Wed, 09 Mar 2011
We have got a new hardware for our FTP server to replace our seven years old server. It is amazing how the old hardware is still in many aspects on par with state-of-the-art "average workstations". The old system had 12 GB of RAM, 8 TB of disks, and dual GbE. It was one of the first 64-bit x86 systems here at Faculty of Informatics. So, which principal improvements in server hardware the last seven years brought (apart from speed, of course)?
- Hardware virtualization is a standard now. This has allowed me to put www.linux.cz and www.cstug.cz to separate virtual servers, in order to tighten the security of the main server even more.
- Hot-plug disk slots are more-or-less standard now.
- Redundant power supplies. According to my experience, UPS-related downtimes are relatively frequent (be it scheduled in advance or not), and having one power supply in a circuit without UPS backing can help.
- Server management. Almost all server boards now have IPMI BMC on-board. The Tyan S2882 mainboard from seven years back had IPMI as a relatively expensive option, so we have decided to spend money on disks instead.
- Parallelization everywhere. The old Odysseus was one of the first x86 multi-CPU systems here. The new one has 16 cores, but only 33 % higher clock rate. The Neterion 10GbE card in the new server has 16 hardware queues, so it can keep all sixteen cores of the server busy (well, not exactly, because there are 8 RX and 8 TX queues, and our server does mostly TX, but it still helps).
Anyway, both the original and new configurations are described on the Odysseus statistics page (in Czech). Let me thank CZLUG and CSTUG for sponsoring some of the disks for the new server. We will see whether the new hardware can also keep running for at least seven years.