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LSI MegaRAID - megacli

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  • Sunday, December 05 2010 @ 09:21 PM EST
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Linux, Open Source, and Tech Stuff

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I recently gained my first experience with the infamous MegaCli command line configuration utility for LSI-based RAID controllers. This utility apparently also works on re-branded LSI cards from Dell (certain PERC cards) and other vendors.  Our New servers from iXsystems included LSI 9260 MegaRAID adapters. These servers run FreeBSD and LSI makes a binary available for this operating system.  I later noticed that megacli is also in the FreeBSD ports tree, appears to be the same version as what I downloaded from LSI, but I did not test it.  The megacli utility is also available in standard repos for many Linux distributions.

I wanted to verify that the RAID controller would start an automatic rebuild.  I popped out one of the drives and the very loud alarm started screaming.  I waited a little bit and put the drive back in.  The alarm continued and the array did not start rebuilding.  It turns out that the controller has some self-defense against someone mistakenly re-inserting a bad drive so it won't start an automatic rebuild on a drive that was just disconnected and reconnected.  Drives that were previously in an array are marked as "Foreign" if they are reinserted. Replacing a drive with a true spare drive off the shelf triggers an auto-rebuild just fine (unless the adapter's auto-rebuild property has been altered).

I have noticed that the binary I downloaded from the LSI web site is mixed case, whereas the version included in many distrubutions / built from source tends to use all lower-case (megacli).  Be aware of this if you copy/paste commands from below.

So back to the screaming alarm...  

Here is the magic command to silence the alarm:

Unknown Stoner at Disney

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  • Wednesday, December 01 2010 @ 08:24 PM EST
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Silly or Interesting

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Disney issues cards to guests who stay at their resorts. One of our cards was issued to an "Unknown Stoner":

six months of running

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  • Tuesday, November 30 2010 @ 08:28 PM EST
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Running and Fitness

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After 6 months of running, I am feeling pretty good. I lost 20 pounds and have avoided developing any serious running injuries. I totaled over 400 miles. I finished a half marathon. I have successfully converted my running stride so that I land with a midfoot strike rather than a heel strike. I believe that this conversion has made a huge difference in my long distance running capability.

I am now generally running 15 - 35 miles per week which includes at least one long run if possible (10 - 15 miles). I can only manage to squeeze in 3 or 4 runs per week due to busy family schedules.

Thanks to dailymile, I can show you a nice graph of my weekly mileage totals:


New servers from iXsystems

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  • Tuesday, November 30 2010 @ 11:19 AM EST
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Fun Stuff @ Work

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We received our shiny new servers from iXsystems (http://www.ixsystems.com). iXsystems "strives to provide the highest quality storage solutions, custom rackmount servers, pedestal servers, and appliances running FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD and various versions of Linux such as RedHat, SuSE, Slackware, and Debian." We went with a FreeBSD specialist vendor to eliminate the time required to track down hardware compatibility and to gain access to the reportedly excellent iXsystems technical support.

We ordered the 2U Jupiter server which is built on a SuperMicro platform. I wanted 8 drive spindles for storage system performance and 3.5-inch drives to keep overall price low. Some vendors have moved their 2U servers exclusively to 2.5-inch drives or their high performance SAS drives are obscenely expensive, so iXsystems met our specs and also came in a few thousand dollars cheaper per server than the larger vendors such as Dell or HP.



Initial casual benchmarking of the storage system and processor indicate that the machines are very fast. Disk i/o performance is fabulous. I have not yet found a load test I can throw at the machines to make them unresponsive.

Here are detailed specs:

Installed the SocialShare geeklog plugin

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  • Monday, November 29 2010 @ 10:42 PM EST
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News

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This plugin adds social network buttons to each geeklog story and makes it easier for readers to share a story with others.

Available from SocialShare Plugin.

I had some trouble with this install due mostly to documentation issues.

In Search of the Perfect Running Shoe

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  • Tuesday, November 09 2010 @ 02:13 AM EST
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Running and Fitness

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The worst thing about trying to choose new running shoes is that it is almost impossible to know how they will perform without testing them in the wild on a few runs (or 10 - 20 miles).

Six months ago I decided that I was going to start running regularly again (after about an 8-year hiatus) so I could drop some pounds and maybe even feel fit again. Over this past half-year I have tried running in a variety of shoes and running in no shoes at all. After a false start with "marshmallow" shoes, I was introduced to Barefoot Running and minimalist shoes. Thus began my journey away from the heel striking towards a more natural midfoot strike. I agree with the notion that the human foot, at least for most of us, is not defective by default. I choose to run in the least amount of shoe possible.

I omitted a picture of my bare feet, but just to compare with the shoes mentioned below, I have run 88 miles barefoot out of a total 390+ miles. Barefoot running is great and I feel very strongly that it has helped improve my technique and form. I already wrote about my early Barefoot Running experiences. However, there are times when I want to be able to run in a shoe. It is getting colder. This time of year the trails are "crunchy" with pointy tree debris. I frequently have to run after dark, especially during the work week. I live in a college town and for some reason when school is in session my favorite sidewalk running routes become littered with broken beer bottles.

It is the first week of November, 2010. All of the exciting new minimalist running shoes from New Balance, Altra Running, Skora Running, Merrell, and others will not be available until February or March of 2011. Until then, these are the shoes that I have tried over the last 6 months in the search of the "perfect" running shoe (aka: a shoe that helps keep me injury-free so I am able to run more miles):

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