Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash: Pick Two (aghrivaine) wrote,
Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash: Pick Two

computer geekery

I finally have all the parts together for the file-server I'm building for the studio. When all is said and done, it will be a hyper-threaded P4 IBM E-server with a 1.2tb RAID-5 disk cluster. There's 1.6tb of raw disk space, but of course, there's overhead for the RAID. Yes, those are terabytes, not gigabytes or megabytes. Hitachi is releasing a 500gb drive soon, which means I could bump the raw capacity up to 2.0tb of data, and useable to about 1.75. That's a lot of disk, at a very reasonable price.

Most of that space will be set aside as file-space for a shared sound-effects library. What remains will be a secured swap-space that remote users can shuttle files back and forth with - whether they're in the next room over, or, as one of the editors is - residing in Florida. I'm sitting it on an XP-Pro OS. Naturally I'd like to use a Linux/BSD flavor, but the thing is, no one but me here is particularly Unix-savvy, so for ease of administration, XP seems the way to go. Plus, most of our cutting computers are OS-X macs, and they grok windows file-sharing very easily, whereas the reverse is not necessarily true. So, for both ease of use and raw expense, it makes the most sense to have a wintel server and Mac clients. The funny thing is that to go above 1.6tb right now would be an exponential raise in cost - it would necessitate having a full-on RAID appliance, like a SAN. There's nothing like that out there for less than about 6k, and right now the biggest SATA disk you can buy is 400gb, and most small-sized budget servers can handle at most 4 drives.

I brought the whole thing in, disk and all, at a pretty reasonable cost. The studio next door expressed an interest in having a similar set up; if they hire me to make one for them, it'll be pretty sweet as a little extra money on the side. Plus it's just kind of cool to think that a substantial portion of the sound effects in Hollywood would reside on machines that I designed and built.

At any rate, it was sort of fun to rip into a box and build it from top to bottom. I haven't done that in quite a while. There are elements of the IT business that I'll always be enthusiastic about - it's the very thing that drew me to it as a career in the first place. I like building things, I like finding solutions - I'm just not the greatest at day-to-day drudgery (or "detail oriented tasks", if you prefer...). Impatience is one of my greatest faults, and building a server means I get to do the fun part, and then move on to the next interesting thing.

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