Archive for April, 2007


I borrowed an ST Labs external eSATA enclosure from a friend today. I’m impressed. Very fast. This case is only SATA1, but if I get the SATA2 case I’ll get the full SATA2 rate of 3GBps. Even so SATA1 at 1.5Gbps compared to USB2 at 480Mbps or even Firewall 800 at 800 Mbps is very fast. I’m running this on a Gigabyte GA-M59SLI-S5 motherboard, which includes a two port eSATA bracket.

The really nice thing about this that I like is that the drive being connected directly to the SATA subsystem will be powered down on IDLE. This is one thing I was hunting in a good USB enclosure for a while. The other nice thing is multi-access; with USB if you try do multiple things on the drive the system really starts to dislike you. eSATA handles this all no problem.

Also when I’ve finished putting together the notes, I talk about the 65MB/s (yes bytes!) I’m getting from this eSATA drive on my XP desktop to the home storage OpenSolaris machine with 3.75TB of raw zfs storage. 3Tb effective with RAIDZ.

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Ditto Blocks with zfs

More cool bits from zfs:

After writing this code and testing it, I thought what fun it would be to see it in action on my laptop. I created a new storage pool using a slice on my laptop drive, put a bunch of data on there, then wiped clean the first 1GB of that slice. As you might imagine, any of the file blocks that were unlucky enough to be allocated in that first 1GB were unreadable. However, I could still navigate the entire filesystem, typing “ls”, “rm” and creating new files as much as I wanted. Pretty damn sweet. ZFS just survived a failure scenario that would send any other filesystem to tape. I know you’d have to still go to tape for the file contents that were damaged, but the filesystem was still 100% usable and I could get a list of files that were damaged by running zpool status -v. For the careful reader, you’ll note that this command currently only give you the object number, but it will give you the actual filename in the near future.

They have been working on this for all data and it is now in b61. Google filesystem on your desktop.

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Help Desk Pain

The Open desktop mechanic comes home too:

When my wife lodged a service call, our provider told her to cycle power and press hard reset buttons on everything. When I came home, the Mac was inoperable, broadband was gone, the router which had been working flawlessly for several years, lost all of its DSL settings, WEP keys, NAT filters and passwords. The routers WiFi had been reset to its default open state and the ISP’s call center was gone for the evening.

I’ve had a few help desks try something like this on me. Seems like a good way to get the person off the phone and forced to call the ‘techie’ friend who set it up for them or some paid onsite support.

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NFS server – file stats

Useful look at NFS stat analysis on Solaris.

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Drobo is an interesting looking four disk chasis with advanced management features. Some sort of auto-raid management, presenting JBOD but with raid features in the background. The interface seems to be USB2, but I’m not sure if there is any additional drivers as the demo has some fancy reporting interface. See engadget for a promo code in the comments until 30/05.

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FX Matters

If you do an foreign currency stuff in NZD you should be reading the weekly report. He provides a lot of good background information.

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Nokia E-Series & iSync

We’ve standardised on the E61 as our business phone and it is really good. Now there is a Sync client for OSX I might set it up for my mother at home on her iMac.

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Stay in Sync with GCal and Thunderbird

I’ll have to work though this when I get a chance: » Stay in Sync with GCal and Thunderbird. Also see if I can apply the same method to Zimbra.

From digg.

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Dinner with Mark Shuttleworth

Mark Shuttleworth is a really cool guy. Matt Asay has dinner and a conversation with him in London. This and some other insightful comments that should be read.

Core and periphery. Mark said something that I found extremely interesting, and intuitively correct: it’s better to have multiple forks of your project than a single fork. Multiple forks means the community tends to choose between “core” and “periphery.” A single fork means it chooses between two visions of “core,” and you’ll likely lose that battle 50% of the time.

So (and this is my extrapolation, not Mark’s, so blame me if it sounds Sun T’zu-ish), radical openness is in many ways better than semi-openness, because the more you allow your project to be forked, the more value accrues to the core project. This has long benefited Red Hat and SUSE – there are many other Linux distributions, but they’re periphery. What happens, though, if Ubuntu becomes considered “core,” as it gains traction with the development community…?

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OVA – Open Virtual Appliance Format

I noticed this entry in the Xen knowledge base about OVA:

XenSource Knowledge Base : Can you convert a virtual machine from Open Source Xen to your products?
There is currently no automated mechanism to move VMs from open source Xen to the XenSource commercial products. The upcoming OVA (open virtual appliance) format will allow VMs to be moved between different Xen environments.

OVA looks like it might be a useful way to define generic portable Xen images. Enomalism have some details about this as well. Other than that the only google stuff seems to be from June last year. Enomalism also have a link to this clever idea: rss to push vm images.

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