Ahh that new dell smell

I finally got my new laptop, hooray. First impressions are good so far, the screen is awesome, 1920×1200 pixels in 15.4 inches. Very clear and crisp. The ATI radeo 9600 pro turbo is also quite nice, I can play BF1942 in 1600×1200 mode at 32 bit no problem. I thought the 5400 rpm drive was going to be a bit of a speed problem but so far it hasn’t made a noticable difference.

While this notebook dawarfs my averatec 3150 in size it’s still quite managable, not much larger than my old toshiba tecra 8100 that I lugged around for 3 years. The best part about the Inspiron 8600 is the new dothon core pentium M chip, it’s faster than my P4 2.8Ghz and it lets my laptop have 4.5 hours of battery life. More than enough to watch a couple dvd’s while on the plane.

I will post a proper review when I’ve lugged it around for a week or two.

Yeah for me!

I just ordered a Dell Inspron 8600 with the following specs:

1.8 Ghz Pentium-M processor 15.4 WUXGA+ screen
768MB ram
128mb Radeon 9600 pro mobile
8x CD/DVD RW drive
Built in 802.11b/g card, 10/100 ethernet and modem.

It’s supposed to be here in 10 business days, I’m very excited! I neve thought the day would come that I would replace my desktop machine with a laptop! Hopefully I will have a P4 2.4 Ghz desktop machine for sale shortly.

IDE raid servers on a budget…

When I say “on a budget” I mean less than $10,000 for a couple TB of usable space, more on the enterprise/small business level than a home user. But still, when compared to the cost of a Network Appliance or EMC solution this is storage on the cheap!

My biggest client is a .com e-tailor that has a small linux web cluster (50 or so machines) at an IDC in boston. In early 2000 when money was still being handed out by the truck load they bought a Network Appliance F740 filer with a couple FC9 shelves full of 36GB disks. This set them back around $80,000 but it was the Ferrari of NAS appliances. Ask anyone that does big enterprise computing and they’ll tell you that Network Appliance is awesome.

Then the bubble popped and companies actually had to be profitable, suddenly paying $180 a GB for storage didn’t seem fiscally responsible. Since the filer was used for archiving log files and backups, the feature rich network appliance was overkill but the money was already spent so the solution stayed in place. Then in 2003 the the filer started experiencing problems with the fiberchannel controler in one of the FC9 shelves. After trying to locate a replacement shelf and a couple disks and seeing the cost I decided it was time to replace the filer with something a little more economical.

After a little research I contacted our rep at ASA talk about their IDE raid solutions. I settled on two of their 4TB P4 raid servers loaded with FreeBSD 4.10. Why did I choose IDE over SCSI? IDE seems like the most economical choice, the IDE solution was less than half the price of the SCSI solution. Sure IDE is sower and less reliable than SCSI but at less than half the cost per GB we can afford a few extra drives marked as hot spares.

In the raid server has 2 3Ware 7506-8 controllers. These things work flawlessly in both FreeBSD and Linux which is great. On the system I chose freebsd for it’s superior NFSv3 support and awesome stability.

So freebsd was installed I added a few packages from the ports (check out 3dmd for monitoring your 3ware cards) and started configuring services like samba and apache. In the end I had a pair of 2TB raidservers that cost 1/8th as much as the netapp and performed surprisingly well. Each raid box has roughly 30 NFS clients and it never seems to experience much load at all. And I/O is quite respectable, if anyone wants bonnie++ results I can post them up.