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Why did I choose the DragonFlyBSD Operating System? by Siju George

Source of image: zhtv live journal

For me it was a Journey in search of the right software for the Job I had in my hands. I first heard about BSD itself when I was learning Windows NT at a local institute. I read in a magazine that hotmail initially ran on FreeBSD . And also that yahoo runs on FreeBSD.

In India at that time ( year 2000 ) high speed Internet was a rare thing for common people and I could not learn much about BDSs hands on. Around that time I was given an opportunity to go and learn something in a newly started IT firm ( http://www.hifx.co.in/ )which had 4 computers and 3 programmers working in PHP at that time.

I was told to manage the Windows 2000 Server which was the development machine running Apache/PHP/Mysql. I soon migrated the Apache/PHP/Mysql stack to Redhat Linux then to Mandrake then to PCQLinux and back to Redhat again. But by Redhat9 I was fed up with the OS and switched to Debian. After an year or so we had around 7-8 programmers working on PHP and I was taken in the rolls of the company.

Slowly I replaced the Windows 2000 firewall with OpenBSD and PF and wrote this. http://undeadly.org/cgi?action=article&sid=20041013190823 Later a similar BTech flunk guy ( he passed later ) from BSD-India mailingist joined to work with me 🙂 We replaced the Windows 2000 Domain Controller with FreeBSD and Samba 3.x

Slowly the company started growing and we had more people and I started administering our client’s Servers on the Internet. We had a Debian Backup Server with backuppc running on it for backups and wanted to use 120GB hard disks on it at a later stage but no Linux or BSD distro would detect the disks except OpenBSD at that time. So I installed OpenBSD with RAIDFRAME and got a kind soul in the openbsd-misc mailing list to make a backuppc port for me.

I loved OpenBSD because it was very faithful for every thing we needed. But there was a problem, after an unclean shut down it took a lot of time for fsck and raid parity checks of the mirrored disks. The RAID parity checks could be run in the background so the problem was partially solved. OpenBSD served us well and for any purpose OpenSBD it is my first choice even now. It survived many frequent power failures and still kept the Data safe.

I started hating FreeBSD after a port-upgrade broke in between and well it was trouble 🙁 OpenBSD booted faster, had /etc centralized and detected any hardware I presented to it. So when we had to upgrade our backup server’s hard disk from 120GB to 500GB

1) FreeBSD was not a choice though ZFS was persuasive

2) OpenBSD/RAIDFRAME/fsck was not a choice

3) Linux/RAID/fsck was not a choice

I new about DragonFly BSD, and had read about Hammer file system but was not sure if any one was using it in production, so a google search brought me to http://leaf.dragonflybsd.org/mailarchive/users/2009-06/msg00042.html and I asked the dragonfly-users mailinglist http://leaf.dragonflybsd.org/mailarchive/users/2009-06/msg00050.html.

Hence I tried this in qemu 🙂 http://leaf.dragonflybsd.org/mailarchive/users/2009-06/msg00062.html

Matt Dillon DragonFly’s project leader jumped in and gave me ideas and I implemented it. Now I just love the DragonFly OS due to the following features

1) Rolling release 🙂 Development branch is stable enough for me. If I keep an eye on the [Heads UP] mails sent to the DragonFly users list I can avoid troubles. There is no need for every six months major upgrades. Just upgrade little by little weekly or monthly as I have time.

2) 2 500GB disks but no fsck after unclean shutdown. It is pure pleasure to show Linux admins how I can pull the plug and get the OS and file system up and running in less than a minute 😉

3) Sufficient Redundancy without RAID parity checks Matt Introduced me to mirroring and I could do away with RAID completely in my setup. The Data is kept in a Hammer Partition/Volume ( Backup1 ) on the first disk. PFSes are made with different snapshot and prune-min settings according to the storage needs. These PFSes are mirrored using ( mirror-stream ) on to a Hammer Partition/Volume ( Backup2 ) on the second disk.

4) Instant every 5 mins backup for Windows/Mac OS X/BSD/Linux/Solaris users. Just drag and drop the files you need 🙂

This part was the greatest success in the company among developers.They have become very relaxed about backups now 🙂 I wrote this but due to my lack of WiKi editing knowledge it still needs to be refined. dragonfly.docks

I not only share www files but also mysql sql dump files like this every hour. So now Developers don’t have to approach admins for any backup requirements. Suppose if they accidentally over write the latest files with a backup? Well they get the changes that was there till 5 mins back. Just drag and drop the right thing again 🙂

This is how a Windows User can browse a snapshot through Samba http://leaf.dragonflybsd.org/~sgeorge/PICs/Samba-hammer-snapshot-bkp-1.png

5) Variable File System snapshot schemes for Master and Slave PFSes

6) Remote Encrypted File System Mirroring using hammer mirror-stream using SSH

7) Able to Add Volumes to Hammer File System on the Fly.

What I am looking forward to?

1) CARP implementation whereby I can run 2 systems on the same IP

2) Hammer2 which I think will greatly influence the way cloud computing is done. I follow this porject fully hoping that one day Dragonfly will provide easy clustering support 🙂

Source: LinkedIn Pulse

About the author:

Siju Oommen George, CISO&CE,

BroadTech IT Solutions

LinkedIn: Sijus LinkedIn

LinkedIn group: AllSec Group

Webpage: BroadTech


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