Results 1 to 14 of 14
  1. #1

    first time with host

    Hello,

    I have been working as an admin a little over a year. After this year is over I'm going to be traveling out of the country; for this reason I'm looking to rent a dedicated server.

    I'm considering getting a server from servermatrix, mostly because after about an hour of searching the forums they seem to be well regarded.

    Anyway, I want to ask what a cpanel is, and why would I need it?

    My other questions are of backup. All the companies seem to charge a fair amount for backup, because of this (and my small budget) I'm considering getting a second hard drive and rsync'ing them nightly.

    How do you all deal with a backup strategy?

    Last question is that also when searching I found that BVS gave the best prices for servermatrix, but his account has been suspended; is this something I should stay away from? any other reseller you'd recommend?


    thanks

  2. #2
    Edit: After reading through the freebsd handbook I figured I could use vinum. Anyone have any experience? If a disk went down, what would be the mechanics of getting it to boot off the second disk (I'm assuming I can't do it remotely and would rely on the company).

    Any other thoughts on backup are appreciated.

    Thanks,
    xvex

    P.S: was trying to edit, but 15 minutes passed, sorry for the bump.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    785
    Yes stay away from Vinum if you want a system that can boot from the RAID1 array when the mirror is broken. I spent 2 days fighting with Vinum to have it actually boot from the vinum array and everything I did according to the handbook and other instructions I could not get it to work.

    Also to even get the true RAID1 mirror working you have to do a basic install on a very small slice ( ussually a large 512mb root slice ) and then build the vinum array and then copy the contents of the install root slice and move them to the vinum array. You then have to manually edit your disklables and adjust a bunch of settings to make it boot from the vinum array. After I went through all that trouble and it still didnt work as I expected it to I went to Fry's and spent 79$ on an Adaptech 1200S ATA100 RAID0/1 card and installed it and it works 100% as it should. I built the RAID1 in the BIOS and then installed the OS on the 'ar0' device. After the install was done I shutdown the server and removed the power cable from one drive and booted up to FreeBSD and everything worked as it should. I then shutdown again and repeated the process with the other drive and got the exact same result.

    You will have a very hard time getting vinum to do the same thing. If you do PLEASE let me know what you did as I could get it to mount root from the array and boot from that array but it would not reconize the boot sector in the vinum array no matter what I did. I just dont trust anything that I have to jump through 100 Hoops just to get it up and running and then spend the rest of the time worrying if I will be able to get the data back if the disk dies and the mirror breaks.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    785
    Another thing about SM / TP and FreeBSD+CPanel. I would make sure they if you choose to go with them that they install FreeBSD as it should be either with the default disk layout or one very similar to it.

    I have had to help many TP/SM clients out with their servers because they will install FreeBSD on a single large / slice and then dump Cpanel on it and hand it off to the clients. This is not a good mix since FreeBSD is not built to run off a single slice like Redhat or other Linux kernel based OS's.

    Also if your a FreeBSD admin and do most of your work via SSH & CLI you will HATE the way Cpanel trashes your system by installing everything in non-standard locations and replacing perfectly good BSD Licensed base applications and services with either GNU replacements or commerical replacements (ncftpd for example). Cpanel will also download and install packages from remote locations and not take advantage of the ports tree which is built into FreeBSD and makes upgrading / installing ports a very simple task.

    Another thing to watch out for with SM/TP and FreeBSD is to make sure they do NOT install FreeBSD 5.1 or FreeBSD 4.8. Make sure they install either FreeBSD 4.9 or FreeBSD 5.2.1. 5.1 has horrid bugs and is very unstable and 4.8 is just old and has a few "SA"'s out for it.

  5. #5
    Thank you delo for your replies.

    I don't have the option of getting a RAID card if I go with SM. Since vinodes seems to be a hassle, I guess a dd and hourly rsync could work. I'll have to do some more research.

    On the disk layout, I'd be very upset if they made it just one big partition. However, I think I see your problem, on the ordering page of SM it says "custom partitioning information", I guess some of your clients didn't fill that out (and sm isn't smart enough to make it the default layout).

    I think I will not install the cpanel, I'm used to doing things through ssh and I think cpanel would do more harm than good.

    On the version of FreeBSD, does it really matter what version they install? I thought I could just update to the latest (soon to be stable) release using cvsup or something like it. Please let me know if this isn't so.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    785
    Yes ofcourse you can upgrade from any version of FreeBSD to the latest but with 5.1 > 5.2.1 its a little more tricky then a standard buildworld. You have to do a couple extra steps to allow for the new kernel scheduler upgrades to take affect. Just be sure to read /usr/src/UPDATING. If you can get them to install 5.2.1 which is the latest -RELEASE of FreeBSD you will be all good and not have to do any sort of upgrades.

  7. #7

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Brit in Calgary, Canada
    Posts
    71
    Bear in mind that all 5.x versions are currently new technology releases - if you want true stability, you are better off staying with the STABLE branch (currently at 4.9). 5.3-RELEASE (due end March) will hopefully become the new stable release.

    I've been running a couple of single CPU 5.1 boxes for development work since it was released, and I've not seen anything too out of the ordinary (couple of trivial things, but thats all). Same with 5.2 and 5.2.1, a few bugs, but overall they are very stable and robust. Just make sure you follow the freebsd mailing lists and all should be okay.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    785
    Originally posted by simonhouse
    Bear in mind that all 5.x versions are currently new technology releases - if you want true stability, you are better off staying with the STABLE branch (currently at 4.9). 5.3-RELEASE (due end March) will hopefully become the new stable release.

    I've been running a couple of single CPU 5.1 boxes for development work since it was released, and I've not seen anything too out of the ordinary (couple of trivial things, but thats all). Same with 5.2 and 5.2.1, a few bugs, but overall they are very stable and robust. Just make sure you follow the freebsd mailing lists and all should be okay.

    Yes simonhouse is 100% correct. If you are a first time FreeBSD user you are much better off using the 4.9-stable branch since there is MUCH more support and applications available for it and there is probally 10X as many how to's and other docs availble for it.

  10. #10
    I still have some time so I think I'm going to wait for the release. From what I've read seems the 5 releases have been pretty stable and it's not too far from moving from Current to Release.

    I'd like to work out the issue of backup though. My initial thought is to have the drive set up how I like it, then DD it to the second drive (of equal size).

    After that set in the cron some sort of rsync so that nightly the users portion gets backed up. I could back up the system by hand before doing an upgrade, so in case things get hosed I can pull it from the backup.

    However, would this work on FreeBSD? If you DD a drive, is the second drive bootable? or do you have to actually install onto the second drive it's own OS?

    Same with rsync (or if you know of a better tool to only copy changes). If I do an upgrade, fail at something, and rsync from the backup over to my main, would it work?

    Last, how easy is it to chose what partition to boot up from, can you do it remotely?

    I am probably going to get a box to play with as soon as I have some time, but I'd like to get as much info as I can.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    785
    http://www.bsdnews.org/01/rsync_backups.php

    Note the author

    And to be 100% honest if you want a good easy to use RAID1 (mirror) solution get an Adaptec 1200A or other RAID card and two disks. This will allow for one of the 2 disks to die completely and you can still be up and running with NO work on your end and you can even reboot without issues. All other software solutions will require work on your end to make sure it reboots or a tech may have to hook up a crash cart and run some commands for you. Also I know SM does offer some hardware RAID1 solutions using a 3ware card and SATA drives which should work great under FreeBSD 4.x / 5.x.
    Last edited by Cirrostratus; 03-03-2004 at 09:53 PM.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Sofia
    Posts
    1,349
    CPanel offers also a remote backup, which is the almost free alternative, especially when one uses one's own (home) machine for backup of small resources. The compression is, I believe, 20:1, so the bandwidth is not very serious concern.

    But you guys are evidently talking about large resources and automatic restore/reboot.
    :: :: :: :: :: ::
    :: VDSP.Net :: Directory of virtual and dedi serv providers by location and price

  13. #13
    Delo, They do offer a package for about $180 with a level 1 RAID. I didn't know raid was that painless that if i drive died, you could reboot and still work normally. I guess sm would be responsable for bringing the machine down and replacing the drive.

    However, how does one know a drive died then?

    I'll do some exploring with rsync, etc. It's goign to come down to how much I can afford if I go with the raid or not. Thanks for all your help so far.

    Imago, thanks for your reply, but I've decided not to use cpanel, mostly because I don't mind getting down and dirty with ssh and I don't want to have to fight with things in strange locations. Plus if you're using freebsd, ports is very nice, no point in not using them.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    785
    You will see a nice warning message in either the "BIOS" during boot up about the failed RAID member or it will also appear in the '/var/log/messages' and 'dmesg' warning you about the failure. I also believe there is a Adaptec application in the ports tree you can use to access the drive information from the command line.

    Also there is 'other' companies in the same datacenter as SM / TP that offer FreeBSD based servers with RAID1 ATA100 arrays for less. You just need to find them.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •