New Hard Drive

New hard drives, plural, to be precise. Installed mid-week, now populated. We ripped out the old 4*1TB Raid 5 array, and bunged in four new 3TB replacements. Just on the one server – an internal one. We’ve got back-ups of the old data so it only took a few hours to prepare and implement the swap out. We could have probably done the job without any downtime, but as it’s an internal server with an uptime in excess of 300 days, we decided to give it a power-off rest. We also wanted to re-seat the CPU as we’d been getting a few over-heating warnings on the console.

After power-up we configured the new array, and initiated the rsync command to copy-back the data. We keep home directories and multi-media on the array, so quite a lot of it. The command took several days to run, and just finished. We’re putting it’s output here for posterity, since our very first hard drive, all those years ago, wieghed in at a whopping 40MB. No, that’s not a typo.

This is what we have now, just on one array:


That figure, 2,640,716,131,829, two-trillion, six-hundred and forty billion, seven-hundred and sixteen million, one-hundred and thirty-one thousand, eight-hundred and twenty-nine bytes is a big number. If Obama had one dollar for every byte we just copied he’d give half of them to the military and the other half to his Wall St chums. Maybe he’d cream a bil or two off the top for himself first. For us, the figure seems fairly close to the inflation we’ve experienced in the broader economy since we bought our first hard-drive.

The bytes/per second transfer time, just shy of 30MB, would have filled our first ever hard-drive in less than two seconds. It now represents the write-speed to the Raid, and is not limited by the network since we’ve measured that at a consistent 600Mbs peak (largely because we’re using cheap $1-a-yard patch cables).

Impressive as these numbers are, one must concede that back in the days of 40MB hard-drives computers were much more fun to own. Although, that first hard-drive was a bit stubborn at boot. The read heads would often stick and you could hear the mechanism repeatedly trying to move them out onto the platter. The way to resolve this, and get the PC to boot, was to give the case a good solid thump in the vicinity of the drive enclosure. Do that to the flimsy ‘luggables’ they sell nowadays and the thing would fall apart – although it would be resilient enough to send a final few packets back to the manufacturers (CC: google and the NSA) that you had just violently put it out of warranty and should yourself be put on the watch/no-fly/Tuesday-kill list(s). Such as the world has changed.

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