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Old 12-28-2011, 05:46 AM   #1
FineArt0104
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Registered: Dec 2011
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Distribution: Was SLES 10.2, now Ubuntu 11.10
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Linux File Server storing data in DOS/WINDOWS format


Hello,

I've recently lost the motherboard that supported my SLES Fileserver. Replacing the motherboard caused boot issues. In order to run NSS, SLES 10.2 required EVMS/LVM. New motherboard would not start the EVMS partition.

I have since been able to recover my data intact from this server, nearly 6TB worth. Whew!!!

I still wish to stick with a Linux file server solution, but I would like to avoid another data loss circumstance such as I've just gone thru. Obviously, a server backup solution would provide much needed redundancy, but that is not currently an option on my budget.

I am now considering other OS options for a file server. Currently messing with Server 2003. But I still prefer a Linux solution. I am still considering SLES and have also been considering Ubuntu Server.

Have a question tho. This may sound stupid but is it possible to build an Linux server yet have it store files in an MSDOS/WINDOWS format, (vfat?), so that should the OS ever get hosed, I can stick the data drives in a PC and still access my data? Would it be compatible? Would it be that simple? Is there a drawback(s) to this?

I would appreciate any advice to whether or not this is possible or reasonable. I do have some experience with Linux but I'm not terrible familiar with the partitioning options and limitations. I know DOS devices can be mounted and shared. But don't know if that extends to the actual data storage drives within the server itself. I would think it does. But that's why I'm asking.

Thanks for your time!
 
Old 12-28-2011, 06:41 AM   #2
vikas027
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FineArt0104 View Post
Have a question tho. This may sound stupid but is it possible to build an Linux server yet have it store files in an MSDOS/WINDOWS format, (vfat?), so that should the OS ever get hosed, I can stick the data drives in a PC and still access my data? Would it be compatible? Would it be that simple? Is there a drawback(s) to this?
Yes, it is possible to build a Linux server and mount (or use) windows (FAT/NTFS) filesystems. You can access all you windows data in the Linux server. You have not mentioned the types of files you want to access, so I cannot comment on compatibility. But yes, all window default files are accessible and usable provided you have the appropriate package on the Linux server.
 
Old 12-28-2011, 08:59 AM   #3
FineArt0104
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That's good to hear, Viaks. To go a little further, can the data drive, (with the Windows file on it), be removed from a Linux server and connected to a Windows computer and the Windows box be able to access the data directly? Or would there be some sort of Linux partition in between?

Thanks again!
 
Old 12-28-2011, 09:44 AM   #4
vikas027
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Originally Posted by FineArt0104 View Post
To go a little further, can the data drive, (with the Windows file on it), be removed from a Linux server and connected to a Windows computer and the Windows box be able to access the data directly?
If I understood this question correctly, you are saying that you have FAT/NTFS drive which you plugged in a Linux box and then back to windows. Yes, this is possible and does not require any specific partition.

Last edited by vikas027; 12-28-2011 at 09:52 AM.
 
Old 12-28-2011, 10:52 AM   #5
FineArt0104
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No, that's not what I'm asking......

Lets say I build a linux server and config it so it store my data in DOS/Windows format. Then, 6 months down the road, this linux server fails due to a bad motherboard.

Can I simply pull the data drive from the now dead linux server and just plug it into a Windows box and read the data directly?
 
Old 12-28-2011, 11:37 AM   #6
vikas027
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Originally Posted by FineArt0104 View Post
No, that's not what I'm asking......

Lets say I build a linux server and config it so it store my data in DOS/Windows format. Then, 6 months down the road, this linux server fails due to a bad motherboard.

Can I simply pull the data drive from the now dead linux server and just plug it into a Windows box and read the data directly?
Yes, you can provided that you have formatted the drive in NTFS(recommended)/FAT partition.
 
Old 12-28-2011, 10:49 PM   #7
frankbell
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FineArt0104 View Post
Can I simply pull the data drive from the now dead linux server and just plug it into a Windows box and read the data directly?
Of course. Basically, you would be using the data drive as a giant USB thumbdrive.

Have you considered using an external USB drive for the data storage? One of them would likely come factory-formatted in a Windows-compatible file system.

I actually used to swap a 250 GB FAT32 drive back and forth between a Windows and a Linux computer because it was a situation in which sneakernet was the easiest, if not the most elegant, choice.

Right now, I have an external on one of my Linux machines shared over the network with Samba.

Last edited by frankbell; 12-28-2011 at 10:51 PM.
 
Old 12-29-2011, 04:58 AM   #8
FineArt0104
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Just so happens I'm using a 3TB USB drive to rescue my data. I would copy a drive from my server to it, then pull that drive and put in my Windows box. Then I'd copy another server drive to that drive, and then do it again. When done, I put my last drive in the Windows box and copied off the data from the 3TB drive. Nearly 6TBs. Took about 4 days, ugh!

I don't wanna go thru all this again. Tho it was a dead motherboard problem, not Linux, that caused all the trouble. The Linux issue came about when I tried to place the drive in a similar system. Wouldn't start the EVMS partition, which contained the Linux system. (EVMS was required to use Novell NSS.) I don't mind dealing with failures or problems... that's the nature of the beast. I just want to have confidence that I can recover from them without loss of data. If I can just throw the drives into another system, config fstab and a few other tweaks and get my data back online, that'd be a real relief.

Just want a good Linux file server for my Windows boxes to access.

I have a couple small systems that I want to use to test different scenarios. I've even been messing around with FreeNAS. Runs from a 500M thumbdrive. Leaves all internal ports available for storage drives. Gonna try building a small FreeNAS system, copy data to a drive, then place drive and thumbdrive in a different system and see what happens.

I guess going back to what I mentioned above about throwing the drives into another system to recover my data, is there a Linux filesystem that maintains its "configurations" on the actual data drive, allowing you to place the drive in any Linux box and it find itself? Is that what the EXT3 & 4 filesystems do??

Everything is just SO TIME CONSUMING!! My patience is about shot. May just leave the darn drives in my Windows box and be done with it all! lol

I truly appreciate everyone's input. Please continue to pass along your thots and recommendations. I'm still learning Linux and I just don't know how to do a lot of things that I take for granted in Windows.
 
  


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