Decommissioning the Filebase

Back in December of last year, one of the main reasons I wanted a Raspberry Pi is so I could use it as a NAS box. It was to be partially for my own use and partially for the use of the group if they wanted to have an extra offsite copy of any of their work. I dubbed this project the Somnolescent Filebase, and in about two days, I had the thing up and running.

Somnolescent's filebase setup
Yes, I am reusing this image because I don’t feel like taking a new picture. It’s no longer sitting on a bench, but on my wobbly-as-fuck dresser with my TV on it.

As of today, the Filebase is decommissioned. It definitely served its purpose, but the cons definitely started outweighing the pros of running it. A few reasons for shuttering it:

  1. Inflexibility. This is hands down the biggest reason for the Filebase’s closure. It doesn’t matter if I was using Ubuntu in a VM or a third-party Ext4 Windows driver, no other computer seemed to be able to recognize the drive after the fact, only the Pi. As a result, I couldn’t take the drive and copy stuff off it locally. The Pi will let you browse OMV drives locally, but having both my external hard drives plugged in at once was too big a power drain on it and it lead to instability.
  2. Transferring data from it kinda sucked. Adding onto that, f I did need to copy everything off the drive, I’d have to do it through Filezilla. The Pi had this lovely habit of dropping its wifi connection right as a bigger file started transferring, rendering both the transfer and the Gopher inaccessible. The only solution is to hard reboot with the power cable, drag my keyboard over to it and fix the issue locally (normally it runs headless), or hope it maybe fixes itself on its own with time. I still don’t know why it does this.
  3. Wear on the drive. I tried to set it so that way the drive only spins up when it’s accessed, but I’m still a paranoid bastard. I’ve already had two hard drive failures in the past five years, hence why I no longer have most of my pre-2017 work. Still sucks. I’m trying to be more proactive about keeping my work extant, and keeping backup drives plugged in only when I need them is one way to at least soothe my nerves about it.
  4. Lack of use among the group. Kinda. I got metric shittons of use out of the drive and I still do, but everyone else, less so. Not to say they never used it, but certainly not as much as I did. borb is the one major exception; she was keeping up-to-date backups of her art on there, and it paid off in dividends when a surge took down her internal hard drive. Thankfully, the drive itself survived and she lost nothing (it was just the SATA cable that got fried), but still good to be prepared.
  5. Having another need for that drive. Aside from redundant storage, I’d like to reclaim the Filebase drive for other uses. Right now, that’s hard drive loading of Wii and hopefully PS2 games in the future. Right now, I’m relying on my tiny-as-fuck 16gb flash drive for that.
  6. Wanting to keep the load on the Pi small. I don’t know how big of an issue this really is, but the Pi isn’t exactly a powerhouse, and I’d like to keep the number of daemons and shit running on it small. Given that I’m looking to do more with it in the future (maybe CCSO, maybe an IRC network, and currently, it’s doubling as a ZNC instance for IRC), if I’m not sold on something running on it, I don’t want it running.
  7. The LED on the drive sucks at night. Okay, this sounds random, but hear me out. I used to have major problems keeping my eyes closed at night because of my room being blanketed in dim blue light from the LEDs of various hard drives, routers, and power strips. Covering that stuff helped tremendously, but the Filebase drive’s light blinking rapidly is still annoying. I’m telling you, bright lights wreak major havoc on your sleep. When I get my own place, I’m not gonna have any electronics in my room whatsoever.

As of me writing this, the drive is currently being reformatted with FAT32 and I’ll leave all the stuff to copy back over from the redundant drive (which I spent all of yesterday downloading the entire contents of the Filebase to) so there’s still two copies of all that data in existence. OMV doesn’t seem to have much of a way to nicely uninstall it, but I’ll see if I can’t get something going.

Really, it was still a success. It did exactly what it was supposed to, being a secure file dump for five different people running on a Pi, OMV was remarkably easy to get up and running, and like I said, it would’ve saved borb’s ass had her internal hard drive actually been toast. The Filebase served its purpose and it was a fun project–it just stopped being worth it in time, really.

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