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[Discuss] Redundant array of inexpensive servers: clustering?

I am sure I have blathered about this before...

Something I looked at at a previous job (they didn't bite) was replacing 
a hodpodge of physically dying servers with a pair of modern servers, 
each big enough to carry the load, but set up rather redundantly. More 
recently I was thinking I might do something related to replace my own 
basement server(s).

The rough idea:

  - Each box does Linux software raid 1 (on disks from different 
manufacturers) to cushion against a dead disk.
  - On top of the raid (and probably some LVM) is DRBD in a hot/spare 
arrangement, so a single filesystem can be seen from each box. (But not 
a clustered filesystem, seems no point, instead just do a shift of which 
box gets to talk at any point.
  - Each box has a dedicated fast ethernet link to the other for DRBD 
  - Use KVM for virtualization of guest VMs, and live migration between 
the two boxes.
  - Dual /-partitions on each box so the host OS can get upgrades that 
can be quickly be reverted with a reboot.
  - If inside the VMs I want to do dual /-partitions, that might be 
smart, too.
  - Some attention to physical dispersal: like external USB 3 or ESATA 
disks, so a single smoking event doesn't necessarily smoke everything. 
Put the second box at some physical distance, too.
  - UPSs to keep the boxes running through power outages. Maybe 
hibernate to disk when the power runs out?
  - And some thought about how to snapshot and backup VM data, even haul 
offsite if I want to be extra good. Ping-pong between two encrypted 
backup disks. I crafted that once, too.

Not a high performance model but a high availability model that doesn't 
care much about what happens inside the VMs. A given VM that isn't 
otherwise interested in rebooting might be run for years in such a rig.

The Shuttle's DS61 V1.1 looks like a nice way to build a minimal array 
like this.


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