Server Trouble

Today was one of those days when everything breaks. When I sat down at my computer this morning I discovered that my server was down due to a disk error on the boot drive. After a few FSCKs and several reboots it’s working without any problems, but I’m still concerned since there were I/O errors.

This isn’t a server class machine. I built it with inexpensive components from CPU Solutions: a Biostar motherboard, AMD Duron 1.8 GHz CPU, Mini ATX case, and a few IDE drives (currently one 160G as the boot drive, which is the one having problems, and two 320G configured for RAID1 as /home). I depend on that machine as a file & print server, but I also use it for Linux development and web development, which isn’t an optimal setup.

Since I like my Buffalo LinkStation (more about that below), I ordered a 1TB Buffalo TeraStation, a heavy-duty server with built-in RAID 5. It will make a nice dedicated file & print server.

I plan to use my current server as a desktop Linux development system. I’ll probably put in a dual core AMD64 and replace the crappy ATI Radeon 7000 with a NVidia card that works with Beryl.

I’ve been running Open Link firmware on my LinkStation, which adds many new capabilities. With the new firmware, I added NFS support, iTunes sharing with mt-daapd, and Bonjour support. Today I tried to add even more services. Since I also run an IMAP server on my linux box, which I use to archive my email, I decided to install Dovecot, which is available through ipkg.

That’s where the trouble started. The installation replaced some critical shared libraries such as libc6, which broke almost everything. The result was a bricked LinkStation that can’t be reflashed by normal means. I should be able to repair it by removing the hard drive, which will put it in EM mode that allows flashing when it powers up. At worst, I could put the ext3 formatted drive in a USB enclosure and copy the data from my Linux box.


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