We’re nearing the end of 2021 and it’s time to refresh the homelab again. I recently moved two of the three custom built Supermicro servers previously in the home network cabinet over to the Colo Cluster, creating a need to replace the empty rack Us with something that could handle home services. Notice I used the word need there, although it’s really just a euphemism for want as I have plenty of servers that could handle this in the Data Center.
I frequently have the need to create ZFS snapshots and replicate them from one host to another for backup and disaster recovery purposes. There are many blog posts and articles that present custom scripts using zfs send/recv to automate this task and they all work to some extent. I have tried most of them but recently settled on two in particular that I’ve found to be robust enough to meet all of my needs.
I am skipping the SmartOS introduction because Magnus Hedemark has us covered with Discovering SmartOS. Instead, I’ll dive straight in and tell you that it’s great as an all-in-one storage and virtualization server, despite only being branded as the latter. Maybe you’ve been using ESXi, Nexenta CP/NexentaStor, or OpenIndiana to fill this role (or even a combination of both on separate machines), but I assure you that it’s possible to have your cake and eat it too.
I ran into a troublesome ZFS bug several months ago where a pool with a log device became “stuck”. The ‘zpool remove’ command would complete but would not remove the device. This was a bad place to be in, because the device was no longer usable, could not be removed, and would most likely prevent the pool from ever being exported and reimported again. Someone else had posted on the zfs-discuss mailing list about the same problem and put me in contact with George Wilson, who in turn put me on the right track to a successful workaround.
It has been about six years since I last upgraded my co-lo box that hosts a myriad of services and websites for opensource, business, friends, and personal hobbies. Now I have a new machine in place that should last at least another six years. A tremendous amount of thanks goes out to Andrew at NETPLEX for dealing with the inevitable problems that come up when you ship a machine nearly 1000 miles.
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