2010 Jun 11 aya

Guy Blade Guy Blade---21:49:00

Some time ago, I decided to replace the machine that I used as my webserver. I purchased new components and assembled them. I'm still using my rackmount case, but since I can afford to spend more on my hardware these days, I built the replacement machine around a 1U barebones server. Unfortunately, I ran into some problems with trying to set up NetBSD on it. The main issue wasn't getting NetBSD install (netbsd runs on everything after all), but it was instead setting up the machine to boot off of a software RAID-1 array. NetBSD has some explicit instructions for doing this on their website, but I just couldn't get them to work when I first got the machine about a month ago. Eventually, I got frustrated with it and distracted by other things and the machine sat around on the floor in my apartment until two days ago.

The reason for my desire to replace the old NetBSD machine was twofold. Firstly, the hardware itself was getting rather old: the CPU was bought my freshman year of college and was a handmedown from my gaming rig at the time; the other components were bought inbetween my freshman and sophomore year and were the cheapest available on NewEgg at the time, etc. Secondly, I hadn't upgraded the core NetBSD software since I replaced the hard drives in the machine my junior year or so. This meant that the machine was running NetBSD 2.0.2 in a world where the current version was 5.0.2 and no packages were being maintained for systems older than 4.0. To make matters worse, my attempts to keep the machine in working order had eventually left me without a working C compiler after the last failed upgrade attempt. Nevertheless, the machine, being NetBSD, had soldiered on valiantly by running the software that was already in memory even as the underlying object code had gone missing due to my botched maintenance.

Two days ago, however, something finally caused the Apache server to finally attempt to recycle (my guess is one of the keep-alive scripts triggered an automatic restart of the Apache server) and brought the system to its knees. Although it would still boot (and in fact hadn't even reset or failed in any externally noticable way aside from the webserver), it was unable to start the web server successfully. Imani brought the situation to my attention by asking if the link was down.

This time around I was eventually able to get the root raid-1 to work on the new hardware. I initially thought the problem was that I was trying to use the AMD64 install set (and they weren't explicitly listed as supported for raid-1), but it may have actually been due to an error in my disklabel configuration. I then began the difficult task of migrating data from the old machine to the new one. I started with the MySQL data since it is arguably the most important, and I only had a vague idea of how to actually copy it over. Apparently, using mysqldump requires the -x (lock all tables) flag to work properly even if nothing is accessing the data, but I did manage to get a usable dump file and copy it over to the new machine without too much trouble.

Next I began to try to migrate the normal file data and ran into a problem. I had expected to just be able to rysnc everything over without any issue, but the old machine was so decayed that attempting to run rsync resulted in the program crashing with an "Unable to find PLT symbol __stat30" error. I eventually solved this by finding a NetBSD livecd and booting off of it. Of course, the livecd's version of rsync was also borked (for reasons unknown), so I had to copy the new machine's binary to the old machine, running off the live cd, and use it. At that point, I was able to get everything that I could think of off the old machine. There may still be more, so I'm going to keep the old machine around for a while (though probably powered off).

If you previously had an account on freasha, you probably don't anymore. I should still have any data from there, so let me know if you need access again. If you were using any of the web services (like the link), the service should be working properly again. Since I just moved the databases over without changing them at all, passwords, usernames, preferences and the like are unchanged. This also affected by DNS hosting, so dynamic DNS may or may not be working again yet. I haven't followed through to verify one way or the other. Incidentally, freasha hosts webservers for,,,, and along with any associated .net or .org versions thereof as well as primary DNS for in case you were wondering about effected services.

I also took this opportunity to finally move the mail service over to Google Apps. I hadn't been attempting to maintain the mail server for some time, so it was basically just full of junk mail. Moving to google relieves me of having to deal with any of the spam filtering headaches and I can just have the mail forwarded to my primary address.

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