simple data security: RAID1 or rsync?

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simple data security: RAID1 or rsync?

phanisvara das
after seeing a few threads re. RAID arrays, problems booting off them, and  
extra strain the surviving member of an array is put under when it has to  
sync a new HDD after it's (only) brother's failure, i doubt the wisdom of  
my original idea to set up two identical 2TB drives as RAID1 array.

wouldn't it be safer (not to mention simpler) to just rsync the simple  
directory tree i'm concerned about to the other HDD every 15 min or so? if  
either of the two HDDs fails, the other one still has the important data.

it's not my desktop, but a file server i'm putting together for my  
employer. the only thing he cares about is preserving the data in  
question. if or when one of the HDDs fails, there's no need to preserve  
the operating system or anything else.

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Re: simple data security: RAID1 or rsync?

Duaine Hechler
On 05/06/2012 03:15 AM, phanisvara das wrote:

> after seeing a few threads re. RAID arrays, problems booting off them, and extra strain the surviving member of an
> array is put under when it has to sync a new HDD after it's (only) brother's failure, i doubt the wisdom of my
> original idea to set up two identical 2TB drives as RAID1 array.
>
> wouldn't it be safer (not to mention simpler) to just rsync the simple directory tree i'm concerned about to the other
> HDD every 15 min or so? if either of the two HDDs fails, the other one still has the important data.
>
> it's not my desktop, but a file server i'm putting together for my employer. the only thing he cares about is
> preserving the data in question. if or when one of the HDDs fails, there's no need to preserve the operating system or
> anything else.
>
Hi, I'm just a desktop "business" user - accounting, business files, etc. and have two identical 500GB drives.

I started with RAID and came to the same conclusion with the hassles, then I switched to rsync.

However, I just do rsync about two or three times a week.

With your setup, it will probably be a wash - meaning, every time you run rsync, it has to check the whole tree EVERY
TIME to see what has been updated, deleted, added, etc. which takes time for the primary drive (at least from my
understanding of what is going on behind the scenes). So to run rsync every 15 minutes or so, is going to bog down the
primary drive. Also, with rsync (at least with my limited knowledge of the options), if you rename a file - it deleted
the old one and copies the new one - instead of remembering you only did a rename.

At least from my humble opinion, you should stick with RAID.

Duaine - Hechler Piano & Organ Services

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Re: simple data security: RAID1 or rsync?

phanisvara das
On Sun, 06 May 2012 14:13:59 +0530, Duaine Hechler <[hidden email]>  
wrote:

> I started with RAID and came to the same conclusion with the hassles,  
> then I switched to rsync.
>However, I just do rsync about two or three times a week.
> With your setup, it will probably be a wash - meaning, every time you  
> run rsync, it has to check the whole tree EVERY TIME to see what has  
> been updated, deleted, added, etc. which takes time for the primary  
> drive (at least from my understanding of what is going on behind the  
> scenes). So to run rsync every 15 minutes or so, is going to bog down  
> the primary drive. Also, with rsync (at least with my limited knowledge  
> of the options), if you rename a file - it deleted the old one and  
> copies the new one - instead of remembering you only did a rename.
>At least from my humble opinion, you should stick with RAID.
>

thank you for your toughts.

i think you're right that the cost of unconditionally rsync-ing the whole  
drive every 15 min would be too high. but thinking through the setup i'm  
planning, that wouldn't be necessary.

it's (almost) computer illiterate library staff who are scanning &  
photographing old books and manuscripts, saving the resulting image files.

i won't let them put things into the final archives, but they'll save  
everything into their HOMEs, from where i'll pick up the images remotely,  
rename them according to some standard still to be made up (date, time,  
location in the filename), and move them into the actual archive.

means i'd have to rsync the HOMEs frequently during work hours, with not  
too many changes, and once the archive when i'm done renaming & moving  
everything at night.

to me this doesn't sound like too much strain from rsync, but i'll have to  
get deeper into rsync and it's various options.

i'm afraid i'm overlooking something obvious, that's why i'm asking here,  
where many have much more experience with this type of thing.

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Re: simple data security: RAID1 or rsync?

Per Jessen
In reply to this post by phanisvara das
phanisvara das wrote:

> after seeing a few threads re. RAID arrays, problems booting off them,
> and extra strain the surviving member of an array is put under when it
> has to sync a new HDD after it's (only) brother's failure, i doubt the
> wisdom of my original idea to set up two identical 2TB drives as RAID1
> array.
>
> wouldn't it be safer (not to mention simpler) to just rsync the simple
> directory tree i'm concerned about to the other HDD every 15 min or
> so? if either of the two HDDs fails, the other one still has the
> important data.

I do both - my workstation is RAID1, and I run a daily rsync backup of
essential config and data.  My plain back office deskyop systems are
not RAID, but /home is kept on a fileserver, so a failing desktop is
easily replaced.

RAID is not about backup, but about availability.

> it's not my desktop, but a file server i'm putting together for my
> employer.

A file server that doesn't use RAID??



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Re: simple data security: RAID1 or rsync?

Per Jessen
In reply to this post by phanisvara das
phanisvara das wrote:

> i think you're right that the cost of unconditionally rsync-ing the
> whole drive every 15 min would be too high. but thinking through the
> setup i'm planning, that wouldn't be necessary.
[snip]
> i'm afraid i'm overlooking something obvious, that's why i'm asking
> here, where many have much more experience with this type of thing.

RAID1 would be a lot easier and lot less effort (than re-inventing the
wheel).


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Re: simple data security: RAID1 or rsync?

Anton Aylward-2
In reply to this post by phanisvara das
phanisvara das said the following on 05/06/2012 05:25 AM:

> i'm afraid i'm overlooking something obvious, that's why i'm asking here,  
> where many have much more experience with this type of thing.

I suspect we all overlook things - its the old "Where you stand depends
on where you sit"//"Context is everything".

But Per has a few pertinent observations.

1. RAID is about availability, not backup.

2. Keeping the librarian's /home on the file server using NFS, a very
   well established technique that dates back to SUN and the 1980s,
   does address part of your problem.

3. We've discussed using LVM instead of RAID in the past.  Its easier
   to set up LVM mirroring of partitions *AND* you can use LVM to do
   disk-to-disk backup.

4. Ultimately backup means transferring to another media; tape,
   removable disk, or something, and archiving it securely.  This
   has nothing to do with RAID or RSYNC.


I know, first hand, that

a) NFS mount of users home directory works well.
b) LVM is easy to set up if you start the disk with it, but pernickity
   if you try to 'convert' and existing disk, partition  or drive.  You
   need to have experience (i.e. have got it wrong catastrophically in
   the past and figured out why).  So start with a new set of drives.
   If you do that its easy.
c) LVM snapshot is in real-time until you tell it to stop.
d) You can backup snapshots onto DVD.  I have a policy of using 4G
   partitions to facilitate that.  Its nice to have them as mountable
   file systems.

I'm of the opinion that for what I'm doing, RAID-per-RAID is too
complex, involves too many decisions and too many drives.  With LVM I
can use any number of any drive of any old size according to my budget,
add them or remove them.  KISS.

But YMMV.



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Re: simple data security: RAID1 or rsync?

Carlos E. R.-2
In reply to this post by phanisvara das
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

On 2012-05-06 11:25, phanisvara das wrote:
> i'm afraid i'm overlooking something obvious, that's why i'm asking
> here, where many have much more experience with this type of thing.

You need both raid and a backup, and IMO it is more important the backup.

If you make a goof and delete something, the data will be deleted on all
the disks of the array. If you have a good backup strategy, you can
recover deleted files.

It is as simple as that.

All that you do is done to the entire raid array. Any bad thing happens
to the array - you are protected only from one type of failure: a disk
failure.

Note that with rsync you can have a history of changes: the new directory
has the new files, and hardlinks to the old files that exist in the
previous directory.


But doing backups every 15 minutes is excessive wear. You would need a
third disk with daily backups, and powered off the rest of the day.

- --
Cheers / Saludos,

                Carlos E. R.
                (from 11.4 x86_64 "Celadon" at Telcontar)
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Re: simple data security: RAID1 or rsync?

Dennis Gallien
On Sunday, May 06, 2012 08:51 AM Carlos E. R. wrote:

> On 2012-05-06 11:25, phanisvara das wrote:
> > i'm afraid i'm overlooking something obvious, that's why i'm asking
> > here, where many have much more experience with this type of thing.
>
> You need both raid and a backup, and IMO it is more important the backup.
>
> If you make a goof and delete something, the data will be deleted on all
> the disks of the array. If you have a good backup strategy, you can
> recover deleted files.
>
> It is as simple as that.
>
> All that you do is done to the entire raid array. Any bad thing happens
> to the array - you are protected only from one type of failure: a disk
> failure.
>
> Note that with rsync you can have a history of changes: the new directory
> has the new files, and hardlinks to the old files that exist in the
> previous directory.
>
>
> But doing backups every 15 minutes is excessive wear. You would need a
> third disk with daily backups, and powered off the rest of the day.

fwiw on my primary machine which requires 100% uptime I use RAID with an
additional disk which I mirror with rsync as a failover.  In my rsync script I
use rsync parms to retain a different fstab and menu.lst which enables it to be
bootable at any time.  I run the script via cron during lunch and in the
evening, so it's not a real time mirror but it's close enough.

I also maintain a copy on another machine on my gb lan as protection against a
catastrophic failure (i.e., not just disk failure) of the primary machine.  
Cron runs this rsync script once every evening.

Storage is cheap nowadays.  Once this is all set up, everything is automatic
and I don't have to pay any attention to it, other than the scripts mailing me
a message indicating success or failure in the run.
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Re: simple data security: RAID1 or rsync?

Carlos E. R.-2
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On 2012-05-06 16:55, Dennis Gallien wrote:
> Storage is cheap nowadays.

No, it is not. All the hard disk manufacturers had their main factories
in the same country and they were flooded. Prices doubled and have not
come down since.

- --
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                Carlos E. R.
                (from 11.4 x86_64 "Celadon" at Telcontar)
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Re: simple data security: RAID1 or rsync?

Mike-207
On Sunday, May 06, 2012 08:59:56 AM Carlos E. R. wrote:
> On 2012-05-06 16:55, Dennis Gallien wrote:
> > Storage is cheap nowadays.
>
> No, it is not. All the hard disk manufacturers had their main factories
> in the same country and they were flooded. Prices doubled and have not
> come down since.

Depends on your point of view. A few years ago when drives weren't so big, I
thought $100 for a 20g hard drive was a great price. Now I can get 2Tb for
about $120. The prices are coming back down. Just slowly.

Mike
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Re: simple data security: RAID1 or rsync?

Rodney Baker-2
In reply to this post by phanisvara das
On Sun, 6 May 2012 17:45:29 phanisvara das wrote:

> after seeing a few threads re. RAID arrays, problems booting off them, and
> extra strain the surviving member of an array is put under when it has to
> sync a new HDD after it's (only) brother's failure, i doubt the wisdom of
> my original idea to set up two identical 2TB drives as RAID1 array.
>
> wouldn't it be safer (not to mention simpler) to just rsync the simple
> directory tree i'm concerned about to the other HDD every 15 min or so? if
> either of the two HDDs fails, the other one still has the important data.
>
> it's not my desktop, but a file server i'm putting together for my
> employer. the only thing he cares about is preserving the data in
> question. if or when one of the HDDs fails, there's no need to preserve
> the operating system or anything else.

I agree with what others have said. Backups are for data security. RAID is
about fault tolerance and/or performance (depending on what flavour of RAID
you choose). Don't get the two mixed up. You need both.

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Re: simple data security: RAID1 or rsync?

Dennis Gallien
In reply to this post by Carlos E. R.-2
On Sunday, May 06, 2012 10:59 AM Carlos E. R. wrote:
> On 2012-05-06 16:55, Dennis Gallien wrote:
> > Storage is cheap nowadays.
>
> No, it is not. All the hard disk manufacturers had their main factories
> in the same country and they were flooded. Prices doubled and have not
> come down since.

Well, OK, not *right now*.  But before that disaster.  And I meant relatively
speaking.  My last WD TB was about the same price as the comparable drive with
~a tenth of the capacity 5 years earlier; that's what I was ref'g to.
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Re: simple data security: RAID1 or rsync?

Per Jessen
In reply to this post by Carlos E. R.-2
Carlos E. R. wrote:

> -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
> Hash: SHA1
>
> On 2012-05-06 16:55, Dennis Gallien wrote:
>> Storage is cheap nowadays.
>
> No, it is not. All the hard disk manufacturers had their main
> factories in the same country and they were flooded. Prices doubled
> and have not come down since.

The price per Gb is still much less than it was ten years ago.



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Re: simple data security: RAID1 or rsync?

phanisvara das
In reply to this post by Dennis Gallien
On Sun, 06 May 2012 20:25:56 +0530, Dennis Gallien <[hidden email]>  
wrote:

> fwiw on my primary machine which requires 100% uptime I use RAID with an
> additional disk which I mirror with rsync as a failover.


thanks to all of you for your replies. i understand things better now,  
mainly that RAID isn't so much to keep data safe, but to keep the server  
available in case of HDD failure. to keep data safe there needs to be  
another copy, preferably on a different machine.

problem is that while storage is much cheaper than a few years ago, that's  
a relative statement, and for us it's neither cheap nor, and that's even  
more important, easily available.

the only TB size HDDs one gets in kolkata these days are those "green"  
ones, that park every few seconds, only to be awakened again a couple  
sec.s later. there's supposedly a DOS utility to adjust that, but google  
finds mixed reports re. this.

i can't easily get another 2TB drive now and will have to make do with two  
of them for the time being.

for us data security is very important, while availability comes second.  
if that file server isn't available, there's still 'normal' sized HDDs in  
the workstations, plus a battery of USB drives here & there. (that used to  
be our "data storage solution" until now.) this way there's no problem  
saving new images, and access to the old one isn't time critical. (there's  
a separate web server, which holds the images used for publication, and  
doesn't depend on the file server in real time.)

in this scenario i think it's best to go ahead without RAID, but rsyncing  
everything important to the second HDD -- until i manage to get another  
2TB HDD, when i can implement both, RAID & backup copy.

thanks again,

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Re: simple data security: RAID1 or rsync?

David Haller-4
Hello,

On Sun, 06 May 2012, phanisvara das wrote:
>the only TB size HDDs one gets in kolkata these days are those
>"green" ones, that park every few seconds, only to be awakened again
>a couple sec.s later. there's supposedly a DOS utility to adjust
>that, but google finds mixed reports re. this.

I too have only those disks, but they don't park. You can adjust that
with 'hdparm', namely the Parameter -S. Also, look at your
power-management settings in yast. Or adjust the pm-profile setting

SATA_ALPM="max_performance"

in the profile. I just copied the 'balanced' to a new name, changed
that setting and then activated that profile (/etc/pm-profiler.conf
resp. /etc/sysconfig/pm-profiler).

>i can't easily get another 2TB drive now and will have to make do
>with two of them for the time being.

You should. Having identical drives of the same age in a RAID ...

HTH,
-dnh

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Re: simple data security: RAID1 or rsync?

phanisvara das
On Sun, 06 May 2012 21:58:51 +0530, David Haller <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hello,
>
> On Sun, 06 May 2012, phanisvara das wrote:
>> the only TB size HDDs one gets in kolkata these days are those
>> "green" ones, that park every few seconds, only to be awakened again
>> a couple sec.s later. there's supposedly a DOS utility to adjust
>> that, but google finds mixed reports re. this.
>
> I too have only those disks, but they don't park. You can adjust that
> with 'hdparm', namely the Parameter -S. Also, look at your
> power-management settings in yast. Or adjust the pm-profile setting
>
> SATA_ALPM="max_performance"
>
> in the profile. I just copied the 'balanced' to a new name, changed
> that setting and then activated that profile (/etc/pm-profiler.conf
> resp. /etc/sysconfig/pm-profiler).

ah, that's interesting. which brand / model do you use?

>> i can't easily get another 2TB drive now and will have to make do
>> with two of them for the time being.
>
> You should. Having identical drives of the same age in a RAID ...

i know... :(

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Re: simple data security: RAID1 or rsync?

Duaine Hechler
On 05/06/2012 11:36 AM, phanisvara das wrote:

> On Sun, 06 May 2012 21:58:51 +0530, David Haller <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> Hello,
>>
>> On Sun, 06 May 2012, phanisvara das wrote:
>>> the only TB size HDDs one gets in kolkata these days are those
>>> "green" ones, that park every few seconds, only to be awakened again
>>> a couple sec.s later. there's supposedly a DOS utility to adjust
>>> that, but google finds mixed reports re. this.
>>
>> I too have only those disks, but they don't park. You can adjust that
>> with 'hdparm', namely the Parameter -S. Also, look at your
>> power-management settings in yast. Or adjust the pm-profile setting
>>
>> SATA_ALPM="max_performance"
>>
>> in the profile. I just copied the 'balanced' to a new name, changed
>> that setting and then activated that profile (/etc/pm-profiler.conf
>> resp. /etc/sysconfig/pm-profiler).
>
> ah, that's interesting. which brand / model do you use?

Although, I'm running a server, per say, IMHO, I'd use Hitachi brand drives. The reasoning is that, because of money, I
have to buy used drives and they have never failed me yet. I outgrow them first. My current set of drives, I've had for
three years - again these are - used - drives and my desktop is running 24/7.

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Re: simple data security: RAID1 or rsync?

phanisvara das
On Sun, 06 May 2012 23:31:16 +0530, Duaine Hechler <[hidden email]>  
wrote:

> Although, I'm running a server, per say, IMHO, I'd use Hitachi brand  
> drives. The reasoning is that, because of money, I have to buy used  
> drives and they have never failed me yet. I outgrow them first. My  
> current set of drives, I've had for three years - again these are - used  
> - drives and my desktop is running 24/7.


sounds good; i'll  have to see how they're available here.

in india i don't buy second hand though. if it's any good, people want  
almost as much as new, and anything cheaper is most likely useless. (hell,  
even buying new hardware you'll get ripped off if you don't know the  
dealer, or exactly what to look for. plenty of bootlegging going on.) but  
i also have to look for 'economic choices', there's not much money  
available.

generally the market is swamped with what everybody uses at a particular  
time. (and that's what the few reliable dealers i know have available.)  
dealers don't like to stock HDDs because the prizes are very unstable --  
never know what your stock is worth tomorrow. that was the case before the  
flood in thailand, and now it's the same, only a couple of times more  
costly. so they don't keep a wide variety of models, but purchase whatever  
they get good deals for in large quantities.

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Re: simple data security: RAID1 or rsync?

John Andersen-2
In reply to this post by Per Jessen
On 5/6/2012 4:25 AM, Per Jessen wrote:

> phanisvara das wrote:
>
>> i think you're right that the cost of unconditionally rsync-ing the
>> whole drive every 15 min would be too high. but thinking through the
>> setup i'm planning, that wouldn't be necessary.
> [snip]
>> i'm afraid i'm overlooking something obvious, that's why i'm asking
>> here, where many have much more experience with this type of thing.
>
> RAID1 would be a lot easier and lot less effort (than re-inventing the
> wheel).
>
>

Exactly.
And as for the "strain" when one member dies, how is this "strain" different
than the daily thrashing of rsync?

I have software raid 1, and raid 5 arrays where a disk has failed and the
rebuild happened without any un-availability, and happened in the background
such that the users were never even aware it was happening.

I use Rsync between machines (some offsite) and raid 1 within a machine.
I'm a belt and suspenders sort of guy.

Raid, especially Raid 1 is as easy as falling off a log these days.


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Re: simple data security: RAID1 or rsync?

Carlos E. R.-2
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On 2012-05-06 21:39, John Andersen wrote:

> And as for the "strain" when one member dies, how is this "strain"
> different than the daily thrashing of rsync?

It is the daily load on one disk + the load of replication.

- --
Cheers / Saludos,

                Carlos E. R.
                (from 11.4 x86_64 "Celadon" at Telcontar)
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