Trials and Errors in Data Transfer

A project that I’ve long been neglecting is the transfer of around 200GB of data from some old hard drives that were in a Linux PC that I had in operation a couple of years ago. What would have ordinarily been a rather trivial task is complicated by the fact that the drives are tethered together via LVM, and they can only be easily read while all simultaneously installed in a Linux environment.

The saga has been ongoing for some time, and it is now in dire need of a happy ending. It has destroyed or temporarily disabled at least four machines and left anger and frustration in its wake. A recent weekend in Knoxville found my friend Joe and I spending several hours attempting to first install the drives in a rather old 2U rack-mount server, only to find that it wouldn’t power on afterwards. Subsequently we moved the drives into an even more ancient 4U server, which would boot up just fine and then switch into a graphics mode that his modern LCD monitor couldn’t understand.

To hold the data, I’ve procured a totally sweet-sounding 500GB Fantom Drives GForce Megadisk, but I’ve yet to even plug the thing in since all of these hardware problems have been distracting me.

My latest plan involves not an actual Linux machine at all, but a virtual machine created by VMWare Fusion. Then I can get no less than three external hard drive enclosures for these old drives and a USB hub that will allow me to plug in all four drives into the girlfriend’s Macbook Pro. Then I’ll boot a Linux live cd of some flavor in a Fusion VM, configure all the drives as an LVM group again, and copy all the data to the new drive, lickety-split.

After all this, I’ll have three old drives in external enclosures that I suppose I could use for storing other things. Perhaps I can just borrow some enclosures from someone and save the unnecessary purchase there. Maybe I can just “borrow” them from the store and return them when I’m done.

Needless to say, the adventure continues. I hope it ends soon.

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