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Laptops as servers?

  • From: Bennett Todd
  • Date: Wed Jun 14 23:25:20 2000

Hash: SHA1

This whole rolling-blackout thing inspires me to ask: anybody tried
using laptops as servers for core functions? I'm thinking
infrastructure stuff like DNS and DHCP and Radius and so on, maybe
backup SMTP, whatever else can be shoehorned into it. Who knows,
maybe even Zebra one of these days. Logging servers. Firewalls.

Sure, if a server job absolutely requires a big farm of fast disks
spread over a bunch of controllers, there's no point in looking at a
laptop. But many server jobs don't. Enough to maybe make some
blackouts hurt less? I'd _Sure_ rather provision UPS support for a
rack full o' laptops than an equivalent amount of compute horses
provisioned with traditional rackmount server gear.

They've got their own internal UPS, making 'em insensitive to
switchover blips, and their running load is way less than normal
server. 'Specially when their little lids are closed and their
backlights and LCD drivers are all asleep:-).

Seems like it might even be worthwhile investigating the possibility
of running 'em directly off e.g. 12VDC; I wouldn't be surprised if
the standard power supplies for use in cars didn't end up being more
efficient (spending less watts in the conversion) than the wall

Hearing about the Google farm made me think, you know, it might be
slicker to tuck 4 or maybe even 8 laptops into a U than just a pair
of shallow rackmount servers. But then I'm weird:-).

- -Bennett
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