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Re: Low power / quiet drive

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  • dystopianrebel
    Ralph & Maria Finch , I think these are the points in favour of using a Hitachi microdrive: - the size (4, 6, or 8 GB) is just right for a boot disk; a second
    Message 1 of 25 , Dec 5, 1936
      "Ralph & Maria Finch", I think these are the points in favour of using a Hitachi microdrive:

      - the size (4, 6, or 8 GB) is just right for a boot disk; a second disk could be a Flash stick for storage of large (mostly static) files

      - I don't have to fiddle with the OS to reduce writes to disk; the OS runs as intended

      - I don't have to guess about a Flash drive's quality or ability to manage wear (lifetime warranties don't appear to be offered for Flash memory anymore, so I have no great confidence in them)

      Flash memory is cheaper in 2011 than it was in 2006 when I set up my Slugs. Flash now has significantly higher capacity. That said, the microdrive solution has worked well for me, so I can recommend it in good faith.

      And that, in the end, is the best I can do for a total stranger asking for help on the World Wide Turing Test.





      --- In nslu2-linux@yahoogroups.com, "Ralph & Maria Finch" <ralphmariafinch@...> wrote:
      >
      > I just wonder why consider a Microdrive when they are such low capacity
      > (2GB-6GB from a quick google search). USB Flash Drives are 10 times the size
      > for roughly the same price. As to reliability I just periodically make an
      > image backup of everything, the procedure is documented on the NSLU2 wiki.
      > I've been running my Slug for a couple of years now, 24/7, with 2 USB flash
      > drives, no problems. I use it mainly as a proxy server and sometimes for
      > torrent downloads.
    • nslu@pocketnix.org
      My own experince with microdrives is that they die quicker than flash drives, at every opertunity they try to park the heads and IIRC from reading the
      Message 2 of 25 , Dec 5, 1936
        My own experince with microdrives is that they die quicker than flash
        drives, at every opertunity they try to park the heads and IIRC from
        reading the datasheet its rated to 300k head parks, when listening to
        mp3's on the zaurus c3000 you hit that pretty quickly

        i did end up replacing the microdrive with a cf card on a brand new
        zarus and moving the micro drive to the slug (so i could ahve a swap
        file) howeer had to ditch it after the drive died (tick of death)


        if you do go down the microdrive, make sure you apply those flash
        hacks to prevent writing to disk, they will make the drive last longer

        as a side note, CF cards tend to last longer as a swap file than SD
        cards do (or at least they did a couple of years back) we belive it
        had to do with the quality of the flash chips and drive controllers
        (which at the time were of much higher quality than SD cards, sandisk
        SD cards came close but were still beaten by a mid range CF card)

        another side note, IIRC a microdrive cost 3-5 times more than a CF
        card and few cards were avalible in the same capacity

        On Wed, Jan 05, 2011 at 06:55:19PM -0000, dystopianrebel wrote:
        > "Ralph & Maria Finch", I think these are the points in favour of using a Hitachi microdrive:
        >
        > - the size (4, 6, or 8 GB) is just right for a boot disk; a second disk could be a Flash stick for storage of large (mostly static) files
        >
        > - I don't have to fiddle with the OS to reduce writes to disk; the OS runs as intended
        >
        > - I don't have to guess about a Flash drive's quality or ability to manage wear (lifetime warranties don't appear to be offered for Flash memory anymore, so I have no great confidence in them)
        >
        > Flash memory is cheaper in 2011 than it was in 2006 when I set up my Slugs. Flash now has significantly higher capacity. That said, the microdrive solution has worked well for me, so I can recommend it in good faith.
        >
        > And that, in the end, is the best I can do for a total stranger asking for help on the World Wide Turing Test.
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > --- In nslu2-linux@yahoogroups.com, "Ralph & Maria Finch" <ralphmariafinch@...> wrote:
        > >
        > > I just wonder why consider a Microdrive when they are such low capacity
        > > (2GB-6GB from a quick google search). USB Flash Drives are 10 times the size
        > > for roughly the same price. As to reliability I just periodically make an
        > > image backup of everything, the procedure is documented on the NSLU2 wiki.
        > > I've been running my Slug for a couple of years now, 24/7, with 2 USB flash
        > > drives, no problems. I use it mainly as a proxy server and sometimes for
        > > torrent downloads.
        >
      • dystopianrebel
        I only use Hitachi microdrives, and I ve found them to be very reliable. Which brand were you using?
        Message 3 of 25 , Dec 5, 1936
          I only use Hitachi microdrives, and I've found them to be very reliable. Which brand were you using?

          --- In nslu2-linux@yahoogroups.com, nslu@... wrote:
          >
          > My own experince with microdrives is that they die quicker than flash
          > drives, at every opertunity they try to park the heads and IIRC from
          > reading the datasheet its rated to 300k head parks, when listening to
          > mp3's on the zaurus c3000 you hit that pretty quickly
          >
          > i did end up replacing the microdrive with a cf card on a brand new
          > zarus and moving the micro drive to the slug (so i could ahve a swap
          > file) howeer had to ditch it after the drive died (tick of death)
          >
          >
          > if you do go down the microdrive, make sure you apply those flash
          > hacks to prevent writing to disk, they will make the drive last longer
          >
          > as a side note, CF cards tend to last longer as a swap file than SD
          > cards do (or at least they did a couple of years back) we belive it
          > had to do with the quality of the flash chips and drive controllers
          > (which at the time were of much higher quality than SD cards, sandisk
          > SD cards came close but were still beaten by a mid range CF card)
          >
          > another side note, IIRC a microdrive cost 3-5 times more than a CF
          > card and few cards were avalible in the same capacity
        • nslu@pocketnix.org
          Hitachi, i may have been hammering/using the dirves more than the usual user with a swap file, i had my slugs doing quite a bit
          Message 4 of 25 , Dec 5, 1936
            Hitachi, i may have been hammering/using the dirves more than the
            usual user with a swap file, i had my slugs doing quite a bit

            On Thu, Jan 06, 2011 at 01:36:54AM -0000, dystopianrebel wrote:
            > I only use Hitachi microdrives, and I've found them to be very reliable. Which brand were you using?
            >
            > --- In nslu2-linux@yahoogroups.com, nslu@... wrote:
            > >
            > > My own experince with microdrives is that they die quicker than flash
            > > drives, at every opertunity they try to park the heads and IIRC from
            > > reading the datasheet its rated to 300k head parks, when listening to
            > > mp3's on the zaurus c3000 you hit that pretty quickly
            > >
            > > i did end up replacing the microdrive with a cf card on a brand new
            > > zarus and moving the micro drive to the slug (so i could ahve a swap
            > > file) howeer had to ditch it after the drive died (tick of death)
            > >
            > >
            > > if you do go down the microdrive, make sure you apply those flash
            > > hacks to prevent writing to disk, they will make the drive last longer
            > >
            > > as a side note, CF cards tend to last longer as a swap file than SD
            > > cards do (or at least they did a couple of years back) we belive it
            > > had to do with the quality of the flash chips and drive controllers
            > > (which at the time were of much higher quality than SD cards, sandisk
            > > SD cards came close but were still beaten by a mid range CF card)
            > >
            > > another side note, IIRC a microdrive cost 3-5 times more than a CF
            > > card and few cards were avalible in the same capacity
            >
            >
          • M.J. Johnson
            The amount of discussion this topic has generated is astounding. Many of the messages have debated the merits and shortcomings of solid state vs. microdrives.
            Message 5 of 25 , Dec 5, 1936
                 The amount of discussion this topic has generated is astounding.  Many of the messages have debated the merits and shortcomings of solid state vs. microdrives.  Bottom line:  all drives fail.  ALL.  ("On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.")  Which leaves you with a mitigation strategy (RAID or some kind of failover) or a backup strategy.

                 As was suggested previously, taking regular backups is a fine strategy, documented on the wiki, and useful regardless of the media you decide to run your NSLU2.  I take regular backups of my system, which is running on a 1Gb Transcend Jet Flash USB thumbdrive.  It has been more or less running 24x7 since 2007 without a problem.  Adequately impressed by the Transcend product, about a year ago I bought 3 more 2Gb drives for about $5 each.  You can get 4Gb Transcend drives on Amazon currently for the same price.  An Hitachi 6 Gb drive (the only one I saw available from an OEM reseller) runs about $180.

              On Tue, Jan 4, 2011 at 12:28 AM, Ralph & Maria Finch <ralphmariafinch@...> wrote:
               

              I just wonder why consider a Microdrive when they are such low capacity (2GB-6GB from a quick google search). USB Flash Drives are 10 times the size for roughly the same price. As to reliability I just periodically make an image backup of everything, the procedure is documented on the NSLU2 wiki.  I’ve been running my Slug for a couple of years now, 24/7, with 2 USB flash drives, no problems.  I use it mainly as a proxy server and sometimes for torrent downloads.

               

              From: nslu2-linux@yahoogroups.com [mailto:nslu2-linux@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of dystopianrebel
              Sent: Monday, January 03, 2011 8:52 PM

              Subject: [nslu2-linux] Re: Low power / quiet drive

               

               

              --- In nslu2-linux@yahoogroups.com, Doug <dsc3507@...> wrote:


              >
              > Well the microdrives are small and low power but I am not sure they are more
              > reliable. It seems there is a bunch of opinions on that.

              I don't know about opinions (there's one for every monkey), but I know that mine have been highly reliable for about five years. I run Web servers on them.

              Microdrives are known to require careful handling -- they won't survive a drop that a Flash drive can survive. So any use that requires tumbling from a balcony would eliminate microdrives. Apart from that, I suggest not heeding unsubstantiated opinion. Microdrives work. (o:


            • Mike Westerhof
              ... Exactly right! But not a single comment on the solution that allows one to use RAID for the rootfs. So, is it worth continuing to support RAID in SlugOS?
              Message 6 of 25 , Dec 6, 1936
                M.J. Johnson wrote:
                > The amount of discussion this topic has generated is astounding.
                > Many of the messages have debated the merits and shortcomings of solid
                > state vs. microdrives. Bottom line: all drives fail. ALL. ("On a
                > long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.")
                > Which leaves you with a mitigation strategy (RAID or some kind of
                > failover) or a backup strategy.

                Exactly right!

                But not a single comment on the solution that allows one to use RAID for
                the rootfs.

                So, is it worth continuing to support RAID in SlugOS? I ask because I'm
                currently struggling to fit stuff into the next SlugOS release, and
                something needs to be tossed...

                -Mike (mwester)
              • stanley_p_miller_qaz
                ... For me RAID is not of interest, I m looking at low power 24x7 operation and it is easy for me to make backups of my slug to another higher power system and
                Message 7 of 25 , Dec 6, 1936
                  --- In nslu2-linux@yahoogroups.com, Mike Westerhof <mwester@...> wrote:
                  >
                  >
                  > Exactly right!
                  >
                  > But not a single comment on the solution that allows one to use RAID for
                  > the rootfs.
                  >
                  > So, is it worth continuing to support RAID in SlugOS? I ask because I'm
                  > currently struggling to fit stuff into the next SlugOS release, and
                  > something needs to be tossed...
                  >
                  > -Mike (mwester)
                  >

                  For me RAID is not of interest, I'm looking at low power 24x7 operation and it is easy for me to make backups of my slug to another higher power system and keep the slug's power budget low.

                  What are the other options on what should stay/go for the next version?
                • jon pounder
                  ... I have to agree on this one - if I am going to start doing raid etc., its not going to be on a device without a console, if my data is that important, I
                  Message 8 of 25 , Dec 6, 1936
                    On 01/06/2011 12:49 PM, stanley_p_miller_qaz wrote:
                    > --- In nslu2-linux@yahoogroups.com, Mike Westerhof<mwester@...> wrote:
                    >>
                    >> Exactly right!
                    >>
                    >> But not a single comment on the solution that allows one to use RAID for
                    >> the rootfs.
                    >>
                    >> So, is it worth continuing to support RAID in SlugOS? I ask because I'm
                    >> currently struggling to fit stuff into the next SlugOS release, and
                    >> something needs to be tossed...
                    >>
                    >> -Mike (mwester)
                    >>
                    > For me RAID is not of interest, I'm looking at low power 24x7 operation and it is easy for me to make backups of my slug to another higher power system and keep the slug's power budget low.

                    I have to agree on this one - if I am going to start doing raid etc.,
                    its not going to be on a device without a console, if my data is that
                    important, I want to be able to get in there when I have to to fix
                    things and bring it back from the dead. My preference is always where
                    possible a generic boot system that can be replaced completely, and the
                    data on raid drives that could be put in a completely new system and
                    brought back to life if necessary. I don't see the nslu2 as fitting the
                    bill for this at all - its niche is a low power solution thats pretty
                    much disposable when it breaks, and focus should be on backup of
                    whatever matters, and ease of just dumping it back into new hardware
                    when needed.




                    > What are the other options on what should stay/go for the next version?
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > ------------------------------------
                    >
                    > Yahoo! Groups Links
                    >
                    >
                    >
                  • Stephen Miller
                    I have been running one-wire for 5 years now on OpenSlug 2.7 using a 30G drive out of my old laptop. No special treatment at all. I have had owwnogui hang,
                    Message 9 of 25 , Dec 6, 1936
                      I have been running one-wire for 5 years now on OpenSlug 2.7 using a 30G
                      drive out of my old laptop. No special treatment at all. I have had
                      owwnogui hang, usually due to the barometric sensor, but it all works.
                      Last year I finally put it on a UPS after giving up on solar power and
                      have consistently gotten 3 month uptimes (119 days, this run). I have
                      rebuilt the power supply of course (maybe twice). A storage drive is a
                      Maxtor 3.5" 160G one that spins down and it works fine too.

                      Also, I have never actually had a USB stick fail. I have a second slug
                      with a USB stick soldered directly to one of the unused internal ports.
                      It works fine too. I have also tried to kill a CF by writing blocks
                      repeatedly for days; something like approximately 16 million writes if I
                      remember. I got bored with it after about 4 days. I still use that same
                      CF card for my work. It was a Sandisk unit and I have a lot of respect
                      for their products.

                      It seems to me that this discussion is creating the impression that the
                      storage devices cannot be trusted but my experience is otherwise. I see
                      no reason to put RAID into the firmware and if you are that concerned
                      about your data, perhaps the slug is a poor choice. There are backup
                      solutions that are a better choice IMO. Since almost all slug hardware
                      problems are due to power issues, I think any concern should start there.

                      Steve




                      On 11-01-06 8:22 AM, Mike Westerhof wrote:
                      > M.J. Johnson wrote:
                      >> The amount of discussion this topic has generated is astounding.
                      >> Many of the messages have debated the merits and shortcomings of solid
                      >> state vs. microdrives. Bottom line: all drives fail. ALL. ("On a
                      >> long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.")
                      >> Which leaves you with a mitigation strategy (RAID or some kind of
                      >> failover) or a backup strategy.
                      > Exactly right!
                      >
                      > But not a single comment on the solution that allows one to use RAID for
                      > the rootfs.
                      >
                      > So, is it worth continuing to support RAID in SlugOS? I ask because I'm
                      > currently struggling to fit stuff into the next SlugOS release, and
                      > something needs to be tossed...
                      >
                      > -Mike (mwester)
                      >
                      >
                      > ------------------------------------
                      >
                      > Yahoo! Groups Links
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                    • dystopianrebel
                      ... Terribly sorry, I thought this was a discussion group. I ll amend my behaviour... after the next two lines. (o: It is possible to find Hitachi microdrives
                      Message 10 of 25 , Dec 6, 1936
                        --- In nslu2-linux@yahoogroups.com, "M.J. Johnson" <threeeyedtoad@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > The amount of discussion this topic has generated is astounding.

                        Terribly sorry, I thought this was a discussion group. I'll amend my behaviour... after the next two lines. (o:

                        It is possible to find Hitachi microdrives for a fraction of the cost that you cite.

                        In the end, the cheapness of Flash memory is both its advantage and its disadvantage.
                      • Robert Vassar
                        FWIW - I have been running a NSLU2 on flash thumb drives for years. I use mine as a a kind of network watchdog & utility server. It lives in a neglected
                        Message 11 of 25 , Dec 7, 1936


                          FWIW - I have been running a NSLU2 on flash thumb drives for years.  I use mine as a a kind of network watchdog & utility server.  It lives in a neglected corner running simple scripts and cron jobs, BIND (I have a split-horizon zone), etc... The first drive, a brand name 1Gb stick, lasted ~1 year and then failed very suddenly.  It gave no warning at all, and just suddenly stopped working.   If any errors were logged they were lost, as the device became completely unreadable.  I've been running on a cheap no name 512mb stick that I found too small for desktop use for more than 2 years now.  I do use the "noatime" mount option and run without swap.  


                          My guess is a new / modern 4 - 32Gb will likely outlast any remaining usefulness in the NSLU2.  


                          Rob


                          On Jan 1, 2011, at 7:59 PM, Doug wrote:

                           

                          I wonder what the groups experience has been with low power drives under Linux
                          on the nslu2? I see there are a lot of complaints about the WD Cavier Green
                          drives but others seem to have no problems. I want a drive that runs cool, draws
                          less power, and does not require a cooling fan. 64G would be fine but I know
                          that 500G is probably a minimum now days.

                          I am also interested in experiences with flash drives. I would go that route but
                          the uncertainty of write cycle life leaves me a little concerned. I can remember
                          way back when 10K writes was the norm life, then 100K, 1M, 10M but just what
                          is the write life of these 8-64G USB sticks now and are some better than
                          others? I know you can do things to extend the life but what have real
                          experiences been? Has anyone "burned" one of these useless on an nslu2?

                          Doug Crompton
                          WA3DSP
                          www.crompton.com


                        • d0nv
                          FYI as a data point, mine is still running on the original 512MB PNY Attache drive installed in November 2006. It served as my sole CUPS print server up until
                          Message 12 of 25 , Dec 8, 1936
                            FYI as a data point, mine is still running on the original 512MB PNY Attache drive installed in November 2006. It served as my sole CUPS print server up until last year, then primarily small scale NAS duty only until the recent conversion to a dedicated 1-wire network controller.

                            I did the .ext3flash approach to minimize wear from day 1.

                            --- In nslu2-linux@yahoogroups.com, Robert Vassar <rvassar@...> wrote:
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > FWIW - I have been running a NSLU2 on flash thumb drives for years.
                            > I use mine as a a kind of network watchdog & utility server. It
                            > lives in a neglected corner running simple scripts and cron jobs,
                            > BIND (I have a split-horizon zone), etc... The first drive, a brand
                            > name 1Gb stick, lasted ~1 year and then failed very suddenly. It
                            > gave no warning at all, and just suddenly stopped working. If any
                            > errors were logged they were lost, as the device became completely
                            > unreadable. I've been running on a cheap no name 512mb stick that I
                            > found too small for desktop use for more than 2 years now. I do use
                            > the "noatime" mount option and run without swap.
                            >
                            >
                            > My guess is a new / modern 4 - 32Gb will likely outlast any remaining
                            > usefulness in the NSLU2.
                            >
                            >
                            > Rob
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