20. November 2017 · Write a comment · Categories: Techie · Tags: , , , ,

Since the retirement of Google Reader, I had been itching for a RSS aggregator & feed reader for a while. While Vienna for OSX used to be a favorite when I had a desktop on close to 24-7, it could/would miss occasional posts once I started sleeping/powering down machines in their off-hours. I had been using Feedly for a year or two at this point, but was growing increasingly disenfranchised with their cloud-style model & push for pay-for services (accompanied with reduced free functionality).

Having surveyed some of the available open-source/self-hosting solutions, I finally settled on giving FreshRSS a try. Months ago, I attempted to set this up in a test jail on my FreeBSD sever to no avail, and abandoned the work until a couple weeks ago. About a month ago, I started experimenting with Linux (particularly Manjaro, an Arch derivative) as a potential desktop replacement.

With Arch running on a Raspberry Pi Zero W (to get more familiarized with the Arch/Manjaro ecosystem), I finally renewed my attempts to get this installed on a Linux platform (which had more documentation available). With substantially less problems, I was able to get it stably running & configured. Trialling it as a replacement for Feedly for a couple weeks, I was satisfied with its performance, even on the Pi Zero! Since I migrated my web hosting from Bluehost for this site and others to a VPS running FreeBSD, I now wanted to translate this self-hosted service from my private network to a production environment accessible from the Internet at large.

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Ever since I got my server started, it’s gone through various changes. It started on OpenSolaris, eventually got stable on FreeNAS, and finally matured into a more permanent FreeBSD.

With that, there has been some hardware changes, but moreso in the core guts of the machine. What hasn’t changed is the hard drives it has been running on. Unfortunately, they’re also running a tad long in the tooth. Dumping out the Power_On_Hours line from smartctl gives me a range of 30998–43674 hours (3.54–4.99 years). Yup. They’ve been powered on upwards of 5 years now.

Most of the drives are doing fine (Reallocated_Sector_Ct line is giving 0 for half the drives), but some of them are slowly accruing bad sectors (most are in the single digits, but I have two at 15 & 37, respectively). Unfortunately, these usually pop up overnight during the daily script FreeBSD runs from the smartmontools port, so by the morning, I’ve already gotten the email (example shown when you click through to the rest of the post) that the drive has been taken offline. Since these are all in a RAIDZ setup, a single drive loss is no big deal, but I do have to resolve the issue so the array does not remain degraded. After doing this over numerous incremental errors (out of a dozen read errors, I get maybe 1 or 2 reallocated sectors), I’ve semi-automated the process (although I need to write a better bash script to do this without intervention).

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I’ve been doing a horrible job of jotting things down here when I mean to, so I’m taking a stab at that again. I meant to jot down all my notes on getting GROMACS running with icc, OpenMP, and CUDA on my Mac Pro, but that’s been a few months since I did that now, and it’s drifted out of my head. So. Trying to take a new stab at this when I’m ‘hacking’ things (so to speak)…

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So in the attempt to upgrade my storage/file server with some new hardware, I unintentionally (albeit intentionally when I ordered the parts months earlier) broke the CompactFlash to PATA solution I was using to serve as a boot drive for the operating system (FreeNAS). Long since I last updated FreeNAS, it came to my attention that the project has evolved from FreeBSD 7 onto FreeBSD 9, and taken on the new name NAS4Free. Since I obviously needed to reinstall my operating system for the server on a new device, and FreeBSD 9 drastically updated the ZFS feature set present in this NAS distribution, it only made sense to drink the Koolaid and upgrade to NAS4Free. Unfortunately, in doing so, I have had to take in and utilize a lot more of FreeBSD’s native features to make this system workable to my own standards (despite NAS4Free claiming support).

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