Too Much Juice

I just counted, I have 4 computers in my house running at all times, each probably sucking as much power as a couple of light bulbs. Two are the desktop machines used by the humans in the household at random times during the day. One is a low-power mini-ITX machine working as a file-server and the other is hooked to the TV in the livingroom where it is occasionally used to watch downloaded video.

I’d shut the desktops down at night, but they backup to one another. The fileserver has software mirrored drives, but I like having multiple copies of things on multiple machines. The TV computer could probably be replaced with some sort of networked video player with faster startup and lower power consumption, but my encryped 802.11g network may be a little too flakey to be used to reliably play back high-quality video stored on another system.

I think I need to rethink my approach to backup and storage first, and then go from there. I want to be turning at least two of these things off every night.

3 thoughts on “Too Much Juice

  1. Flynn

    Well, if the machine by your tv is only used occasionaly, does it really have a need to be on at night? Is it storing anything that changes enough to warrant nightly backups?

    As for the rest… Maybe a removeable drive or an external would help?
    Multiple backups rule. Wish I had thought of that.

    Be seeing you…
    “What are the odds that this Western Digital could fail? It’s brand new…”

  2. eas Post author

    I wasn’t too articulate about all the considerations involved in coming up with a new scheme. Turning the TV computer off, or just putting it to sleep, is something I’ve considered repeatedly, but the problem is, when I want to use it I don’t want to have to wait for it to start up again.

    If I can find a reasolably priced device ($150) to replace the TV computer with then I can take its guts and use it to upgrade my wife’s machine (it’s probably 2x as fast as what she’s using), which is really long in the tooth. That turns off one machine. The only tricky part is that whatever I get needs to be able to handle MPEG4 video natively so I don’t have to worry about my wireless net being a bottleneck.

    Next, I get a 200GB drive for my server, so I can mirror more than 60GB. That gives me ~180GB of mirrored storage to play with, plus ~80GB that I could use for other stuff. Then I can change the backup routine on my desktops so that they back up to the server, rather than each other and have them close down when they are done. That gets me pretty close to where I want to be, though I need to figure out something for the photos and stuff that live on the server.

    If need be I can get gigabit ethernet to speed up the backups. Then its time to get some big drives so I can rip all my CDs to lossless format…

    Drive failures sure do suck, don’t they. Even if you can get the data back (thank you R-studio), reinstalling the OS and everything else is a huge pain in the ass. (Something else my backup scheme could be better at)

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