Kevin Vance - I'm feeling a lot better, and not just because I have generic…

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Thursday, April 12th, 2007
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I'm feeling a lot better, and not just because I have generic Vicodin. What a week, though.

I finally found something too CPU-intensive for my aging linux workstation, atlas (born 2002-08-09): playing back H.264 videos at 720P. Usually the fact that I have two CPUs compensates for the fact that they are ancient athlon 1900+ MP's, but this codec doesn't support multiple threads.

So I need to make some changes soon. Unfortunately, as best I can figure it, this would leave me with four computers:
  1. A high-performance Linux front-end for software development, movie/tv/music playback and transcoding, and internet use
  2. A high-performance Windows front-end for game development and game playing
  3. A medium-capacity server (2-4TB) for storing TV (esp. HDTV), games, and home directory crud
  4. A medium-performance server for recording TV (analog and digital) and running commercial detection
The hardware configurations for 1 and 2 are practically identical, but they can only be merged with virtualization technology that doesn't exist yet. In another five years, I expect to be able to run Windows, Linux, and OS X at ~native performance all on the same front-end simultaneously.

The only thing that's stopping me from merging 3 and 4 is ZFS. Solaris really puts linux's crap stew of filesystems and disk management tools to shame. The only thing it's missing is an in-built encryption module. But getting the MythTV backend *and* at least two different TV tuner drivers ported to Solaris is not something I want to do.

Even if I give up ZFS, three computers seems like too many for one desk. I don't know what I'd do with four. Drill holes and run cables to another room?
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Comments
From: preshgsi
2007-04-12 01:04 pm (UTC)
Haha, that's almost EXACTLY what I'm doing. Since you really don't need monitors for the last 2, why not just throw them on your network in another room. As for the first two, I don't know what you can really do, except use Synergy or some other type of KVM to eliminate extra unneeded hardware. And what's the addiction to ZFS? :P
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[User Picture]From: kvance
2007-04-12 03:40 pm (UTC)
ZFS is great. There are no static partitions. RAID is integrated into the filesystem and recovery is automatic. You can branch a filesystem into clones without making redundant copies of any data. It has a really great administration tool.

I just realized I might be able to use Xen to run Solaris and Linux on the same machine with good performance, since one OS can have the disks exclusively, and the other can have the TV hardware exclusively.
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[User Picture]From: wikle
2007-04-12 01:14 pm (UTC)
In college park you ran a box in your closet. Can you do that again?
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[User Picture]From: kvance
2007-04-12 03:41 pm (UTC)
Possibly. But all of the disk drives might generate too much heat for a closet.
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[User Picture]From: wikle
2007-04-12 03:59 pm (UTC)
sounds like an excellent excuse to immerse your computer in a non-conductive liquid.
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From: preshgsi
2007-04-12 05:54 pm (UTC)
Hmm, wasn't IBM or something going to start distributing their servers in oil or something? :P
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[User Picture]From: wikle
2007-04-12 06:03 pm (UTC)
No idea, I know various modders have done it before. But I was referring to "War Games," the best movie involving a computer with a speaking role.
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From: preshgsi
2007-04-12 06:14 pm (UTC)
Lol, good movie!
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