Love the RAID

Remember that desktop machine that I assembled way back when? My paranoia led me to arrange the disk layout as follows: 2 drives in a mirror that will hold the primary system, and 4 drives in a RAID 5 for storage. The mirror was arranged by partitioning each of the drives into three sections: one for root, one for swap, one for /home. The root and /home sections were each placed into their own mirror RAID. I’m now quite glad that I’m so very paranoid.

Last week, while I was working on re-writing that compiler, I decided to upgrade my system (I felt oppressed by my software). I usually advise all my friends: “Don’t upgrade your computer, it will break everything.” It would have been good to follow my own advise. After the upgrade, grub was all wonkers and I couldn’t figure out how to fix it easily and get back to the compiler work. So, I figured the quickest solution was to completely re-install the system.

Easiest path to getting a new system, that has close to the same functionality of the old system is quite simple when you don’t have to worry about making extra backup copies of your stuff! I broke the mirror RAID, and installed a new system on one of the drives! Then any settings that I don’t quite like, or configurations that need to be maintained (such as the one for this website, and for Xorg) I can copy over when I identify the problem. When everything is all hunky-dory, then I can also re-establish the RAID.

Best part about splitting the root from the /home, is that all my user preferences and settings don’t have to be touched during the entire process! As soon as all the packages I wanted were installed in the new system (via dpkg --(get|set)-selections) I could simply login and pick up where I left off.

The total time before I could get back to programming: 1/2 day. I love Linux!