Just wondering... server size?

There's been a lot of talk about server scaling, deployment woes, shared hosts, VPS setups, etc. on this list. So, I thought I'd throw in a question of my own.

I have an old Thinkpad lying around in my collection of odds and ends... it's an 800 MHz Pentium III with 384MB of RAM and a 12GB hard disk. It's not doing much, so I'm tempted to ask. Would it make sense to revive this machine as a setup for serving one or more Rails applications within an Intranet environment?

I don't mind changing the hard drive (though I know 12GB is enough for most things right now) but I am averse to upgrading the RAM (old RAM is *really* expensive). I was thinking of grabbing either the Ubuntu 6.06 Server CD or the Rails Live CD (was it being done by Ezra? Is it ready?) and using that as the base (I am hoping that the hardware in the Thinkpad will all be detected).

Does anyone have any experience or opinion about things that may get in the way?
Cheers
Mohit.

There's been a lot of talk about server scaling, deployment woes, shared
hosts, VPS setups, etc. on this list. So, I thought I'd throw in a
question of my own.

I have an old Thinkpad lying around in my collection of odds and ends...
it's an 800 MHz Pentium III with 384MB of RAM and a 12GB hard disk.
It's not doing much, so I'm tempted to ask. Would it make sense to
revive this machine as a setup for serving one or more Rails
applications within an Intranet environment?

I don't mind changing the hard drive (though I know 12GB is enough for
most things right now) but I am averse to upgrading the RAM (old RAM is
*really* expensive). I was thinking of grabbing either the Ubuntu 6.06
Server CD or the Rails Live CD (was it being done by Ezra? Is it
ready?) and using that as the base (I am hoping that the hardware in the
Thinkpad will all be detected).

Does anyone have any experience or opinion about things that may get in
the way?

Unless there's a lot of disk activity, I imagine most of it will end up in ram so your old slow disk won't be a problem... and after that it seems to me that machine has more power than a lot of the shared hosting providers give you...

I'd say the more important question is how many users? And how critical is the app if the laptop should die?

-philip

My gut feeling is that it will deliver acceptable performance for a small
user population.

I think its a great idea BTW - any anecdotal info on rails usage in a H/W
limited environment is good. Especially single CPU systems that host
the DB too.

Richard Conroy wrote:

  

I have an old Thinkpad lying around in my collection of odds and ends...
it's an 800 MHz Pentium III with 384MB of RAM and a 12GB hard disk.
It's not doing much, so I'm tempted to ask. Would it make sense to
revive this machine as a setup for serving one or more Rails
applications within an Intranet environment?
    
My gut feeling is that it will deliver acceptable performance for a small
user population.

I think its a great idea BTW - any anecdotal info on rails usage in a H/W
limited environment is good. Especially single CPU systems that host
the DB too.

Hi Philip & Richard,

Thanks for the replies. User population is not a problem right now. My company is reaally small right now. So, it's not a problem. We're looking at about 2 people. I'm going to be running my development blog (Typo), Pandora for 'collaborative book writing', a small app for logging my meetings, and internal development stuff. I'm thinking perhaps 4 - 8 applications running at a time. But, then, the hit count is probably less than 5 concurrent connections.

As for the other question, how critical is it if it dies on me... umm, application loss for a few days is acceptable right now.. and data loss can be mitigated, I guess, by a good backup plan, no?

Cheers,
Mohit.