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Old 5th April 2012
daemonfowl daemonfowl is offline
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Default laptops and uptime ..

Hi everybody !

is it true that laptops are not meant for long uptimes ?
how can a long uptime be detrimental to laptop hardware ?
is it conceivable to use a laptop as a 'light' web server (lighttpd - thttpd - cherokee - nostromo) ?

Million Thanks !
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Old 5th April 2012
ocicat ocicat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daemonfowl View Post
is it true that laptops are not meant for long uptimes ?
Define "long uptimes".
Quote:
how can a long uptime be detrimental to laptop hardware ?
Anymore, I typically leave my Thinkpad T43 on for nearly a month at a time. There are times when it may be off for a month, but I cycle between different laptops depending upon what I am doing. This T43 has had its hard drive replaced twice in seven years, & I am about to put in an SSD as the last replacement before retiring/selling. The current drive has developed a intermittent whine when booting, so I recognize that drive #3 needs to come out. As to whether this is "typical" behavior, I don't know. I also have not used it in the same manner all seven years either.
Quote:
is it conceivable to use a laptop as a 'light' web server (lighttpd - thttpd - cherokee - nostromo) ?
Yes, you can use any hardware to act as a server, but at some point it will fail, & even servers built for heavy use fail. The problem with all hardware is that it fails when you least expect it.

As I mentioned in a different thread of yours, the solution is to have a contingency plan to deal with the inevitable reality. If whatever you are serving is critical, you need to think about having replacement hardware on hand. If downtime is hypercritical, you need to have both hardware & scripts already written to reconfigure the server as quickly as possible.

If whatever you are serving isn't very critical, you won't need much of a contingency plan. What you need to answer to yourself is how dire is downtime, because at some point, you will have to deal with hardware failures. You will either be prepared for it or not.
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Old 5th April 2012
daemonfowl daemonfowl is offline
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@ocicat , thank you very much for your extended explanation !
I guess I am not prepared yet for any disaster .. no scripts or post-disaster plans .. I hope you'll show me where to start from .. I don't serve anything critical .. downtime is not an issue for now as I'm not serving per se , but just learning how to serve ..
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Old 5th April 2012
ocicat ocicat is offline
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There is no one way to come up with a contingency plan, but I will give you some points to think about. Assuming you only have one "server" you consider to be "in production":
  • What is the backup schedule? If the "server" goes down for whatever reason, can you simply restore from backup files? How old can a backup be before it is no longer viable? Where are backup files stored? If this is done on the same premises as where the server resides, a fire could destroy it all.
  • If the decision is made to install a fresh copy of the operating system, do you install the same version which was previously on the server, or is a newer version used? Has any testing been done to ensure that the configuration which you will use doesn't do something unforeseen on a newer version? Is there duplicate hardware which can be used for testing? Do you keep spare disks on hand?
  • When it comes to providing a 24x7 service, is there any chance for creating redundancy? In this manner, is one server goes down, the service may limp along on the remaining server, but the service remains up.
  • Can install/update customization scripts be used? For OpenBSD, this is covered in Section 4.14 of the FAQ. J65nko also wrote up comments here. Other threads here on the forum discuss using customizing scripts too.
There is certainly more to this topic, but this should get you started. Others might contribute their thoughts.

Lastly, while I understand why your question focuses on "can this hardware be used for providing 24x7 services?", it is not necessarily the right question to ask. A better approach would be to ask "How important is my service, & how do I optimize uptime given the hardware available?"
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Old 6th April 2012
daemonfowl daemonfowl is offline
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Hi Ocicat ! thank you very much for these enlightening guidelines !
I have 2 spare sata disks which I sync .. when I upgrade one successfully I move to the other .. data is backed up in flash sticks as they are easily manageable .. a primitive & unprofessional manner of doing things .. setting a backup schedule is something new to me ..
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Old 5th May 2012
gpatrick gpatrick is offline
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Quote:
is it conceivable to use a laptop as a 'light' web server (lighttpd - thttpd - cherokee - nostromo) ?
I am running my website off of a toshiba laptop. The laptop also serves as my mail server. It uses Pound as a reverse proxy, Apache (base) as the web server, and OpenSMTPD (base) for the mail server.

Quote:
is it true that laptops are not meant for long uptimes ?
The uptime on my web and mail laptop is presently 394 days and I have no intention of rebooting it.

Since the laptop only has one internal drive, I have a USB hard drive for a backup partition to store dump files, and a second USB hard drive partitioned the same as the internal drive. Then I restore the dump files to the USB drive and do an installboot, followed by editing the fstab on the USB drive. That protects me from a drive failure. I also make backups of the dump files to dvd as additional precaution.
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Old 5th May 2012
daemonfowl daemonfowl is offline
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Hi @gpatrick ! thank you so much for your interesting and informative post !!
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Old 6th May 2012
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vermaden vermaden is offline
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There was time when I used Macbook with OSX as a workstation at work, it used to work 130-140 days of uptime without any issues, the reason to reboot it was to apply OSX updates.
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Old 7th May 2012
daemonfowl daemonfowl is offline
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Yet another ex-MacOSXist .. Thanks Vermaden !
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Old 22nd July 2013
bsdnotbdsm bsdnotbdsm is offline
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Hello,
I can see this is an old thread, but I am gonna post my story too, for the record.

I use an old Lenovo ThinkPad T60 as personal home server (OpenVPN, LAMP, IRC, Mumble, etc).
It runs Ubuntu 10.04 64bit (desktop edition!) and it works very nice.

I have 15+ days of uptime on a regular basis, the only reasons for reboots are: kernel upgrades and electricity failures.
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