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Back to it!

This post is going to be a bit rambly, but you’ll have to forgive me, there’s been a lot to happen recently.

Two things right off the bat: I’d like to thank my friend Ivan from Argonne for bugging the hell out of me to put this website back online. I have no idea why he wanted to see it, but its probably in my best interest to get it back online anyway. Secondly, and this goes well with the first, I hate that every other post on here is me excusing myself for breaking the website again and again, but a guy’s gotta learn, ok?

This time, it was a drive failure. You buy a sketchy 72GB HP SAS drive off Ebay and it fails without warning, who’d thunk it. (I’ve since learned not to trust S.M.A.R.T.) Thankfully, I was at least thorough enough to make backups. That saved all the posts, pages, and images. The MySQL database was lost to the wind, so to rebuild the site was essentially rewriting everything with CTRL-C, CTRL-V, repeat.

Everything about this site and the computers behind it is about learning something. So far, its landed me two pretty good jobs, and I am thankful for that. On the flip side, I think everything earned was put back into building and rebuilding a better architecture. But then the question becomes what is the best architecture. The correct answer, as it usually is, is that it depends.

Originally I just wanted to play around with hardware and have some fun on the internet. A Dell Optiplex was all I needed to have a good night in the garage messing around trying to make an email server and reverse proxy. For gaming, I had R9-290Xs, back when they still almost beat out the GTX980. Times have changed though, and just like myself, the computers I use are more and more geared for working life. Working under Professor Fischer at Argonne has taught me a lot in what to look for in an architecture, but I still want to experiment. There was almost an FPGA in Laplace’s Demon, but it was too expensive. The Xeon Phi’s definitely meet the criteria for being strange, but also are relatively cheap.

The biggest bottleneck I have is interconnects. In Sherlock, everything was limited by 4x1Gb links between the servers. In Laplace’s Demon, because everything is virtual, the biggest bottleneck is the SAS drives themselves. I have Fibre Channel 15.7k HDDs, but I also like not burning houses down. FreeNAS supports L2ARC, so the NVMe drives have been supporting that load for me. Hyper-V supports an internal network speed of 10Gb or 100Gb depending on the OS. That’s absolutely fantastic.

Hopefully I can actually show some real up time for the site, but I kinda doubt it. There is a lot of work to do to Laplace’s Demon to get it more ready for prime time.