Last saturday my friend Markus finally found the time to update the hardware of his externally hosted server beaver.core.de. The update took place month later than initially planed because Markus has a very busy schedule and his hobby server is understandably not his highest priority.
The new hardware consists of an ASUS P4B266-SE motherboard, a Pentium 4 2.0A CPU and 1GB of DDR memory. While this would be step backward for mankind it was giant leap for that system. The previous hardware was built in the last century: an ASUS T2P4 motherboard, a AMD K6 III 400MHz CPU and 192MB of PS/2 EDO memory.I was looking forward to the update because beaver is also the backup DNS and mail server for my domains. I help Markus with the system administration and if you are used to the speed of a machine driven by a Pentium M CPU it is not much fun doing similar things on such old hardware. Besides the slow CPU the lack of main memory really hurt the overall performance. The machine spent a lot of time paging out memory especially while SpamAssassin was processing e-mails. The high disk throughput caused by this was probably the reason that one IDE harddisks died earlier this year. And the other harddisk has hung once recently which indicates a forthcoming failure. Fortunately beaver uses NetBSD’s software RAID driver RAIDframe which prevented a catastrophe in both cases.
The new hardware seemed to work very well at first. The machine came up fine and felt really fast. Yesterday I had another quick look and sent an e-mail to Markus that everything is allright. That was of course a bad idea because the universe doesn’t tolerate such open display of optimism. Five minutes later the machine froze for reasons which we haven’t figured out yet. It came back after being resetted manually this morning. But I guess that it wasn’t the last time that this has happened. 🙁