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How to setup a Mirror Raid on Linux OpenSuse

Last response: in Linux/Free BSD
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May 19, 2012 11:18:21 PM

Hi Guys,thanks for taking the time to read this,hope i can get some help with my problem. I got a Linux File Server running OpenSuse. The server is used as a backend server for a Windows based Point Of Sale(POS) application, the server just stores all files and the computers that connect to the server are all windows XP SP2(i think). I need to implement a Mirror raid solution to the Linux OpenSuse server as some sort of fault tolerance, I dont have the faintest clue on how to implement a Mirror Raid solution on Linux(wish it was as easy as Windows). Im looking to run a software RAID instead of a Hardware RAID solution.I know that i will need to put in a second drive with the same capacity as my first drive. Cannot afford to format or move any of the POS files from the first drive as it contains critical data.Can you guys please help. Need a simple step by step guide on How to implement Mirror RAID on Linux OpenSuse. I am totally new to the Linux Family so hope its not going to be Rocket Science to configure RAID.

File Server Specs:
Intel i5 3.6Ghz
1 x 1TB WD HDD
4gig ram
OpenSuse OS

Also looking to learn bit more on Linux so which OS would you guys suggest Ubuntu or OpenSuse?

Thanks
a b 5 Linux
May 20, 2012 6:14:25 AM

The OpenSuse documentation tells you how to set up software RAID but, as far as I am aware, you cannot do this preserving existing data. ( http://www.linuxtopia.org/online_books/opensuse_guides/... )

You say "Cannot afford ... as it contains critical data". If you have critical data you obviously must have tested backups of that data. Just set up the RAID then restore your data. If you don't have backups then it is irrelevant - chances are your business with fold within the next few years when your disk fails.

For further learning OpenSuse would be the best distribution i your position.

(Please note that RAID is not a substitue for off-site backups.)
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a b 5 Linux
May 20, 2012 9:06:19 AM

I used to work testing software for a leading provider of POS solutions and developed the backup scripts used by a large retailer in the UK. I second ijack in that you must have solid backups. If you don't understand how to do this then it's well worth spending some money with somebody that does to get it set up.

My preference is as follows:

Run scheduled script to copy the POS files to a second local drive every night.
Backup to tape or external drive every night.
Take your choice on tape/drive rotation cycles, we used a 14 day rotation with archives every two weeks kept for a month.

The advantage of a second copy stored on a local drive is that should a restore situation occur you can simply copy from local drive without the need to load a tape. As there were no IT people in any of the stores the local copy meant I could do this via a remote session without having to talk staff through loading the correct tape or risk them damaging anything.

For what it's worth we only used RAID on one of our products for high volume trading where basket analysis was required. For most stores we just had a medium spec desktop with two drives and a tape drive.
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May 20, 2012 1:53:04 PM

Thanks for the help guys i also forgot to mention that i have another offline server which is also using OpenSuse OS. The offline server has an exact copy of all files on my main server and i do daily backups from the main server onto the offline server. The POS software creates a backup file on the main server, from the main server i copy the backup file onto an external hard disk and then from the external hard disk i copy onto the offline server.Hope this gives you guys sufficient info to help out a Linux noob like me
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a b 5 Linux
May 20, 2012 5:03:25 PM

That sounds a whole lot better than the original configuration you described! :) 

Just to clarify here are you looking to mirror the whole disc or just the data partition you use for the POS files? Given that you've already made the investment in a hot spare server is RAID 1 going to give you any great advantage over your existing setup and are you looking to implement this on both live and spare server? It might be worth taking the hit and looking at RAID 5 with 3 or more discs on the live server with the existing hot spare left as is.

The question is as much about system design as it is linux configuration at this point.
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May 20, 2012 8:15:17 PM

Hi, im looking to mirror the entire drive so that in the event that if my first drive crashes out i wont have to worry much seeing that the second drive will have a mirror copy of the first drive. My higher powers(my bosses lol) requested that i implement a RAID 1 solution to the main server and leave the hot spare server as is, seeing that the hot spare server is kept off-site.

Another option that i was thinking about is imaging the entire drive on the main server, so if the main drive crashes i can just swap out the drives and restore recent files from backup,any thoughts on this solution?
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