More Server Upgrades

Over the weekend I finally got around to installing the new hard drives that arrived during the previous week. I had run out of space for TV-shows on my media server, the 2TB drive was no longer enough. Now there are two 4TB drives in there, but one is being used to keep a backup of the other drive.

This way if one of the drives fail unexpectedly the other will have a full copy of the media. I can then order a replacement drive, put it in and the copy will be restored. This is surprisingly important, partially because a lot of work has gone into collecting and organizing the media, and certain shows may be incredibly difficult if not impossible to find. Some were hard to acquire to begin with.

This upgrade was very time consuming, not because it was complicated, but because of the large amount of data that needed to be moved from one disk to another.

Of course there was some fiddling with connecting and disconnecting drives as well, which was why I had put off doing this for a while. I had to first connect the new drive to the system. This required stealing the SATA and power connections from the DVD-drive, which I’ve never used anyway. This let me put the new drive in, which I then copied the contents of the old drive onto. This took many hours. I started the transfer at around 10 PM on Thursday, and the server was still copying files when I woke up. It finished at about 12 AM. That means it took around 14 hours. Understandable considering the nearly 2TB of data.

I did however to my horror discover that after copying the 2TB of data the 4TB drive had 10GB free. I have to admit I panicked slightly thinking something had gone horrendously wrong. Until moments later I realized it was because of the symlinked files in the Plex library folder, which I should have cleared out before I started the copy, since it probably would have significantly sped it up by halving the amount of files (from over 15k).

The symlinks were still pointing to the original files on the other drive, and since the system sees these kinds of symlink files as the real files, they also think they’re taking up the space the original file is (though they don’t), and if the source file is on the same drive as the symlink it doesn’t inflate the occupied space, but if they’re on different drives apparently it does. But once I’d cleared out that folder everything looked as it should.

The next step was to disconnect the old drive and connect the new secondary drive. I then set up disk mirroring between these two new drives. This took a little reading and poking around the disk manager since I’ve never done this before. But once set up the system started syncing the drives, which also took several hours, but finished before the day was over.

Then it was done! I had almost doubled the amount of space, and secured my library against unexpected disk failures!

Well, part of the library. The server is still using a 2TB drive for the other half. This disk stores movies, music, podcasts and other miscellaneous things. This disk is also getting close to full, so the next step is to repeat this procedure for this half, once I’ve ordered some more disks for this.

Once everything was said and done I proceeded with moving the things I’d downloaded after the disk filled up, which was not an insignificant amount. I’m writing this after having spent part of each day since the upgrade was completed moving the new stuff into the server and organizing it. It is a time consuming process even when you don’t have hundreds and hundreds of files to go through. I did write a script that makes re-naming the files a lot easier though.

I’ve also begun re-downloading some shows I’ve had very low resolution versions of but that are available in higher formats. For example Avatar : The Last Airbender which I had in a measly 480p or something ridiculously low like that. After realizing this I decided that I should re-acquire this great show in the much better 1080p format which is not that hard to come by. I also did the same with Futurama, another excellent show I used to have in a quite low resolution, but no longer!

This concludes this update report. We’ll see how the next one goes.

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