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Old 3rd June 2009
gosha gosha is offline
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Default looking for external drive buy suggestions

I finally decided my self to spend some money on an external drive. I will use this for backups but I would like to keep it always on and use it simply as extra space to use any time.
Looking at the prices around, 1T seems to be the best deal, I'll be able to store all my stuff and have plenty of space for the future (at the moment I have less than 200g of files hanging around in three drives, one of which with a lot of bad sectors).

Specs always say that the drive's software will work with Windows n. I guess it will be recognized fine by OpenBSD, but will I miss anything interesting without that software? Are there any external drives designed for unix?
Is it fine to leave the drive always on? Will it be noisy? What about power consumption?
Also, I guess to have a 1T partition is not a good idea. I will not format the whole drive, just start to use the size I need. Any suggestions on partition size? What about sector size (I have one huge file of little less than 100G, yes hudred gigs, should I take any particular care in making a partition for it with special sector size?)?

Lots of question marks...

Last edited by gosha; 3rd June 2009 at 07:43 AM.
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Old 3rd June 2009
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vermaden vermaden is offline
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I currenlt have 250GB 2.5 Western Digital disk in case, works with USB 2.0 but requires two cables to connect to provide more power (USB 2.0 only sends about 500mV), works very good under all BSDs, OpenSolaris, Windows, ...

My buddy recently got Seagate 5400.5, which needed only one cord for work, propably it uses little less power, so that may be better sollution.

You should also consider geting case with eSATA if you have eSATA on your motherboard (such cases also have USB 2.0 as a fallback) so you will get great speed where you can while still be able to connect to everything.
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Old 3rd June 2009
gosha gosha is offline
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thanks for the quick reply.
Actually, I will connect it to my macmini, which has a firewire port, but OpenBSD macppc does not support firewire.
Would a drive with an ethernet or wireless connection be an option? What about security risks (would have to connect it to my router)?
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Old 3rd June 2009
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I do not have any experience with firewire, so I cannot hel you here, but I do not recall cases with firewire port, at least not these that are stand alone parts/cases where you need to buy the disk yourself (which is cheaper).
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Old 3rd June 2009
gosha gosha is offline
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well, I'm having a look online, and the price of a ready-to-use one and a drive+case are about the same, here in Beijing I can get on line a maxtor or seagate or western digital for less than 800 rmb, which seems reasonable, and with a warranty covering the whole product and not two for two products...
ps macmini also has usb 2.0 of course

Last edited by gosha; 3rd June 2009 at 08:53 AM.
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Old 3rd June 2009
BSDfan666 BSDfan666 is offline
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I would get a USB drive, most of them are USB Mass Storage Devices.. standardized.. so OpenBSD should recognize them, perhaps it won't be able to utilize any of the software controlled buttons on the name branded models, but that isn't important.

It is possible to find a quirky device that doesn't work, but most stores are refund policies.. so.. you should be able to find a replacement in that case.

FFS predates widely available portable mass storage devices, so all on-disk structures are in the hosts native byte order.. Little Endian vs Big Endian.

That means you won't be able to mount your partition on a i386 system, or any other system with hw.byteorder as 1234, only systems where hw.byteorder is 4321.

If you don't plan on mounting this drive on any other system, there isn't much of a problem.. except if this system suddenly fails, you'll probably have to find another Big Endian architecture to retrieve your files.

Possible solutions are to use EXT2 on the drive instead, OpenBSD supports mounting this file system in the GENERIC kernel.. but you'll need sysutils/e2fsprogs to create your partitions.

A network storage device might be another option, some exist that provide NFS/SMB/CIFS.. or just FTP.

I hope that helps, good luck gosha.
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Old 3rd June 2009
gosha gosha is offline
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Quote:
That means you won't be able to mount your partition on a i386 system, or any other system with hw.byteorder as 1234, only systems where hw.byteorder is 4321.
This is not really nice, although not such big problem, I was planning to keep it there and in case give access to a windows system via smb. Of course, if the system (hardware) breaks I'd be in big trouble, since I have no other ppc around, and don't plan to have any in the future.
I really have to think carfully this one...
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Old 4th June 2009
ocicat ocicat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gosha View Post
...which has a firewire port
Although Firewire is a faster protocol when compared to USB, only Apple has embraced it. The number of hardware products featuring Firewire are dwindling.
Quote:
Would a drive with an ethernet or wireless connection be an option?
In theory, yes. Once you add true network stacks to the equation, Layer 6 (Presentation layer) deals specifically with byte order differences of the end points. Note however that this assumes that both ends are functioning as full network stacks.

http://www.knowledgerush.com/kr/encyclopedia/OSI_model/
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What about security risks (would have to connect it to my router)?
This then depends upon your faith, experience, & knowledge on trusting the ability of your firewall to keep the vermin at bay. If you are that concerned about people stealing your files, encrypt them.

Although you might not find the following a viable alternative, Amazon makes its infrastructure available for storage purposes. Given how cheap their service is, you may want to consider it as an option for disaster recovery:

http://aws.amazon.com/

OpenBSD's misc@ mailing list had a thread on off-site storage several months back, where Amazon's services were discussed in passing:

http://marc.info/?t=123430035200005&r=1&w=2
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Old 4th June 2009
gosha gosha is offline
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Quote:
Although Firewire is a faster protocol when compared to USB, only Apple has embraced it. The number of hardware products featuring Firewire are dwindling.
I know, this macmini ppc of mine is a real curse, the only really good thing about it is that it is small, cute, and silent.
Quote:
if you are that concerned about people stealing your files, encrypt them
.
I'm concerned about some, so I might encrypt a part of it. But the thing is that my router is exposed to the internet, while the macmini is inside, using pf (it is the basic model, with no wireless, so I could only do that to be able to connect to my winbox.

I don't have such a fast connection, so Amazon isn't really an option.
I never thought choosing an external drive would have so many issues, the big/small endian one being the most problematic.
Computer world seems to really love to enforce incompatibility...
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Old 5th June 2009
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Or you could get yourself a generic USB2 drive case and a cheap HD. To format it use ext2 (don't use fat because it can't handle files bigger than 4GB, which you say you have plenty of).
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Old 5th June 2009
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thanks, same suggestion as BSDfan666, so using EXT2 would not have big/small endian issues even if I do it from my mac mini ppc?
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Nope, it should be safe to use EXT2 in such a situation..
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Old 5th June 2009
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Quote:
Nope, it should be safe to use EXT2 in such a situation..
Well, in this case, I would really like to know why. How come in ffs byte order changes and in ext2 does not?
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As I said, FFS predates widely available portable mass storage devices.. at that time, developers were interested in performance, converting between different byte orders would have been quite costly.

FFS on big endian is optimized for big endian.
FFS on little endian is optimized for little endian.

The EXT family of filesystems were designed for Linux on the i386.. and while eventually they ported it to other systems, it probably made sense for them to keep the filesystem compatible with i386.
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Old 2nd September 2009
gamemaniac gamemaniac is offline
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Default Looking for External Hard Disk

Even I am looking for external hard drive. I am more concerned about the data transfer rate of the drive. Could anyone suggest an external SSD hard drive if available? What is eSATA hard drive?

Regards
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Old 2nd September 2009
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Most SSDs are 2.5" size with SATA interface, which makes them possible to use in external 2.5 USB 2.0 case or using eSATA, but IMHO they are so expensive, that they are good only for SYSTEM, for casual storage use HDDs, same for external case imho, HDD will do here.

You can also get 7200 RPM 2.5 HDD to make things fly faster.
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Old 3rd September 2009
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Thanks vermaden for your reply. Can you guess how long it will take for Solid State Drives to get cheaper and common in computers?
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Old 3rd September 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gamemaniac View Post
Can you guess how long it will take for Solid State Drives to get cheaper and common in computers?
As if anyone can prognosticate with accuracy...

Surprisingly, Intel is marketing solid-state drives today for very expensive prices. Stories abound that Seagate has a competitive solution, but will not introduce it to the market until the economy recovers.

The answer to your question may in in the order of years -- at least two...
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Old 3rd September 2009
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I've read a discussion where the latest revision in the SSD manufacturing
process greatly decreases the years before write and/or read failure. I fail
to recollect whether that is just one manufacturer, whether the thread refuted the
idea, or any other details...
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Old 3rd September 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gamemaniac View Post
Thanks vermaden for your reply. Can you guess how long it will take for Solid State Drives to get cheaper and common in computers?
I think you will need at least two years to make these prices down, but even then HDDs will be cheaper.
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