September 17, 2008

Project Colmenar

I have a few computers at home, working as servers. They are five Pentium III, running Windows 2000 and 2003. Apart from installing new disks and cleaning three times a year, I didn’t do any hardware upgrade on them (excepting the disks, I spent less than 200 euros for the whole setup), and they are really lacking memory to work as I would like, but they were OK for a few years.

The problem now is that I noticed that the temperature is increasing in the cabinet where I keep them, and their noise is louder. Given than I don’t like the idea of a fire (and I am tired of the maintenance chores required to keep everything working) I end up having only the mail server working full time, and I don’t like that either.

I was thinking of getting a new desktop machine with enough memory to virtualize the servers, but really I would need two of them and that would end up costing around 2000 euros, and the electricity that new machines require.

While pondering those issues (and after getting the Eee PC and falling in love with this little machine), I saw the new Intel “Little Falls” motherboard, which includes an Atom processor and is reasonably efficient with power consumption (I guess that in two or three years it will look absurdly inefficient, but I don’t want to wait that time without my servers back on line).

I will get a few of this motherboards and stuck them in an ad-hoc rig. That will be my Project Colmenar (Beehive in  English, but I like the Spanish word).