April 16th, 2004

Did you ever have one of those days when you could imagine the universe conspired to convince you that getting up that day was a mistake? Last night was such a day. I routinely fire up Outlook Express to find out that the server isn't responding. Hardly a reason to panic, it's been known to die for unknown reasons throughout its existence, no ping packets being thrown back either. I head for the reset button but alas upon reset, there is no resolution to the problem. No I'm concerned, never has a reset failed to bring it back online.

Anxious to find out what the problem is, I turn it off and plug it in in my room, with a monitor plugged in. To my incredible dismay, it never completes the boot sequence, the post check fails and I'm sitting there staring at the screen for 2 minutes, it reads "primary master disk failure". WTF???? This is the second disk to fail on me in a month. Before that I've only had one occurence in 11 years. Coincidentally, the other one (featured in the gallery section) had a mileage of 4 years, this one barely a year. But the disk itself isn't the problem, the data is. I used it as a multi purpose server, for samba, nfs, cvs, ltsp, apache, ftp, mysql, mail and others. Now all that configuration is lost and I'm stuck rebuilding it. I did have a backup cause of problems with the box earlier but it was a cloned partition on the same physical drive, so it's useless now. How the hell does a disk just fail instantly? It wasn't old, it wasn't worn out. A Maxtor 2.5'' 30GB drive if you must know.

So it's going to take me weeks if not months to restore what was on it. It never fails, people always learn to back up their data the hard way. Even though I grew up with Windows, which is very unsuited for system scale backups, I still don't think I would place much importance in it if it wasn't for losing data. Fortunately, backing up the system in linux is very straightfoward and with gzip/bzip2, I was surprised to learn that it compresses the whole system down to an archive of handsome size. My desktop installation, for instance, is a mere 2-3GB, perfect for dvd backup.

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