Recent Home Network Woes…

The annual upgrade plans for my home network have to be accelerated somewhat due to a couple of system failures I have experienced over the past few months. It all started back in August when my old desktop system died.  Thankfully, it was already the former desktop system at the time of its demise, and I was getting ready to transition it to another role.  We’ll call this System-A.

After not bothering with it for a couple of months, I finally obtained a replacement motherboard and CPU, and performed the upgrade in October.  Just as quickly as I brought one system back up, another system went down. Only three weeks removed from the first issue, my primary antispam server died on me.  Let’s call this System-B.  (It had started rebooting spontaneously over the course of 2 or 3 months, for what I had initially felt was a heat issue.)

Again, as blessed as I am, I was ready to start using the replacement system (the recently remodeled System-A) as my new antispam server because I had already copied over much of the data from the old antispam/monitoring system (System-B), AND I was in the process of testing a new antispam product.  I made the necessary changes on my firewall to direct the flow of mail to the new system, and attended to other things. Figuring that it was a hard drive that was a fault, I decided to wait a little while until I could collect some funds from a small project I had worked on.

Yea, right.  That plan was short-lived because one of my Domain Controllers decided to start displaying memory errors.  And not the old P2-400 with 384MB RAM and two measly 8GB hard drives.  Of course not.  Instead, I had to deal with the specter of losing the Athlon Thunderbird 850Mhz, with 512MB RAM and 80GB of disk space — which also serves as a major file storage source. Let’s call this System-C.  This system had also served as a SQL 2000 server for a while, but I migrated that function away when I rebuilt System-A, and took the time to also upgrade to SQL 2005.   Alas, I never moved the mailing lists from that server.  Sigh…

I finally opened up both System-B and System-C this past week, and discovered that both of them had an issue with leaking capacitors on the motherboard.  Considering the extent of the damage on the domain controller’s motherboard, I’m almost surprised that the machine could even boot up at all.  I cleaned out the many dust bunnies, and brought both boxes back online to get the final copies of data for backup purposes.  Great.

So, I’ve ordered myself a system (System-D) to replace the DC outright (there was an issue with the case which makes me inclined to forgo a motherboard replacement for it, not to mention my utter dislike for motherboard upgrades).  It’s going to be based on a 64-bit Sempron 3000 processor, although I haven’t committed to running 64-bit Windows on it as yet.  And I’ve ordered a new 500GB NAS for central file storage. The case of System-B is really nice, so I’m going to get a new motherboard for it (and possibly a new CPU), and make it my new domain controller.  I’m really still debating on whether or not to just get another motherboard to support the 1.8Ghz P4 that I currently have, since that would be less of a hassle overall, and my DC isn’t really stressed for computational power.  We’ll just have to see what other services I decide to run on the domain controller now.  I’ll probably take this opportunity to distribute all those other server functions to the member servers in the domain — especially to the new System-D.

Finally, as I write this post, my wife indicates that several of the keys on her 5-year old laptop have decided to go on hiatus.  And not keys like the tilde (~), which she could care less about.  No, no… How about the DEL key and the down arrow?  Again, we were planning to get her a new laptop in January, but that might get bumped up a few weeks.

I’m also thinking of getting a system to run SuSE Linux permanently, rather than in an occasional virtual machine (VM).  Perhaps I’m make it my overall monitoring system instead of obtaining a new box.  Or, perhaps I’ll just get a new motherboard for System-C, despite my earlier complaint about motherboard changes.

No matter how you look at it, I’ve had to endure a number of changes to my upgrade plans since August, but it will be good to get a few updated systems into the mix.  A few of these folks were getting long in the tooth.

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