Any serious production servers yet?

Danial Thom danial_thom at
Wed May 31 12:00:05 PDT 2006

--- Matthew Dillon <dillon at xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

>     Er.  Well, if I were talking about today I
> would be talking about today.
>     I'm talking about the near-future, 2-3
> years from now.  It would be the
>     height of stupidity to have programming
> goals that only satisfy the
>     needs of today.

It might be the "height of stupidity", but it
takes 2-3 years to convince people that you have
something worth using, even if you have something
great, so are you prepared to wait 4-5 to have a
mainstream O/S? Once you get the groundwork done,
you should ramp up to be production quality so
you can get some noteworthy people using the O/S
in real-world servers. Then you can keep it
stable and work in your roadmap. 

We're approaching a critical point where a lot of
companies are going to start looking to move into
MP who haven't been there before. Saying you'll
have something really great in 2 years isn't
going to get people involved with the project. 

Your project will move ahead at an exponential
pace once you get more funding and more important
people working on it. You can't do that with an
OS that can't be used by anyone with the money to
contribute. You're thinking like an engineer, and
not a marketeer. Its sort of like a kid going to
college part-time trying to pay as he goes,
earning $10/hr, while he could borrow the money
and pay it off by making $50. an hour by
graduating earlier. Its a backwards approach to
product development.

>     In 2-3 years single-core cpus will be
> relegated to niche status.  You
>     won't be able *BUY* Intel or AMD
> single-core's at all for general purpose
>     computers.  It won't matter a bit whether
> the average consumer is able
>     use the extra computing power, it will be
> there anyway because it doesn't
>     cost Intel or AMD any more to build it
> verses building single-core cpu's,
>     it doesn't eat any more power either (in
> fact, it eats less, for more
>     aggregate computing power).  So regardless
> of what you believe the
>     future is quite clearly going to become
> permanently multi-core.
>     In anycase, it's a mistake to assume that
> the extra computing power
>     is wasted just because you can't think of
> anything that can use it
>     right now.  That mentality is what caused
> Bill Gates to make the statement
>     that no computer would ever need more then
> 640KB of memory.

Nobody is saying that it can't be used, I'm just
saying its not worth the $$$ today because the
marginal cost of the hardware can't be utilized
by the O/S and the applications that most use. So
why buy MP today? 

Surely it makes sense to begin developing O/S
applications (which is what I need to do),
however I need an OS that is production ready,
even if its not as good as its going to be,
because I can't reasonably test the performance
of an application on an OS that can't handle
production loads.

>     There are plenty of applications both
> existing and on the horizon that
>     would be easily be able to use the
> additional computing power.  Even on a
>     fast machine today SSH can still only
> encrypt at a 25-40MB/sec rate.
>     Filesystems such as ZFS are far more
> computationally expensive then
>     what we use today, but what you get for
> that price is an unbelievable
>     level of stability and redundancy. 
> Photo-processing?  It takes my
>     fastest box 4 hours to run through the
> fixups for one trip's worth of
>     photos.  Since that workload is primarily
> userland, it only takes 
>     2 hours on my dual-core box.  Encryption,
> Graphics, Photo-processing,
>     Database operations.

Well I'm talking about servers here, because
thats where the big $$$ are. With photoshop
you're talking about saving some seconds here and
there. Maybe productivity but most people do
multiple things at once so its not really clear
that being able to do something in 2 seconds
instead of 5 matters. We're not talking floppy
disks vs scsi raid here. The big picture issue is
capacity. I don't really care if my server has
2ms or 4ms latency, I want it to be able to
handle the load without barfing. At gigabit
speeds filtering devices (like firewalls, soft
routers, bandwidth management boxes) are pushing
the envelope now. They can't relinquish capacity
in order to have a smoother feel to the user
interface. The capacity has to at LEAST be the
same, or very close. 


Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam?  Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around 

More information about the Users mailing list