This page describes my computing setup.  It’s not terribly interesting, but there are some nuggets of useful information in here.

I use CrashPlan for offsite backups.  I’d like a solution I can host completely myself, but it currently seems more cost-effective to use a commercial service.  My ideal would be local RAID with easy, robust offsite backups (no carrying around hard drives), such as with high-capacity tape drives.  The cost is prohibitive (~$2000 for a 1.5TB-capable tape drive), so I make do with the bandwidth-limited remote backup solution, which is quite reasonably-priced and provides excellent failure resistance due to backups being completely offsite.


This is my primary workstation.  I specced and assembled the system myself- the core components right now are:

  • MSI P55-GD65 motherboard
  • Intel Core i7-860 (LGA1156, 2.8 GHz stock) processor
  • 8GB (4x2GB) DDR3-2000 (running at 1800 MHz) RAM
  • Sapphire Radeon HD 5770 graphics card
  • 30GB OCZ Vertex solid-state drive (/ and /home for Linux)
  • 500GB Western Digital Caviar SE HDD (root for Windows)
  • 1.5TB Western Digital Caviar Green HDD (bulk storage)

When working on projects, I run Arch Linux on the system, booting from the SSD.  Windows 7 is installed on the secondary hard drive, for the times when I don’t want to force myself to be productive or can just get something done more easily with Windows-based software.

In order to access the Linux-hosted data (the SSD and bulk storage disk are both formatted with Btrfs, and those provide the canonical versions of my data), I have configured a virtual machine with raw access to the Linux-hosted disks, which can boot from the SSD in the same way it can when not virtualized.  When some custom additions to the initscripts detect the system is running virtualized, it automatically starts Samba and brings up another network interface to export my home directory and the bulk storage so they are accessible to Windows.  This solution is rather inelegant to my mind, but it performs the desired task admirably.

Local snapshots of the system are made on a daily basis with a cron job and rsync, and the backup system uses Btrfs snapshot functionality to keep up to seven deduplicated images at any given time.


Core 2 Duo E6320-based box with 6GB of RAM on a Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 (rev 1.0) motherboard.  I use this machine mostly for testing, and occasionally to provide a little more computation power.  The graphics adapter is a Radeon HD 3850, which is really only useful for running OpenCL programs on, given what I use the machine for nowadays (these parts were my previous-generation desktop workstation).


Finlay is my netbook, a first-generation Acer Aspire One A110 dating from mid-2008, which is outfitted with a 1.6 GHz Atom processor and 1GB of memory, running on top of a (sometimes painfully slow) 8GB solid-state disk.  The machine predates adoption of proper (multibank and fast) SSDs, so the only advantage over a spinning disk in this case is that it stands up well to physical abuse (indeed, the write performance is atrocious)- it’s closer to an internal USB stick than a fixed storage device.


The NAS.  An AMD Athlon 64 X2 processor with 2GB of RAM hosting 7x1TB hard drives to provide for all bulk storage needs.  Also handles some LAN infrastructure tasks, such as providing the root filesystem for network boot clients over NFS.

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