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SubjectRe: Nasty suprise with uptime
On Tue, 30 Oct 2001, bert hubert wrote:

> Having huge uptimes is by the way not adviseable operational policy
> according to many. Chances are you will be in for a nasty surprise when you
> reboot - do you remember after a year which daemons you 'started by hand'
> and how?

While this isn't exactly on topic for l-k, I just thought that I would
share my recent pain as it does fit in this thread.

I had a box that I inherited. It just did its job. Actually most of my
co-workers didn't even know which box performed this function, and when
they saw the physical box, they didn't know what it did.

It was running a 2.0.x kernel. One day after running for a long time (I'm
guessing close to 500 days) it just went wacky. I tried getting into the
machine by ssh, but nothing was really working right at all. So I figured
a reboot was in order.

This was a crappy 486/66, with no reset button. So a power cycle was
called for. When I started the machine back up, it did the file system
has not been checked in a long time thing, and it started the fsck.

After a bit I saw read errors start to spew to the screen, tons of bad
blocks. Then the machine squealed for a few seconds, clicked, and then
all was silent, except for the steady stream of errors on the console.

A second power cycle confermed what I already knew. The BIOS reported a
failure in the disk controller (the drive would spin up for 2 seconds
squeal and click a little bit as it spun back down).

This machine was configured to do a task, just forward messages to a
paging terminal. It's configuration was never changed. It had a one of
those floppy-tape drives in it. I knew were the backup tape was, it was
made 3 years ago when the machine was first put into action.

Of course the tape was unreadble at this point. So the installation and
configuration was recreated from my memory. Luckly I have a good memory,
but it did take me 2 days to get everything running right again.

So the moral of the story is. Reboot every-so-often. Set your fsck to
run at around 2 months, x number of reboots is good too. I like to
stagger my partitions with 5 reboots between each, even on journaled
filesystems. And verify your backups even if the machine isn't changing.

I usually follow those rules, but the cute little 486 in the corner with
the 240MB hard drive, 16MB of RAM, and the monster uptimes was just too
much fun to brag about. I'm not bragging anymore, and it is disassembled
on the floor in my office.

Two penguins were walking on an iceberg. The first penguin said to the
second, "you look like you are wearing a tuxedo." The second penguin
said, "I might be..." --David Lynch, Twin Peaks

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