"Recently, a colleague told me about a trick his company uses to
make Windows NT remote administration easier. His firm provides
professional services for many small server rooms around town, and
the trick involved mirrored IDE hard disks in removable drive bays
-- by mirroring the primary disk, you provide an easier backout
path when doing upgrades. When doing service work, he always
removes the second hard disk, providing an up-to-the-minute backup
in case, for example, the latest Microsoft "Service Pack" does more
harm than good."
"My first reaction was to say "Of course, you can do that in
Linux!". However, it brought to mind a few questions -- most
importantly, just how would you go about doing this? I mulled it
over and eventually decided to explore it on my own. I found
that it was possible to boot Linux from a software RAID-1 device,
along with a few LILO and mkinitrd tricks, and this little hack
could potentially give your Linux Web server a performance boost.
In addition to doubling the reliability of your hard disk, RAID-1
configuration also gives your IDE or SCSI bus a break, providing
two different paths from which to read the disk. Of course,
write operations will be slower because the data must be written to
the drive twice, but in many situations (most commonly Web servers,
where read operations are a top priority), slower writes are not a
"This is a project for anyone with a Linux machine. If you're
new to Linux, you'll need a solid understanding of hard-disk
partitioning and the Linux command line, but it's surprisingly easy
and fun to do."
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