11 February 2007
Excellence in Web Site Hosting
Well, I just had a problem with my web hosting provider. On the upside they responded to my trouble ticket in less than 15 minutes! This may sound amazing, but this is actually the norm for this provider. I've been with dathorn.com for about 3 years now and the experience has been top notch. Before this I was with a company called featureprice that promised unlimited bandwidth and storage. Everything went ok for about two years and then the business fell apart and I was left with a huge mess as they presumably headed into bankruptcy. Lesson learned, cheapest != best. Dathorn is not the cheapest around but the service is great and the features are good.

I've considered moving because they do cost quite a bit more than the competition, but every time I have to use their support (which is infrequent) I think twice.
Buying Icelandic Bonds?
In surfing my about the web I happened upon a thread on Fatwallet Finance that greatly interested me regarding a CD denominated in Icelandic Krona. What's so interesting about it? It is a 3 month CD that is paying 13.38% APY. Now in this day and age of 6% mortgages in the United States this is a crazy high and fairly safe return. This even beats the historical average for the stock market!

So why didn't I immediately open an account?

1. Minimum investment of $10,000.
2. Currency risk. (This just means that the Krona floats against the dollar and you could gain or lose money based on what happens to the exchange rate).
3. Conversion fees. A possible deal breaker. (The cost to transfer in and out of the account.)
Hear is what Everbank has to say:

If you request funds in this account to be denominated in a currency other than the currency sent to us to fund the account, EverBank will convert your funds using a then current conversion rate set by EverBank. Your currency conversion rate will be within 1% of the wholesale spot price EverBank pays for your currency. Exceptions may occur when a specific conversion rate is agreed upon between you and EverBank.

The above made me wonder if I could directly purchase treasury bonds. After some research on the web it looks like the unfortunate answer is no.

The final possibility is to find a mutual fund or ETF that invests in Icelandic bonds. I haven't gone down this road yet, but a quick search of Fidelity didn't show anything particular.

If only things had worked out bit better. After all, who doesn't want to invest at a guaranteed return of 13%!

Possibly useful links:
Everbank
Fatwallet thread
Iceland Bonds
Content Management Systems
After talking with a friend about RapidWeaver and the possible creation of a new web site he mentioned having looked at content management systems recently. I was intrigued and proceeded to take brief looks at mambo, joomla, and drupal. All of these look very powerful and reasonably easy to use, but the setup up time is still much greater than with RapidWeaver. If you are looking to manage a large number of items or expect to blog five times a day they are probably worth your time. But if you aren't a tech geek and just want something simple you are better off with a simple client side WYSWIG editor imho.

In my very brief experimentation I liked them in the following order:
joomla
mambo
drupal

It's worth mentioning that joomla and mambo share the same codebase but mambo has some "interesting" licensing issues. Drupal looks like it is the best thought out of the three but it would also require considerably more time commitment to set up.
Removing a Raid Group from a Netapp Filer Aggregate
Well, today at work I ran in to a bit of a problem. We purchased four new hard drives for our Netapp FAS3020 storage system. I went in to the web interface and added the drives to the appropriate aggregrate. Everything worked and the drives were added, but only half the storage that I expected showed was added. I poked around and found that a new raid group had been formed and added to the aggregate. This was obviously not what I was expecting so I dug into the issue.

I checked the aggregate settings and it was configured with raidsize=10 which I now know means the maximum number of drives that can be put into a raid group within that aggregate is ten drives. I had 20 drives prior to the upgrade and 24 after the upgrade, so what I ended up with was:

Plex /aggr1/plex0: online, normal, active
RAID group /aggr1/plex0/rg0: normal - 10 drives
RAID group /aggr1/plex0/rg1: normal - 10 drives
RAID group /aggr1/plex0/rg2: normal - 4 drives

I think to myself, ok, I must be able to change this (did I mention that this was a production aggregate with 10 volumes on it). First avenue of exploration, can't I just remove the rg2 raid group, change the maximum raid group size and re add the drives? Short answer: No

Long answer:
You can't do this because of a couplel limitations on the filer (which initially surprised me, but once you think about how WAFL is designed it makes a little more sense.)

1. Once you add a raid group to an aggregate you cannot remove it. That's right, you can never remove a raid group from an aggregate unless you destroy the aggregate.

2. RAID Group size cannot be adjusted, except on the last raid group in an aggregate. This means that once rg2 was created I couldn't go back and resize rg0 and rg1. To change the size on rg2 you can do:
aggr options aggr1 raidsize 14
Which will set the raidsize to 14 drives for all future raid groups in this aggregrate

This is what I learned by reading through Netapp's documentation and it was confirmed with Netapp tech support who told me that it wouldn't be a problem, to simply drop to the command line, take the aggregate offline, destroy it, and recreate with the proper settings. After explaining that volumes existed they said "oh", put me on hold for about ten minutes and then came back indicating there was no way out of this situation.

So, at this point you may be wondering why we used a raidsize of ten in the first place. Well, it comes down to the consultants who set up the system not understanding how the aggregates/raid groups worked (or two of us misunderstood their explanation that was discussed in depth). Before deciding on the raidsize=10 for this aggregate they explained to us that we could fill our seven empty drive bays and add the disk to the existing raid groups. This was in error and it ended up costing us almost 1TB of space. Bottom line, don't change the default raidsize on aggregates unless you really know what you are doing.

All of this happened on a FAS 3020 running 7.1.1 using Flexvols for all volumes.