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It's past time for me to send a status e-mail out to Filespace users. I'm thinking about including this:

*** THE CHRISTMAS DRIVE DRIVE ***

From the time I send this e-mail until the end of the year, I will be running a special funds promotion for Filespace. I call it the "Christmas Drive Drive". Through this program, you can reward yourself while helping to buy a present for your fellow Filespace users!


** What is it? **

A little less than a year ago, Filespace was offline for a month while I searched for a new home for it. Eventually I found one--a server I call Navi (for the computers in the anime series "Serial Experiments Lain"), which I bought, configured, and installed in my house. Filespace has been running on Navi since then, with only minor problems.

When I bought her, Navi had one 10GB hard drive. I've added another drive the same size, but she's once again running low on space. Worse, both of the hard drives are old, and I'm a bit worried about what'll happen if one of them fails; I make backups nightly, but those backups are useless without drives to restore them to.

So, here's the deal. I want to get the following equipment:

- An extra controller card (allows me to hook up more hard drives)
- At least one fairly large hard drive

My estimate is $200, although it may be less. If Filespace users contribute enough money to buy this equipment by 1 January 2005, I will:

- Add 5 MB of quota to every account on the service.
- Double the maximum audio file size, to 2 MB.

"Contribute" includes both donating and buying space, so even if we don't make that goal, those who contributed by buying space will still get something in return.


** Technical Details **

A hard drive is divided into partitions. In Windows, each partition is represented by a letter--C:, D:, E:, etc. In Linux, the operating system Navi runs on, each partition is represented by a folder. Windows users generally use one big partition on each drive with all of the data on it, but Linux users tend to use several partitions, so that if one gets damaged the data on the other partitions will survive.

Currently, Filespace's disk status is:

    Size  Use%  Partition  Purpose
    471M   42%  /          System-related
     31M    6%  /boot      System-related
    3.7G   35%  /home      Mainly e-mail
    2.9G   67%  /usr       Programs
    3.9G   67%  /var       Databases (including Filespace) and log files
    3.8G   80%  /var/www   Websites (including Filespace)
I intend to acquire a 60 GB (or better) hard drive for the server. I would then split /var/mysql (where databases are stored) from the rest of /var (log files and miscellaneous other files), as well as splitting /var/www/filespace (where Filespace is stored) from the rest of /var/www. The two old 10GB drives, plus 10 GB of the new drive, would be linked together in a software RAID-5 configuration. (Linking drives with RAID means that one of the drives can fail without any data being lost.) The resulting 20GB of RAID-5 space would be divided between /var/mysql and /var/www/filespace. The remaining 50GB would be divided between the other partitions.

The result for Filespace would be as follows:

- The partition it stores its files on would nearly triple in size.
- So would the partition it stores its databases on.
- Both would have other files they used to share space with moved elsewhere.
- Storage of both databases and Filespace files would be much safer--if a hard drive failed, no data would be lost. (I currently perform nightly backups, but a RAID setup is like having a perfectly up-to-date backup all the time.)

That would be more than enough space to handle the increased quotas, and the additional space for the rest of the system would give me enough room to perform some much-needed maintenance on the server.

Incidentally, if anybody has experience with the Linux kernel's built-in RAID, I wouldn't mind getting a few tips on configuring it.
Thoughts, anybody?