One broken 40 GB hard drive = a brand new Mac Pro

Mac Pro

Yesterday morning, i woke up to this sound: clink-clank clink-clank, duh duh duh duh duh, clink-clank clink-clank, duh duh duh duh duh. Yeap, that was the dying moan made by the main hard drive in my 8-year old Dell server. This is the second hard drive that went south on me in less than a month. The first hard drive failure forced my PowerMac G4 Cube into retirement about 3 weeks ago.
Bad Western Digital hard drives

My initial thought was to buy two replacement hard drives, to be configured in RAID1. In a RAID1 configuration, even if i completely lose a hard drive, the other hard drive can still keep on chugging along. As i was driving through the horrible morning commute on I-5, another thought came to me. It really did not make much sense to buy two brand new hard drives to be installed in a very old server.

Brandon suggested getting a cheap refurbished computer. There is no chance in hell that i will pay for a non-Apple PC, even a dirt cheap refurbished computer. I had been waiting for an updated MacBook Pro for almost a year to replace my 17″ 1-GHz Powerbook. There’s nothing wrong with my Powerbook. It’s just very slow in performing some of my daily tasks. This is especially so since i upgraded to Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard about a week ago.

Then a thought appeared in my mind. What if i get a machine that is powerful enough to run multiple virtual environments (or virtual machines) that can host my web server and run some variant of MS Windows, if i am really that desperate. The latest Mac Pro desktop is just what the doctor prescribed. Not only is it fast (it comes with 2 Quad-core processors running at 2.8 GHz), it is aesthetically pleasing to me as well. With Smelly‘s help, i was able to get it $200 cheaper than retail from the Apple Store at University Village.

On arriving home, i immediately set it up and installed VMware Fusion. VMware Fusion is a Mac OS X-based product by VMware that allows a great variety of guest operating systems to run in virtual machines that are completely isolated from the host operating system. I created a Ubuntu Linux virtual machine. Ever since i started dabbing in Linux, i had always been using distributions by Redhat. I have heard a lot of good things about Ubuntu Linux lately so i decided to give it a shot. Installing Ubuntu 7.10 on the virtual machine was a breeze. I believe this may be the quickest ever that i got my web server up and running again. Including the time that it took to restore the essential files from the backups of my old server, i managed to get partially up in less than 3 hours.

So is back up now, proudly hosted on my brand new Mac Pro, courtesy of a broken 40 GB hard drive.

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