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Welcome to The Lotus Position, an intermittent collection of extempore navel gazings, ponderings, whinges, whines, pontifications and diatribes.

Everything is based on a Sample of One: these are my views, my experiences... caveat lector... read the Disclaimer

The Budapest Office - Castro Bisztro, Madach ter

The Budapest Office - Castro Bisztro, Madach ter
Ponder, Scribble, Ponder (Photo Erdotahi Aron)

Guest Nutter/Kindred Soul: Bill Bailey

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Saturday, 14 July 2007

Data... Lots and Lots of Lovely Data

Well, it's been bugging me for some time... I had a little Freecom Storage Gateway - only 250 MB - and that just filled up with... stuff. Nice little box but still awaiting a firmware update to make it properly compatible with Vista

It seems we have >50GB of photos (ah, the wonders of digital photography), backups of other hard drives and GB of media generally and it was all here.

I'd been meaning to get some serious storage for a long time and I finally bit the bullet yesterday (ah... that reminds me of a malapropic (?) former boss who, when faced with a particularly difficult decision, said, "we have to bite the bull between the horns")

Anyway, here on Revay u in Budapest we are well placed with local amenities... the opera is a 5min walk away, the wonderful open air and subterranean venue known as Godor (can't reproduce the accents, but its pronounced "girder" and means "hole" because for a long time it was just a big hole in the ground while the city argued about where to put the arts palace - it ended up a way down river), 24 hour shops, the basilika for those last minute imprecations to the almighty...

...and a little computer shop called Modding.hu full of Stuff.

Now despite my predilection for Stuff I had walked by it hundreds of times, but it is a little shop so I never paid it much attention. The one day I walked by and saw this thing called a Thecus N2050, and I was keen on some extra storage and thought "hmmmm...", but I'd never heard of Thecus so I walked on by. Then a short while later PC Pro reviewed the latest Thecus N5200 RAID array...

So, on a whim I Googled PC shops and Thecus etc. in Budapest and where was my closest outlet... no more than 20m from my window (that's 10m down and 10m across and ignoring Pythagoras), so I went in and asked whether, having curtailed my Walpoling activities, they might have be able to help. A quick call to the importer later "Yes sir, one N5200 Pro arrived today..." I asked them to hold it for me while I checked a few things (like what disks I was going to put in it)

The next day at 10:30 I went back with a large pile of cash and ordered one N5200 and 5 Samsung 400GB SpinPoint disks (because PC Pro said they were good - and quiet); picked it up at 17:00.

Last night I got it out of the box, fitted the drives and turned it on... absolute doddle to set up... but it took overnight to build my lovely 1.33TB RAID 5 array (wheeeeeee! I have TERABYTES of storage!)

Today I started copying stuff across, but the rest of the network is only 100Mb/s so it's going to take a while.

Then I thought I'd try and see if I could create a Steganos safe on the array. Answer: not by placing the SLE on a mapped network drive, and not via direct access to the network (they're quite clear that it doesn't do this, but I thought I'd try...!)

However, the N5200 has iSCSI, which makes network devices look like ordinary devices... A bit of fiddling around (Vista has the iSCSI initiator built in but then you need to go to computer management and initialise and format the disk) and voila! the I: drive is mounted AND Steganos Safe happily begins to build a safe... but it was hogging all the bandwidth so I cancelled it - I'll do it later.

My only complaint - about myself for a change - is that in my eagerness to build the RAID array I only left 75GB for iSCSI and as far as I can tell there's no way to shrink an array (expand yes - shrink - no), so I either go back to square one or I leave things as they are... 1.33TB is a lot of data space to rebuild, and I really can't be arsed to start over so I'll live with it.

Next stop, probably Acronis to get some drive imaging software to backup various machines properly.

My only slight concern is that I bought an HiDef camcorder for the wedding and I have a sneaking suspicion that HD files are going to eat a lot of space... still, I can always swap the 400GB drives for 1TB drives later I suppose... but that would only be 4TB and I'm concerned that it won't be long before Petabytes are de rigeur.

My opinion of the Thecus so far (<24hours) - nice, quiet, does what it says on the tin even if the web interface is a bit... primitive.

Masochist or Pragmatist? Only time will tell.

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