Hard Drive Bites the Dust

On Thursday, March 26th, the 1.5Tb hard drive in my primary development box bit the dust.  Based on the diagnostics and sounds emanating from the drive, I believe I had a head crash. My first thought was “Oh no, when was the last time I backed up the data”. After a mad scramble I realized I could recover everything up to a point 2 weeks prior to the crash. Not bad. Could have been much worse.

My second thought was “Ok now what do I do with the machine?”. The machine is a few years old, but still has a lot of life left in it. It has an AMD 6-way processor with 16Gb of ram. I have been toying with the idea of using a SSD drive to speed up the machine. Just could never bring myself to take the plunge and rebuild the box from scratch.sandisk_ssd

I decided to purchase a 256Gb Sandisk SSD drive and a traditional 3Tb Seagate Hard Drive.

On my dev box I like to run Linux. Usually its one of the Fedora versions. Rebuilding the box, I decided to go with Centos 7.0 distro. The production websites that I have running are all on Centos 6.5 and it was time to start solifying on a common distro.

After researching the best partitioning method for SSD drives, I ended up putting the “/” and “/boot” partitions on the SSD. The “/swap” and “/home” partitions went on the Seagate drive.

Obviously I don’t have a way to benchmark the performance improvements with this set-up, however anecdotally, I do notice applications are very quick to start up and respond. Interestingly when I retrieve data from the network, there is very noticeable delay in getting the data. That is with a 1gb nic. With the old setup I couldn’t really differentiate between the application start up delays and the network delays.

Overall I very happy with the end result. If you have a box that is “mid-life”, installing a SSD drive can definitely improve the performance. Also this has reinforced the requirement to backup regularly.

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