Monday, February 05, 2007

My server's autumn years!

My fileserver at home (the machine that carries this venerable blog amoungst other websites) has been a faithful box - bought in 1998 it is a dual-P2 motherboard (screaming along at 450Mhz!) it was the family's PC for a while but for the last six years it's been sitting in the cellar largely ignored! Aside from a couple of upgrades (mirrored disk, the odd clean) it's run 24-7 since 2001. Initially it wasn't just a web, FTP and Windows fileserver but it was our router/firewall/internet proxy. It was our mail and DNS server, it hosted our Skype-phone adaptor and did other things (scheduled backups etc). As cheap, dedicated network devices have become sensibly priced it's load has been lightened - first it gave up it's router/firewall duties when I bought a DLink router (and then replaced it for a wireless box), then my Belkin Skype handset relieved it a bit more. Now all my network backups are done by my little NAS box and since it's also an FTP and webserver my server may give up all serving duties. The last thing it's used for is as a player for internet audio and our music collection/podcasts in the kitchen - having tried a couple of the stand-alone devices that do this I'm not sure my server is due to decomissioning yet.
I've even shifted my email server needs back out to our ISP because they have much better spam filtering and mailboxes you can retrieve anywhere via a good web portal.
Anyhow - what has spured thoughts of ditching old faithful has been the failure of the RAID-1 disk set today. I'd been using the Windows mirroring which seems unable to recover from corruption without a bit of intervention. If you're lucky it's only a reboot, but often it's swapping the drives around so that the uncorrupted side of the mirror can re-boot the server. Now I know it's the Windows server software solution and if I was serious I'd stick a RAID card in there but it's a pain. So, over the next few weeks I'm going to migrate everything off this box on to my NAS and see how it all handles it. The good thing is I can switch the sites/blogs etc back and forth merely by changing the port routing in my DLink router.

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