An objective difference in consumer disk drives

I've finally found an objective (and quantifiable) difference in consumer hard drives.

This graph shows the last month of temperature differences in 4 drives in a server in my basement. They are in the same chassis with the same cooling. The 2 hotter drives are Maxtors, the 2 cooler are Western Digital.

The Maxtors are physically on top, but all drives get good airflow. I believe brand is a better correlation than position.

(This also shows the increasing ambient temp in Massachusetts over the last month).

VM Resources Page

I'm now a VM management and performance guy for a large amount of my life.

One of the interesting things about virtualization is how it changes the assumptions we've made and developed in computers since the dawn of the PC revolution. (For the old time purists -- yes, virtualization predates PCs. However, tech has changed a bit from those days. While there are old lessons to be refreshed, there are also new ones to learn.)

Laptop for Virtualization

This is a bit more specific than I usually get but I want to document what's working for me.

My current needs in a laptop are:

  • Highly portable
  • Great battery life
  • Capable of running multiple virtual machines

Recently I changed jobs and am now taking the train to work -- as such I have 1.5 hours per commute that I can turn into productive time (as I'm doing right now). I'm really playing in the virtualization space right now, so virtualization is a big part of this.

Here's what I've got running:

The problem with GIT

After a few months of using GIT, I realized one of my fundamental problems with git:

Commits aren't.

By that I mean that the term "commit" has a connotation in software that is beyond the strict definition. I think it likely comes from relational databases where "commit" connotes some kind of finality or permanence.

graphiteutils: input and output for Graphite

A collection of Graphite input tools and a Xymon monitoring script to consume data from Graphite and update Xymon column status based on Graphite data.

BETA(-) status: they are underdocumented and do not have any significant negative testing, but they are currently working in a production environment

svntools: Subversion tools for command line geeks

This is a project home page for my collection of tools to work with Subversion, mostly from the command line, Unix or Cygwin basis.

Status: BETA (-): they are underdocumented and do not have automated test suites. I have used them extensively and have shared them with colleagues.

Windows vs. Linux from an I/O perspective

For the past few weeks I've been trying out an SSD storage array.

I put a single virtual machine (Ubuntu Server 32 bit 512MB RAM) on it which is part of my monitoring system and receives about 30 metrics per second as well as being my primary display server for some very complex graphs. Storage experienced an average of 19 IOPs running that machine.

Yesterday we added 2 Windows machines, both Win2K8 64 bit with 4G of RAM. They are both idle. My storage consumption increased to average 79 IOPs steady state.

A most excellent backplane

A brief review of a SATA backplane

Tool of the Month: Puppet

Puppet is a tool for configuring a large number of machines by recipe and periodically checking that they are still in conformance. I have fallen in love.


Welcome! After a several year hiatus, I am back to publishing information on technical topics.


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