Physical data loss in a virtual world, who ya gonna call ?

Every IT admin has disaster stories of data loss. Most people have seen the picture of the IBM array that fell through the upper floor of the DC.

Unfortunately not every admin has good backups though. Admittedly, it is not something admins like to think about too much. Speaking to KrollOntrack revealed an interesting story about virtual data loss.

Burn baby burn – Disaster can happen anyware. Original photo

Whilst everything about virtualisation gets quicker, automated and more densely packed the risk of data loss increases.  It only takes one bad action, intentional or otherwise and its a case of “Dude, where’s my VM farm gone.”

Speaking to Ernesto @ Ontrack it is a common occurrence. Reasons for data loss include many different scenarios… human error, power loss, malicious deletions, floods and natural disaster, physical array failure… The list goes on.

“We are not here to sell you anything” was a true reflection on the reactive service that you only need when something bad has already happened.

Hopefully I will be writing an interesting new  in-depth article on this for those that are interested in the how, the where and they why but for now, if you want to hear some interesting stories I recommend you drop by their booth @VMworld.

And as a parting thought, to put it into context, shipping an entire array to the clean room for recovery is quite a normal occurrence! Feel you inner nerd.


Dell XPS – The inside story

Hi Everyone,

Just thought I would create a quick blog post to mention my behind the scenes interview with Barton George and Jarred Dominguez of Linux of the Dell Linux on Laptops  fame.

The Dell Linux on laptops interview has been published in the latest edition of Linux Format. It covers how the Linux on Dell offering came to be and the the ups and downs the team experienced.

The interview covers the project skunk work startup, near brush with death and its eventual rise to fame as well as what to expect in future.

Many thanks to Barton, Jared and the Dell PR staff!

Dell on Linux cover shot
Linux Format Dell Interview


WD 4200 NAS factory restore

Hi everyone,

I thought I should blog about this because it seems to be a very common issue.  When you buy a WD 4200 there is no restore disk so how do you restore it to factory reset ?

Even some of the information on the WD site is incorrect. It was a frustrating experience, especially as support wanted to know why I was doing a factory reset on my DX4200. None of their business really!

I knew that the  WD 4200 had a recovery partition but wasn’t sure on how to invoke a restore using it. It appears I wasn’t the only one thinking “WTF?”.

So without further ado, here is how to restore the WD 4200 NAS to factory default:

  1. Log in to the  WD 4200 from the console (ie no RDP!)
  2. Whilst holding the shift key,select the power button (top right) select Reboot. .
  3. From the drop down list of reasons select “Operating System Recovery (Planned)” and click ok.
  4. At this point the WD 4200 will reboot.
  5. After reboot it will present a new screen with a couple of options. Select Advanced options.
  6. At this point there is the option to do a “WD Factory restore”.

At this point you can just let the reinstallation routine run. It will reboot and reconfigure several times. Apparently a full restore can take several days but given that there is 16 TB in there it is kind of understandable, assuming it wipes the disks!

If you have lost your primary drive and looking to reinstall however you are really out of luck. According to support there is no recovery disk available.