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Comments

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SSD-HDD Price Gap Won't Go Away Anytime Soon

Mad Merlin Re:RAID? (256 comments)

Absolutely not. Even 100 RAIDed HDDs (in any RAID type) will struggle to match the IOPS achieved with a single SSD.

Typical IOPS for a 7200 RPM HDD: 80

Typical IOPS for a modern consumer level SSD: 20,000-100,000

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IOPS

about 4 months ago
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Linux May Succeed Windows XP As OS of Choice For ATMs

Mad Merlin Re:Ok seriously though ... (367 comments)

Sure. Kylix and Quake 2 are the first that come to mind (in terms of commercial software). But if you want to see something more GPL/Open Source originating, take, say, XFree86 from Slackware 4.0 and try to run it on Slackware 14. Same thing.

Now you're talking about something different. The OP specifically said upgrading a kernel (not a distribution). You can take the kernel from RHEL 6 and run it on RHEL 5 (in fact, this is exactly what Oracle does with OEL).

Userspace backwards compatibility is a whole different can of worms. For userspace, you're at the mercy of any libraries you dynamically link against, few promise binary compatibility indefinitely. Your Linux native hello world program compiled in 1991 will still run, unmodified, on today's distros, as it doesn't require any libraries. For more complex programs, you're looking at shipping local copies of the libraries you depend on, either via static linking, or copies of the dynamically linked libraries. The latter option can even be done after the fact.

Of course, if you still have the source, things are much easier. A simple recompile is often sufficient to fix any dynamic linking issues, source compatibility is broken far less often than binary compatibility. While not every old Linux program may run out of the box, it should be fairly trivial to make them work on a modern distro.

Now, if you want to talk about running old programs on new versions of Windows, let's talk about IE6 on Windows 8, without using virtualization. Good luck with that!

about 5 months ago
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Linux May Succeed Windows XP As OS of Choice For ATMs

Mad Merlin Re:Ok seriously though ... (367 comments)

The #1 rule of the kernel is that you cannot break userspace. Care to provide an example?

The one thing that would break is out of tree kernel modules that were never upstreamed. If you depend on those, then you screwed up.

about 5 months ago
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Power-Loss-Protected SSDs Tested: Only Intel S3500 Passes

Mad Merlin Re:So make the power reliable... (293 comments)

You probably tried to draw more power than the UPS is rated for. The UPS will cut power at this point to protect itself.

about 8 months ago
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Valve Releases Debian-Based SteamOS Beta

Mad Merlin Re:PS3-class and indie gaming on Intel (211 comments)

An Anandtech review points out that the integrated GPU in Ivy Bridge (previous generation Intel Core) runs Skyrim playably: 46 fps at 720p.

Even 10 years ago 1280x720 would be pathetic... and you're telling me it doesn't even hit 60 fps?

about 8 months ago
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SSD Annual Failure Rates Around 1.5%, HDDs About 5%

Mad Merlin Re:Do the math (512 comments)

I run about 90% of the systems I manage in RAID 10 (there are a few oddballs in there, some only support 2 drives, those are RAID 1, and there's a few where I don't care about performance, but do care about drive space, those run RAID 5/6). The real world performance difference of RAID 10 over a single drive is very large. Assuming a four drive RAID 10 array, expect between 2x and 4x improvement in both random and sequential read/write performance.

WIth that in mind, at $dayjob, we run a lot of VMs. Before SSDs were affordable, we could usually fit between 6 and 8 VMs on a single host (with 4x or 6x 7200 rpm drives in RAID 10) before they became unusably slow, with tons of time spent in disk wait. CPU time and memory usage were rarely limiting factors. As soon as we started deploying SSDs, the only problem was running out of space. Right now we have over 50 VMs running on a single 8x SSD RAID 10 array, and it's blindingly fast.

There's a similar story with databases. Back before SSDs were affordable, we bought a machine with enough RAM to keep the entire database cached in memory, as it was just too slow to run off of 15k RPM SAS drives. On a fresh boot, we'd still need to precache the database into memory, and with said HDDs, that's a job that took something like 10 minutes and was almost entirely disk bound. We recently upgraded that machine to SSDs, and the same precache task now takes under 30 seconds.

As for home users, well that's a different story. Personally I think it's downright irresponsible to run any system with a single drive (HDD or SSD), but the overwhelming majority of existing machines with a single drive suggest that my opinions on this matter are not widely held.

I guess my issue with your proposal is that I just can't see very many cases where it's practical. The low end of the market is dominated by Laptops/Desktops/Tablets/whatever that cost under $500 and all have only a single drive, as an extra $100 for another drive is going to be a dealbreaker most of the time (if another drive would even physically fit). The high end of the market where performance is critical, is completely dominated by SSDs. You can read countless stories of big companies replacing full racks (42U) of HDDs with 1U or 2U of SSDs. I guess somewhere in the middle there is a small set of people who:

  • store a lot of non-media* files (over 500G or 1T)
  • are not overly concerned with performance
  • have the technical know-how to set up and maintain a RAID array
  • are significantly more concerned with reliability than most
  • are still relatively cost-sensitive

Those people would probably be better served by a 4x HDD RAID 10 array than a 2x SSD RAID 1 array.

* If you're storing media files on SSDs, you either have too much money to burn, or zero sense. They're huge and 99% of the time are read/written sequentially.

about a year ago
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SSD Annual Failure Rates Around 1.5%, HDDs About 5%

Mad Merlin Re:Do the math (512 comments)

Most workloads are in fact dominated by small, mostly random, reads and writes, which is why SSDs are just that much faster in the majority of cases.

If you're talking about mainly sequential reads, then the situation for the four RAID1 HDDs is even grimmer. RAID1 provides virtually no speedup for single reader sequential reads, as to do so would require tons of seeks from the drives (which as we know, HDDs fail at), or an extremely large file and very large stripe size (and also a matching amount of memory for intermediate buffers). Most RAID1 implementations don't even bother trying.

Having said that, HDDs are substantially better at sequential reads and writes than random ones, and if your workload really, truly is dominated by sequential operations (and it probably isn't), you can generally match the performance of a single SSD with a RAID10 of roughly a dozen HDDs (or a RAID0 of half a dozen, but say goodbye to reliability). This ignores the fact that a dozen of even the cheapest HDDs is substantially more expensive than an SSD, due to actual unit cost, the extra power draw, the extra physical space required for them, the extra HBA(s) to plug the drives into, the extra manpower to install/manage them and the extra manpower to deal with them when they die.

There are still reasons to use HDDs, but performance is absolutely not one of them. It's not even close. Take it from someone who manages several hundred HDDs + SSDs.

about a year ago
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SSD Annual Failure Rates Around 1.5%, HDDs About 5%

Mad Merlin Re:Do the math (512 comments)

More to the point, you can buy 4 4TB HDDs for $800 and setup a RAID1 and get a lot of the same read performance as an SDD while having heavy redundancy.

Where by "a lot of", you mean less than 1% of, right?

Typical IOPS on a 7200 RPM HDD is around 80. Typical IOPS on a garden variety SSD is 80,000. We'll be generous and assume linear speedup for the four HDDs, which gives us 320 IOPS, or 0.4% of the performance of a single SSD.

about a year ago
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Netflix Comes To Linux Web Browsers Via 'Pipelight'

Mad Merlin Re:Easy solution (303 comments)

DRM that doesn't affect your use of the product works just fine.

I'm glad you agree that DRM is never OK.

1 year,9 days
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Ask Slashdot: Hardware Accelerated Multi-Monitor Support In Linux?

Mad Merlin Re:I do this currently.. (278 comments)

That's not necessary anymore. Kepler based cards (GTX 600 and 700) support up to 4 monitors. I'm posting from 3 monitors connected to a GTX 670.

about a year ago
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The Last GUADEC?

Mad Merlin Re: Foreshadowing (376 comments)

Well I might be the odd man out among tech-savvy users, but I run most applications maximized on my 24" screen...

This is frustratingly common, it is incredibly painful when I see other people do this. Currently I have 19 windows visible on the current virtual desktop and a total of 76 windows open across 5 virtual desktops. Needless to say, alt tabbing through 76 windows doesn't cut it.

about a year ago
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Microsoft Kills Xbox One Phone-Home DRM

Mad Merlin Re:I just had this conversation with a coworker: (547 comments)

I expect to get modded down, but what's so bad about not having to keep track of a silver disk to play a game? Steam has that model.

Because when the mothership (ie, Valve, or Microsoft) decides that you're no longer allowed to play said game, you're no longer allowed to play said game. Make no mistake, that day WILL come, the only question is when.

about a year ago
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Intel Claims Haswell Architecture Offers 50% Longer Battery Life vs. Ivy Bridge

Mad Merlin Re:Desktops? (120 comments)

Haswell is a laptop/desktop/server microarchitecture, but Intel doesn't care very much about the desktop anymore, so expect little press coverage of that angle.

about a year ago
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New Console Always-Online Requirements and You

Mad Merlin Re:Steambox (435 comments)

I don't care about second hand games, I'd rather buy a new one.

Steam however is pretty much the worst possible thing that could have happened to gaming in a long time. Not only is it a massive single point of failure, but it forces DRM on every game distributed through it. On top of that, it is increasingly common for games to be distributed exclusively on Steam, even when the developer of said game isn't Valve. However, that's not even the worst part. The worst part is that so many people not only turn a blind eye to the fundamental problems of Steam, but that they treat it as some sort of panacea of gaming.

about a year ago
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HP Launches Moonshot

Mad Merlin Re:Specs for the interested (168 comments)

I don't really understand the market for something like this either. When the S1200 was launched, Intel was careful to point out that if you try to scale it up as a cheap alternative to E5/E7 Xeons, the economics and power consumption of the S1200 (let alone the complexity of an order of magnitude more servers to manage) is not favourable. Totally understandable, as Intel would be foolish to cannibalize their own Xeon market.

Having said that, I do like the S1200, but more for something like a low traffic VPN gateway, where you want IPMI (which is orthogonal to the actual CPU, but due to the positioning of the S1200 as a server chip, will be easy to find in conjunction with the S1200) and the added reliability of ECC memory, but really won't use any of the extra horsepower or expandability (and cost and power usage) you'd get from a real Xeon.

about a year ago
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New Thunderbolt Revision Features 20 Gbps Throughput, 4K Video Support

Mad Merlin Re: Adoption by Mass Market? (301 comments)

The peak transfer rate for the mini-SAS interface is 3Gbs (3 Gigabits, not bytes, per second) this is an absolute maximum of 375 MB/sec.

I'm sorry, but you're wrong. Have a look at this review, for example.

Each mini-SAS cable provides four lanes of SAS (3 Gbit/s), SAS2 (6 Gbit/s), or SAS3 (12 Gbit/s), depending on the HBA in use. That equates to 12 Gbit/s, 24 Gbit/s or 48 Gbit/s per cable. Also, with SAS2 being out since 2009, it's pretty hard to even find a SAS1 card anymore.

about a year ago
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New Thunderbolt Revision Features 20 Gbps Throughput, 4K Video Support

Mad Merlin Re:There are already several options (301 comments)

What could I connect this to?

Several RAID arrays...

I wouldn't suggest it. It'll only take two SSDs to saturate a Thunderbolt bus (or 4 SSDs with 20 Gbit Thunderbolt).

about a year ago
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New Thunderbolt Revision Features 20 Gbps Throughput, 4K Video Support

Mad Merlin Re: Adoption by Mass Market? (301 comments)

Prior to this you needed really expensive FibreChannel equipment to deliver the same kind of performance.

No, not really. You can get an 8 bay enclosure (like this) with SFF-8088 connectivity for half a grand and get 4 gigabytes per second read/write.

about a year ago
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How Power Failures Corrupt Flash SSD Data

Mad Merlin Re:Before you ask. (204 comments)

Which is unfortunate. That was the main reason I opened the PDF.

about a year and a half ago

Submissions

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Blizzard announces third expansion pack for WoW

Mad Merlin Mad Merlin writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Mad Merlin writes "Blizzard Entertainment has announced definitive plans to acquire Game! for use as the third expansion pack in its smash hit MMORPG World of Warcraft. President and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment Michael Morhaime was quoted as saying, "It was really a no brainer for us. We just found Game! yesterday, and the potential was immediately obvious to us." When prompted on what caused the outsourcing of WoW development, he continued, "We were running out of ideas, and nobody really uses Windows anymore, so we've been left out in the cold without a native Linux client. Game! solves both of those problems for us. Besides, what else are we going to do with the billions and billions of dollars we have sitting around?"

A playable demo will be available at E3 in June, with final release expected in Q4 2009."
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Native Steam client coming to Linux

Mad Merlin Mad Merlin writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Mad Merlin writes "Valve's most recent title, Left 4 Dead, is shipping shared Linux libraries alongside the Windows game client. Among the files shipped is steamclient_linux.so, of which a preliminary examination reveals that the libraries are definitely not just for server use, but client use. This comes as no surprise, as about a year ago Valve was hunting for a senior software engineer to port Windows games to Linux. Remember to vote with your feet (and wallet) when Steam for Linux is officially released!"
Link to Original Source
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MySQL 5.1 reaches GA

Mad Merlin Mad Merlin writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Mad Merlin writes "It's no secret that MySQL 5.1 has been a long time in the making, with the first beta release being in Nov 2005, but MySQL 5.1.30 has finally been released as GA. MySQL users can expect new features such as table/index partitioning, row based replication, a new plugin architecture, an event scheduler and a host of performance improvements from 5.1. No doubt Slashdot is in the process of upgrading to 5.1 right now."
Link to Original Source
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MySQL 5.1 GA will be out by Dec 6th

Mad Merlin Mad Merlin writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Mad Merlin writes "It's no secret that MySQL 5.1 has been a long time in the making, with the first beta release being in Nov 2005, but a deadline for the GA release of MySQL 5.1 has finally been set for Dec 6th. The 5.1 changelog also lists 5.1.30 as GA (although with the "Not yet released" disclaimer). MySQL users can expect features such as table/index partitioning, row based replication, a new plugin architecture, an event scheduler and a host of performance improvements from 5.1. No doubt Slashdot will upgrade to 5.1 the day it gets GAed, if it hasn't already."
Link to Original Source
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AMD releases 900 pages of ATI GPU specs

Mad Merlin Mad Merlin writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Mad Merlin writes "AMD has just released over 900 pages worth of ATI GPU specifications for R500 and R600 series graphics cards. These specifications will greatly expediate development of quality open source drivers for these graphics cards, and AMD should be applauded for this effort. Additionally, AMD has also released fglrx 8.41.7 which brings support for the HD2000 series graphics cards, and also improves the 3D performance of the R300, R400 and R500 series by 50-90% in comparison to previous fglrx releases."
Link to Original Source

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