[conspire] DVI to VGA (was Re: CABAL this Saturday)

Tony Godshall tony at of.net
Wed Jul 28 22:39:48 PDT 2010

>> Surprised you're looking at is as a server replacement.  External hard
>> drives on a server?  SAN?  Dual gigabit ethernet means you could
>> isolate SAN from the rest of the network.  Hmmm.
> Internal would also be perfectly fine.
> SAN?  Huh?  You're possibly unclear on what problem I'm hoping to
> address, as SAN strikes me as a ludicrous degree of overengineering for
> this role.
> The driving concern is AC power draw and consequent household cost.  If
> I can replace the current host with either an ARM-class or Atom-based
> host with reasonable RAM support and ability to drive a pair of modern
> hard drives in MD mirror mode on Debian[0], then I save lots of AC every
> month -- while at the same time migrating off aging hardware that
> is at well past the end of its economic service life.  Quoting:  'Fit PC
> 2i uses 6W at low CPU load, 8W at full CPU load, and less than 1W at
> standby.'  8W (plus HDs' power draw) sounds good to me.[1]

Very cool.  I worked with Geode CPUs when I worked at Ampro- the CPU
draws only 1 watt.

I just powered off a 300watt server I was housing for a nonprofit-
replaced it with a virtualized clone (well, upgraded from oldstable to
stable).  The old machine is there for backup, but I'm running two
low-power hard drives (RAID mirror, SATA and USB) and generally
running at 1/4 that max.  Gotta put the kill-a-watt on it one of these
days and be sure.

> Modern HDs are more reasonable than the antiques on my shelf, the best
> of which are SCSI SCA 73 GB, 3.5" form factor.  Those were fine drives
> in their day, but that was a decade ago.  I'm up for the higher
> fragility of 2.5" SATA drives; that's what mirroring's for.

Yeah, but 2.5" drives cost twice as much.  But I suppose you once you
save enough power it pays back...

> [0] No, I'm not OK with running my primary server on solid state media.
> And no, I'd not be willing to run a specialised distribution.

Hey have you considered running the OS off compactflash and having
physical hard drives power up only when the larger archival stuff is
accessed?  That would save even more power.  8 GB CF are cheap enough
and so are IDE-CF.  You don't need a specialized distro to run off
flash anymore since flash devices commonly exceed 2GB.  It's good to
mount noatime and tmpfs for /tmp /var/tmp /var/lock and minimize
logging if you want extended life but it's not really that much of an
issue anymore.

> [1] http://lists.svlug.org/archives/svlug/2009-October/032805.html
> http://lists.svlug.org/archives/svlug/2009-October/032806.html
> http://lists.svlug.org/archives/svlug/2009-October/032809.html
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