04 February 2009
Sometimes people tell me, "Josh, you're an idiot!" Then I have myself a good cry and walk it off.
Then people ask me about the 7-node grid I keep in my home office.
They wonder why I would keep that many computers in so small a space. They wonder, "why?" Besides providing something of an electric heater (the room's consistently 10F warmer than the rest of the place!), the computers let me test algorithms/concepts in scale. Frameworks like Teracotta don't test very consistently on a single node, after all. And, of course, there's nothing like having 2TB of space exposed as one giant mount.
Finally, people ask me if there are any disadvantages. They ask if the electric bill's high. It isn't, but that's a side effect of living in Arizona, where my air conditioner's on 24/7 and so an extra few computers doesn't really make a difference. They ask if I spend my time maintaining them.I tell them I run Ubuntu, so I never get viruses. If a PC malfunctions then I simply repair it and reimage the node. They press me. Surely there's something disadvantageous to running so many computers. I tell them the honest truth. It's the dust. The dust alone is the reason I want to just invest in EC2. And of course, I'm an asthmatic and a green fiend. So I can't use the aerosol canisters to dispel the dust. Nor can I use the Ozone-friendly canisters -- they both trigger my asthma or offend my green sensibilities. So, I have to clean them with a rag on occasion (once every couple of weeks).
Next time I get a home office, I'm going to get it with tile. Remember, if you're going to setup a grid, the biggest challenge you face may not be technical.