14 November 2006, 02:24 by mark hoekstra

RAID on my OpenBSD encrypted fileserver...

My old encrypted fileserver has done it’s job remarkably well… It’s now 1.5 years since I wrote that particular how-to and my own setup has been working like a charm really… But, I’ve changed small bits over time, adding up in total to a whole new fileserver! especially since I now changed the drives also and added RAID1 to the setup.

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...well, this is what my bad boy looks like now. A Chieftec 19” 4U case (almost similar to my Media Center... rest of the specs:

Asus SK8N
AMD Opteron 146 (2.0GHz)
512MB Reg ECC PC2700
Intel Pro1000 gigabit NIC
2MB PCI-videocard…
Adaptec 2940 SCSI-card
Seagate Barracuda 9LP ST39173W 9GB boot/OS-disk

and then, the upgrade:

2x Seagate Barracude 7200.10 320GB in RAID1, datadisks

On the picture you can see the old disks, 2x Western Digital 200GB-drives which’ve done their jobs quite well for over 1.5 years. But these are desktop-drives and no enterprise-class stuff. Next to that, in the old setup I had no failover at all…

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Last sunday I upgraded the machine to OpenBSD 4.0 and also installed the new drives. Life is so much easier with a separate OS-disk! Anyway, I really need to get to grips with all this RAID-stuff on OpenBSD. Even though this motherboard comes with a so-called onboard RAID-controller… I’m not using it… I want my drives to be readable from whatever controller I hang’em on, in case of a failure of the controller (probably the most looked-over single-point-of-failure in raid-setups…). Next to that, even though the RAID-controller on the motherboard is most obviously hardware, that doesn’t make it a so-called hardware RAID-controller, bottom-line being, if there’s no CPU and memory on the controller, it’s no hardware-RAID-controller…

Anyway, so I chose to have my disks in RAID1 on OpenBSD, using OpenBSD’s software RAID...

It all works for now, but it doesn’t autoconfigure on boot at this moment. It gives errors but when I manually configure the RAID-array and mount it, all is fine. Now that’s not too big a problem, with uptimes of 200 days+ (and then probably shutting it down because of some hardware-upgrade) but still… I know where the ‘error’ is… I put the RAID-filesystem on the ‘d’-part of the drives and not the ‘a’-part. For autoconfiguring on boot that seems to be necessary…

Well, I have to see what I’m gonna do next. The server runs for now and probably I’m going to do it all over again somewhere soon. Just to get it all right.

The idea of the USB-enclosures for the old drives is also not final yet. The general idea being that not in a long shot I need all the files on my fileserver to be up and available for 24/7… So I want to swap some stuff to offline drives, in this case the old 200GB-drives.

But, I haven’t decided yet how I’m gonna use these drives. When I would format them to, let’s say, NTFS and make them portable drives, what use is the encrypted fileserver? On the other hand and I think it should work well, when I also use the USB-disks as OpenBSD encrypted volumes, the drives are totally useless as portable drives… or… I should dual-boot my iBook with OpenBSD (a plan I have for a long time also), I already reserved a partition for it, when I installed a new drive in it… Next to that, my iBook has USB1.1 and you really don’t want to access 200GB through a 1MB/sec-line…

Well… questions questions questions… but we’ll get there… for now I have what I wanted, 2×320GB in RAID1 + encryption on top!

the console-output of what this now looks like:

# uname -a
OpenBSD scramjet.macstuff.local 4.0 SCRAMJET#0 amd64
# df
Filesystem 512-blocks Used Avail Capacity Mounted on
/dev/sd0a 4124380 3589760 328404 92% /
/dev/sd0d 11211304 313980 10336760 3% /var
/dev/raid1a 615273604 615273572 -30763648 105% /datacrypt/raid1
/dev/svnd0c 605205764 569184928 5760548 99% /data

The /data partition is the encrypted volume, but mounted so it’s readable. You can see it’s already full, so I really need to get some stuff off of it, to these USB-drives… It all should be more than enough for my needs, 300GB of live storage, encrypted, for stuff I don’t want to lose like MP3s and pics and such. And 400GB of offline-storage with stuff that can easily be replaced somehow…

But well… First I need to decide exactly what I want from here and when I start over again and do it properly once and for all, I might as well update the how-to, but we’ll just see about that too…

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For now, it’s tucked away again (running!) and it’ll be a week or such before I have time to work on it further… by then I will have my mind made up what to do… euhm… I guess…

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Oh and one last thing, I’m not making this because I’m paranoid, I’m making this because it’s possible. Really, that’s all there is to it.

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  1. Ceristimo @ 14 November 2006, 11:31 :

    That’s a nice poster there on the wall.

  2. markie @ 14 November 2006, 11:41 :

    haha, oh well, that's the 'poster' from Make Fest. The one from the Make Faire from a year earlier is behind it... I like to keep them, but I keep'em in the closet as you can see... ;-)

  3. involutaryhaxor @ 14 November 2006, 21:54 :

    im still working on my media center box. i decided that i will actually put windows on a pc, but i cant find a damn copy of it that will work (isn’t scratched) or a spare cdrom drive that isnt dead

  4. mykolas Paskauskas @ 15 November 2006, 19:15 :


    why do you need so much space? What do you store ir thease raid drives? :)

  5. markie @ 16 November 2006, 01:21 :

    >why do you need so much space?

    well, geez… I have collected quite some stuff over the years. MP3’s of all the music I own, photos, videos, documents, installers of all kinds of software for all kinds of OSes, OSes themselves… I mean, it’s 320GB in the fileserver (it’s mirrored), for nowadays use that’s not even that much I guess. If I would’ve been into piracy, I would’ve needed a multiple of that *^_^*

  6. Steve @ 22 December 2006, 00:54 :

    Having a spare hard drive (mine is 250GB) is vey handy for back-ups of all kinds. Nobody ever wants to think of hardware failure as a future possiblity.

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