Mittwoch Apr 20, 2011

Blog moved

All entries of this blog since 2004 have been copied to this wordpress-hosted archive.

Sonntag Dez 13, 2009

An OpenSolaris EeePC Homeserver

Early last year I was one of the first to get an original Asus EeePC 4G 701, to be used as an OpenSolaris based mobile presentation and email machine. Well - almost two years later, counting the number of occasions I actually used the machine for that purpose, I decided to convert the EeePC into an intelligent ZFS Storage controller for my home data. So what are my requirements? Actually not that many:
  • 500GB of ZFS secured data, shared via SMB (today) or streamed via DLNA (later), using a 100MBit network
  • Low power consumption
So on to genunix.org I went and downloaded the latest OpenSolaris build as USB memory stick image. But to my surprise, installation was not possible. OpenSolaris seems to have grown some fat since 2009.06 days, too fat to fit onto the 4GB internal SSD disk. Just before giving up I recalled the website of that EeePC wizard over in Japan, who helped me getting OpenSolaris onto the EeePC in the first place, and I found images customized and pre-compressed for the EeePC. Thanks, Masafumi!

After getting OpenSolaris up and running I went hunting for a USB disk solution able to house two 2.5" drives in one case but without a RAID controller. ZFS is happy with Just A Bunch Of Disks. The IcyBox IB-2221StU-B was the perfect fit. With just 130 Euros additional investment I converted my EeePC to a storage server with 500GB mirrored capacity.



Setting up the data pool, and sharing the file systems was a breeze with help of various available HowTos. Transfer speed to the ZFS mirror is 8-10MByte/sec, which is close to the limit of the 100MBit network, leaving the EeePC's tiny little 630MHz Celeron 50% idle (no dedup or compression so far).

So what about the power consumption? Low enough to be ready for 24/7 operation? Equipped with a high-definition power-meter able to measure with one watt accuracy, I got these values:
  • EeePC, normal operation: 15.7 watts (almost 4 watts already wasted by the power supply...)
  • EeePC, closed lid: 13.4 watts
  • EeePC, closed lid, plus IcyBox with to 500GB 2.5" disks and poer supply: 17.8 watts
  • Above configuration during "zfs scrub": 21 watts
So my OpenSolaris EeePC Homeserver draws between 17-21 watts which translates to 3 euros a month or 8kg CO2 a month, or three liters of gasoline.

Donnerstag Jul 23, 2009

Munich Business Run B2RUN 2009

Amidst violent thunderstorms tonight the Munich Business Run B2RUN 2009 took place in the olympic park of Munich. Lightning, thunder and rain just before the start - how fitting for this year's valiant Sun Runners team! Lightning and thunder subsided, the rain stayed with us. Did I mention that I love to run in drizzle rain?
Well, fortunately Sun HR had equipped us with a second set of shirts to warm the exhausted and wet heroes after the run. So we hat violent Red during the contest, and calming warming Green afterwards.

Klick on "Firmenlauf 2009" under the picture below to get the whole story:

Von Firmenlauf 2009

Samstag Jul 11, 2009

The role of design in Green IT

Green IT in datacenters has come a long way, because the motivation is clear: Save big money by saving energy.

But what about consumers and green? A cool, nice-to-look-at and fun-to-use design is a must. This is what the Ecorider and a Sunray Ultra-Thin Client have in common, and that's why I was so excited last week to finally set the Ecorider in motion again:

Von IDG Green IT Konferenz

IDG held their "Green IT Channel Partner Conference" in the Skylounge, just 15km west of the Sun office in Heimstetten. So as I was invited to give a talk at that conference, which vehicle would be better suited to carry me there than the little green tricycle which carried me from Dessau to Braunschweig almost two years ago?

The talk was - of course - on the other nice-to-look-at and fun-to-use technology with a Sun Microsystems logo painted on it: The Sunray Ultra Thin Client. Our partner CCF told the audience that in a project for the city of Bad Soden near Frankfurt, those Sunrays save 4000 Euro energy cost each year. In absolute term that may no sound like much, but it helps a lot with user acceptance. The new technology is not a dreaded PC replacement but a green desktop, silent, frugal and good-looking.


Freitag Jan 16, 2009

Seven Grams Revisited

After the "7 gram story" not only did hit Techcrunch, but also my favourite german-language news site, let's revisit my original calculation:
  • In 2005, Prof. Paul A. Strassmann George Mason University, held a presentation “Google - A Model for the Systems Architecture of the Future”, pdf here. Slide 11 says that in those days, 31654 2-socket x86 servers worked in parallel to serve 40 million searches a day.
  • So how much energy does a 2-socket x86 server at Google consume? Google engineer Luiz André Barroso gave an answer in his 2007 paper "Power Provisioning for a Warehouse-sized Computer". They measured 143 Watts.
  • These 143 Watts have to be multiplied with a power factor. In 2007 I used a factor of 2 (the industry standard, meaning: "For every Watt fed into the computer you feed another Watt in Cooling etc.). In 2008 Google reported a PUE factor of 1.21. With this, every server actually draws 173 watts for power and cooling combined.
  • So 31654 servers times 173 watts times 24 hours gives us 131427 KWh energy a day. Divided by 40mln searches, that's 3.3 Wh or 2 grams CO2 per search, using 600 grams of CO2 for every KWh generated with the german energy mix of nuclear, carbon-based and renewable sources
  • In 2005, a dual socket x86 server meant two cores. Today we have eight cores and roughly four times the throughput per watt, bringing us down to 0.8 Wh or 0.5 grams CO2 per search
  • So the difference between the "7 grams" from 2007 and this calculation today is caused by: Quad Core CPUs, lower measured power draw of the servers, PUE of 1.21, carbon factor calculated with energy mix instead of coal only. Net result: A factor of 12
  • And the real number Google disclosed this week is even lower: 0.3Wh or 0.2 grams CO2
  • That is really not much: If you start a search every 30 seconds on a typical Laptop (30 Watts), your client uses more energy triggering than Google executing the search.

  • Montag Jan 12, 2009

    Wrong by a factor of 35

    Sorry Google: In 2007, I guestimated the carbon dioxide emission of one Google search to be roughly 7 grams. That number was never intended to frighten people from doing internet searches, because I always assumed that Google would implement Search as efficient as possible. Just think of the advantage you get when you do search 10% more efficient than your competitors while doing billions of searches.

    After the Sunday Times had published last week that Alex Wissner-Gross estimates the same number Google now officially has answered.
    I was wrong. Very wrong. Wrong by a factor of 35. Wrong even when you take into account that Moore's Law and Google engineers had 20 months to increase efficiency since my first guestimate.

    So now we have it: One Google Search produces as much CO2 as 10 seconds of breathing!

    Update: Could be that the Sunday Times directly took my number (after generating 0.2 grams of CO2 and finding this blog with a Google search) and connected it to other work done by Alex Wissner-Gross. Funny how an innocent number can make big news 20 months later!
    At least I got my 2 seconds of fame on Techcrunch: "This obscure blog post" ... "Rolf Kersten’s Weblog (who?)" Cheers!

    Samstag Aug 02, 2008

    Ein Spielzeug für Systemhelden

    Es müssen nicht immer Joggingschuhe sein, mit denen man sich durch den Olympiapark bewegt.
    Der Systemheld im Manne (und trotz ausgrenzender Werbung auch der Frau) fährt gern auch mal auf zwei hundertmal in der Sekunde kreiselkompaßgesteuerten Rädern umher.

    Constantin und ich haben diese Tour zum Geburtstag geschenkt bekommen und sind heute bei prächtigem Wetter zwei Stunden unter fachkundiger Führung kreuz und quer durch den Olympiapark gefahren. Am Anfang noch etwas wackelig, am Ende bedauernd, daß die Höchstgeschwindigkeit auf 6km/h abgeriegelt war...



    (Mehr Bilder bei Klick)

    Donnerstag Jul 24, 2008

    Firmenlauf 2008

    Heute abend war es wieder soweit: 32.000 Läuferinnen und Läufer haben sich - alle gewandet in ihre bunten Firmen-Laufshirts - auf die 6.75km lange Runde durch den Olympiapark in München gemacht.
    Natürlich war Sun auch mit einem Team dabei:



    (Mehr Bilder bei Klick)

    Sonntag Jun 01, 2008

    Windows on a wireless Sun Ray

    Small computers a neat, but if you want to attach a real keyboard and a real monitor to something, ultra thin clients are the way to go. For a thin client, the thinner and dumber the better, because that saves on ressources building, running and recycling the box, not to forget administrative simpleness.

    At work, I use a Sun Ray Ultra Thin Client daily (still the same box as eight years ago). The latest generation comes in a package even smaller and consumes only 9 Watts (measured at the 240V german power grid) of precious energy. So I wanted one at home. But I didn't want an energy-guzzling frigging server to serve the little Sun Ray at home - we have Sun Ray servers in the office, let's use them (and share their energy consumption with others). Second: I only have wireless at home. Will that bandwidth be sufficient for the Sun Ray?

    Answer first: Yes, it will be sufficient. Even with low signal (two stories from Sun Ray to my access point in the basement). Have a look at this picture, and you'll notice a couple of things:


    First: A little box with blue LEDs. That an ASUS WL-330g which just converts 100base-T to Wireless. Works with the Sunray out-of-the-box.
    Second: Isn't that Windows on that screen? Yes it is. I connected with VPN (built into the Sun Ray) to our Sun Solution Center in Munich. There we run a Windows service proudly hosted by VMWare VDI on Sun Fire x64 servers and delivered via Sun Secure Global Desktop. That setup would even allow me to transfer my session to a browser window on another device. Or I could just pull my Smartcard (seen on the left) and plug it into another Sunray configured to connect to the Solution Center on the Internet to transfer my session.

    Next task: Connect via VPN to our internal Sun Ray Servers in the office. I want my Solaris environment back!

    Montag Mai 12, 2008

    OpenSolaris 2008.05 on the Eee PC

    Last week at JavaOne, OpenSolaris 2008.05 came out. I already blogged about my neat little Eee PC, which I use for Mail (Thunderbird and extensions), Web (Firefox and extensions) and presenting while on the road. So I decided to give OpenSolaris 2008.05 a try. The 600MB CD image download and burn went quickly. As quickly as attaching a USB CD drive to the Eee PC to boot from. From that on, the path got a little bit more rugged, but nothing insurmountable for the experienced marketeer:


  • First boot from CD looked great, but the EEE PC did not accept any keyboard input when asking for the language! This seems to be a known timing issue (see this bug report on opensolaris.org). The workaround is to add a "-v" to the end of the GRUB boot command. This can be done at the GRUB boot screen by pressing "e", then "e" again, add "-v" to the end, "return" and "b" for boot. After a successful installation, the "-v" workaround can be added permanently to the file "/rpool/boot/grub/menu.lst". Bonus: A lot messages to marvel at while the machine boots.
  • After a full backup of the Linux system on the Eee PC (using System Rescue CD with partimage to an external USB disk), we can start the OpenSolaris Installation process. Hint: Remove all USB connections not in use (external disk, internal SD card). With that stuff connected, my installation stalled at 84%, with that stuff removed, installation finished sucessfully after 70 minutes.
  • First boot of OpenSolaris from the internal 4GB SSD disk ("-v" still needed, see above) went as expected. Now we add the Eee PC version of the Atheros WLAN driver. Download the package, copy to the Eee PC, install as described, and - WOW - the Network Auto-Magic Deamon detects my Wireless Network and asks for a WPA key. Nice.
  • Now that we have network access, we could give IPS, the shiny new package manager, a try. It even comes with a graphical user interface. Finding OpenOffice 2.4 and hitting "Install" is a matter of three mouse clicks.
  • As with Linux, fonts like Arial are also missing in the OpenSolaris default installation. So we have to copy the missing \*.ttf fonts to this target directory: /usr/X11/lib/X11/fonts/TrueType Copy, restart OpenOffice, and we are done.

  • So now I have a tiny machine with Thunderbird, Firefox and OpenOffice - and OpenSolaris 2008.05 to play with on long train rides.

    Donnerstag Feb 14, 2008

    Jahreskonferenz Klimaschutz und Ressourceneffizienz im ITK Bereich

    Mein Vortrag auf dieser Konferenz behandelt das Thema Thin Clients, damit mögliche Flexible Office Konzepte in Bezug auf Ressourcenschonung. Download als ODF oder PDF.

    Freitag Feb 01, 2008

    Präsentieren mit dem EEE PC

    Warum muß ich eigentlich immer drei Kilogramm Laptop und ein halbes Kilogramm Netzteil herumschleppen, nur weil ich irgendwo eine Präsentation halten und danach per WLAN ein paar eMails lesen will? Bin ich in einem Sun Büro, ist die Sache einfach: Meine Smartcard schließt mir meinen Desktop auf, wo immer ich bin.

    Aber sonst? Jetzt gibt es eine Lösung: Den ASUS EEE PC, ein Linux Laptop mit Open Office, Firefox, Thunderbird und auch sonst allem, was man so braucht. Und mit 299 Euro fast sechs Mail günstiger als andere modische Gadgets. Das ideale Arbeitsgerät für den Marketeer auf Reisen.

    Also versuchen wir mal eine Präsentation zu laden. USB-Stick lesen, tut. OpenOffice (hochgerüstet auf die neueste Version), tut. Anzeige am externen Beamer, tut. Aber: Die Fonts sehen anders aus, manche Folien sind unlesbar. Hm. Die Präsentation habe ich mit dem in Solaris 10 enthaltenen Java Desktop System erstellt. Da sind Microsoft TrueType Schriften wie "Arial" mit dabei. Bei Windows natürlich auch. Bei Xandros Linux auf dem EEE PC nicht. Solaris 10 läuft zwar auf dem EEE PC, doch zur Zeit noch ohne Netzwerk. Nun ist das Nachinstallieren der Fonts unter Linux zum Glück einfach:

  • msttcorefonts in /usr/share/fonts/truetype/MS kopieren
  • sudo dpkg-reconfigure fontconfig
  • OpenOffice neu starten
  • Voila! Alles sieht aus wie auf der Sun Ray mit Solaris 10!


  • Na das ging ja schnell!

    Samstag Nov 03, 2007

    Unterschriftensammlung im Google-Zeitalter

    13949712720901ForOSX - die einfachste Möglichkeit, das Mitmachweb zum Unterschriftensammeln zu benutzen. In diesem Fall für die Petition, Java 6 in Max OS X "Leopard" zu unterstützen.

    88 Hits bis jetzt...

    Samstag Okt 27, 2007

    Grüner Surfen - Update

    Wieviel Ressourcenverbrauch verursacht denn nun das Surfen im Internet? Und wie kann dieser Verbrauch erstens transparent gemacht und zweitens reduziert werden? Das war das Thema der Fachtagung „Grüner Surfen“ im Bundesumweltministerium in Berlin.

    Einen umfassenden Bereicht gibt es bei heise Technology Review.
    Oder Interviews zum Anhören beim Deutschlandfunk.
    Meine Präsentation kann hier als PDF heruntergeladen werden.

    Update 08.11.2007: Die EU-Studie "Energy Efficient Servers in Europe - Part I: Energy Consumption and Saving Potentials" kann hier heruntergeladen werden.

    Montag Okt 15, 2007

    Meine Präsentation von der Sustainable IT Konferenz, Berlin - Update

    Am 17. Oktober halte ich anläßlich der "Sustainable IT Konferenz" in der Kalkscheune Berlin eine Präsentation zum Thema "Zur CO2 Bilanz des Internet". Es handelt sich um eine verkürzte und aktualisierte Fassung der EBAY Entwicklerkonferenz Präsentation.

    Präsentation zum Download: ODF (10MByte), PDF (5MByte)


    Update:
  • "Spiegel Online" berichtet über die Konferenz: Wieviel CO2 Avatare ausatmen
  • Mitschnitt der Podiumsdiskussion "Nachhaltigkeitsdefizite im Web 2.0" mit Markus Beckedahl, netzpolitik.org; Jürgen Neumann, berlin.freifunk.net; und mir
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