Another damn failure on my colo box

Yesterday I had a panic attack – suddenly a certain repository of binary files was empty where it had been nearly 300Gb a few hours previously. I knew that Vicki was uploading some stuff to it today using an “ncftpput” command that I’d shown her but which I knew she didn’t understand what each command line argument meant. So I’m sorry to say my first reaction was “I bet she somehow wiped it”. But I looked in her ~/.ncftp/spool/log file and couldn’t see anything unusual. I guess I owe her an apology for that thought.

I looked on the domU, and “df” showed the partition still mounted, and still 91% full. But nothing showed up to “ls”. I unmounted it and shut off the nightly backups so that it doesn’t delete the backup. “fsck.ext3 /dev/hdb” gave an error about a zero length partition. Then I thought I should probably be doing this on the dom0, and so I logged into it and had the same error with “fsck.ext3 /dev/hdb1”. “fsck -l /dev/hdb” on that entire drive showed that it didn’t think the drive was there at all. Oh oh. Moment of panic time – one of the other domUs has some of its disk space on that drive as well, thanks to LVM. I wonder what’s screwing up on his domU if it can’t get to some of its disk space. Time to shut them all down and reboot.

I did an “xm console xen1” to connect to my domU and that’s where I saw the oh-so-familiar ext3 errors. But everything shut down relatively cleanly and rebooted. I saw one message in the log files about resetting the ide0 controller, which I’m not sure was caused by or the cause of the problem. And after the reboot, all 300Gb of files were back. Thank goodness, because the upload bandwidth I’ve got at home these days means it would have taken months to get that partition restored from my backup.

This partition that screwed up this time is a normal primary disk partition, not an LVM logical volume, and on a different physical drive than the other failures, so at least I’ve eliminated LVM and the disk hardware as a cause. But that leaves the IDE controller and Xen.

I can’t wait for my new 1U server to come. Still not sure whether I should try Xen again or VMWare. VMWare probably isn’t as fast and it’s a lot more difficult to manage without getting the for-pay version, but at least it’s “ready for prime time”.

Are you a pilot who blogs, or a blogger who flies?

I got an email today from “IFR Pilot” (who also signs off as Darrell) cc’ed to a bunch of other pilot-bloggers proposing that we all have a fly-in and get to know each other. After a few massively cc’ed exchanges where people seemed enthusiastic about the idea, I set up a mailing list so that other pilot-bloggers could find this list and sign up. If you are in that category, you can sign up at this link.

A lot of the people on “IFR Pilot”‘s list were people I’d never heard of, so I can see I’m going to be adding a whole bunch of new blogs to my RSS reader.