Pandora as server?


joost

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I know it would be underplaying the thing, but do you think it's possible to use the Openpandora as an 'energy efficient' server? I'd load Debian or Ubuntu on it, attach a USB hub with a few external hard drives, use the Wifi to connect to LAN and finally install some server software (http server, ssh, torrent client, mail server). I'd prefer a wired connection, but the Pandora doesn't have an ethernet port, so that's not possible.

I'm currently using a Linksys NSLU2 device for this exact purpose (also ARM based), but it's a bit sloooow...

Any thoughts?

Joost
 

Znirk

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Might work; but why pay for a screen and controls if what you want is a server?

Take a look at this, perhaps. It's (or will be; I can't really tell from my quick look at the site) an ARM-based tiny server in a wall-wart, with ethernet and USB.
 

polyroy

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That Marvell thing is called the Sheeva plug, info here: http://www.linuxdevices.com/news/NS9634061300.html.

They're selling them right now from http://www.globalscaletechnologies.com/ ... v-kit.aspx
The PogoPlug is a pre-programmed Sheeva Plug for USB Mass Storage device sharing, but I guess that might not be what you want, even though a community around it is starting. At least from the devkit you know it will be completely open for your use.

Power input: 100-240VAC/50-60Hz 19W, not exactly great but hey... also, no European sockets yet.

Personally, I'd never consider a server connected over a wireless link. Packet loss alone makes me hate the thought. Of course it's possible...
 

joost

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Hmm, this SheevaPlug is quite interesting, thanks for pointing me to it! That will most probably fit my needs perfectly!
 

lulzfish

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There's also the BeagleBoard, which is essentially a Pandora with 128MB of RAM and no screen / case / wireless. You'll need a USB-to-ethernet adapter, but you needed that anyway.
 

rick0815

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I was also thinking of using the Pandora as a server until I found this. If I find a distributor which ships to germany I will proberbly buy one of these.
Full-featured PC, tiny and power saving
Intel Atom Z530 CPU @ 1.6 GHz
Intel US15W chipset
1GB DDR2
160GB SATA harddisk, easily upgradeable
DVI Digital display interface, up to 1920x1080
HD Audio, line-out 2.0 / mic in / line-in
1000Mb/s Ethernet port
802.11g WiFi
Six USB 2.0 ports
miniSD and mini PCI Express sockets
IR receiver
Phoenix BIOS
Single 12V supply, 6W, fanless operation
Dimensions - 115 x 101 x 27mm
Runs Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Linux
Also available as SBC without enclosure

edit: fixed broken link
 

Kramy

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Mar 15, 2008
Messages
688
ricki said:
I was also thinking of using the Pandora as a server until I found this. If I find a distributor which ships to germany I will proberbly buy one of these.
Full-featured PC, tiny and power saving
Intel Atom Z530 CPU @ 1.6 GHz
Intel US15W chipset
1GB DDR2
160GB SATA harddisk, easily upgradeable
DVI Digital display interface, up to 1920x1080
HD Audio, line-out 2.0 / mic in / line-in
1000Mb/s Ethernet port
802.11g WiFi
Six USB 2.0 ports
miniSD and mini PCI Express sockets
IR receiver
Phoenix BIOS
Single 12V supply, 6W, fanless operation
Dimensions - 115 x 101 x 27mm
Runs Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Linux
Also available as SBC without enclosure
That's not the power consumption of the entire system. You're looking at minimum ~35 watts. Probably more.

CPU, Chipset, other chips on the board(like Ethernet), USB ports, the HDD, etc. all combine to bump power consumption up quite a bit.

I have a fanless VIA C7 board loaded up with 6 HDDs as a NAS. It was advertised as having a 0.5w CPU - not a 6w CPU - and it consumes about 45 watts. Interestingly, it also consumes 45 watts when the CPU is in "low power mode", which makes me agree that the CPU is probably consuming < 1 watt. Don't forget to add another ~35-60 watts if you have a monitor, and 5-10 watts for even the weakest speakers. :wink:
 

Gary13579

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Apr 21, 2009
Messages
244
Kramy said:
ricki said:
I was also thinking of using the Pandora as a server until I found this. If I find a distributor which ships to germany I will proberbly buy one of these.
Full-featured PC, tiny and power saving
Intel Atom Z530 CPU @ 1.6 GHz
Intel US15W chipset
1GB DDR2
160GB SATA harddisk, easily upgradeable
DVI Digital display interface, up to 1920x1080
HD Audio, line-out 2.0 / mic in / line-in
1000Mb/s Ethernet port
802.11g WiFi
Six USB 2.0 ports
miniSD and mini PCI Express sockets
IR receiver
Phoenix BIOS
Single 12V supply, 6W, fanless operation
Dimensions - 115 x 101 x 27mm
Runs Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Linux
Also available as SBC without enclosure
That's not the power consumption of the entire system. You're looking at minimum ~35 watts. Probably more.

CPU, Chipset, other chips on the board(like Ethernet), USB ports, the HDD, etc. all combine to bump power consumption up quite a bit.

I have a fanless VIA C7 board loaded up with 6 HDDs as a NAS. It was advertised as having a 0.5w CPU - not a 6w CPU - and it consumes about 45 watts. Interestingly, it also consumes 45 watts when the CPU is in "low power mode", which makes me agree that the CPU is probably consuming < 1 watt. Don't forget to add another ~35-60 watts if you have a monitor, and 5-10 watts for even the weakest speakers. :wink:

The hell do you expect with 6 HDDs?

And no, they are advertising the entire unit to take 8W, under load. With network booting, you need no HDD. I'm debating buying one as an HTPC.
 

Kramy

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Messages
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Gary13579 said:
The hell do you expect with 6 HDDs?

And no, they are advertising the entire unit to take 8W, under load. With network booting, you need no HDD. I'm debating buying one as an HTPC.
The 6 HDDs consume < 10 watts when mostly idle. (power consumption was 37 watts with only one HDD)

The Kill-a-watt doesn't lie. ;)

I'm betting their advertising does lie - but good luck.
 

Caine

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Jun 5, 2008
Messages
4,138
Location
Netherlands
ricki said:
I was also thinking of using the Pandora as a server until I found this. If I find a distributor which ships to germany I will proberbly buy one of these.
Full-featured PC, tiny and power saving
Intel Atom Z530 CPU @ 1.6 GHz
Intel US15W chipset
1GB DDR2
160GB SATA harddisk, easily upgradeable
DVI Digital display interface, up to 1920x1080
HD Audio, line-out 2.0 / mic in / line-in
1000Mb/s Ethernet port
802.11g WiFi
Six USB 2.0 ports
miniSD and mini PCI Express sockets
IR receiver
Phoenix BIOS
Single 12V supply, 6W, fanless operation
Dimensions - 115 x 101 x 27mm
Runs Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Linux
Also available as SBC without enclosure

edit: fixed broken link
There was a discussion on tweakers.net (a dutch site) about this device a while back.
Apparently it has some serious driver issues when using Linux. Check the following links:
Intel GMA 500 (Poulsbo) graphics on Linux: a precise and comprehensive summary as to why you’re screwed
Intel's Poulsbo Driver A Bloody Mess?
GMA500 support on Linux not quite there yet.
Wikipedia: Intel GMA
 

Gary13579

Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2009
Messages
244
Caine said:
ricki said:
I was also thinking of using the Pandora as a server until I found this. If I find a distributor which ships to germany I will proberbly buy one of these.
Full-featured PC, tiny and power saving
Intel Atom Z530 CPU @ 1.6 GHz
Intel US15W chipset
1GB DDR2
160GB SATA harddisk, easily upgradeable
DVI Digital display interface, up to 1920x1080
HD Audio, line-out 2.0 / mic in / line-in
1000Mb/s Ethernet port
802.11g WiFi
Six USB 2.0 ports
miniSD and mini PCI Express sockets
IR receiver
Phoenix BIOS
Single 12V supply, 6W, fanless operation
Dimensions - 115 x 101 x 27mm
Runs Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Linux
Also available as SBC without enclosure

edit: fixed broken link
There was a discussion on tweakers.net (a dutch site) about this device a while back.
Apparently it has some serious driver issues when using Linux. Check the following links:
Intel GMA 500 (Poulsbo) graphics on Linux: a precise and comprehensive summary as to why you’re screwed
Intel's Poulsbo Driver A Bloody Mess?
GMA500 support on Linux not quite there yet.
Wikipedia: Intel GMA
Yeah, there's no open source video driver. However, they offer a binary driver that works with Ubuntu 8.04 and 8.10 (9.04 coming soon, supposedly).

VLC also doesn't support hardware accel, you have to use a custom built mplayer :(.
 

rick0815

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Joined
Oct 14, 2008
Messages
379
Advertising does always lie!

Lets do a quick calculation:

* Atom Z530: according to Wikipedia 2.2 W (TDP)
* 4 USB-Ports: 4 * 5V * 500mA = 10W
* 2 small USB-Ports: 2 * 5V * 100mA = 1W
* Intel US15W chipset: No idea, but all I can find tells that the combination with a Z530 consumes less than 5W. So lets assume 3W for this one. (I came across the driver issue as I was looking for the power consumption of this chip on Wikipedia. But this should only be a problem if you want to use the 2d/3d hardware acceleration?)
* Lets assume 10W for a harddrive. (Here is potential for optimization i guess, does an SSD make any sense?)
* Wifi? Not for me, thanks. (Advertised with 0.7 to 1.5 W depending on the model)

Thats a max of 26.2 W so far without wireless lan.
I'm not the hardware guru so... what else is missing?

Is it worth to create a new thread maybe in the off topic section "How to configure a power efficient server"? Because thats a question I'm really interested in.

BOT: As joost already mentioned, I think the Pandora would be a bit over powered to be just a server, which is the thing I was pointing to as well I guess.
 

Gary13579

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Apr 21, 2009
Messages
244
Uh, Pandora would be a bit underpowered for a server. No LAN port, slow CPU, very low RAM, very low disk space...

I'm looking at servers to run my MMO project, and I wouldn't trust something as slow as the Pandora to it. Granted, I also plan to abuse the hell out of memcache to optimise the server a TON, so anything under 8GB of RAM looks lacking to me ;).
 

rick0815

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Joined
Oct 14, 2008
Messages
379
Yeah well, depending on the services your server should provide...
My unexperienced me always think of ssh, http, nfs, ftp, smb... and maybe nethack if I here "server". I should just stop talking about stuff I don't know enough about.
 

Gary13579

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Apr 21, 2009
Messages
244
ricki said:
Yeah well, depending on the services your server should provide...
My unexperienced me always think of ssh, http, nfs, ftp, smb... and maybe nethack if I here "server". I should just stop talking about stuff I don't know enough about.
Yes, but... FTP and SMB would be useless, as it lacks disk space. Sure, you can get external drives, but a SheevaPlug would be a million times better for that.

HTTP... this again, can be quite tricky. I don't think the Pandora would be fast enough to be a full fledged web server, at least in todays standards. 99% of websites aren't static, they make use of PHP/ASP/SQL/whatever the designer wants, and CPU becomes a huge bottleneck there.

It'd work fine as an ssh server... but why would you want a dedicated ssh server, without use of lighttpd/apache/ftpd... it'd be almost pointless to SSH into your Pandora to use irssi, or anything.
 

lulzfish

Pandora Defense Squad
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troyanonymous.homelinux.com
You'd be wasting a lot of money on mobility if you're just going to leave the Pandora in one place as a server.
Now, if you were on an ad-hoc WLAN with the Pandora serving files to other devices [Lesser PDAs and Mp3 player] while away from your desktop, that would be cool.
 

hkipp

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Messages
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Regarding the USB-calculation: 500mA is the maximum load it can drive (or is it 300mA only? - I think some devices are only specified for 300mA current), so unless external systems are driven directly from USB this does not really count.

If you need LAN for the pandora, then a simple USB-adapter should work just fine (not sure if the one for Wii would do :).

If pandora is closed, then the build-in display should not use much, so power usage should be minimal.

I have also looked at several other solutions, but they all have the disadvantage that they either need to boot from an external device or do not have a display (which is sometimes needed for a sever), have build-in proprietary software (eg. iPod touch - unless jailbreaked :) and it has only 64MB of main memory). The beagle-board is quite nice, but it lacks keyboard and display etc., and with all the other things required it might not even be much cheaper than a pandora.

The fit-PC2 is only $245, but that is without WLAN and Harddisk. With Harddisk this is more like $350. RAM is soldered directly to the board, so no upgrade is possible (sounds familiar, eh?). Power consumption is said to be between 6 and 8W, but as this does seem to apply to the diskless versions also, we might assume it is more for the with-disk version (eg. 10-12W). What is most annoying for me is the display driver issue 'cause I prefer open source solutions (ymmv).
Source of information: http://fit-pc2.com/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page

With WLAN we have 54MBit/s which should be sufficient for smaller home servers (and who has 50+MBit/s at home?), and if your website is mainly for static pages, serving some files, then 256MB main memory and 32GB SDHC-card should be more than sufficient. For large data-handling DB-based applications (unless DB fits into RAM) Pandora might not be the right choice and you presumably want to use an externally hosted (with 100MBit or even GBit access) server which should be available for a few bucks per month.

For me the pandora seems to be ideal for a little low-power web-, email-, print- and dns-server. Mind you, these are all services that are mainly based on file-i/o, so your only concern should be to get fast SDHC-cards or optimize your cache-settings for this. And if I have to shell out 300+ bucks no matter what solution, I'd prefer to use a pandora ;-)

Just my two cents anyway (0,02 Euro).

Holger
 
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