer on all the time? It's easy!

You need a NAS server, instead of abusing your computer as such, and give people rights to share files, place backups, create photo albums and so on. The NAS server manages your existing USB disks and handles access control. Pogoplug has a small cute (Pink! So the wife factor approves too) box for $130 with a 1 GB network port and room for 2 USB disks. It integrates with facebook, twitter and myspace too, so you can easily share photos or music if you like or choose not to. ;) Apple Mac users will also like the ability to backup iTunes and iPhoto libraries and get shared access to them. The whole thing is managed thru your browser. And, of course, Linux works too. The only thing I miss is some form of access control, security or encryption, but the specs don't mention anything. Personally, I'm gonna go with the QNAP TS-410. It costs 3x as much, is secure, room for 4 internal disks and runs Linux.

November 9, 2009

Digitally pimping a home network

While visiting Michiel in Singapore, I pimped their home network a bit. It was fine, but cumbersome and loosely tied together: 5 laptops, PS3, Wii. They have a cable modem, but didn't know their connection speed. WiFi was setup but not used because downloading over a fixed connection into the WiFi router was "going faster". Hehe, I told them their ISP limits the speed and after a bit of testing concluded that their 8 Mb down-link would scarcely fill the 54 Mb/s bandwidth of their 802.11g WiFi network. So no need for the fixed network hook-up not sitting near the router, freedom to sit around the house wherever they wanted to. I moved the Linksys WRT54G into a nook, out of the way, receiving thousands of thank-yous from the housekeeper who hated the nasty blue box on the floor in the livingroom. ;)

I then tied the PS3 and Wii to the WiFi network. This meant all devices were now on the same subnet. I installed PS3 media server on Molina's Vista Acer laptop. (It's free, open source and supports Windows, Mac and Linux!) Up until then, they'd had borrowed the HDMI cable from the PS3 if they wanted to watch downloaded TV series. Fine, but why swap cables?! :) Now, they hook up USB disks with movies, music and series to the Vista laptop, fire up ps3 media server, turn on the PS3 and watch or listen to anything from the Windows laptop. :)

linksys WRE54GNext, after seeing this digital revolution in his house, Michiel asked if he could somehow get WiFi on his 17 m2 roof terras, overlooking the Singapore skyline? I said sure, but he'd likely have to drill a cable up to the roof. The reinforced concrete would be unlikely to pass his WiFi signals. So did a little digging and after MrVanes suggested WiFi Range Extenders (I had been looking for that term), it all came quickly together:
* get a WRE54G Linksys Range Expander to get unobstructed full speed WiFi access outside on the roof
* pulling a cable up from the livingroom
* Connect a QNAP TS-410 NAS server to a free network port on the WRT54G and add some disks to taste.

QNAP NAS SOHOThe NAS supports Windows, Apple and Linux, has built-in everything and is expandable with hot-swap drive bays. The UPnP/DLNA media server supports their PS3 so the Windows laptop can be used as a workstation instead of doubling as a media server, the built-in bittorrent (BT) client let's them download directly to the NAS and the iTunes server let's them stream their music collection to their laptops, iPhones or iTouch devices. If only I could be there to install it and see it work!!! :)

November 3, 2009

ZFS gets inline deduplication

One of the file systems out there, IMHO, is ZFS by Sun for Solaris. Sadly, they can't open source it easily because there are portions that can't be licensed under the GPL license. And if they take them out, there isn't much left of the strength of ZFS. Oh well...

Anyway, ZFS gets inline deduplication! This means, that ZFS can decide -on the fly- if a data block was already written by another process at another time and know where that was. It then merely needs to store a pointer to that particular block elsewhere on the disk (an inode) and it's done.
Expensive data center storage solutions such as NetApp and EMC use this technology too, but these boxes cost $100,000+. ZFS is the file system that you use when you format your disks! Any disks! :)

September 28, 2009

Engadget: Apple dictated Light Peak creation

What I thought to be an R&D project from Intel could very well a deliberate move into a new technology from Apple. Engadget may have dictated Intel to create this new technology and could begin using it as early as 2010!

April 23, 2007

El cheapo RAID with ZFS

CSI: Munich, an integrator from Germany, posted a video on YouTube about building an el cheapo disk array using ZFS. They actually use USB disks instead of real disks, to make it even cheaper. Oh and this won't work in Windows, of course: you can't change the %$@&% file system in Windows (NTFS/FAT only). :P
ZFS is a radically new file system developed for Solaris.

November 19, 2005

The Anatomy of LVM

Well... I seem to have my Tower of Power setup now... pffew!
It's very exciting. I'm a little hesitant still, dunno for sure it works as advertized as I - we - haven't used it extensively yet. But I now have my server setup as file server with NFS and SAMBA (for Windows file sharing).
I have 4 hard disks: one old Quantum 8 GB ATA33 disk used as boot and root drive (for Debian). Then I have 3 identical Hitachi 250GB ATA100 disks for storage. I divided my boot drive into:
-  512 MB swap /dev/hda1
- 2048 MB reiserfs /dev/hda2 as /home
- 6000 MB reiserfs /dev/hda3 as /

Should my hard disk crash and wipe data, it'll be the partition table and/or the swap file. Both of these, I can recover easily. I've formatted the 3 big drives as LVM2. In Linux you set them to type 0x8e, then it won't ask you anymore questions. :) I then installed Webmin, as I want to remotely admin the server and not *have* use ssh nor the command line. Once I had Webmin installed and configured (this took me a few hours and attempts), I went into the LVM menu. I created one big Volume Group (VG) which would span all my hard drives. It's like a container for as many drives as you have, of any type: IDE, SATA or SCSI. I have three IDE drives. Inside this Volume Group, called 'system', I created three Logical Volumes (LVs) next. These LVs are similar to what are normally your partitions. Each LV was then formatted using a suitable file system (ReiserFS and ext3 in my case). See the LVM HOWTO for an explaination of terms used and actual commands.
This way, I created an LV called "images" with a size of 250GB and striping across all three disks. This will give me performance (but no fault-tolerance). I also created a LV "data" 8GB big without striping. Last, I created a big LV "music" for our mp3 collection. Here is a screenshot. Once I get WiFi enabled and an HTPC near my TV, I can stream music over the WiFi network to the stereo. Or play DivX/MPEG2 movies from this server. Whatever... it's flexible.
So far it's nothing major. No biggy. I could have used the three hard disks exclusively for their purpose. But the big beauty of using LVM, the pay-back you get for taking so much time in the beginning, is when you run out of space on a Logical Volume aka "partition".
Suppose I start downloading movies all the time and the LV "music" fills up... I can simply add some extra space to it, extend the volume. Or I can add a whole new drive; add it to my 'system' Volume Group (the container) and add extra room to the "music partition" that has filled up. Best of all, I can do this live, online and on-the-fly! No rebooting, no moving data around, no hassle! That's the beauty of Linux at its best!
Just now, if you look closely at the screenshot above, you'll see I made a typo! :) I created a data "partition" of 8192 KB instead of MB. I should have used 8192000 KB. D'oh! Panic? Nope! Just unmount the "partition". Resize the LV. Remount. Et voilá!