[Asterisk-Users] Computing horsepower needed

Steven Critchfield critch at basesys.com
Thu Dec 11 01:58:02 MST 2003

On Wed, 2003-12-10 at 16:44, Chris Albertson wrote:
> --- Steven Critchfield <critch at basesys.com> wrote:
> > On Wed, 2003-12-10 at 12:47, Trench Shoring wrote:
> > > I have been reading asterisks and everything I can get my hands on
> > for the 
> > > past week. I want to know what class processor is the bare minimum
> > I need 
> > > for a four port Asterisk installation?
> > 
> > This type of question comes up quite often. I don't know whether it
> > is
> > the frequency that annoys me or the seemingly implied "I don't want
> > to
> > use a modern machine, will this POS that I was about to throw in the
> > dump going to make this work". 
> Steve,
> There is a _good_ reason to ask too.  I've been experimenting
> I buy new
> equipment but I'm still looking to reduce power, heat, noise and 
> space to the bare minimum.  No need to buy a CPU that burns
> 120W of power if you can use a one that uses 45W and
> lets you get rid of one of the fans.  Same with disk drives.
> More RAM might let you use a low noise/low heat drive rather then
> that 7200RM noise maker.  I'd like to be able to install a
> notebook sized drive on the * server.

Reducing a system is one thing, shooting for absolute minimum leaves
little to no expansion ability. Also from the stand point of the
original question, it is setting up asterisk to essentially fail through
no fault of the software. Once the person who was asking the question
has gained enough knowledge to diagnose problems, then the same person
is knowledgeable enough to know when the problem stems from reducing the
computing power too much.

> For a big installation everything lives in the server room but
> in a home or very small office it's on the desk or under it
> where every cubic inch and decibel matters.  Plus you know what
> it costs to run a PC 24x7?  We pay 25 cents/KWH.  100W of saving
> adds up over a year's time.

While I enjoyed my visit to California a few years ago, this helps
remind me why I was glad someone else paid my way. Maybe you should
consider relocating where your cubic inches aren't so expensive and the
power is less expensive. Power here in the TVA valley is fairly cheap. I
currently pay only 6.545 cents per kwh. This is after our recent rate
increase. It use to be 6.178 for the first 2k kwh and 6.817 over 2k kwh.
I realized from your post that I could not afford to do a lot of the
things I do if I had to pay your rate for electricity and the increased
cost for gas. 

No wonder so many people that way want to come off the grid and make
their own power. 

> In enginerring, "how small, how light how cheap, can I make
> this thin?" are good questions to ask  

Yes, but an engineer would be dissecting the problem and answering the
question for ones self based on a well founded definition of the
problem. So you realize that a question worded exactly the same can have
different meanings depending on where it is coming from and the reason
to ask it. 

BTW, tying in your power consumption comment, I have seen it mentioned
that the average linux config is responsible for computers using more
power than needed. Many of us, myself included, do not turn on power
management in our kernels. This is due to the support for power
management in older hardware not working very well. Now that it is
better standardized and been tested much more, the newer hardware should
be able to handle being throttled back. 

So for an engineering question, are we getting more work done per watt
of electricity in newer machines? If so, can we combine this with proper
power management to produce an even more attractive result?

You can see how this is more interesting and better directed than a
question that basically leads us down the "will a P200MMX machine be
enough to handle my T1 and 30 employees?" This is exaggerated, but you
can see the difference here. Of course even the exaggerated example
above is better than the original question here that didn't specify
intent or goals, just a nebulous "what is the bare minimum".   
Steven Critchfield <critch at basesys.com>

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