uTorrent Clients

uTorrent

Looking at different uTorrent Applications I have switched to Rutorrent & Deluge for the server I’m running my torrents from. Running a Seedbox is simple and fast without putting any effort on your home connection. You just push it to the Seedbox then download it from your ftp connection to your Seedbox. So I need a more stable software that can handle 10 to 200 GB files for all the different torrent files I download and at this point these two seem to be pretty good.

  • Deluge – Simple and solid, very stable, but missing a few
  • Transmission – Didn’t try it yet
  • Rutorrent – Like it very much and very flexible and stable

Applecentric

ApplePC1_SN

This post has been a long time coming, and at this point I think it is somewhat appropriate. I have been a Windows user for a very long time, some Linux and Solaris thrown into the mix for a little while but never really Apple. So over the past few years I got introduced to Apple, the first one being the Mac Mini from last year which was an impressive little guy. If you asked me back in 2006 if I would be using a Mac I would say that is blasphemy but now I will happily admit it. Over the years I think that Apple’s hardware has improved drastically and you get the better hardware for a better price unlike before, and OS X and higher is much better then its previous versions with better compatibility. Still I’m really annoyed that they don’t have NTFS built into OS X but I think its just Apple being their usual stubborn self so people can’t use the same external USB/Hard Drive between Apple & Windows Machines. I have been using my iPod for a while now, pretty much since the iPod Touch came out and the useful applications and games. So a few years later I got into my first apple, and it was as if I was walking into an unknown zone. Overall I think Apple does have a winning product but you can’t knock Windows just yet, it does have its good uses and I know you Apple fans do get crazy but it wouldn’t be dominating in the market if it didn’t do something right. A lot of you know how much I love Android products but I do love my iPad, I will admit which platform is better for which application, and Apple knows how to integrate all their products but its annoying how much they lock out other companies from innovating on their platforms. I prefer my Android over iOS by far but I wouldn’t mind it syncing with iTunes so I can get my music, of course there are ways to get around it but I’m too lazy to go through the hassle. Luckily for me I started using Spotify to a large extent and so I depended less on iTunes but still on an Apple device iTunes is worlds better then on Windows, for one thing it works.

ApplePC2_SN

What I really think which is better in which:

Mac:

  • Graphical Items
  • Doesn’t Crash As Much, And Yes It Does Crash Under My Abuse
  • Very Smooth Interface, Very Nice Design Of Their Machines

Windows:

  • Network Management
  • Larger Software Compatibility
  • More Games, Alot More Games
  • Larger Variety of Manufacturers to Choose From

I haven’t really jumped into any video editing yet so I can’t compare between the machines, but most probably I will be trying it out on the Mac for sure. If you ask me which do I use more I would say its 70% Windows 30% Apple, and for work I can only use Windows. Apple can be used in Advertising or Media companies but everything else its Windows, too many work applications just aren’t compatible with Macs.

Windows Home Server! Different Versions

WHSsm

I have been talking about Windows Home Server for some time since I have been using it since the original version. At first it seemed like a pet project from Microsoft thats on the side and has a cult following, seeing that a lot of people really do love it they have developed it forward and its only getting better. You can use it in different forms, in simple hardware setups to complex 20+ TB Storage as I have. Some people use it to control other machines throughout the house, to control the lighting system throughout the house, streaming movies and music to every location.

Now this is the best comparison I have seen yet of all the possible versions, for a prosumer WHS Vail is your best bet which is coming out in the next few months, I’m hoping at the end of the year at the latest. The Original WHS was based on Windows Server 2003 and has its limitations, and now with WHS Vail those limitations have been passed since its based on Windows Server 2008. Aurora is the more business oriented version with features that Admin want but its not Windows Server 2008, not that much. I can’t wait for Vail, I’m honestly waiting for it since I’m facing a few hiccups with my current setup since I have advanced it so much, as soon as its officially out I’m installing it and moving the data all around.

Link: HomeServerLand

WHS @ 30+ Terabytes

This is one of the most complex Windows Home Server systems that we have built yet, and it drove us nuts. We started this project out in June of 2009 and didn’t finish it until March of 2010. We have reinstalled this system probably 4 times to have a clean install, its sensitive to install any Windows Home Server Ad-Ins once its working. We wanted the ultimate WHS Storage with the large capacity all in one unit, it would take a certain hardware setup to achieve this and thats what we aimed for. We suffered set backs, my system at one point just had a black screen, we switched out the motherboard, and nothing, we switched graphics cards, still nothing, changed the ram, and at the end it turned out to be a faulty power supply. Luckily my friend and myself were building the same system together so we just kept on testing as we went along, we got busy towards the end of 2009 but this was one difficult machine to get fully stable. I slowly kept gathering more and more 2 TB Hard Drives, we started off with 10 x 2 TB Drives and I just kept ordering a few when I saw a deal for them. Now that the system is operational it fantastic, we are doing some stress testing, its looking good with transfer speeds of 78 to 90 MB/s over the network which is the fast I have seen.

HW Configuration:

  • Norco 4220 Case
  • ASUS P3S WS
  • Intel Quad Core Q8200 2.33 Ghz
  • OCZ Vertex 120 GB SSD (Main HD)
  • G Skill 4 GB
  • 2 x Sata SAS Controllers (To Control 20 HDs)
  • ATI Radeon 7500

With the Sata SAS controllers we could use the extremely effecient and powerful SF8087 connectors to connect to each one of those back planes. Each back plane held 5 drives with 4 back planes for a total of 20 drives. Overall I installed 17 out of the 20 drives with e Western Digital 2 TB Drives to get it up to 30 + TB, and I have a little bit more room to go, I think I can get it to 36 TB with the last few drives. Going overboard with the storage is understatement in my case, but it has been a long and arduous trip with this machine but with a clean install and the right setup its very solid.

Now with Windows Home Server running on Windows Server 2003 it has taken a lot of steps forward Power Pack 3 and all the patches. Now I have two WHS servers running, one is extremely solid and this new one, planning on running one as back up to the other so I have two complete back solutions for the other. Now I’m just waiting for Windows to release Vail which Windows Home Server built on Windows Server 2008 which is a huge step forward. When that is out I’m going to just format and reinstall one of the systems and test it out.


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349 GB and Counting


I have been away for a couple of weeks so the download list has been piling up, and that pile up amounted to 349 GB worth of movies. The TV shows I have managed to keep up with, but the anime is a whole other story. So downloading all these movies was going to take some time, so I had to sort through all the movies that I have missed since the beginning of September until the end of it, so that added up to 349 GB worth of movies, and those are the ones I chose, I skipped a few that I’m not really into and the ones I already have. What I downloaded was a combination of animnated movies, action, comedy, horror, martial arts, and a few old school movies.

  • Bionicle The Legend Reborn 2009 720p
  • Deep Impact 1998 720p
  • Drag Me To Hell 2009 720p
  • Easy Rider 1969 720p
  • Escape from L.A.1996 720p
  • Friday 1995 720p
  • Grace 2009 720p
  • Ice Age Dawn Of The Dinosaurs 720p
  • Iron Monkey 1993 Unmask The Legend 720p
  • Kung Fu Dunk 2008 1080p
  • Management 720p
  • Monsters Vs Aliens 2009 720p
  • Night At The Museum Battle Of The Smithsonian 720p
  • Observe And Report 720p
  • Once Upon a Time in China 1991 720p
  • Role Models 2008 1080p
  • Shaolin Soccer 2001 720p
  • Superman Batman Public Enemies 2009 720p
  • Terra 2007 720p
  • The Legend Of Drunken Master 1994 1080p
  • The Proposal 720p
  • Transformers Revenge of the Fallen 720p
  • Year One 720p

Server Build – HAZRACK

I have had this server case sitting on my floor for months on end now and not really getting around to it except a couple of days ago. 4U Rackmount case, the plan was to install two drives, and have a simple setup to use it as a fileserver for all the downloads, sort of a distribution center and on top of that I didn’t mind putting the machine together.

I took the graphics card, one Seagate 750GB HD, one Seagate 1TB HD, a CD-Rom Drive, and two 2GB DDR2 sticks from my old Bunker Server. There are only two new items which I had to purchase:

  • Intel Core 2 Quad Q9450 Quad-Core Processor, 2.66 GHz, 12M L2 Cache
  • ASUS P5Q WS (Same Motherboard as my main WHS Server, HAZMAT)
  • Windows Vista Ultimate 64-Bit

Putting it together didn’t take too long, but I just found out that my rack is a little smaller then expected. I knew it was network rack because I managed to get a cheap one but instead of being 800mm deep it turned out to be 600mm, that was my mistake but the server is still rack mountable since its really short but the rack kit for it won’t really fit so its just going to sit on of the rack mounted UPS.

We put it together and installed the OS, didn’t take too long but the configuration was going to take some time since I had to download all the different software and make sure it all works together. Then I faced a problem of the machine not starting up, I tried everything but it would only power on and not show anything on the screen, I check the error code on the board which said FF and that means the motherboard is fried. I was stumped, I couldn’t figure out what happened, next day K took a look and saw a loose screw which was touching the board and the PSU so it was shorting it out and when that was removed it booted normally which was fantastic. So its now mounted to the rack, ready to go for all my needs, nothing better then building a new machine.

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One Thing

It just takes one thing for a domino effect to take place when it comes to hardware, I had a failure with one of the tower raids so only half of it was working. So four drives were missing from the WHS and it was issuing warnings left right and center to my computers. I wasn’t sure what was going on but luckily I was able to isolate the location of the drives because that’s another issue and I transferred them to the new TowerRaid, but only three out of the four available were working so one drive was still out. Luckily I had duplication running and everything was safe and dandy in the WHS, at least I didn’t lose any data with a port multiplier failure resulting in four hard drives going missing. That took a little time but I managed to unravel the issue but coming to a full solution is a little bit a head when I butcher the Bunker Server, and that deadline is coming closer and closer.

NetworkCables

After that I went ahead and trying to configure my APC 5000 XLI UPS with a network address but turns out it was having issues. But luckily at the end I managed to configure it correctly and access the wed control panel to see what makes it tick, and it has so many features to mess around with but I will make full use of that when I install the servers over the next two weeks.

Some Technical Tasks

  • Mounting, wiring, and configuring 5KVa APC UPS
  • Cleaning out the rack and rearranging the hardware and wiring
  • Preparing for server install

That simply put doesn’t really cover all that we did, that UPS weighed over 60 KGs which is a hell of a lot when your trying to mount it inside a rack so we took out the batteries first and proceeded to install the mounting kit. After cleaning out the last 8 months of dust inside that cabinet we proceeded to rewire the network cables and power cables to be a little bit more organized. This major UPS will be supporting three to four servers easily with a few other items, it has a nice feature being manageable through the network and doesn’t have to be connected to a specific machine. The next step over this coming week will be to install and configure the first rack server which will be a testing bed and ftp control server, meaning I will dump all my downloads into that for organization purposes. Then the WHS server will be coming along the week after that, and that will be a hell of an install with so many things at stake with this crazy install. The best part is when you complete an install, and everything goes smoothly which is very rare, now just a few more steps to complete the setup.

On another note Seagate just released their new 2TB drive which seems to be faster then WD, but I think I will stick with WD for now.

Hazmat – WHS – Expansion to 22.06 TB

Due to the urgency of my hardware capacity expansion I needed increase the amount of space available on my WHS Server. The steps were simple, I ordered the Sans Digital 8 Disk TowerRaid for the fast expansion and I already had a eSata controller in my Hazmat server which had two spare ports, so that worked out perfectly. It just took 10 days to get all the hardware I needed, at first I only ordered two 2TB drives, but then I ordered two more and the replacement to the damage one came as well.

I took some snaps of the Sans Digital TowerRaid which looks great and ready to go, I plugged it in without any hard drives and started it up. No problems with the hardware, everything was working as it should. I tend to be a bit paranoid when it comes to installs such as these, I take things step by step and install one item at a time and I perform a restart every time to make sure nothing goes wrong and if it does I know where the problem originated from, finding the problem is half the issue.

I installed the first 2 TB, and added it to the WHS server storage pool which bumped it another 2 TB, then I added another one. Later on in the evening I got a message saying that the Hazmat server is suffering from a Hard Drive failure and that led me to order a replacement hard drive from Amazon. I took it out, and since I got three more hard drives, one of which was the warrantied drive, which I added to the pool it was working perfectly and I went through the same process of adding one by one. This time I waited about three hours before moving any files and this time it seems to have stabilized.

Continue reading…

WHS @ 98.9% Capacity

I have been on a downloading rampage and the results are aparent, I pretty much forgot about Hazmat Windows Home Server since upgrading it to 14 TB in May. It didn’t take long to fill it to capacity and with only 70% duplication for a few folders. Its really not recommend to reach that high a capacity with all the hard drives, they balance each other and right now very little data can flow between the hard drives to spread the data. So now I’m running on suicide watch, keeping an eye on the server to see if anything goes wrong right now, one of the hard drivers required to be repaired because the data was slighlty inconsistent. I stuck with my other WHS since I think the Motherboard died and I knew it was on the verge of giving up but I have been too damn lazy to perform the transplant. So I have jumped the gun for a quick solution, I ordered a Sans Digital Sata 8 TowerRaid which will connect to the other two eSata connections on the PCI-X card in Hazmat Server. I’m crossing my fingers that the Tower Raid gets here quickly.