Don Marti

Fri 28 Aug 2009 05:02:42 PM PDT

MLP: Appliance beats cloud?

Cloud beats local x86 on price in Replacing my home backup server with Amazon's S3 by Jeremy Zawodny.

There's another possibility, though: storage appliances using cooler-running processors. My home server is a Linksys NSLU2 "slug" running Debian.

According to this page on battery power for the slug, one slug plus one drive, on Ethernet, draws about 2.7W. Using the same power pricing as in Jeremy's calculations, that's 1.8kwh every four weeks, or 23.6kwh per year, for an annual electricity cost of $3.83.

I got my slug as a leftover from another project, but looking at some of the online shopping sites, it looks like you can get the whole enchilada, including a drive bigger than Jeremy's S3 account, for about $200. Assuming a five-year lifespan, that's a total cost of $219, about 13% of the Amazon price. Of course, that's with no RAID, but I could run a whole extra backup server—redundant everything— and still come in at about a quarter of the price.

Or, with clustered Samba, GFS2, and AoE, you could build a storage system with HA and RAID that would still be cheaper and less power-hungry than an x86 box, and have lower latency than a "cloud" service. And it wouldn't require a heavyweight UPS with inverter for backup power: just something that can deliver 5VDC.

Accidental Linux Advocacy HOWTO I'm not saying that promoting Free Software within a company is counterinsurgency, but I can't help noticing that you get an excellent guide to promoting Free Software within a company if you take this meo from Gen. Petraeus (PDF) and readdress it to Linux professionals, substituting "Proprietary OS fanboys" for "insurgents" and "Other IT professionals" for "Iraqi partners." (Try it.)

It doesn't hurt when I do this Steve Silberman in Wired: Placebos Are Getting More Effective. (If DTC advertising for patent medicine increases the placebo response for generics, does that mean that the patent system is subsidizing two public goods: pharmaceutical R&D and the "take a pill, feel better" meme?)

hyper-pwned Dan Walsh asks, "What happens if there is a bug in the hypervisor?" If you have a VPS on the same server as another VPS that gets rooted, and the intruder can exploit a bug in the hypervisor, then you get compromised, even if you're doing everything right inside your guest. Can SELinux help?

Lawyers vs. security Why Windows security is awful but misses one point. Any new security policy from Microsoft, even a basic virus checker or a "don't open .exe attachments" rule, competes with somebody's add-on feature or breaks somebody's application, and the company affected always raises antitrust concerns. RHT can close port 25 or turn on SELinux without getting the third degree.