Failed drive in database server RAID array (updated)

Yesterday afternoon a drive failed out of our RAID array in the master database server. We have four drives in this server, with two sets of two drives (using a RAID-1,0 configuration) so a single drive failure isn’t a big deal. We’re still up and running, but we’re quite a bit more vulnerable until we get this drive replaced. If the last drive in our RAID-1 array fails we’d have to deal with data loss for today — fortunately the data dumps ran last night and backed us up until then. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that we do not have any failures today.

Once I got notified that the drive failed, I promptly called Sun for a warranty replacement. In the back of my mind I thought: “I should order a new drive from NewEgg, just in case”. But, the Sun representative assured my that they would have a replacement drive for me today. This morning a clueless service engineer called me to tell me that they shipped the wrong drive to our data center. When I called back, they informed me that they did not have the correct drive and that the vendor would ship one to me by Thursday morning.

Having lost faith in Sun to do the right thing, I ordered a spare drive for the server from NewEgg — I should’ve done this a couple of months ago when the prices for these drives become reasonable. Now we’ll have a spare on hand for the next time this happens (and it will quite soon, I’m sure — both Seagate drives that originally came with the server failed within one year. The first drive failed within the first month!)

So, I am curious to see who will win: Sun who had an 18 hour head start to replace the drive, or NewEgg/UPS who got my order just this morning. I’ll post an update once this plays out — in the meantime keep your fingers crossed for no further drive failures!

UPDATE: DHL delivered the Sun drives 1 hour before UPS delivered the NewEgg drives. The drive is now in the server and the RAID array is working optimally again.

Happy new year: MetaBrainz reaches sustainability!

Now that the holidays are over its time to get back to work and kick MusicBrainz work back into high gear!

Its been my goal for many moons to make MetaBrainz self sufficient in order to not have to hold fundraisers in order to make ends meet. I’ve playing with these thoughts since 2002 when it looked like a business model could emerge with which to build a non-profit. And finally near the end of 2007 we reached this exciting milestone. Taking on new customers like and the BBC made all the difference — we now have slightly more money coming in than we’re spending. We’re far from rich, but we’ve never been on more solid footing than this.

This gives me lots of hope for 2008! My plans now include trying to raise even more money so we can hire a full time server developer in order to make more progress on fixing bugs, writing new features and finally breaking ground on NGS. There is lots to do to keep things moving, but reaching sustainability is a strong vote of confidence from the universe that MusicBrainz and MetaBrainz may be up to something that could really work.

And that makes me smile. Onward!

P.S. Year end finances are more work to wrap up than usual. So, it will take longer than normal for me to post the finances for December and all of 2007.