Server Upgrade / Disk Failure

Last month I had a disk failure which caused most of my data to become inaccessible which is the main reason for my blog being down for so long.
I have three 1TB hard drives in a LVM VG…. without any RAID. This means if one drive fails, it is very unlikely I will be able to recover any data. It was very stupid of me, and I regret it VERY much. ūüôĀ
The drives I was using in the LVM VG were Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1TB (ST31000333AS) drives.
I originally bought these drives January 2009, but since then I’ve had multiple issues with the drives and so I don’t actually have the drives I originally bought, I sent them back for replacement as they all showed sign of failure sooner or later. Luckily, I was able to catch those failures pretty early, thanks to “SMARTmon Tools”. This time I was unable to do so, as I upgraded my SATA controller to a Adaptec 2820SA which does not allow SMART commands to be passed through to the drive.
After a bit of Googling, I discovered that there have been quite a few reports of these drives failing, unfortunately in January these reports were not available.
This frustrated me quite a bit, as not only did I lose 500GB worth of important data, I will now have to scrap these drives and buy new drives if eBuyer or Seagate is unwilling to give me a different model of 1TB drives – I don’t think it should be an issue for them to give me the Barracuda 7200.12 which seem to have much better reports, but I don’t think they will agree to this.
At the moment, I’ve sent the drives to Seagate’s i365 Data Recovery service, and they are building a list of files which they will be able to recover.
During the time the drives failed, I decided it would be a good idea to upgrade my server too. My new servers specs are as follows:
Intel Quad-Core Xeon E5405 2 GHz
2×4 GB DDR2 PC2-5300 RAM
Tyan Tempest i5100X (S5375)
Norco RPC-4220 case
The Norco RPC-4220 case is a 4U rack-mountable server case and has 20 hot-swappable hard drive bays, which allows quite a of room for storage expansion. When I first powered on the machine, I noticed that the fans which cool the hard drives are amazily loud and so switch them for quiter ones (relax! they are quck provide enough air flow to cool six drives!). The case comes with five SAS/SATA backplanes, which have a Mini-SAS connector. As I don’t have a SAS controller, I had to buy Mini-SAS reverse breakout cables which allowed me to connect the backplanes to my standard SATA cards. This was quite a pain, as I had no idea that there are two types of Mini-SAS to SATA cables, one for Mini-SAS on Backplane side to SATA on the controller, like I needed, and SATA on the backplane, to Mini-SAS on the controller. It was a pain that I discovered this after I had already bought the wrong cables.
The Tempest i5100X supports two Quad Core XEON processors, although I only bought one for the time being. The board also takes upto 32GB worth of RAM which also allows alot of room for expansion.
Thanks to this upgrade, I was finally able to play with XEN’s full-virtulization (HVM) functionality as the E5405 has the Intel VT-x extension.
When I get my drives back from i365, I will be sure to use RAID5 on the drives AND make regular backups….. although I haven’t really found a feasible solution (price wise, and time to actually do it) for backing up 500GB worth of data, so if anyone has any suggestions, please let me know!
I have looked at Bacula, and I really like it, but I still need media onto which I can backup the data.
I have lost my trust in hard drives for keeping my backups, and burning to DVDs or Bluray would not be very feasible as I would require 63 dual layer DVDs or 10 dual-layer bluray discs to backup 500GB worth of data, and both are not very reliable either (they are easily scratched!).
I also looked at online backup services, but this too I think is not a feasible idea as backing up 500GB over a connection with only 1.3mbit upload would take way too long.

Last month I had a disk failure which caused most of my data to become inaccessible which is the main reason for my blog being down for so long.

I have three 1TB hard drives in a LVM VG…. without any RAID. This means if one drive fails, it is very unlikely I will be able to recover any data. It was very stupid of me, and I regret it VERY much. ūüôĀ

The drives I was using in the LVM VG were Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1TB (ST31000333AS) drives.

I originally bought these drives January 2009, but since then I’ve had multiple issues with the drives and so I don’t actually have the drives I originally bought, I sent them back for replacement as they all showed sign of failure sooner or later. Luckily, I was able to catch those failures pretty early, thanks to “SMARTmon Tools”. This time I was unable to do so, as I upgraded my SATA controller to a Adaptec 2820SA which does not allow SMART commands to be passed through to the drive.

After a bit of Googling, I discovered that there have been a few reports of these drives failing, unfortunately in January these reports were not available.

This frustrated me, as not only did I lose 500GB worth of important data, I will now have to scrap these drives and buy new drives if Ebuyer or Seagate is unwilling to give me a different model of 1TB drives – I don’t think it should be an issue for them to give me the Barracuda 7200.12 which seem to have much better reports, but I don’t think they will agree to this.

At the moment, I’ve sent the drives to Seagate’s i365 Data Recovery service, and they are building a list of files which they will be able to recover.

During the time the drives failed, I decided it would be a good idea to upgrade my server too. My new servers specs are as follows:

The Norco RPC-4220 case is a 4U rack-mountable server case and has 20 hot-swappable hard drive bays, which allows a good amount¬†of room for storage expansion. When I first powered on the machine, I noticed that the fans which cool the hard drives are amazingly¬†loud and so switched them for¬†quieter¬†ones (relax! they are quick provide enough air flow to cool six drives!). The case comes with five SAS/SATA backplanes, which have a Mini-SAS connector. As I don’t have a SAS controller, I had to buy Mini-SAS reverse breakout cables which allowed me to connect the backplanes to my standard SATA cards. This was quite a pain, as I had no idea that there are two types of Mini-SAS to SATA cables, one for Mini-SAS on Backplane side to SATA on the controller, like I needed, and SATA on the backplane, to Mini-SAS on the controller. It was a pain that I discovered this after I had already bought the wrong cables.

The Tempest i5100X supports two Quad Core XEON processors, although I only bought one for the time being. The board also takes up to 32GB worth of RAM which also allows a lot of room for expansion.

Thanks to this upgrade, I was finally able to play with XEN’s full-virtulization (HVM) functionality as the E5405 has the Intel VT-x extension.

When I get my drives back from i365, I will be sure to use RAID5 on the drives AND make regular backups….. although I haven’t really found a workable solution (price wise, and time to actually do it) for backing up 500GB worth of data, so if anyone has any suggestions, please let me know!

I have looked at Bacula, and I really like it, but I still need media on to which I can backup the data.

I have lost my trust in hard drives for keeping my backups, and burning to DVDs or Bluray would not be very sensible as I would require 63 dual layer DVDs or 10 dual-layer Bluray discs to backup 500GB worth of data, and both are not very reliable either (they are easily scratched!).

I also looked at online backup services, but this too I think is not a workable idea as backing up 500GB over a connection with only 1.3mbit upload would take way too long.