Posted by: Mike | July 31, 2008

Linux FS Benchmarks update

I decided to go ahead and benchmark btrfs anyway, since it only took a few more steps and it provides a interesting glimpse at the future albeit a buggy and undocumented one (no man pages, no –help text).

So the practical fs’s I’ve run the tests on are ext3, xfs, jfs, and reiser.  The old standards for comparison are the non-journalled ext2 and vfat.  I also threw in ntfs-3g just for the sake of comparison, and the fact that it might be interesting for some to see vfat vs. ntfs on linux for those who are dual booting.  Lastly I’ve included reiser4 and btrfs as a glipse at the bleeding edge.  Unfortunately Ubuntu doesn’t currently seem to have support for ext4 yet for me to test (or at least that I’ve noticed in my poking around), and using the stock ubuntu kernel is a key premise to my benchmarking.

Personally I care most about seeing ext3, xfs, jfs, and reiser(3) up against each other on my system, as I’m not brave enough to trust data to anything newer. My guess is that in the end I’ll go with xfs or jfs for my personal use.  Hopefully I’ll have finished all my data collection tomorrow and I can move on to crunching numbers and making pretty graphs (although hopefully simpler than most created by iozone ;).

In other news, I finished mocking up the case I’m building from scratch for my Atom project.  It looks great in its cardboard glory and provides plenty of space for drives, even if it does say Kenmore.

Posted by: Mike | July 30, 2008

Linux Filesystem Desktop Benchmarks

I’ve crafted a set of benchmarks.  I’m using iozone as my synthetic benchmark du jour, honestly I just don’t feel like messing with bonnie++.  Then I’m doing some basic work with the linux kernel source as a use case scenario, measuring copies and moves and such.  Then I’m also adding to the mix a bunch of MP3’s and m4a’s: my collection of music under the artist name of Neil Young.  Nautilus reports “163 items, totalling 876.9 MB” on the directory, and I’ll just trust it because I don’t feel like counting.

I am not using the machine during testing (obviously) because I want the testing to be fair.  However, I am also not creating an irrationally low load on the computer.  I’m running Ubunu Hardy 64bit, with Gnome, compiz, etc.  No screensaver, because that might be unevenly balanced.  But I want a realistic desktop load on a reasonably modern desktop machine.

I got frustrated with the benchmarks I could find on the internet.  They were targetted at mail servers running Dual Xeons and SCSI drives and/or were all a bit out of date.  So a) I’ll have useful data for myself, b) possibly share useful information for others who are looking at filesystems for bulk desktop storage: media files, local source code repos, and such.

I’ve scripted the entire thing, and will share that along with the raw data, and basic analysis.

Oh, and my machine: An Intel DP35DPM motherboard with an Intel Q6600 CPU, 4GB of Crucial DDR2-667 memory, and the testing is being done on a WD7500AAKS 750GB 16MB cache SATAII hard drive.  Not crazy fast, but a modern desktop.

Now off to let this thing run.  Since I’m testing xfs, jfs, ext2, ext3, reiserfs, reiser4, vfat, and ntfs, I wonder how long it will take.  I threw in ext2, vfat, and ntfs just for comparison.  I don’t expect anyone to actually use these. reiser4 was as bleeding edge as I am willing to go.  ext4 and btrfs (which looks promising long term) are a little too bleeding edge, so I’m not bothering with them.  Honestly, who wants to store bulk data on something not yet reliable.  Studying them is purely academic, and this is meant to be practical.  Hopefully I’ll have a writeup with pretty charts and graphs by the end of the week.

Posted by: Mike | July 28, 2008

Sketchup & 64bit Hardy

Just as a note, it took the registry changes listed here to get Sketchup running under Wine on Ubuntu Hardy 64bit.  I’m sure it’s not limited to 64-bit, but that’s what I’m running.

I just wanted it to play with designing my case.  Note however that it’s usable, but quite unstable.  I’ll probably stick to doing work with it on my Mac.

Posted by: Mike | July 28, 2008

Pics of the Atom

You can see that I’m using ye olde 256MB slow-ass CF card in the photo.  I’m also expecting issues w/ DMA and the adapter.  But, luckily, I don’t care if it takes 20 mins. to read the whole card.  The only time this should happen is on boot, and the only time it’s written to are when changes in the config are made (not a frequent occurance).  It is still better than having a big noisy optical drive or even a small noisy one.

Posted by: Mike | July 28, 2008

Fun with the Atom & FreeNAS

Well, I bought Intel’s D965GCLF mini-ITX motherboard with it’s 1.6GHz Atom soldered on.  The funny thing is that the chipset uses roughly 5 times the power of the CPU and is the only thing requiring a fan on the board.  If you look at a picture of it, the little heatsink is the chip, and the giant (by comparison) one is the northbridge.

There’s good and there’s bad with it.  It’s cheap.  Supercheap.  So it’s perfect as a project board.  I think I paid under $70 for it.  It only has one IDE controller like most new-fangled boards, which has made my project a little, um, interesting.  But it led me to a better solution.  It also only has 2 SATA ports as well, which I’ll have to deal with later.  Most annoyingly it only has 10/100 Ethernet.  I mean, really people, it’s 2008 and it’s not like a gigabit controller would have cost more or used more power.  But it’s cute, in that “damn I’m lucky I’m getting married because I think mini-ITX is cute” kind of way.

So I’m sticking FreeNAS on an old compact flash card I have lying around, attached via a IDE compactflash adapter I also happen to have lying around, because I thought it was nifty and never had a good use for it.

The setup is w/ approx prices:

  • Mobo: Intel D965GCLF ($70)
  • CPU: Intel Atom 1.6GHz (w/ board)
  • RAM: 1GB Crucial DDR2-667 ($20)
  • Boot drive: Cheap compact flash card, via IDE ($15)
  • Storage drive: Western Digital WD5000AAKS ($75)
  • PSU: Random proprietary “P4” MicroATX-esque PSU out of dead IBM (free)
  • Case: umm none yet…  more on that later

If all goes well, I’ll add more drives.  I’m testing out the FreeBSD 7 based FreeNAS in hopes of playing with ZFS/RAIDZ.

The goal is to build a cheap NAS for backup and media storage.  Speed is not critical since, hey it’s 10/100 and most of the computers connecting to it will be on 802.11g.  Given my luck with wireless routers, I don’t want something slapped together by Buffalo or Netgear, or whoever, I’ll do the slapping myself, thankyouverymuch.

And besides, I need at least one more OS to add to the Messmore household computer lab.  We have the Macbook, the Dell laptop and my desktop running Ubuntu, the old AMD machine running Windows XP, the Sun Ultra workstation sitting idle right now, but destined to be running Solaris 9 any day now, and the EeePC running Xubuntu.  I think that’s plenty for two people a dog and a cat (kitty uses the EeePC). I’ll be happy to have 4 flavors of *nix in the house ;).  Oh and I left out the WRT54GL router with DDWRT, and the Wii, which mostly plays pinball right now.

The problem I’ve had is writing the Embedded image to the flash card.  First the Macbook wouldn’t write to it because either a) the filesystem was mounted so couldn’t be written to, or b) the card reader turned off when it wasn’t mounted.  A fun little catch 22.  Then it took me a couple of hours to figure out that the .img file should be called a .img.gz, which was lovely.  Finally I have it written, or so fdisk seems to tell me.  I can’t know for sure until I try to boot it tomorrow.

By the way the command to write the image is

gunzip -c FreeNAS-amd64-embedded-0.7.3514.img | sudo dd of=/dev/sdd

Since I couldn’t find any info on it, outside of using an image writing program for m0n0wall (which I’m sorry, but sounds too 1337 for me).

I’m going “embedded” because a CD-ROM is just a waste (both energy and space) for something like this.  I have plenty-o-RAM for an application like this, since RAM (at least DDR2) is cheap (yay!).  Plus I have a freaking compact flash adapter doing nothing because I’m a sucker for a cheap dorky gadget.

We’ll see how it goes, and if I’ll drop another $75 for another 500GB drive or 3. I really want to put 3+ of them in a RAIDZ, but I’ll need a IDE SATA adapter for that one.

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