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comment Fast Compression of Database Backups
What SQL server are you using? MS SQL (since 2008 I believe) and PostgreSQL have compressed backups which may be good enough for your purposes.
comment Postgres 8.4 stopped working
Ouch. Windows generally locks running executables and DLLs and prevents their replacement. (You can, however, rename the running program and put the new one in place.) If you attempted to use an MSI based installer it probably replaced some of the files but others will be replaced on reboot. You can try killing pg_ctl.exe and all the postmaster.exe processes, which should kill everything that's running. Then you can attempt to reinstall 8.4.17 and the service.
comment A faulty Caviar Blue hard drive?
Individual hard drives are simply not that expensive. There's no reason not to have a 3rd drive as a hot spare or sitting on a shelf ready to be installed at a moment's notice. Then you're not in the uncomfortable place where you're hoping the last drive doesn't die while you're waiting for the replacement and rebuild.
comment A faulty Caviar Blue hard drive?
Make sure your backups are working, up to date, and more importantly, restore properly. RAID is not a substitute for a backup.
comment A faulty Caviar Blue hard drive?
If you're going to use WD drives, make sure to get drives designed to run in a RAID, like the WD Reds. Google for TLER for more information.
comment Windows file sizes
NTFS can do tail packing, where extremely small files have their contents placed in the MFT entry itself. It's not the only filesystem to do that either. Explorer still reports 4k used on disk for these files though.
comment Why is it a bad idea to use a customer email as the from address
"Interestingly the server sending the email and the mail box that it is going to are both behind the same firewall so the client says they are unconcerned about spam." That's fine as long as the application also behind the same firewall and not reachable by the rest of the internet. Hopefully this mail box inside the firewall is also not available from the internet -- it sounds like an open relay!
comment Secure TCP based protocol through an application layer firewall
Generally speaking servers already don't trust clients when it comes to the internet. What can other programs running on the clients do that a proxy is going to prevent? They can't talk to other servers in A, they can't talk to other services on a, so the only thing left is if they send non-compliant data -- what can a proxy do that the service already in place can't?
comment Defrag in Windows VM?
Is it theoretically possible for a guest's HD to be "fragmented" (as the VM sees it) badly enough for split I/O to become a problem inside the VM? That would be one of very few use cases I can think of for defragmenting inside a VM. I'm not sure how a VM would get to that state while still being otherwise useful though.
comment For L2ARC and ZIL: is it better to have one large SSD for both, or two smaller SSDs?
Those most likely to be intimately familiar with ZFS are more likely to be at Server Fault than SuperUser. Voting to move, but an excellent question.
comment Scan raw block device data for known file types on linux
Beat me to it! It's also possible to add your own signatures if necessary.
comment What's the purpose of a wildcard DNS?
I use it for development as well. With Apache's mod_vhost_alias‌​, setting up a new site is as easy as creating a directory.
comment Multiple DHCP offers
If you can't touch the proprietary system directly, filter the traffic so DHCP requests don't arrive to it. (or prevent replies from getting out)
comment Should I serve compressed PDFs?
+1 - A properly created PDF should already be compressed. If not, then it should be modified or redistilled unless there's some mitigating factor. (e.g. must be sent through a production workflow that doesn't support compressed streams/images inside the PDF)
comment Blinking Cursor when booting restored Ghost image
Thanks for the follow up. Good to see that it's system specific. Do you think that BIOS revisions come into play? I can understand if the answer is "I don't know, and to be honest, I'd rather not bother with it anymore." :-)
comment Emailing hundreds of thousands of users for a newletter, company server or service?
+1 - This is definitely best offloaded to a service unless you want to make email a huge part of your business. We've used Constant Contact before, they seem ok.
comment Blinking Cursor when booting restored Ghost image
"Tomorrow" is now "yesterday." :-) Any updates? I'm really curious about this now.
comment Blinking Cursor when booting restored Ghost image
Have you tried checking the status of the hard disk after Ghosting? Does the primary partition get created and marked active? Or perhaps the boot loader is mixed up somehow and bootsect or fixboot will help?
comment Better folder structure for 1-6mil files?
There's a lot of factors that go into this decision, but have you thought about storing the files as blobs inside the database? I'm normally not a fan of that kind of plan, but it's looking like there might be a good case for it here.
comment Does the number of files slow down the server?
Large filesystems can expose weaknesses in other areas of the system or applications. For example, most file-based backup software is going to take a long time to do an initial backup on such systems, simply because processing all that metadata involves tons of small disk I/O -- the death knell for performance on normal HDs. Software that doesn't take any FS-level enhancements into consideration (like USN Change Journals for NTFS) to keep up with incremental changes will also perform badly.