The Personal Blog of Stephen Sekula

Gigabit for fun and profit…

Mmmm. Gigabit ethernet. GURGUGURGLE.

I’m bored. With Jodi out of town and being throughly mentally lashed form this past week at SLAC, I needed a project to take my mind off spin and quarks and 38 decay modes of the B meson. I needed gigabit ethernet.

With a lecture on how we define ourselves with material objects rather than inner qualities playing on NPR in the background, I disassembled my desktop and webserver machines and installed the two $20 gigabit ethernet NICs I purchased at Fry’s Electronics. Those guys got plugged into a gigabit network switch using two lengths of ethernet cable designed to attentuate appreciably only above about 500 MHz. Yummy.

Then the tests began. Linux can be fickle, and I had to rerun my network manager on the webserver to restore the network topology I use for routing my home intranet to the global internet. After an hour of mucking about with that, I was ready to go. My ultimate goal was to finally migrate my desktop home area to the webserver and export it via NFS to the rest of the machines in the house. This is so that I can consolidate my nightly backups to just one system, the webserver. If I lose the desktop, it’s no big deal – the home area is safe on the server (and backed up!). I can use the now very empty desktop hard drive for scratch space.

After tuning the NFS exporting system to adjust the blocksize used for reads and writes, I was ready to go. I logged into the desktop, with my home directory now served from the webserver via gigabit ethernet and NFS. It worked great! Response time was excellent, and simultanous actions that eat disk access time (like ripping a DVD and browsing the filesystem to look at photos) didn’t collide with one another.

A successful test! And a fun project! For $100, you too can have exported linux home areas centralized on a 5 year old throw-away PC.
I love linux!