Today was supposed to be a good day, a day of a simple fix I had been meaning to apply, a day to relax afterward. Today though, has turned into the “day of hell” for me.
Many of you here know that I often expound on the need for backing up a system. Many of you know that employ an automated backup solution for the workstations in my home, all of which backup to a fileserver on-site.
I am about to tell you a tale of woe and bad luck.
You see, not too long ago I spent about 2 weeks or so going through my “archive o’ crap” (which is what I call a large collection of CDs and DVDs of data I have), copying it all to my fileserver. In the process, I began to think “you know, if the drive this data is on takes a dump, I am going to be up the proverbial creek”. In addition to the data I loaded, I also had a ton of other data, mainly MP3s and some videos.
I thought “no problem” - I’ll buy an external USB drive to act as my backup for the fileserver, set it up, automate that backup, and all will be golden for the day when it was needed.
My fileserver is a custom FreeNAS install; its had been a while since it was last updated, but overall it worked fine. I served everything over samba (SMB), but was thinking about switching over to NFS at some point since I didn’t have any Windows boxes on the network that needed samba. After reviewing some online documents, I figured that once I had my drive plugged it, it would be a simple matter of mounting it, formatting it, then setting up a “local rsync” to that drive, running once or twice a day.
Last night I finally got around to putting that drive together; I hooked it up to my Ubuntu workstation, and it seemed like it was recognized alright, so I went to bed anticipating what today would bring.
Today brought hell.
I plugged in the drive, and it was recognized by FreeNAS, but almost immediately I began to notice strange things. I won’t go into much detail, as this post is already way to long, so let’s just say this:
Hard drives suck, and they’ll take a dump on you -exactly- when you don’t want them to.
Long story short, I ended up losing about 250 gig of data on my “media” drive; it uses the UFS partition, and trying to mount it is weird; rather than a mount point in /mnt (which looks and acts like a directory), I get a 210 byte file that says something strange in it - and I don’t know why. Nothing I have done has let me see the data on that drive since.
The other drive, which held my backups, was throwing some SMART errors, so it looked like it was on its way out. I ended up buying a new drive (and a PCI SATA adaptor, because this machine is a wee bit old), after many hours of trying this and that, and coming up empty. Still, I was able to mount that old drive, and I am copying the data off of it over to the new drive right now, and I am hoping to beat the reaper.
Here’s the thing - the crazy conundrum I am in, especially after preaching the gospel for so long - I needed a backup for my backup solution; I thought the USB drive would work great (I think it will, actually, maybe?) - but my system died just as I was implementing it. So, maybe I should’ve implemented it when I built the system? However, do I now need a backup drive for that backup drive? Ad Infintum? Turtles all the way down?
I can’t afford a tape backup solution for 1TB - who can? Why is it that the backup systems for the size of drives we have in our machines cost far more than what the machine and drives cost? What is a real solution?
Also - what do ordinary people do? Do they just lose all of their memories and data and such and “oh well”?
This is so frustrating; I know I am venting and ranting, and you shoulda seen me earlier (it wasn’t pretty!) - I just want to know what a real solution is? Who’s to say that had I actually implemented that backup for my backup earlier, that it wouldn’t have died as well? I’d go with a RAID’ed system, but I honestly don’t have the money to put into something like that, and that still wouldn’t fix the ultimate problem.
Something else I wonder about - are these drives supposed to be running as hot as they are? I don’t know the actual temperatures off-hand, but the old drives that were in my box were running fairly hot, and the USB drive (a 1TB 3.5 inch SATA drive in an enclosure) also would get quite warm. The new drive I just installed - let’s see - well, its not as hot. I am just wondering if manufacturers -expect- you to put fans on hard drives nowadays (and if so, why aren’t they included, damnit?).
So frustrated, so angry, so upset, so much time lost that I could use doing other things…