[conspire] Another low-power server

Luke S Crawford lsc at prgmr.com
Wed Oct 7 18:16:37 PDT 2009

Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> writes:
> Anyhow, I remember that one customer wanted rackmount clusters of those
> puppies, and it turned out that a full-sized floor-mounted rack of 45(?)
> of those units drew more power than could be delivered by any of their
> electrical circuits.
> And the thing is, hardly anyone seemed to care.  The physical inability
> to power a full-sized rack of them was widely seen as an unfortunate
> inconvenience, rather than a sign that burning that much power might be
> A Bad Thing that might be worth avoiding.

Heh.  Yeah, my rack is built 'as I go'  The thing is, if I can keep
capacity  up, hardware pays for itself in the first month due to 3,
6, and 12 month prepayments. But I don't have the cash about to buy 
a rack worth of hardware at once.  The thing is, I'm cheap, so things 
like chassis are 'catch as catch can' - I found a deal on these nice 3u 
supermicros[1] I ended up paying under $150 each with hot swap backplanes, 
so I use a lot of them.  But sometimes I find I have the rack almost
full and still haven't squeezed 75% out of my 2x 20a circuts.  In 
those cases I use one of the supermicro 2 in 1u chassis[2] - 
Now, if I wasn't super cheap I'd use 1u supermicros, but the 1u 
dual socket f superservers run around $700 each new, and
the 2 in 1u superservers, also dual socket f run around $1000,
and that gets me 2 servers.  

> I'm certainly interested in these ARM--based options, especially the
> ones able to support a reasonable amount of RAM, and able to mount a
> mirrored pair of hi-speed or "SuperSpeed" USB drives, so you're not 
> limited to Flash.  However, doing without floating point (thus, painful
> SSL/ssh) seems a high price to pay.  

Hm.  I thought the new ARMs had a FPU.  the OMAP stuff?  It's not
really my area, I just hear chatter about it because it is Sarah's.

I have a opengear brand 48 port serial console server that I access
via ssh, and it is rather slow, but not unusable.   the slowness is
only a problem when you connect (or, I imagine, if you were trying
to copy files over ssh)  - once you are connected, it is plenty 

> > These would also be good for things like kerberos servers.  
> With ARM CPUs and thus no FPUs?  Really?

Most kerberos servers have low cpu requirements.  (I mean, they need
to respond quickly, but hardware from the mid-90s seemed to get the job
done just fine.  I don't know how an arm would compare to a mid-90s cpu, 
honestly, but I'd risk $100 to find out.)  

I've actually got a shevaplug right now... the thing is, the plug
form factor is kinda dumb for the data center, and it lacks 
a serial console.  


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