[svlug] Hardware for a new server

Karen Shaeffer shaeffer at neuralscape.com
Fri Feb 8 14:03:00 PST 2013

On Fri, Feb 08, 2013 at 01:23:45PM -0800, Aaron Porter wrote:
> On Wed, Feb 6, 2013 at 6:27 PM, Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> wrote:
> > So, let me back up and try something smaller in scope.  I'm hoping that
> > not _everyone_ is still either running on hardware from the turn of the
> > milennium or outsourced to somebody else's hosted hardware.  Right?
> > There must be a _few_ people running Linux around here, and not just on
> > laptops.  Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?
> Cheap, fast Supermicro 1U in a Colo, ~8 year old VIA Esther in the garage.
> > Bad idea?  (Should I stick to 3.5" drives for my RAID1 storage?)
> Few thousand 2.5" spindles at work... Buying lots of drives has
> convinced me that *all* drive mfgrs suck. There are some pretty good
> "enterprise" 2.5" disks out there that are not too expensive
> (especially if you assume a 5+ year lifespan). I'd avoid laptop drives
> for anything you intend to keep running 24/7.

Yes, laptop spindle drives are designed for light duty. They are intended
for a laptop and typical laptop usage patterns. If you tell a drive mfgr
you're using laptop drives in a server, they will almost assuredly tell
you that will render your warranty null and void.

I used to work at Seagate, while I was still designing hardware. And I
can tell you spindle drives are immensely complex machines. It is
nothing short of amazing how cheap they are, and that they even work at
all. We all just take them for granted, but the technology in those little
cases is quite advanced. And the design methodologies are fully tuned for
the effects of usage patterns. The drive mfgrs are designing drives to
live until the warranty expires, based on a typical usage pattern. Change
the usage pattern, and you are flying without a net.

Karen Shaeffer
Neuralscape, Mountain View, CA 94040

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