[Semibug] Hardware for OpenBSD server?

Jonathan Drews jondrews at fastmail.com
Sat Aug 28 18:32:22 EDT 2021

On Sat, Aug 28, 2021 at 12:38:52PM -0400, Nick Holland wrote:
> > Any suggestions are appreciated.
> The answer is..."whatever you need".
> Photographs and videos -- big files.  Unless you are dealing with a very
> popular site, this is not a problem.  It takes your webserver almost as
> much effort to find and start sending 100 small files as it does 100 big
> files, after that, it's the OS and network stack doing all the work.
> Static files, or dynamic generated content?  If it is dynamic content, your
> app is the determining factor.  If it is static files, your bandwidth is
> the determining factor.
Thanks Nick: 

 The website will consist of static files. I have Michael Lucas' book
"Httpd and Relayd". I intend to read it after I get through some other

> SSDs are wasted money for big files.  They shine for lots of tiny files,
> but are just expensive for big files.
> Seriously, though... I'd go get something out of your scrap pile.

There is a computer repair man here in my little Wyoming town. He has
a refurbished Dell Mini tower computer with a 3.0 GHz Intel processor
for sale at $169.00 USD. I am going to ask him if he can swap out the
single HDD and put in two HDD so I can do RAID 1.

> I ran the OpenBSD Toronto mirror off a ten+ year old Pentium D with 2G RAM
> for a number of years -- the processor and RAM were never an issue.  2T
> conventional disk and a 60G SSD for anoncvs files (tiny files, lots of
> thrashing) and a 200MB mfs for anoncvs tmp files (MASSIVE amounts of
> thrashing, huge win).  If the caps hadn't failed on the system, it would
> probably still be running on that hardware today.
> IF you outgrow your scrap machine, then figure out where you bumped into
> limits, and then spend some money on new hw that fixes that problem.
> Processor and clock speed: literally anything that will run amd64 code
> will do for how I am imagining your system being used -- seriously, an
> Atom would do it.  Memory: Well, due to KARL, library relinking and LLVM,
> OpenBSD's boot-time memory needs have skyrocketed in recent releases, to
> the point where 512MB is almost a practical minimum.  However, getting an
> amd64 system with less than 1G is a trick anymore...no problem with RAM.
I will get 4 GB RAM. 

> I just don't recommend i386 anymore, and an Atom is kinda painful, so I'd
> say a couple cores of ANY ten year old or newer amd64 processor with a
> couple gig of RAM will probably saturate your network before anything else
> for static content.
> I'd suggest a mirrored triplet or mirrored pair of disks.  Mirrored pairs
> of disks turn a crisis into a problem.  Triplets turn a problem into a
> non-event (but can be slow for writes).

I read through https://www.openbsd.org/faq/faq14.html  on setting up
softraid. It gave detailed instructions on how to setup mirroring upon

> If you are doing dynamic content...depends on your app.  The hw I suggested
> above could work great, or the fastest machine around could be taken to
> its knees by a single user.  No one will know until you try it out.
> But key thing: hw replacement has to be part of your project plan.  So
> don't try to Buy The Perfect HW on first try -- acquire something that
> works, run with it, figure out how it could be better, replace.
> If you can outgrow a 10 year old system with a couple gig of RAM and a
> couple spinny rust disks, you will have bigger issues than your server
> hardware.
> Nick.
Thanks so much for the detailed info!
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