Changing of the Guard: NAS!


After 12 years of faithful service, through 3 power supplies and several disks, I have officially retired my “basement server”, mooch.  Mooch was  a Pentium-4 machine running CentOS 6 used to backup stuff on my real servers, as well stuff from my desktop, and to provide a common file sharing point for systems in the house.

Enter the NAS

That system has been replaced by a five year old Dell, which has been upgraded to 8 GB of memory and a pair of 4TB drives, running the NAS (Network Attached Storage) system FreeNAS.  The total cost of this transformation from an old Windows desktop to a shiny storage engine was $200 for two 4GB 4TB Seagate Drives, $35 for the additional memory, and $15 to replace a failing 100 mbps switch with a new gigabit model.  The FreeNas software is free.

Using FreeNAS, I’m still providing a central git repository, server backup, and in-house file sharing.  FreeNAS also supports Apple’s AFP protocol, so it’s acting as a network attached Time Machine for backing up the Macs.  In addition, FreeNAS supports some nice plugins including the Plex media server, so I’m now able to play all my videos and music through the Plex app on our Roku boxes.

Was it hard to set up?  Not really. The second time I did it, it took maybe an hour to get the OS loaded, disks mirrored, storage containers defined, and all the other little things configured.  I kicked off the tasks to transfer data to it before going to bed and by mid-afternoon the next day, about 500GB of stuff had been transferred.

That was fun… now on to the next project, either a gitlab server or replacing the toilet in the upstairs bathroom.

Re-Hosted (updated)

I’m phasing out my micro hosting site on Amazon Web Services. There have been a couple of instances lately where there were too many web queries, causing the system to run out of memory.  So, we’re now hosting on a 1GB memory virtual machine somewhere in a cloud center near DFW. 

For those who care, it’s a XEN HVM running Centos 6.2, hosted at Thrust::VPS.


Update: 12/22

So far, so good. There are a few bumps at Thrust::VPS aka Damn::VPS aka :ioMart

  • One time when the VPS went offline and tech support had to bring it back.
  • There is a timeout getting to from the VPS.  Every other web site is OK. Tech support is baffled, as am I. It may have something to do with routing.
  • The network card doesn’t work with the latest kernel (2.6.32-220) from CentOS.  This seems to be a CentOS bug and has been reported through their tracking system.
  • There’s some difficulting getting the rDNS set properly.  Tech support is working on it.