Sys_Basher

Late last ‘week I noticed that my new nagios server was not responding anymore. Well, I checked it and it was down. Not only that, it was a vm on my test server and the entire server was down as well. Arrrgh.

Usually I use this as a foray to tell you all to remember to do your backups. Well, in this case I didn’t do them either. Hey, it’s a test vm server right? Yeah, well I am kicking myself about that anyhow. I just got nagios working really well the way I wanted. Oh well, I guess I get to practice some more right :-)

Well, as it turns out, my server had a catastrophic drive failure. I did EVERYTHING to try and resuscitate this thing. To start with, it had no partition table at all. Luckily I bought 2 of these servers and they were identically configured, so I checked out the partition table of the one and used fdisk to apply it to the broken one. After that I was able to fsck one partition, but as it would happen, that partition was only boot. Feh. The other partition had lost all it’s superblock info. I couldn’t even use a backup superblock. Nada. I noticed that mkfs had a command line switch of -S, which writes the superblock info on a artition without formatting or touching the inodes. I tried that and it appeared to be successful. At leat I could run fsck on the partition now and it was fixing the inodes. YAY! except that after a few hours of fixing, I still got nothing but a few system files in a pile under the lost-n-found directory. Shortly thereafter the drive lost it’s partition info again anyway. That’s life I guess.

So, it was off to Microcenter to get a new hdd. I brought that home and did a fresh CentOS 5.3 32 bit install and played with it a bit and thought to myself, hey, maybe I should run some kind of burn-in test on this server before I go investing a lot of time into it again.

That is where Sys_Basher comes in. Sys_Basher is a multithreaded memory and disk exerciser. That’s what the website says. It makes a pretty good burn in program by continually testing your memory and disk (which pushes on your cpu as well) for any length of time you specify. I kinda like it actually, and that is a good thing because there are woefully few burn-in or stress test type programs available to the Linux community. In fact, if you are a programmer and looking for a great project, you could generate a lot of traffic and interest by making one. Not that I don’t like Sys_Basher, mind you, but variety is the spice of life and certainly the way of open source!

Anyway, I ran Sys_Basher overnight on my new machine which passed with flying colors. Then, this morning, I decided that maybe I should run 64bit Linux on this box. Some days I am so fickle, but I decided it would be in my best interest to change up the OS before building a bunch of new test vms on there :-)

Maybe this time I’ll even back the darn thing up too! Wish me luck and, btw, do your backups!

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