[LINK] Leave on, or turn off?

Adam Todd link at todd.inoz.com
Fri Dec 1 11:55:44 AEDT 2006

At 04:29 PM 30/11/2006, Ivan Trundle wrote:
>Fiats, even though the underlying components are much the same. Usage
>patterns vary wildly, too - and yet we still make these assessments.

Very much so.  Computers are the same.

>I suspect that computers are much the same. A server (one would hope)
>is *designed* from the outset to work continuously, over a period of

All my servers are typical "mid to low range at the time of purchase" 
motherboards and processors.  I don't see any reason buying "server" 
branded premium priced electronics which are exactly the same components.

All my servers run for years.  (See posting some months ago about the 
original NS2.AH.NET being decommissioned after more than 10 years.)

I'm even trying to decommissions one of the first Pentium's in Australia 
right now.  Damn me.  I have so much complex code on the box it's hard to 
transfer to the new servers easily!

I'm pretty strict on reliability, operational temperature ranges, and real 
field operational information.  Sometimes this is available from commercial 
deployment of technologies that are stable over longer periods of time.

Not always the case though when you have one of the first Pentiums in the 
country!  And today, technology supercedes within months of it's release 
anyway.  But knowing chips, chipsets and manufacturing techniques makes it 
easier for me, at least, to decide what will and won't work well.

I always buy equipment that has potential.  Like the Linksys NSLU2 which 
has a whole Linux based platform, and a whole team of people writing 
"better" code and tools for it!  (Even how to up the 133 megahertz 
underclocked CPU to it's native 266Mhz and gain those extra Bogomips!)

>Laptops are built to survive the rigours of movement,
>environmental thermal variation, being put to sleep and so on.

Very much so.  And I have a Thinkpad 380D that is running well after all 
these years.  In fact it's running Linux as a Server!  I also have a 
Toshiba 430CDT running windows 95 :(  If I could find a CD Rom drive for it 
I'd upgrade it to Linux :)  (OK I could do it via Floppy boot too, but 
there are no install drivers for the PCMCIA lan adapter and I'd have to 
build and stuff around too much.)

>Desktop machines are designed to work in a different, more stable
>environment, but not perhaps with the same demands as that of servers.

That depends.  Besides the fans in them, which are pretty trashy, the 
processors are really the same!

>More specifically, hard disks are designed with bearings that are
>expected to spin for a period of time before failure (marketing
>people aside, there are engineers that specify these details before
>the marketing dept get to run over the data),

And marketing will always multiple something into the number that doesn't 
really exist!  But still, if you treat your HD's with love and kindness 
they will run for decades.  I still have many in that flavors.

>platters are designed to spin for a period of time, arms that are expected 
>to transport the read and write heads for a period of time,

Mechanics are the downside of Hard Drives.  But then Flash memory has 
similar limitations.

>and logic boards that are expected to cope with electrical input for a 
>period of time.

I don't know about that.  It's rare I find logics that are "worn out" 
really.  Sure occasionally, rarely, a capacity will fail.  Maybe sometimes 
a cold solder joint if the board has run hold and cold frequently 
(something that happens a lot in Power Supplies and Monitors that are 
turned on and off a lot, sorry I forgot to mention that yesterday.)

>On the hard disk alone (just one of many components under the
>spotlight here), you might want to read this:
>Horses for courses - the different speeds and capacities of hard
>disks, etc, all need to be factored in.

I wish more of my HD's would spin down when not in use, but something keeps 
them alive!  Then again, spinning up and down places wear on the heads, 
creates a potential for head to platter damage that is greater than when 
they just keep operational.

A river of air that is constant is more stable than one that is turned on 
and off - turbulent.

>And on an anecdotal level - I can attest to having a fanless desktop
>machine that has run continuously since 2000, acting as my home

Damnit!  How did I miss this!

>I have other servers both at home and at work that have run
>for longer, with no faults - and have withstood power brown-outs,
>surges, lightning spikes, and the regular temperature fluctuations
>that a non-airconditioned space affords.

Exactly.  Careful choice of equipment.  And getting more bang for your buck!

>Going back to the analogy of cars:
>You wouldn't expect a Hyundai to take you across Africa, but then a
>Toyota Landcruiser might just be over-engineered for the daily trip
>to and from school in North Sydney.

But that's what people do!

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