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January 30, 2004

Plans for the Black Dragon

    After a bit of research into the various options, I've decided what will be used to get the Black Dragon back on it's feet.  Pluvius is upgrading a computer for someone, and is going to sell me the old EPoX motherboard.   In addition, we have ordered a HighPoint RAID parallel ATA controller. An other friend, Tazz, is selling me an extra stick of 256 MBs of SDRAM.  The 1024 MBs of RAM currently in the system is 266 MHz DDR, and Pluvius is buying it off us.  This should bring the Black Dragon back to functional so it can again be a drive server.

January 28, 2004

Zen adds 1/2 a terabyte of storage to his system

    Zen, who's storage capacity has exceeded my own for about 3 months with his first drive upgrade, has upgraded again-- this time, adding 500 gigs to his collection.  This brings the online capacity of our network to 1211.63 gigs. By himself, Zen controls almost 1.5 terabytes of storage-- a number that belittles even some hardcores.  Very nice Zen...
    Our drive research has been pushing towards RAID 5 arrays of 4 to 8 drives.  The cost involved is relatively high-- at least initially.  But the total storage and redundancy are unmatched with other options.  Despite our own thirst for storage, we're going to hold off on upgrading capacity for awhile.  One of the concerns we'll have to address is where to physically place all these drives.  The Black Dragon will control at least the 80 RAID 1 array, taking 2 of 6 3½" drive bays.  There are 4x5¼" drive bays, 2 of which hold CD-ROM drives. The ROM drives can move as the Black Dragon doesn't really need them, but we will still require brackets. We will also need to come up with a method to mount a cooling fan to blow across any drives we mount in 5¼" bays.  The other option, or an additional option, is to make a mounting bracket under the existing 3½" drive bays.  This could fix at least 3 more drives, there is already a cooling fan located there.  With some work, we may be able to house 13 drives in the Black Dragon's case.  But there are still a lot of issues with that-- cooling and power being amongst the primary concerns.

January 21, 2004

White Dragon hits 100 days of continuous runtime

    The White Dragon hit 100 days of continuous runtime today.  We haven't needed to shutdown/reboot the system for more then 3 months.  The last time the White Dragon went off-line was for hardware changes-- I believe to extract the 45 gig drive that went to the Indigo Dragon.
    We've also noted that with all the mapped resources, we have over 745 gigs of storage. Of that, we use over 618 gigs (about 82%).  This doesn't include redundant storage (i.e. the RAID 1 mirrors), the X-box and mobel storage, which add around 520 gigs.
    Sitting at over 80% capasity, we need more storage.  Everyday, our data collection grows a little more.  With storage costs between $0.66 to $0.90 per gig, depending on drive density, we have some options.  However, with the quanties of data we now house, redundancy is now becomming more important then ever.  This basicly double the cost of drive space. 

January 19, 2004

Problems replacing the Black Dragon

    As it turns out, the distribute of the Black Dragon's new motherboard no longer carries it, so we can't get it replaced with the RMA-- they've just refunded us. We've also seen that Soyo dropped their warrantee on those motherboard to 90 days.  So, we're not going to get a new Soyo Dragon for the Black Dragon
    The problem is, trying to find a new motherboard with parallel RAID.  It's not all that popular anymore as everyone is switching to the better serial ATA RAID controllers. That's cool and all, but we have 2 parallel RAID arrays we need to have controller for, and the Black Dragon was suppose to be a drive server.  We can either buy a motherboard that has parallel RAID, buy one without and get a parallel RAID controller card, or offload the old parallel hard drives and switch to serial ATA and get a serial ATA RAID motherboard.  We haven't yet decided.
    In other news, we have generated a new PGP keypair. The key ID is 0xDCEC9590 and the key public key can be downloaded here.

January 07, 2004

Pictures of the Red Dragon now online

    I took pictures of the Red Dragon and put them online. I had originally envisioned pictures including more of the motherboard, but, there really isn't much of the motherboard exposed!  So, it's pictures of arrays of fans ;)

January 04, 2004

Status of the Black Dragon

    Testing yesterday with Pluvius confirmed my suspicions: the Black Dragon's new motherboard is dead.  This is likely a case of infant mortality-- a manufacturing problem that took some burning time to finically fallout.  We have an RMA number and will be shipping the motherboard back to be repaired/replaced.
    This will be the 3rd motherboard we've lost in the last 2 months, starting with the original motherboard in the Black Dragon, the new motherboard and now the Garage Crowd/BananaFunk host computer.

January 03, 2004

Big hits in a short time...

    Yep, we must differently be hosting the Garage Crowd site... we went from 3,000 hits on the 1st to over 8,000 yesterday.