Small is beautiful – WordPress in a Handbag

Panasonic 1GB SD CardMy blog has just been updated to most advanced state-of-the-art equipment.

Both energy saving hot plug drives and proven brand hardware now provide 24-7 uninterrupted operation. The main reason being, that my hosting center does not produce any sounds at all and is therefore now allowed to be online even during night time 🙂

HP Compaq t5710 Thin ClientIt wasn’t that difficult to get WordPress up and running on a second-hand HP T5710 Thin Client. Hosting center operation just required to push internal RAM to its 512 megs limit (using a plain vanilla notebook SO-DIMM) and to attach an USB card reader fitted with a 1GB SD card (NTFS-formatted) . Assuming modest space requirements, the external sd card is not absolutely required, but it made it possible to keep the internal drive read-only (i.e. restored to its original contents on each and every reboot), which virtually bars any malware from spoiling the operating system.  

Leser mit SD-KarteWith one notable exception, software installation was quite trivial. Besides WordPress 2.0.2 [which has eventually been upgraded to 2.1 in the meantime] Wamp5 is used to power this tiny server. Wamp is a minimal all-in-one package, that contains Apache, PHP and MySQL and required less than a minute to install. However, at first, Apache wouldn’t run on the T5710 at all, because it reqires the “nul” device to be present, which is not included within the thin client’s boot image and thus had to be manually hacked into the operating system. Apart from this nuisance, HP’s boot image appears to be rather complete and even contains a configurable firewall and (very much to my surprise) remote desktop services as well – quite handy for remote service tasks.

Performance is – well, ahem, let’s say – not as bad as had been expected. Nevertheless, in order to try to hide the fact, that my hosting center is based on a Transmeta Crusoe CPU running at 800MHz, I installed WP-Cache and adopted it to the current version of WordPress. Pages are now being spit out like hell – provided they have been cached at least once before.

Update: On February 4th, 2006, the T5710 has been replaced with a faster twin. It now operates at 1.2 GHz and supports USB 2.0, resulting in a noticeable speed increase, especially when editing or using WP-Admin functions that are not speed enhanced by WP-Cache 🙂

About Reiner

Born 1954 in Ratisbon (Bavaria, Germany), in 1976 punched cards at Berlin Technical University, caught hacking one of its mainframes by Horst Zuse (son of Konrad Zuse), started studying computer science and soon was offered a job whithin their computer department doing systems programming for IBM VM/370. While studying, jobbed around Germany at various places doing all sorts of things, then returned to Berlin to work at SRZ (computer aided typesetting). Never finished my master degree, but chose to take up self-employed work (which didn't turn me rich nor famous). Now working for a mid-sized software company within a very promising department as head of server software development.
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