[BALUG-Talk] operation appears to have been a success: hardware issues

Rick Moen rick@linuxmafia.com
Sun Oct 29 10:16:21 PDT 2017

Quoting Michael Paoli (Michael.Paoli@cal.berkeley.edu):

> Ah, and appears the operation has been quite successful ...

Good job!

> Also completed successful live migration of the balug VM back from
> physical host "vicki" ... which nominally resides under the brain
> of the patient, but was live-migrated away to "vicki" while the
> patient's brain was in suspended animation for a while during
> the patient's operation.

See, this is one of the reasons I am trying to move production systems
into VMs:  It means you can snapshot systems and migrated them between
hardware-disparate physical hosts as necessary.

Starting years ago, I repeatedly tried to have a discussion on the
SVLUG mailing list about hardware selection and system design for 
_home servers_ that took advantage of recent advances, and it was a bust
because all participants did was advocate I buy whatever they'd been
buying but ignoring both the home-server role's requirements and the
recent advances.

I suggested a server inside my home should ideally have no moving parts
(no fans, SSDs instead of hard drives) so as to not be noisy, and be
low-power and low-heat:  They suggested units with lots of fans and hard
drives.  I suggested it needed to do RAID1 on real, i.e., better than
USB, mass-storage interfaces:  They suggested Raspberry Pis.  I
suggested it needed to be x86_64 to avoid requiring out-of-tree kernels
(security risk if there's a kernel exploit requiring an updated kernel
_now_) and special-snowflake bootloaders:  They suggested ARM.

And, the one that really disappointed me:  I suggested it'd be cool to 
run at least a couple of VMs, production host alongside beta, and that
for a production full-service Internet host I really cannot do it in
less than 512 MB RAM for a production host because of SMTP antispam:  My
friend Joey Hess, one of the key people in the Debian Project at the
time, responded saying he uses a BeagleBone Black, a nice small
ARM-based server he uses -- that maxes out at 512 MB RAM total.

I pointed out that this just didn't support the VM-based architecture
I thought was the future way forward (unless there were some way in the
2010s to do Web serving, SMTP, mailing lists, DNS nameservice, ssh, and
the usual server tasks in radically less RAM), and all people could say
was 'Shift tactics and divide processes up among a farm of tiny
computers.'  Eh, no, I don't think a data centre of Raspberry Pis is a
reasonable alternative.  So, I've had to mostly drive iterations of that
discussion myself, first on the SVLUG list and more recently on CABAL's.

Anyway, this is why I think small, silent or quiet, x86_64-based
machines able to run at least 8GB RAM are coo and the proper way
forward: primarily because hypervisors solve a bunch of problems
including live-migration, and decoupling what you run from the specific
hardware chipsets you run it on.

But this weekend's motherboard purchase is actually for a family car, FWIW, 
because the current one went Pfft!


Man, my dad, who before he became a Pan American World Airways captain
sold and worked on 'computers' when they were made by Marchant
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marchant_calculator) in Oakland would
hardly recognise the current world, where you end up having to reboot
your oven, and where your automatic transmission misbehaves because the
car's motherboard has burned itself out.

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