November 2020 Archives

This weekend's project was replacing the home server/router. This isn't a high-spec machine for my internal build tooling, this is pretty much the router and file/print server. Given cloud, it's more of a packet-shoveller than anything else. When I built it, I was going for low power to maximize how long the UPS would last in a power-outage, and increase the chances that I'd get my old IP addresses when the power came back.

mdadm tells me the mirror-set was created Sun Sep 25 22:25:34 2011.

I hadn't quite realized it was that old. As it happened I blogged about it the day after the build, so consider this an update. The system this one replaced was also nine years old, so I guess my replacement cycle is 9 years. I never bothered to get UEFI booting working, which in the end doomed this box. The /boot partition couldn't take another kernel update as of Friday; kernels had just grown too big!

Rather than homebrew the home server, this time I went off-the-shelf and bought a System76 Meerkat. It's a fifth the size of the old server + drobo box and has as much storage in SSD/NVME. Also, it's vastly quieter. The fan in the old server had picked up a buzz once in a while, it needed a therapeutic tap to knock it out of vibration. My office is so quiet now (it couldn't live in the basement because the Internet enters the house in my office). Being 9 years newer means it probably draws half the power of the old one, so UPS endurance just shot up. Whee!

Over its 9 year life:

  • Glombed onto hardware from the old MythTV setup, which was the Drobo array. The Drobo is probably 13 or 14 years old by this point.
  • Upgraded one at a time from OpenSuse 11.4 all the way to 15.2, but couldn't handle the size of the 15.2 kernel. It just worked, no surprises, could do a headless update every time.
  • Moved houses twice, no failures. Even after the move where it was powered off for three days.
  • When we left the land of Verizon FiOS five years ago, it became my internet gateway.
  • Did the work to get IPv6 working, with prefix delegation, which was tricker than I liked and is still feeling hacky. But it let me do IPv6 in the house without using the ISP router.
  • Two years ago put telegraf/influxdb/grafana on it to track internet gateway usage, and a few other details. Such as temperature. Which showed rather nicely how big the temperature swings are in our house over the winter.

The hard-drives (a pair of 160GB Western Digital Blacks):

  • 79,874 power-on hours.
  • 50 power-cycles
    • 10 of those were planned maintenance of various types, like moving, painting, and other things.
    • The rest were power-outages of various durations.
  • Zero reallocated sectors on either drive
  • Load_Cycle_Count of 5.4 million. Comes to about 78 load-cycles an hour. Clearly this is an important SMART metric.

In a hero of the revolution moment, I managed to get enough of the DHCP state transferred between the old and new hardware that we're on the same IPv4 address and IPv6 prefix from before the migration!

Let's see if this one also goes nine years. Check back in 2029.