FreeNAS Update

It turns out that fortunately only the boot and system drive failed, and the three drives in the software-RAID5 array are presumably still good. In a best-case scenario, I would have a backup of the system configuration and after re-installing FreeNAS on a new system drive could simply mount and configure the array using the backup configuration and life would be good. I didn’t have a backup of the system configuration. In the second-best scenario, I would have a recent backup of the file system contents and after bringing up FreeNAS with a new boot/system drive, I would re-create a clean file system and then recover the contents from the backup. I didn’t make backups because I implicitly tusted the inherent redundancy of a RAID system. Wrong, Wrong, WRONG! RAID systems can fail in all sorts of ways that make life much more difficult than swaping a drive and watching the array rebuild itself.

I promptly made full images of the drives and am learning everything I can about the FreeBSD OS (operating system) that FreeNAS is based on, disks, disk partitions, RAID, file systems, GEOM, etc., in order to figure out the old configuration and how to safely recover the array and file system. I tried looking for commercial support, but not finding any turned to the manuals and DIY. The community has been a big support, but understandably, are also pushing me to figure it out for myself (they are giving general guidance and hints).

The take-away is that a RAID system still needs off-line backups for full protection! 

Along the path of educating myself, I’ve happily discovered FreeBSD. FreeBSD is an advanced operating system derived from BSD, the version of UNIX® developed at the University of California, Berkeley. The FreeBSD code license, the BSD license, allows developers to use the code pretty much without restriction – including selling it. A Linux distribution, another UNIX-like OS, is licensed under the GPL. The GPL requires developers to share new developments back to the community and prevents any selling of the code. Taking into account the development and release process, and the philosophies of the two camps, for me FreeBSD is better defined, more robust, more stable, and more viable than Linux for embedded systems development as well as a darn fine desktop OS (e.g. Apple’s OS X is based on FreeBSD).

When this is all over, I’ll be using FreeBSD throughout my home IT system for desktops (using the excellent PC-BSD distribution), servers, and for my embedded machine control project (switching from Linux). I may even convince a friend that switching to a FreeBSD makes good cents, it’s almost as “good” as a Mac, less painful than switching to Vista, and will leave enough change in his pocket for a new bike!



Winter is waning!

I’ve you’ve lived in Calgary long enough, you know there is no month of the year safe from snow. However, the Canada Geese have arrived, the Franklin Gulls are soaring and swooping along the Bow River while they gobble flies, I saw my first gopher (aka Richardson Ground Squirrel) of the spring a week ago, and this week I saw the first flower!

I’ve been getting flack from my friend Ian over not having blogged since mid-February, which means the picture of his mishap on the Diamond in the Rough trail has been the front page of my blog site since since mid-February (one of the reasons is the failure of my network file server, but it really just boils down to “Backup! Backup! Backup!“).

So to fill in some time gaps, here are some recent photo’s of what I’ve been up to.

Everyone dresses up at our home for Easter, and that includes  the lion’s guarding our front door.

This was taken just after winter’s 2nd-last “Hurrah”. You wouldn’t say the deer’s were friendly, but they certainly weren’t scared of us either.

Ian, staying firmly in the saddle……..

My brother James gave me his Miyata 1000 Grand Touring bicycle 2 years ago (it was absolutely state of the art for touring in the early 80’s with a Cr-Mo steel frame and Shimano 15 speed derailure set), but this is its first public appearance in 20 years! I had to replace the tubes & tires, but everything else was golden (I may replace the brake shoes, but so far they’re grabbing and wearing fine). I commuted to work a couple times on the 1000′, before winter returned and and forced me back to the Haro hardtail for commuting.

Riding the newly constructed pathway through Southland park. The concept of fenced off-leash areas with the main pathway thoroughway (on-leash) is absolutely fantastic. This is the main paved pathway again, from Fish Creek Provincial Park (and the Higgins Bridge) in the South and Southland Park (and the Southland Bridge) in the north. I absolutely love it (even the hill climb up and over Diamond Cove)! Congratulations to the City of Calgary planners.

Stone onlooker on the path between the river and Lafarge’s operations (this section has just been re-opened after 5 years of closure, the old unstable river bank was re-constructed and the pathway repaved).

Winter’s final hurrah caught me commuting home from work on the Miyata, and caught me good! The snow dissapeared fairly quickly over the next couple days, but I was back on the mountain bike and the Miyata was in waiting for a good bath.

Back on mountain bikes, here’s friend Ian

and me (you know, you get a pretty good workout riding snow!)

Today, even this final bit of snow here has melted and we’re back on dry land for another season.

Happy Trails!

Really, other folk have mishaps too?

For a while, it seemed I was kissing the ground every other trip out. Maybe it was icy, muddy, or just plain steep, combined with a bit too much speed. And when I was out with friends, it was always just me. Well, not yesterday as you can see below! (the rider shall remain nameless, but you should be able to tell from the helmet)