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Seagate Ships First 8 Terabyte Hard Drive

WuphonsReach Re:Switched double speed half capacity, realistic? (179 comments)

As you mention, 15k SAS drives are going to be rapidly undercut by SSDs. The price difference is no longer 10x or 20x when looking at cost/gigabyte, the price difference is now only 2-3x.

Pay 2x-3x the amount for a SSD of the same size as the 15k SAS, and you gain 50x improvement in your IOPS. For workloads where that matters, it's an easy choice to make now. As soon as you say something like "we'll short-stroke some 15k RPM SAS drives" - you should be considering enterprise level SSD instead. Less spindles needed, less power needed, and huge performance gains.

The only downside of SSDs is that write-endurance. A 600GB SSD can only handle about 120TB of writes over its lifespan (give or take 20-50% depending on the controller, technology, etc). The question is - are you really writing more then 60GB/day to the drive (in which case it will wear out in 5 years).

And more importantly... will you care if it wears out in 4-5 years? That you could handle the same workload using fewer spindles and less power likely pays for itself, including replacing the drives every 4-5 years.

5 hours ago
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Seagate Ships First 8 Terabyte Hard Drive

WuphonsReach Re:Seagate failures (179 comments)

External 3.5" drives are generally put in junky enclosures with no cooling and iffy controller chips and 1-year warranties. Since 3.5" hard drives are much more sensitive to heat issues then their 2.5" laptop drive cousins, you need active cooling (at least a minimal amount of airflow 24x7 over the drive).

One external drive enclosure that I've been happy with is a Mediasonic HF2-SU3S2. This is a USB 3.0 unit which can hold up to (4) 3.5" drives in a few different configurations (I use JBOD). Not that expensive, has a fan, and has good performance.

Stick some moderate quality 3.5 drives in it (WD Red, Seagate Enterprise Capacity drives, Hitachi Ultrastars) and it should run fine for a few years. Most of those drives have 3 or 5 year warranties.

(For the 4-drive unit, we write to a different drive each day. And our backups are based on rdiff-backups, so each backup set has the full 53 weeks of change history for the source data.)

5 hours ago
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Seagate Ships First 8 Terabyte Hard Drive

WuphonsReach Re:Can we get a tape drive to back this up? (179 comments)

Agreed - tape is a good choice as soon as you:

- need removable backup storage that gets swapped daily and goes offsite (legal reasons)
- have the budget for multiple tape drives, including a spare at your offsite disaster recovery location
- have enough data that you need an auto-loader
- have someone to babysit the tape drive on a daily basis, swapping in tapes in an organized fashion, replacing tapes based on usage history (not when they break), and run period cleaning tapes

The tape drives are $2-$5k each, you should always have at least two of the current generation, in case one breaks. Individual tapes are $40-$60 and you're going to be buying 50-60 per year if you follow a normal setup (daily backups, one tape per week gets pulled for permanent storage, etc.)

For smaller companies, hooking up a 1TB or 2TB USB drive to the server and running a backup is about the limit of their technical proficiency (and limits of their budget). For $800, you could buy 6 or 8 USB drives and have them rotate them out on a weekly basis.

Sure, it's not a daily backup with permanent retention offsite. But it's generally more foolproof then tape (or less fiddly). And it's a lot easier to sell a $800 backup solution then a $8000 backup solution. Plus you can start with a $400 solution, then slowly add more drives to the pool over time to get better historical backups. Older, smaller, USB drives can be repurposed for other uses as you slowly increase the size of individual drives. Not as easy to repurpose old tape drives or media that is now too small.

5 hours ago
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Seagate Ships First 8 Terabyte Hard Drive

WuphonsReach Re:Can we get a tape drive to back this up? (179 comments)

For smaller offices, I prefer rdiff-backup over rsnapshot (but both work well) combined with USB drives instead of tape drives.

Clients backup to a central server, each client has its own mount point and own file system (limits the possible damage if a backup client goes crazy since this is a push system). Inside that mount point, they create as many rdiff-backup directories as they need to.

Once per day the server checks the file system for a particular backup client (iterates through them in a random ordering), snapshots the logical volume (using LVM), then uses the read-only snapshot to rsync all of the content to the USB drive(s).

The nice part about this is that it can also easily send those backups offsite using rsync. The other nice part about rdiff-backup is that metadata (ownership, permissions, ACLs) get stored in regular files and you can store rdiff-backup directories on any file system without losing that information.

Once a week, someone at the office swaps the drives attached to the cables and takes the latest set home. I recommend at least (3) sets of drives, with a goal of getting of (10) sets.

The drives are easily encrypted with LUKS, you can use udev to attach/detach a block device under /dev/mapper with a LUKS keyfile stored in /root/something. Combine that with autofs to automatically mount the USB drives at a predictable point on the file system.

Downside is that it does take 20-30 minutes to setup a new USB backup drive. You have to format it with LUKS, set the passphrase, then attach the keyfile to it. Plus add the udev rules and autofs rules. But that time is worth it because even if someone loses a backup drive, the content is encrypted.

The udev/autofs tricks made it pretty easy for someone non-technical to swap out the drives every few days or every week.

If you use rdiff-backup - make sure you put /tmp on a SSD or dedicated 15k RPM spindle. When using the rdiff-backup verify commands, it has to create/read a lot of files in /tmp. We have a 300GB RAID-1 SSD pair on the server dedicated to the /tmp directory, which speeds up rdiff-backup a lot.

5 hours ago
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Dropbox Caught Between Warring Giants Amazon and Google

WuphonsReach Re:BTSync (266 comments)

Owncloud or Seafile.

Both run on your own hardware and use SSL for transport encryption. I think Owncloud supports server-side encryption (data sits encrypted on disk) but can't remember of Seafile does too.

13 hours ago
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If Java Wasn't Cool 10 Years Ago, What About Now?

WuphonsReach Re:What's the point? (483 comments)

And a lot of Java "boilerplate" can be handled better by things like GRAILS, Spring Roo, and/or AspectJ - things like automating getters/settings becomes trivial with AspectJ. They don't clutter up your .java source file.

yesterday
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Choose Your Side On the Linux Divide

WuphonsReach Re:My opinion on the matter. (749 comments)

I do think that the threat of ones skill set rapidly becoming obsolete is a justified reason for change, otherwise you get firmly ejected out of the IT business. All major Linux distros are changing to systemd. In the future you either know systemd well, or you don't work with Linux.

If you work in the IT world and are not making it a priority to learn something new every week / month - then yes, you will be unemployed when your current gravy train falls off the tracks. And frankly - that applies to just about any knowledge-based job these days. If you're not figuring out how to do your job better and service your clients better -- your competitors are and will eventually eat your lunch.

My personal goal is to read one IT related book per month. I don't have to memorize it, but I should be getting enough knowledge that I can recognize things and ask meaningful questions. And it gives me a reference point for when I do run into an issue, that I know the solution probably looks like X or Y - even if I don't know exactly how to solve it.

SystemD is just going to be one more thing where I'll pickup a book on it for my monthly quota. Probably around the first time we roll out RHEL7 next year.

yesterday
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Linus Torvalds: 'I Still Want the Desktop'

WuphonsReach Re:How Linux wins the Desktop (720 comments)

#1 - There's really only two games in town for Linux. Either you publish an RPM for use on RedHat derived distros or you publish DEB style for Debian derived distros. If you service those two markets, you cover maybe 80-90% of the Linux systems in use. The outliers are SUSE and Mandriva, followed by the source-based distros like Slackware or Gentoo.

There's also the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard (FHS) which your installer should adhere to, which smooths away most issues.

On the UI side, you really only have Gnome or KDE, and most apps run as-is on either because they use things like Qt.

#2 - "Chef" or "Puppet" or some other configuration management. Those tools have existed for a few years now and are stable and used.

#3 - Generally a solved problem, some of it is covered by configuration management tools like Chef/Puppet. Others have to be adapted from the cloud solutions. With a good cloud setup (private, hosted, or whatever) you can create and boot a new server in 10 minutes or less. On the desktop side, install a standard image, then let your configuration management software take over.

5 days ago
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Linus Torvalds: 'I Still Want the Desktop'

WuphonsReach Re:Oh, the timing... (720 comments)

And a techie's definition of 'working', i.e. drinking coffee and reading slashdot is still the same too.

Which tends to involve reading about technologies that you are not already familiar with, or getting information about finer points explained. In sales-speak, just another form of "continuing education".

It used to be much better. Someone would post an article about new technology X (such as Xen or KVM or HyperV) and you'd get 50-100 modded-up posts detailing what it is good for, why to use it, why not to use it, and anecdotes about how well or poorly it works in reality.

These days, I only read 10-20% of the articles, and only briefly browse the comments (usually at 3+ or 4+ scores).

5 days ago
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Email Is Not Going Anywhere

WuphonsReach Re:Duh. (235 comments)

IM is strongly suited to information that needs to be conveyed exactly in written form. Such as a list of commands that need to be run, or a code fragment. In a crowded environment, it's also more private and less obtrusive then a voice conversation. It can also be slightly delayed, you can finish up your thought before dealing with the conversation.

Voice is better for inflection and topics where exact spellings don't matter. It has a higher rate of back and forth (as long as one party does not monopolize the conversation). But trying to convey technical information such as "type XYZ" is frustrating over voice connections (you end up having to use a phonetic alphabet to get the other side to enter the right information). Sometimes you need the high synchronicity of voice communications, sometimes it gets in the way.

Both are synchronous, both have their place.

EMail, on the other hand, is asynchronous, where replies can be measured in minutes / hours / days. Very good for long amounts of information which need detailed thought and replies. The other person is not sitting there twiddling thumbs (or should not be) while waiting on you to compose your message.

about a week ago
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World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor Launches Nov. 13th

WuphonsReach Re:That reminds me... (146 comments)

Wildstar has legs and is still a bit of a sleeper. It was one of the better releases of the past decade, minimal server / stability / bug issues. It's gotten better too in the two months since launch, they finally killed off most of the harvesting bots and in general, things are in a pretty good shape.

about two weeks ago
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Solid State Drives Break the 50 Cents Per GiB Barrier, OCZ ARC 100 Launched

WuphonsReach Re:0.50$ per Gb was already broken (183 comments)

Enterprise quality SSDs are still $1.00 to $2.50 per GB.

The Intel DC S3500 is only about $1/GB for a 600GB version. Which is not bad for a drive suitable for use in a server. The S3700 series is closer to $2/GB.

(Both of those drive series have the capacitor inside to enable the SSD to shutdown cleanly in cases where the drive loses power.)

about two weeks ago
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Solid State Drives Break the 50 Cents Per GiB Barrier, OCZ ARC 100 Launched

WuphonsReach Re:It's a mental barrier (183 comments)

Exactly. The magic price point for business use was when $150 would buy you a big enough drive to meet the needs of 90% of your office workers. The cost is small enough that it's worth spending the extra amount of money in order to get a machine that performs much better then a traditional drive. It means less twiddling of thumbs of your employees while they wait on a slow hard drive. (More common then a lot of people think, they've just grown used to the slowness.)

Personally, I think that happened at the $1.20/GB mark. It made 80-120GB SSD drives cheap enough for office machines that you'd recoup the savings in a year or two. Either through improved productivity, or not having to replace the machine for another 2-3 years.

As the price gets lower and lower, unless you need >500GB of raw storage, it makes more and more sense to just go SSD instead of traditional. And maybe by next year, that break point will be 1TB, then 2TB.

about two weeks ago
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Solid State Drives Break the 50 Cents Per GiB Barrier, OCZ ARC 100 Launched

WuphonsReach Re:Not a barrier (183 comments)

If you have to cram a long term storage device into a small package then SSDs may win that battle

Depends on how you define "long term". A powered off SSD only retains data for as little as 6 months up to a few years (and as cell sizes get smaller, that will get worse).

Traditional magnetic media is still going to be better for 5-15 year lifespans on a shelf.

about two weeks ago
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Google Is Backing a New $300 Million High-Speed Internet Trans-Pacific Cable

WuphonsReach Re:So which agencies' backdoors are in there? (135 comments)

Even my SMTP server lets you talk TLS to it if you try. Not everyone who emails me tries, of course, but it will let you do it so my "end" is secure.

I just checked our server logs for the last month. Out of the connections, less then 4-5% negotiated TLS.

Now, granted, about 90% of those connections were probably spam, so maybe as much as half of legitimate mail servers now negotiate TLS.

(Anyone got better data? I didn't feel like trying to figure out whether a particular connection was or was not a spam connection.)

about two weeks ago
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DARPA Wants To Kill the Password

WuphonsReach Re:The problem is false negative (383 comments)

If it gets stored as a hash of the values, and is salted properly with a random 32bit salt (unique per user), then even if a thief steals the database of hashes, they don't gain much. They can't use that hash to attack another system. There are ways to protect against replay attacks like this.

Biometrics (something you are) will never work on their own as a sole source of authentication, you're still going to have to have passwords (something you know) possibly combined with something you carry (something you have).

about two weeks ago
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DARPA Wants To Kill the Password

WuphonsReach Re: There we go again (383 comments)

Maybe. Let's assume that all of the words in the sentence are within the 4096 most common words. That's 12 bits of entropy per word. So a six word sentence would, at the upper end, have 6x12 bits (72).

However, you can probably count on "the" and a few of the other 32 most common words being at various positions. So for those words, there's only 5 bits of entropy. And if it is a grammatically correct sentence, then markov-chaining or other tricks like n-grams might reduce your search space from 12 bits per word down to 8-10 bits per word.

Real quickly we're down into the 50-60 bit range... which is not very promising. Still enough to prevent the $10 of CPU time attacks, but vulnerable to the $1000 ($10k?) of CPU time attacks. And CPU costs do get cheaper over time...

That being said... password input forms should allow lengths of up to 100 UTF-8 glyphs. Let the user decide how long they want to go.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: When Is It Better To Modify the ERP vs. Interfacing It?

WuphonsReach Re:consider an open source ERP (209 comments)

How well does it work for project-based businesses. Most ERPs seem to be designed around inventory management and manufacturing - which is not a good fit for businesses where what you are providing is expertise.

about three weeks ago
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Ebola Outbreak Continues To Expand

WuphonsReach Re:Coming to a plane journey (170 comments)

The problem is that people move around... a lot. Ebola has an incubation period of up to 21 days so that gives an infected person lots of symptom free time to travel to visit his neighboring village or go to the city or get on a plane to visit relatives anywhere in the world.

From doing a layman's reading... you are not infectious until you start showing symptoms around day 21. This is, fortunately, not like influenza where you are infectious before showing frank symptoms. It is also, again fortunately, difficult to transmit only through casual contact.

Scary yes, but not end of the world scary.

about a month ago
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Massive Job Cuts Are Reportedly Coming For Microsoft Employees

WuphonsReach Re:Good (300 comments)

That's what Cisco does, they do regular bottom 5% cuts where those who are ranked in the bottom 5% on their performance reviews are let go.

And as a result, Cisco keeps putting out crappier and crappier products and their brand is swirling the drain.

The 5% cut of the bottom is not something that you do more then once. Because the second, third, and fourth round of cuts means that employees will start throwing each other under the bus, just so that they aren't in that 5%. Inter-department cooperation takes a shitter and your teams of very good employees constantly get gutted instead of being left alone. Just because there has to be a sacrifice.

If you're in a company that does that every year... it's time to find a new job. Or become a psychopath and enjoy throwing your co-workers under the bus each year.

about a month and a half ago

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