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The Vanishing Act of VA Linux Hardware Docs?

Cliff posted more than 10 years ago | from the look-ma-no-instructions dept.

VA 57

Joshua Johnston asks: "Yesterday, my roommate and I picked up a used (and slightly abused) VA Linux 2231 2U server system at a computer show here in New Hampshire. Given the manufacturer, I had expected that support documentation would be a piece of cake to locate. Unfortunately, I couldn't have been any further away from the truth. Only the Internet Archive copies of the VA Linux/VA Software website had any information whatsoever on the system, with even Google striking out badly on almost any reference material. This comes as a complete surprise, as I had expected much more to be available in regards to a system once touted as a success for the Open Source movement. The current VA Software site has nothing even mentioning the fact they once made some solid server-class hardware, let alone a buried archive of the PDF manuals. What kind of options still remain for reviving some kind of community archive of these files? In the span of three years, are we left with nearly no trace of information on these machines?"

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Then it;'s time to create a convenient archive... (0)

ivi (126837) | more than 10 years ago | (#10117775)

Where there's a need, there will arise a community to fill it... or there should!

Yeah, that's a really profound insight. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10119473)

Dumbass...

Re:Then it;'s time to create a convenient archive. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10120976)

Your sig is one of the most ill-constructed sentences I've ever had the displeasure of seeing. You can't take something leisurely. You can take it in a leisurely fashion, but something cannot, itself, be taken leisurely. Only your attitude toward it can be leisurely.

Re:Then it;'s time to create a convenient archive. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10122692)

your right. its the pits. Why oh why can't people right properly on slashdot?

Isn't it just made out of commodity parts? (2, Interesting)

shoppa (464619) | more than 10 years ago | (#10117795)

Weren't the VA boxes just made out of commodity parts? For example, Brand X power supply, Brand Y motherboard, Brand Z disk drives? I'm sure all the docs in the individual parts are findable.

It's vaguely possible that they have some really funky firmware RAID controller, I've seen Dell server machines require a special microcode load into the RAID controller to work with Linux. That's a pain in the butt, and when the only thing is available is the binary and only from the vendor I just think the offending device is evil and punt it. (Lotsa RAID stuff is still this way, and sometimes it's even on the motherboard, which means you toss the motherboard).

This isn't just a VA Software problem. (3, Insightful)

Mordant (138460) | more than 10 years ago | (#10117812)

We're potentially just a few EMPs [fas.org] away from losing a lot of information that's increasingly being stored on the Web in lieue of hardcopy.

Not being able to find server documentation is one thing; not being able to find, say, Planck's Constant [wikipedia.org] is quite another.

Re:This isn't just a VA Software problem. (2, Insightful)

zangdesign (462534) | more than 10 years ago | (#10118121)

If, after a nuclear war, you spend your time hunting for Planck's Constant (or server documentation) instead of food or other means of survival, you deserve to be eaten by the Morlocks or the aliens or terrorists or George Bush or whoever started it.

Re:This isn't just a VA Software problem. (2, Informative)

randombit (87792) | more than 10 years ago | (#10119159)

If, after a nuclear war, you spend your time hunting for Planck's Constant (or server documentation) instead of food

There are non-nuclear EMP devices, you know. Also, to quote from the link the grandparent provided:

"A large device detonated at 400-500 km over Kansas would affect all of CONUS. The signal from such an event extends to the visual horizon as seen from the burst point."

Usual airburst detoniation for an ICBM (at least from what I found on Google) is in the 4-20 km range. That is to say, once could take out a lot of computers while causing relatively little physical damage.

Re:This isn't just a VA Software problem. (1)

abandonment (739466) | more than 10 years ago | (#10119526)

haven't you seen ocean's 11? they seem to fail to mention the fact that all of those computers wouldn't have come back up after getting hit with an EMP pulse like the one in the movie...

if they seriously hit the city with a massive EMP burst it would have been downtime for alot longer than a few seconds...

Re:This isn't just a VA Software problem. (1)

randombit (87792) | more than 10 years ago | (#10132120)

haven't you seen ocean's 11?

No.

if they seriously hit the city with a massive EMP burst it would have been downtime for alot longer than a few seconds...

Yeah, that's kind of the point, isn't it?

Re:This isn't just a VA Software problem. (2, Funny)

michelg (59880) | more than 10 years ago | (#10119237)

Or Triffids!

Re:This isn't just a VA Software problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10121236)

sweeet

Re:This isn't just a VA Software problem. (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 10 years ago | (#10119548)

I plan on being a morlock. I will at least need some kick ass mechanical engineering [mit.edu] sources if I am going to automate the slaughter process, so I will not be haunted by their screams.

Political cuteness (1, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 10 years ago | (#10119552)

How nice, just had to toss in a ant-bush comment where has nothing to do with anything that is being discussed

How sad to have such a small mind filled with such misguided hatred..

You people are ill and need serious mental help.

Ah.. mod me into oblivion, I don't care..

Re:Political cuteness (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 10 years ago | (#10120644)

ant-bush? I thought they came out of eggs, now you're telling me they grow on trees?

Re:Political cuteness (2, Insightful)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 10 years ago | (#10121261)

You sound almost like you want to get eaten by George Bush.

Re:Political cuteness (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 10 years ago | (#10126359)

Bush is the most dangerous man on earth. He has destroyed the US, destroyed Afghanistan and destroyed Iraq. What's going to be next?


Why not use your right to keep and bear arms? The whole point of that was to overthrow an oppressive government. Now, the US looks very much to me like people told me the USSR was like 20 years ago. Department of Justice ordering library copies of statute books destroyed? People being dragged off the streets and held without charge, or access to legal advice, and without anyone being notified of what's happened to them for possibly *months*? It's time you used those Second Amendment rights. Get shooting.

no, he's not ill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10132873)

Just a fucking retard

Re:This isn't just a VA Software problem. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 10 years ago | (#10118613)

uh, what exactly isn't just va software problem? that there's lots of information available through the web that an individual doesn't have hardcopy access to?

the thing is, even if the thing shipped with hardcopy docs(probably did) the asker wouldn't have had access to them. though, probably the thing never had a proper manual(in good length) of it's own if it was just slapped together from common parts..

or you suppose that there should be hardcopy manuals of every device ever made in the local library? and how detached are you from reality if you put up something like planck's constant as an example of information that would be lost if web ceased functioning?? there's stuff you can't practically find without the web but planck's constant is probably already in 1000 pieces of paper in this apartment building I(largely populated by students) live in..

Re:This isn't just a VA Software problem. (1)

avida (683037) | more than 10 years ago | (#10119010)

Planck's constant is written down somewhere. Quit being so dramatic.

Re:This isn't just a VA Software problem. (1)

non-registered (639880) | more than 10 years ago | (#10121177)

"Not being able to find server documentation is one thing; not being able to find, say, Planck's Constant [wikipedia.org] is quite another."

The first one being important to me.

What would you like to know? (3, Interesting)

Alrescha (50745) | more than 10 years ago | (#10117857)

I use several of these machines at work. The ones here have standard Intel motherboards in a black case. The motherboard has Phoenix BIOS with EMP, 2xU160 SCSI, 2xP-III, etc.

But seriously, what would you like to know that you can't find at Phoenix or Intel?

A.

Tried calling? (3, Insightful)

thelexx (237096) | more than 10 years ago | (#10117865)

Have you actually called the company and spoken with a person there about this?

INSIGHTFUL?? (1)

wizzy403 (303479) | more than 10 years ago | (#10130583)

HOW is this insightful??? EVERY slashdotter ought to know that VA has been out of the hardware biz for YEARS now! I mean, they only run the site you're looking at now?? Stupid mods...

Bias? (2, Funny)

Prien715 (251944) | more than 10 years ago | (#10117873)

Maybe I'm just being picky, but doesn't slashdot usually point out that it's owned by VA Linux whenever it runs a story about them? Just FYI.

Re:Bias? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10118908)

Not any more. Slashdot was recently bought by Apple, though there's talk of Apple wanting to sell them on again. Apparently both Sun and IBM have expressed an interest.

Re:Bias? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10133142)

No, Sun is waiting to see if SCO wins or not.

Slightly OT (3, Interesting)

jgaynor (205453) | more than 10 years ago | (#10117926)

I had a similar problem with a set of ebay-ed VALinux chassis . . .

I purchased a lot of 4 VALinux 2u rackmount chassis from ebay a few months ago for a good price (model "FullON 2130"). I knew they weren't going to be 'standard' atx but figured I could rewire things from documentation to get the power button and LEDs working. No dice. There is no documentation left at all. So im taking it upon myself to document/diagram what I did to make the power/reset headers ATX-usable and will post a procedure on my humble website. Hopefully google will pick it up and I can help the next guy that comes along wanting to do the same thing . . .

My VA Linux Ebay Story (2, Informative)

mosel-saar-ruwer (732341) | more than 10 years ago | (#10118886)


I thought about bidding on some VA units on Ebay [I'm sure the dude still has them up for sale].

Again, no online documentation. Fortunately, the guy was kind enough to go open a case and give me the motherboard part number [kudos to him for doing that].

Turns out VA just took a basic Intel boxed motherboard, with six PCI slots, slapped it into a two unit rackmount, and put in a riser card to give you [at least theoretical] access to two ["risen"] PCI slots.

Anyway, to make a long story short, in my decision to purchase or not purchase, I just used the Intel site for documentation, since VA was, in essence, just serving as one big Intel reseller.

Re:Slightly OT (2, Informative)

adolf (21054) | more than 10 years ago | (#10123893)

What a duplication of effort.

VA never -made- computers - they just assembled them into boxes and loaded Linux.

So just treat it like you would a Dell, or a Gateway, an E-Machine, or anything from any number of other assembly-line vendors - treat it like there's no name -at all- on front of the box.

And then begin a bit of research.

Look for a model number on the motherboard, and a manufacturer name. If you can't find a manufacturer, look up the FCC ID (it's always printed on there somewhere, if sold in the US) to find out the particulars of who made the board.

Then dig on their website. It doesn't take very much browsing ("Gee, MSI only ever made one dual-370 board with U160 SCSI - that must be the one") and picture-comparison to find the one you posess.

After that, load up the manual in Acrobat, and print yourself a set of jumper settings, dip switches, and header labels.

Who cares if VA assembled the box?

If you really, really strike out, get on the phone and start talking to the people who originally designed the stuff. This involves people skills, but engineers usually aren't hard to find.

(If anyone really has any further specific troubles with this topic after following these concise instructions, please just ask Google. Really.)

Re:Slightly OT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10125972)

Good advice on the whole, but the bit about browsing the manufacturer's site could use some thought. Back in '00 I had a Sony PCV-R522 desktop with the motherboard clearly stamped as an ASUS P2B-AE. I dare you to get them to acknowledge even the existence of that board. Even when the thing was new they didn't have any docs for it. Moral of the story: You can't depend on anyone to tell you what's in your box if you didn't put it there yourself.

Re:Slightly OT (1)

Phosphor3k (542747) | more than 10 years ago | (#10127035)

The only problem with places like Dell and HP/Compaq, is that they DO make computers. That is to say, they have custom made motherboards that you are never going to find good documentation on. Several Compaqs here at my workplace say something along the lines of "designed by compaq egineering group X" silkscreened on the motherboards and they sure as hell don't look like any board I could purchase online.

Re:Slightly OT (1)

adolf (21054) | more than 10 years ago | (#10130730)

Dare?

Following my own instructions, I struck out on ASUS's web page and asked Google. I found that it's exactly the same board as the P3B-1394, but minus FSB dipswitches and with a different model number.

Download the manual. [asus.com]

My instructions are thus provably clear.

Re:Slightly OT (1)

adolf (21054) | more than 10 years ago | (#10130793)

Compaq has always used their own hardware. So has HP. Dell, however, usually doesn't. I stand uncorrected.

It doesn't matter, though. If the board has Compaq written all over it, head to Compaq for information. If it says HP, hit up HP.

If the web pages don't include the data you're looking for, ask Google, or just pick up the fucking phone.

Please use your brain. Thank you.

Japan (2, Interesting)

Otter (3800) | more than 10 years ago | (#10118056)

Gee, shouldn't Bowie Poag be putting in an appearance around now...?

Anyway, you may want to try VA Linux Japan [valinux.co.jp] , who are still in the server business. ("UltraPossum 0.1beta is available now!") Like others have said, though -- I don't think there's anything especially unusual about those VA boxes, apart from blue LED's.

Re:Japan (4, Informative)

jgaynor (205453) | more than 10 years ago | (#10118159)

I don't think there's anything especially unusual about those VA boxes, apart from blue LED's

Ehh they're fairly proprietary once you open the case. Here's what Ive found - I've only looked into their 2u and smaller cases so larger ones may be more brown-bag:

-Case specific power supplies in some models (cant replace)
-Model specific PCI risers
-Short ATX mobo header cables (wont reach some boards)
-Proprietary power/reset/LED headers (unusable unless cut and spliced - good luck tracing through multi-layered PCB)

With a little work though they do make kick-ass cases and can usually be had on the cheap since no one wants to waste time modding them.

Re:Japan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10119110)

Man, that's the most boring "...in Japan!" joke I've heard yet!

California Digital (4, Informative)

blunte (183182) | more than 10 years ago | (#10118087)

California Digital [californiadigital.com] bought VA's hardware line when VA got out of the hardware business.

Did you try contacting them?

The six servers (of three flavors) that I had were all Intel server motherboards, Intel CPUs, popular raid controllers (I forget brand/model), and VXA standard tape drives. What's confusing about that?

Re:California Digital (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10118123)


VA Linux Legacy Parts

California Digital acquired the Systems Division of VA Linux in November 2001. We continue to support VA's award winning line of Linux Server and Cluster products. If you are the owner of an existing VA Linux product, please contact us to determine if you can purchase extended warranty and support coverage.

In addition to providing support for warranty holders, we stock almost all of the replacement components for VA Linux products. The items listed here are available for immediate delivery. If you have a need for an part not listed below, please contact us at sales@californiadigital.com.

The Weirdest Part (Submitter here) (3, Interesting)

TellarHK (159748) | more than 10 years ago | (#10118097)

The weirdest part of all this, is that the board in the system seems to contradict some of the information available from archive.org. I determined it was an Intel STL2 board, where the archive page copy showed it to be an L440GX which has a lower set of features. I was even able to flash the motherboard with a newer BIOS for the STL2. So now, I'm not sure if the machine is actually a complete unit that was rehabbed with a hard drive (Minspec from VA was 9G, I got mine with a 4.3G) or if it was a unit that had a motherboard upgrade some time ago, which now seems likely.

I suppose that with the motherboard information that I have, I can probably manage things just fnie, but there are still a few areas that make me wonder. My RAM seems to be the a slightly off speed, as I get an incorrect speed warning that requires an F1 to continue booting each time the system is turned on. That's going to make for an interesting day of eBay or Pricewatch next week.

Primarily though, I have to say I'm bothered by such a dearth of information being available. Why on Earth would VA entirely remove -all- information on the products they sold, not even archiving a manual?

Re:The Weirdest Part (Submitter here) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10122796)

Maybe information doesn't want to be free, after all?

Re:The Weirdest Part (Submitter here) (1)

adolf (21054) | more than 10 years ago | (#10146745)

Since nobody else seems interested in actually helping the original poster...

The RAM warning is just a BIOS switch set wrong. You've got your RAM set as X, while the BIOS code thinks it should be Y for whatever reason. So, it yells at you on bootup to fix your mistake.

So change the RAM speed in BIOS to whatever it actually is. Turn ECC on or off, that sort of thing. The worst that can happen is that the machine turns unstable, or fails to boot - but since you've got a manual, defaulting the CMOS should be easy. (In fact, resetting CMOS might even be a reasonable first step in solving that problem.)

It does seem odd that manufacturers would remove old information. Supra used to manufacture high-end modems, back when such things seemed important. Supra had an amazingly complete archive of firmware, manuals, and the like on their BBS, and online. Diamong bought Supra, and most of that information disappeared. S3 bought Diamong, and most of the rest of it disappeared. Now that SonicBlue owns S3, well, it seems that even the notion of Supra has disappeared.

And I understand that SonicBlue itself changed hands recently. It's all gone.

STB used to manufacture add-in cards for PCs, primarily video cards. For awhile, they also made a nice 2-port serial adapter, of which I own one. 3dfx bought STB, but kept the STB web site online. 3dfx assured me, personally, that they'd keep the STB information available indefinately because it cost them essentially nothing to do so.

And then nVidia purchased 3dfx. As any Voodoo-equipped gamer of the time knows, the -first thing- nVidia did after consuming the company was to trash 3dfx's web page in its entirety, along with all of the old STB material.

It hasn't resurfaced since.

Re:The Weirdest Part (Submitter here) (1)

gujo-odori (473191) | more than 10 years ago | (#10147053)

Sad but true. I sometimes tease my dad about all the stuff he prints out and saves in a hardcopy file, but someday he'll get to laugh at me when he's got some document I want that has disappeared off the web.

I guess the lesson here is that if there's a site with some documentation that is really important to us, we should wget as much of it as we need (or all of it, if we have the space), and just archive it. Since a lot of CD media doesn't seem too good on longevity, in some cases having it printed and bound is probably justified.

Re:The Weirdest Part (Submitter here) (1)

TellarHK (159748) | more than 10 years ago | (#10154623)

Thanks for the help, unfortunately one of the big tricks with the RAM problem is that there is no visible setting in the BIOS for the RAM details. It seems like that's either locked down pretty tightly, or the board's designed to have a really specific tolerance level and no further. Bah.

Look at who owns VA's hardware business now... (4, Informative)

gabe (6734) | more than 10 years ago | (#10118109)

California Digital Corporation [californiadigital.com] bought VA's hardware business back in 2002 [linuxvoodoo.com] . Maybe they have information that'd help you.

Re:Look at who owns VA's hardware business now... (2, Informative)

rdieter (112462) | more than 10 years ago | (#10118581)

Re:Look at who owns VA's hardware business now... (2, Funny)

dekemoose (699264) | more than 10 years ago | (#10122668)

Yahtze!

BLACK FRIDAY (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10118125)

I'm sure you're curious as to why Slashdot, OSDN, and the rest of VA Linux's network wasn't available the weekend of Friday, June 22, 2001. I was. Then I found out.

In this expose, I will inform the reader on the why and the how of Slashdot's worst outage yet, its narrow escape from death, its darkest day in history...

Slashdot's Black Friday Innocent Beginnings

Picture this: you're young, you're gay, and you own a successful web log. But you want more. Enter buyouts by a company called VA Linux, headed by the ruddy fag ESR and his band of Open Source homosexuals, hand picked by Larry Augustin himself and charged with taking over the Linux world. Got it so far? Good.

Short of having kidnapped Linux Torvalds, VA Linux virtually was Linux. You had hit the big time. You were the loud mouth of the biggest, baddest mother of a Faggot Linux Empire ever assembled.

(Important note: VA Linux had, indeed, tried to hire Linux Torvalds away, but Linus had refused, so as not to favor any single company or distribution. VA Linux, in turn, had kidnapped Torvalds and had Rob Malda and ESR rape his mouth unil he couldn't feel his jaw. Linus also needed his stomach pumped. However, good ol' Linus, the stout Finn that he is, never gave in and so was returned to Helsinki soon thereafter.)

The IPO

December, 1999:
Stock: $253 Volume: 8,000,000

IPO time, and you were riding high. You had become a millionaire and didn't know it. ESR had been surpised by wealth. And scores of other investors and Linux nuts found themselves with swollen bank accounts. Even though the stock fell sharply soon after, you figure it was just a burp in the market, and you headed out to celebrate by sucking some cock and buying your sports cars, boy-servants, horses, bathhouses and mansions. Still with me? OK. Now fast forward a few months.

The Ugly Truth

June, 2001:
Stock: $2.53 Volume: 1,000

You have Linux companies that have lost large parts of their market valuations, Linux distros merging, IPO's cancelled...

In short, Linux was dying. If you wished to portray the worst of the present state of the Linux market, you could not do so without factoring in how the GPL works to un-employ programmers. You didn't have to be a Kreskin to see what was happening; the handwriting was on the wall: Linux faced a bleak future. Even RMS commented on the current position of his Free Software Foundation due to Linux's misfortunes, which, indeed, represented the boat everyone was in with Linux:

" I am goat-fucked! "

Who Are You?

If you can sit there and read this expose and nod your head in affirmation of the events I have thus far documented, you can be only one person: Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda of Slashdot.

All of the events here led up to Slashdot's Black Friday, where Rob Malda almost lost everything he had left (after the VA Linux stock plummet, that is). The only thing left really was Slashdot itself, and the homosexual orgies the Slashdot staff held every Friday night. Alan Cox had since abandoned sucking the Slashdot staffs' cocks, and had returned to civillian life, disillusioned with Linux. Banner ad hits came only by means of the Slashdot staff themselves, and ESR, drunker and drunker with every stock plummet, would call and ream out Rob Malda over the phone every day, holed up in his cabin of 386s running Linux.

Always cache copies of useful web content (4, Insightful)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 10 years ago | (#10118306)

Anytime I find a useful web page, I cache a copy on my local disk (strictly for personal/ time shifted use only). Personal sites have a way of disappearing when the owner loses interest and corporate sites have a tendency to flush old data when they reorg a site. Even with the cost of backups (I use 3 x 250 GB HDs for onsite/offsite backup), keeping a local copy costs a few tenths of a penny per MB.

The loss of old content is sad, really. The web is sometimes more like the spoken word than the written word. It is ephemeral -- if you weren't there when the page was posted, you have a high chance of never getting it.

Re:Always cache copies of useful web content (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10125127)

Slashdot itself can be a pain to find old articles on, especially the ones with cutsey titles you cant remember but with killer content.

It's a real shame.

Re:Always cache copies of useful web content (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 10 years ago | (#10126005)

The loss of old content is sad, really. The web is sometimes more like the spoken word than the written word. It is ephemeral -- if you weren't there when the page was posted, you have a high chance of never getting it.

It's always worth trying the Wayback Machine [archive.org] . I've found documentation for lots of old hardware from defunct companies there. Also Usenet, via Google Groups [google.com] .

Re:Always cache copies of useful web content (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10131298)

I realize it is off-topic, that's why I'm posting this anonymously. Ok, can you describe which solution (hardware and software) you use for your backup because I am interested.

Indeed, I plan to backup my 120 Go HD by buying a rack (probably SATA hotplug) and two extra 120 Go HDs, so that at least one of them is always offsite. Then I would use rsync and use encrypted partitions (like my current HD).

OT: my backup setup (1)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 10 years ago | (#10220229)

I use one 250 GB firewire drive for "dailies" using rsync to backup changed files. About once a month or so, I wipe that drive clean and use Carbon Copy Cloner to make a full bootable backup.

I also bought 2 bare drives ( 250GB Maxtor MaXLine Plus II 7200rpm 9ms 8MB Cache Parallel ATA ATA/133), a Miglia Catalyst ATA/FW Conversion Kit (its a little circuit board that mounts inside an old external SCSI drive enclosure and converts it to use any ATA drive on firewire), and an ancient external SCSI drive with a slip-off cover. I love using the easy-to-open external firewire enclosure. Not only is it great for backups, but its nice for doing large file transfers and troubleshooting between computers (just remove a drive from a computer, pop it in the enclosure and mount it on any firewire-capable machine).

For backups, I use Carbon Copy Cloner to make a full bootable backup of my drive onto one of the bare drives sitting inside the enclosure. Doing a full backup of 140 GB takes about 2 hours (I run it overnight) with about 10-15 minutes labor on either end to setup and verify the thing (I both check the filesystem on the backup and test boot it). I like having a bootable backup because in an emergency I'd hate to have to reinstall/reconfig the OS.

After I make a full backup, I remove the bare drive from enclosure and take it (in an antistatic bubblewrap bag) to the bank safe deposit box and bring back the bare drive that was in off-site storage. Bare drives fit nicely in a safe deposit box. I prefer the ping-pong method for offsites because it means that there is always a safe, offsite copy of my files.

If I were starting over, I'd probably go with 3 bare drives (keeping 2 offsite at all times) and an enclosure. If I weren't paranoid about hardware failures I'd go with 2 drives and an enclosure, but I like the idea that if the hardware fried during a backup (killing both the internal HD and the in-process backup) that I'd have both a safe offsite and onsite backup.

VA Linux Hardware (1)

fastfeet (809767) | more than 10 years ago | (#10120261)

The hardware part of VA Linux was bought out by California Digital. They still sell those servers under their name. You can also order parts from the old VA linux from them as well.

While we're on the subject (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 10 years ago | (#10120670)

Anyone know where to find anything on old systems from Network Engines? From what I understand some of them are substantially similar to VA Linux systems. I have a NEI Roadster LX that I would like to get more information about, and more importantly SOURCE CODE, so I can figure out how to talk to the front panel LCD.

Re:While we're on the subject (Network Engines sy) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10156190)

In looking at the Network Engines Roadster LX PDF documentation files I was able to find via a quick google search, those were later systems than the 1U dual processor systems that VA (and IBM at the time) OEM'ed from Network Engines.

Server hardware (1)

mikeleemm (462460) | more than 10 years ago | (#10120829)

We actually have run into the same problem here. I've discovered a lot of the hardware is actually off the shelf parts, Intel motherboards etc. So a lot of the information is out there. Now the only problem I have is finding aftermarket hardware such as drive trays.
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