312 words — 2 minutes read

120 Gig died

So I have this small, self-built, fan-less (thus silent) server that has been backing up my laptop, serving my music and video and generally been a nice chap, and easy going.

That is until a couple of days ago it stopped responding. Today I had time to hook up a monitor and a keyboard to it, and booted to an emergeny linux root prompt. Seems my disk is kaputt in a major way. I get a lot of non-recoverable IDE / DMA and god knows what other errors.

I fsck’ed for a couple of hours (putting a toy-car on the enter key is a nice way to say “Yes” to all default prompts if you don’t know the relevant command line option for fsck) and it fixed about 127 million sectors and over 12 million Inodes.

After that /dev/hda4 (yes, that’s the big partition with all the data on it) still won’t mount cleanly, but I could assess the damage. Seems that all my backup’s are gone (rather - they moved to a new location in the file system (lost+found)) but my 30 gigs of music seem to have survived…

I can live with the loss of the backups (presuming that nothing bad happens until monday when I can throw a new disk in the box, reinstall Linux, recompile the kernel (for the VIA stuff), re-configure Samba, BackupPC and RSync (thank god, /etc survived)

Lessons learnt:

  • A fanless box can get hot
  • Disks don’t seem to like a lot of heat The thought of loosing > 400 ripped CD’s has led to me to rethink my take on one disk is enough, who cares about RAID.

Anyone know a simple and not to expensive solution for a RAID box with - let’s say 200 Gig? Little noise please - we don’t have a basement where we can put the big server rack.

Jens-Christian Fischer

Maker. Musician