Thursday, August 17, 2006

I just started a new computer project at home! I downloaded the latest release of Solaris 10 and I'm installing it on one of the servers I built from parts - I had to upgrade it a bit to support Solaris 10, so I just got home with a 300gb SATA drive and a 1gb stick of RAM for the system. The unit is named Stalin (click for specs). The entire system cost about $250 before the upgrades which were just at $200, so the entire server is now worth about $450. I also added a Netgear gigabit network card which adds around $30 to the price.

The reason I'm building a Solaris 10 box is to replace Trotsky, the current backup server I have rsync and ghost dumping files to. It's an older box, an 866mhz CPU with 512mb ram that is running Ubuntu. It has been stable but occasionally gives me headaches trying to figure out how to do anything new with it, for instance establishing the rsync linkup was no fun.

Solaris 10 offers a new file system format called ZFS that is simply awesome. No formatting, no disk checking, no fsck-ing, it automatically self-heals and is dead simple to use. I will eventually buy another 300gb drive and set up mirroring.

To set up the main backup partition, named EXPORT, I'll type

zpool create export c0d0s7

and it will take the partition labeled 'slice 7' (solaris is strange that way) and make it the ZFS file system. Right now, that s7 is about 250gb.

Then I can copy/move files, create directories, etc. I can configure either the whole thing or only certain sub-folders to be shared on the network with a simple command as well.

And when I add another hard drive how would I add it to the volume?

zpool add export c0d1

would add the entire disk (if unpartitioned) to the existing pool without loss of data.

zpool add export c0d1s7

would add slice 7, assuming I created one and wanted other partitions for other things.

This would just add the space on the new drive to the pool, I could use it as I saw fit. ZFS does incredible end-to-end error checking and verification, so the chance of any data loss is nonexistent. It works in such a way as to safeguard your data from anything but a physically dead drive. And it includes backup methods to even recover from that. Plus mirroring and build in RAID capabilities that you can completely configure from the command line. Check it out!

Anyway, I hope to be replacing my old system sometime soon, but I'll be testing the new one out first to make sure I haven't forgotten anything crucial. :)