Just moozing

Before you can check your notes, you must make them…

Testing Rackspace

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I have decided that it was time to try how this cloud stuff works. After searching a bit, I found rackspace.com and decided that having a server in the cloud for $10 per month was cheap enough to look into. I am considering whether or not I want to have my own server at home.

First thoughts

The sign up was easy. They call you back to verify your credit card information, and that was a bit odd. There must be some legal issue or a lot of credit card fraud for them to insist on calling people back.

Once the account has been created and activated, it is easy to use. You receive an email with the relevant links. I have worked with virtualization software like vmware and virtualbox, so I searched for the start/stop button. It doesn’t work that way. The cloud concepts take a little getting used to – it is not the same as virtualization@home. Don’t issue a ‘halt’ on the command line…

An example; when starting a server, you get to chose between some standard servers – that is fine, except that that you have to use cloud files (at $0.15/month/Gb) if you want to stop it and resume later. I did not test it, but it seems that you must make a backup of the running machine in order to make changes persistent. On the other hand, when you have an image, you may roll out as many instances as you like. I don’t have a use for it right now, but maybe at a later time.

Using it

The standard server allows for ssh, and you get an email with the IP address and the root password. It is easy and I had the machine up-and-running in no time and was able to slogin to it.

The Linux system reported itself as a quad core AMD processor with 256 Mb of memory and 10 Gb of disk space. This is the smallest machine available.

It got really interesting when I did a speed test of the hard disk (using hdparm -Tt). It reported 3 Gb/s for cached read and 270 Mb/s for buffered disk reads. This is four to six times faster than my Ideapad S12. So I decided on testing it.

Compiling kernel 2.6.38 on my laptop takes 124 minutes. It is boring, it takes forever, and it mostly blocks normal use while it compiles/links. So that was a good candidate for work to be done in the cloud.

The steps.

  1. Start server
  2. Login
  3. Install necessary packages
  4. Create a new user (not essential, but best practice)
  5. Download and unpack the kernel sources
  6. Upload .config file
  7. make oldconfig or make menuconfig
  8. make dep-pkg
  9. Download the packages
  10. Shut down server

It took 40 minutes from start to finish. And I could probably shave some minutes off that time by automating the process. It is definitely a viable solution for high I/O work like kernel compilations. The kernel compilation part took around 15 minutes.

A small disclaimer. Something went wrong with the packages, and I ended up with packages for the AMD64 architecture. I did something wrong with the packages I installed, and stuff got auto detected.


Written by moozing

May 15, 2011 at 09:00

Posted in Tech

Tagged with , ,

One Response

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  1. […] but this is good enough for me. The SSD disk is getting better buffered speeds than I got from the Rackspace test last […]

    Thinkpad x230 « Just moozing

    October 15, 2012 at 09:13

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