Notes on setting up host nargothrond

Russell Bateman
September 2013
last update:

Table of Contents

Server installation
Disk list
Setting up ZFS...
Additional set-up
The Mormegil slays Glaurung.

This is a log of events setting up a new host on which I'll run the Plex Media server. I'm choosing the recent Linux Mint 19 LTS Tara desktop based on Ubuntu Bionic Beaver. This is a departure from normal: I usually set up a headless, Ubuntu Server. This time, however, the box will remain in my den where I can keep an eye on it and I'll want to enjoy the GUI options of Cinnamon desktop.


I name my servers after elf kingdoms. Nargothrond was Finrod Felagund's realm in western Beleriand, but, after his death at the hands of Sauron, it was destroyed about year 495 First Age by Glaurung, the urulókë or fire-drake, with the direct contribution of the arrogance of Túrin Turambar who refused to allow Felagund's brother Orodreth, heir and ruler, to break down the "stones of [their] pride," that is, the bridge he had built over the river Narog by which the worm and orcs easily passed in their sack.

Hardly, or not at all, was this arrogance redeemed by the Mormegil later when, as Glaurung crawled over the Narog, Turambar slew the dragon. Orodreth and his kingdom were all lost or enslaved in Thangorodrim. His daugher, Finduilas, was slain on the borders of Brethil by orcs—not the least of the expatriates of Aman.


Hardware being used, the system was purchased in September, 2018, the WD Red drives in June and July 2019:

HP EliteDesk 800 G1 Desktop PC Mid-Tower
Intel Core i7-4770 3.4GHz CPU
16Gb memory
2Tb hard drive (Hitachi, system)
2 × Western Digital Red 8Tb hard drives

In the cabinet, the Hitachi drive is at top in front of the optical spindle. Below are the two Western Digital drives along with an extra fan to stir the air or load down the power supply—I don't know which. In fact, it's the Hitachi drive that gets hot, not the other two.

Disk list

SATA connectors on-board. We have 5 of them. At present, one is taken by the optical spindle, the second is taken by the Hitachi 2Tb drive on which root, swap and boot are configured. I'm adding two brand-new Western Digital 8Tb. I'll be using the two on-board SATA connectors shown that stand together (leaving one of the other three empty).

  1. Hitachi 2Tb (system disk)
  2. Western Digital Red 8Tb (Plex Media)
  3. Western Digital Red 8Tb (Plex Media, mirror)

The Western Digital Red drives are specially built to accommodate occasional writes (laying down the video media files), intense reading (consumers streaming the video media) and to spin for years before breaking down.

I set up my first Plex Media server in September 2013, I think. I used a machine that I had set up a year earlier to simulate a data center. It was hardware I built around an Intel i5. I did not use special NAS drives when I added 2 × ( 4Tb + 2Tb disks), but this hardware has run 27×7 since then and is still running today (2019). I've only had to replace a crashed system disk.

Pre-launch maintenance

I discarded the Windows 10 software that came installed as it's useless crap and instead installed Linux Mint 19 Tara.

Setting up ZFS...

Later the next spring, in June of 2019, I obtained a Western Digital Red 8Tb drive. My objective is to clone the existing Plex Media server already described for redundancy's sake. The original hardware, running since 2013, is pretty old. I installed this drive and set up zfs on it in preparation for later when I purchase the same drive in order to mirror it. Here's what I did. I bought two of these disks from Amazon at around $225 each.

WD 8Tb Red/NAS SATA 6 Gb/s 256Mb cache WD80EFAX

Let's get started. The steps are:

  1. Get root—all of this must be done by the superuser.
    russ@nargothrond:~$ sudo bash
  2. Set up apt to install new software.
    root@nargothrond:~# cd /etc/apt
    root@nargothrond:/etc/apt# ll
    total 60
    drwxr-xr-x   7 root root  4096 Jul  6 07:28 .
    drwxr-xr-x 150 root root 12288 Jul  5 23:56 ..
    drwxr-xr-x   2 root root  4096 Jul  5 23:56 apt.conf.d
    drwxr-xr-x   2 root root  4096 Mar 11 03:34 auth.conf.d
    drwxr-xr-x   2 root root  4096 Feb 11 11:54 preferences.d
    -rw-r--r--   1 root root    89 Oct  7  2018 sources.list
    drwxr-xr-x   2 root root  4096 Jul  5 23:51 sources.list.d
    -rw-r--r--   1 root root 10599 Jul  1 18:54 trusted.gpg
    -rw-r--r--   1 root root  4969 May 20 20:57 trusted.gpg~
    drwxr-xr-x   2 root root  4096 Jul  1 18:54 trusted.gpg.d
    root@nargothrond:/etc/apt# ll sources.list.d/
    total 24
    drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 Jul  5 23:51 .
    drwxr-xr-x 7 root root 4096 Jul  6 07:28 ..
    -rw-r--r-- 1 root root  190 Nov  6  2018 google-chrome.list
    -rw-r--r-- 1 root root  110 Jul  5 23:49 mkvtoolnix.list
    -rw-r--r-- 1 root root  485 Oct  7  2018 official-package-repositories.list
    -rw-r--r-- 1 root root  156 May 20 21:00 stebbins-handbrake-releases-bionic.list
    root@nargothrond:/etc/apt# apt edit-sources
    Select an editor.  To change later, run 'select-editor'.
      1. /usr/bin/vim.gtk3
      2. /bin/nano        <---- easiest
      3. /usr/bin/vim.tiny
      4. /bin/ed
    Choose 1-4 [2]: 1
    root@nargothrond:/etc/apt# apt-add-repository main
    root@nargothrond:/etc/apt# apt-add-repository restricted
    root@nargothrond:/etc/apt# apt-add-repository universe
    root@nargothrond:/etc/apt# apt-add-repository multiverse
    root@nargothrond:/etc/apt# apt-get update
    Hit:1 bionic InRelease
    Ign:2 tara InRelease
    Hit:3 tara Release
    Hit:4 bionic InRelease
    Get:6 bionic-updates InRelease [88.7 kB]
    Get:7 bionic-security InRelease [88.7 kB]
    Hit:8 bionic InRelease
    Get:9 bionic-backports InRelease [74.6 kB]
    Get:10 bionic-updates/main amd64 Packages [678 kB]
    Get:11 bionic-security/main amd64 DEP-11 Metadata [24.1 kB]
    Get:12 bionic-updates/main i386 Packages [555 kB]
    Get:13 bionic-security/universe amd64 DEP-11 Metadata [41.3 kB]
    Get:14 bionic-security/multiverse amd64 DEP-11 Metadata [2,464 B]
    Get:15 bionic-updates/main amd64 DEP-11 Metadata [283 kB]
    Get:16 bionic-updates/universe i386 Packages [953 kB]
    Get:17 bionic-updates/universe amd64 Packages [969 kB]
    Get:18 bionic-updates/universe amd64 DEP-11 Metadata [249 kB]
    Get:19 bionic-updates/multiverse amd64 DEP-11 Metadata [2,468 B]
    Get:20 bionic-backports/universe amd64 DEP-11 Metadata [7,224 B]
    Fetched 4,018 kB in 4s (955 kB/s)
    Reading package lists... Done
    root@nargothrond:/etc/apt# apt edit-sources
  3. Install zfs from available Debian packages offered by apt-get.
    root@nargothrond:/etc/apt# apt-get install zfsutils-linux
    Reading package lists... Done
    Building dependency tree
    Reading state information... Done
    The following package was automatically installed and is no longer required:
    Use 'apt autoremove' to remove it.
    The following additional packages will be installed:
      libnvpair1linux libuutil1linux libzfs2linux libzpool2linux
    Suggested packages:
      nfs-kernel-server zfs-initramfs | zfs-dracut
    Recommended packages:
    The following NEW packages will be installed:
      libnvpair1linux libuutil1linux libzfs2linux libzpool2linux zfsutils-linux
    0 upgraded, 5 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
    Need to get 1,110 kB of archives.
    After this operation, 4,015 kB of additional disk space will be used.
    Do you want to continue? [Y/n] y
    Get:1 bionic-updates/main amd64 libnvpair1linux amd64 0.7.5-1ubuntu16.4 [45.3 kB]
    Get:2 bionic-updates/main amd64 libuutil1linux amd64 0.7.5-1ubuntu16.4 [48.1 kB]
    Get:3 bionic-updates/main amd64 libzpool2linux amd64 0.7.5-1ubuntu16.4 [548 kB]
    Get:4 bionic-updates/main amd64 libzfs2linux amd64 0.7.5-1ubuntu16.4 [128 kB]
    Get:5 bionic-updates/main amd64 zfsutils-linux amd64 0.7.5-1ubuntu16.4 [341 kB]
    Fetched 1,110 kB in 1s (847 kB/s)
    Selecting previously unselected package libnvpair1linux.
    (Reading database ... 372809 files and directories currently installed.)
    Preparing to unpack .../libnvpair1linux_0.7.5-1ubuntu16.4_amd64.deb ...
    Unpacking libnvpair1linux (0.7.5-1ubuntu16.4) ...
    Selecting previously unselected package libuutil1linux.
    Preparing to unpack .../libuutil1linux_0.7.5-1ubuntu16.4_amd64.deb ...
    Unpacking libuutil1linux (0.7.5-1ubuntu16.4) ...
    Selecting previously unselected package libzpool2linux.
    Preparing to unpack .../libzpool2linux_0.7.5-1ubuntu16.4_amd64.deb ...
    Unpacking libzpool2linux (0.7.5-1ubuntu16.4) ...
    Selecting previously unselected package libzfs2linux.
    Preparing to unpack .../libzfs2linux_0.7.5-1ubuntu16.4_amd64.deb ...
    Unpacking libzfs2linux (0.7.5-1ubuntu16.4) ...
    Selecting previously unselected package zfsutils-linux.
    Preparing to unpack .../zfsutils-linux_0.7.5-1ubuntu16.4_amd64.deb ...
    Unpacking zfsutils-linux (0.7.5-1ubuntu16.4) ...
    Setting up libuutil1linux (0.7.5-1ubuntu16.4) ...
    Setting up libnvpair1linux (0.7.5-1ubuntu16.4) ...
    Processing triggers for libc-bin (2.27-3ubuntu1) ...
    Processing triggers for man-db (2.8.3-2ubuntu0.1) ...
    Setting up libzpool2linux (0.7.5-1ubuntu16.4) ...
    Setting up libzfs2linux (0.7.5-1ubuntu16.4) ...
    Setting up zfsutils-linux (0.7.5-1ubuntu16.4) ...
    Created symlink /etc/systemd/system/ → /lib/systemd/system/zfs-import-cache.service.
    Created symlink /etc/systemd/system/zfs-mount.service.wants/ → /lib/systemd/system/
    Created symlink /etc/systemd/system/ → /lib/systemd/system/
    Created symlink /etc/systemd/system/zfs-mount.service.wants/zfs-load-module.service → /lib/systemd/system/zfs-load-module.service.
    Created symlink /etc/systemd/system/ → /lib/systemd/system/zfs-load-module.service.
    Created symlink /etc/systemd/system/zfs-share.service.wants/zfs-mount.service → /lib/systemd/system/zfs-mount.service.
    Created symlink /etc/systemd/system/ → /lib/systemd/system/zfs-mount.service.
    Created symlink /etc/systemd/system/ → /lib/systemd/system/zfs-share.service.
    Created symlink /etc/systemd/system/ → /lib/systemd/system/
    zfs-import-scan.service is a disabled or a static unit, not starting it.
    Processing triggers for libc-bin (2.27-3ubuntu1) ...
  4. Make certain zfs is available.
    root@nargothrond:/etc/apt# zpool status
    no pools available
  5. There are no pools set up yet, of course. Let's discover the new disk(s) I put into the computer. We're looking for Western Digital 8Tb drives. We see "WDC" and "WD80" in the table that comes out.
    root@nargothrond:/etc/apt# ls -l /dev/disk/by-id
    total 0
    lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root  9 Jul  9 18:45 ata-Hitachi_HUA722020ALA331_YBJUTHSF -> ../../sda
    lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 10 Jul  9 18:45 ata-Hitachi_HUA722020ALA331_YBJUTHSF-part1 -> ../../sda1
    lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root  9 Jul  9 18:45 ata-PLDS_DVD+_-RW_DS-8ABSH_23HW67363953862LQA03 -> ../../sr0
    lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root  9 Jul  9 18:45 wwn-0x5000cca099d91c9d -> ../../sdb
    lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root  9 Jul  9 18:45 wwn-0x5000cca099d98321 -> ../../sdc
    lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root  9 Jul  9 18:45 wwn-0x5000cca221e7e849 -> ../../sda
    lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 10 Jul  9 18:45 wwn-0x5000cca221e7e849-part1 -> ../../sda1
    lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root  9 Jul  9 18:45 ata-WDC_WD80EFAX-68KNBN0_VAHT7HXL -> ../../sdb
    lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root  9 Jul  9 18:45 ata-WDC_WD80EFAX-68KNBN0_VAHU3UHL -> ../../sdc
  6. Here's how I set up zfs. First, I create a diagram that basically repeats in table form what I already know from the last step. I know that my Western Digital disks landed on devices sdb and sdc. (sda is the system drive—on which I installed Linux Mint and sr0 is my optical spindle—DVD drive.)
        | Disk                     | Device   | Size    |
        | Western Digital Red 8Tb  | /dev/sdb | 7.1 Tb  |
        | Western Digital Red 8Tb  | /dev/sdc | 7.1 Tb  |
  7. With this plan, I tell zpool to create a mirrored volume, named plex-media, consisting of both devices: the point is that they will be mirrored. The point of mirroring them is for them to have exactly the same data on them. Down the road, if one disk fails and if I notice it has failed, then I can purchase a replacement to swap. After the new drive has been going for a while, zfs will have replicated all the data from the surviving drive on it and I'll have redundancy again.
    root@nargothrond:~# zpool create plex-media mirror /dev/sdb /dev/sdc
  8. Then I get the pool status to see what happened. Clearly, zpool is now aware of my new drives.
    root@nargothrond:~# zpool status
      pool: plex-media
     state: ONLINE
      scan: none requested
    	plex-media  ONLINE       0     0     0
    	  mirror-0  ONLINE       0     0     0
    	    sdb     ONLINE       0     0     0
    	    sdc     ONLINE       0     0     0
    errors: No known data errors
  9. Next, I export my volume. (No, I don't know exactly what that means.) Then I import information into zpool from /dev/disk/by-id that it needs in a way that's much simpler than copying long strings of numbers and letters by hand and from eyesight. I get the pool status again to see the changes that information made. You see that this has enhanced what comes out from the pool status command.
    root@nargothrond:~# zpool export plex-media
    root@nargothrond:~# zpool import -d /dev/disk/by-id plex-media
    root@nargothrond:~# zpool status
      pool: plex-media
     state: ONLINE
      scan: none requested
    	NAME                        STATE     READ WRITE CKSUM
    	plex-media                  ONLINE       0     0     0
    	  mirror-0                  ONLINE       0     0     0
    	    wwn-0x5000cca099d91c9d  ONLINE       0     0     0
    	    wwn-0x5000cca099d98321  ONLINE       0     0     0
    errors: No known data errors
  10. We'll need a mount-point in the filesystem—from the root—for the Plex Media volume. I choose to create it as plex-media even though this is vaguely confusing since it's the zpool volume name as well. I use a filesystem command to verify that such a directory exists. It's empty, but if it didn't exist, I'd get an error.
    root@nargothrond:~# zfs set mountpoint=/plex-media plex-media
    root@nargothrond:~# ll /plex-media
    total 5
    drwxr-xr-x  2 root root    2 Jul  9 19:56 .
    drwxr-xr-x 25 root root 4096 Jul  9 20:02 ..
  11. Last, I use a command that tells me what disks I have and how much free room is left on those disks. This also gives me the real size of my 8Tb drives (only 7.1Tb—for shame).
    root@nargothrond:~# df -h
    Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
    udev            7.8G     0  7.8G   0% /dev
    tmpfs           1.6G  1.4M  1.6G   1% /run
    /dev/sda1       1.8T  100G  1.7T   6% /                 (this is my Linux system disk—the Hitachi drive)
    tmpfs           7.8G   12M  7.8G   1% /dev/shm
    tmpfs           5.0M  4.0K  5.0M   1% /run/lock
    tmpfs           7.8G     0  7.8G   0% /sys/fs/cgroup
    tmpfs           1.6G   32K  1.6G   1% /run/user/1000
    plex-media      7.1T  128K  7.1T   1% /plex-media       (this is the disk for use by my Plex Media server)
  12. Now on to additional set-up...

Additional set-up to come...

  1. Plex Media Server
  2. Copy over Plex content as-is.
  3. Apache 2 httpd