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

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Thu Jul 29 00:04:18 PDT 2010

Quoting Tony Godshall (tony at of.net):

> > 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.

The thing is, I'm at a hardware-generational-change point.  That's a
genteel way of saying the existing stuff's old, worn, low-capacity, 
slow, large, and relatively expensive to operate.  So, I have to get
_something_ soonish.  Might as well get stuff that doesn't suck, has a
long economic service life, is operationally simple / no-hassle, and 
at the sweet spot for technology versus cost.

Currently, in my view, that's 2.5" diametre SATA [/SAS] of about 2 TB
capacity.  Desirable rotational speed / claimed seek times can be
debated, but personally I seldom do anything especially disk bound,
really don't care about those peformance deltas, and (mutatis mutandis) 
prefer slower-spinning drives because they're cooler and draw less
power, hence less subject to heat stress.

Twice _what_?  Whatever diddly little premium you're talking about,
amortise it over projected service life and deduct electricity-cost
savings, then add back the psychic reward of working with good tools.

> But I suppose you once you save enough power it pays back...

Going automatically for lowest initial acquisition cost is a fool's game.  
That's not all that matters, nor even the most important thing, usually.
As I'm sure you already know.

> 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.

At the expense of introducing avoidable complications into my system.
Elegance is a virtue.

Using CF intelligently for system drives requires planning so as to put
there only what makes sense.  Current mounts (some of which were for
now-obsolete reasons, and I'd not be doing them today):

:r /etc/fstab

# /etc/fstab: static file system information.
# <file system> <mount point>   <type>  <options>       <dump>  <pass>
proc            /proc           proc    defaults        0       0
/dev/sda7       /               ext3    defaults,errors=remount-ro 0       1
/dev/sda1       /boot           ext2    defaults        0       2
/dev/md3        /home           ext3    defaults        0       2
/dev/sda8       /recovery       ext3    defaults        0       2
/dev/sda9       /usr            ext2    nodev,ro        0       2
/dev/md4        /usr/local      ext3    defaults        0       2
/dev/sda6       /var            ext2    noatime,nodev,nosuid 0       2
/dev/md1        /var/lib        ext3    nodev           0       2
/dev/md2        /var/spool      ext3    defaults        0       2
/dev/md0        /var/www        ext3    nodev,nosuid    0       2
/dev/sda5       none            swap    sw              0       0
/dev/sdb8       none            swap    sw              0       0
/dev/sdc8       none            swap    sw              0       0
/dev/hda        /media/cdrom0   udf,iso9660 user,noauto     0       0
/dev/fd0        /media/floppy0  auto    rw,user,noauto  0       0

Only limited parts of the server file tree make sense to put on media
with flash's wear characteristics.  Note that this _is_ a server, such
that I really don't want to go 'noatime' in very many areas. (Stuff
breaks.  Stuff isn't right.)

And as to /tmp, /var/tmp (be those tmpfs or not), and /var/lock, NO.  
On _flash_, Tony?  That makes no sense.  Horrors.  'Minimize logging'?
Are you not clear on this being my _server_?  No, it makes no sense to
minimise logging on a general-purpose Web / shell / ssh / rsync / SMTP /
ftp / mailing list server.

Basically, I'd find some way to use flash _if_ it came with the system
unit, but it's a hassle to deploy if limiting it only to parts of the
filesystem without frequent writes (which of course includes atime).  

A key aim of home server design is minimal hassle.  Like, for example,
md-driver RAID1 mirroring, which is a thing of beauty and power for busy
sysadmins wanting home servers that are functional, reliable, low-cost,
and hassle-free.  I'd have to md-mirror a _pair_ of flash devices to get
that same degree of win.  _And_ have an md-mirror of HDs.
Overengineering.  Feh.

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