This is not Plex on your GPU

https://www.flickr.com/photos/nvidia/30153594058/

I hadn’t really thought Plex Media Server could massively benefit from a GPU, to be fair its not really a thing you put in a headless server? But after reading about it, I gave it a try by borrowing a Nvida Quatro PCI-express card and after some small issues getting the propitery drivers working gave it a try.

I thrown together a shell script to log the CPU and GPU heat to a text file called heat.txt

while true; do date >> heat.txt ;
 nvidia-smi -q -d temperature |
 grep 'GPU Current Temp' >> heat.txt; sensors |
 grep -e 'CPU Temperature' -e 'CPU Fan Speed' 
-e 'MB Temperature' >> heat.txt; sleep 10; 
done

I know theres a better way but it was quick and dirty.

From the short tests I did, it seemed the CPU kicked into high gear for a minute or two before it hands off to, what I thought was the GPU. However… During a stream encode of 4k h.264 content to 1080p h.264, while directly streaming at the same time. I got these results.

Thu 20 Dec 20:23:51 GMT 2018;
> GPU Temperature: 33.0°C
> CPU Fan: 1650 RPM
> CPU Temperature: +71.0°C
> MB Temperature: +34.0°C
Thu 20 Dec 20:24:01 GMT 2018;
> GPU Temperature: 33.0°C
> CPU Fan:: 1599 RPM
> CPU Temperature: +68.0°C
> MB Temperature: +34.0°C
Thu 20 Dec 20:24:11 GMT 2018;
> GPU Temperature: 33.0°C
> CPU Fan: 1261 RPM
> CPU Temperature: +59.0°C
> MB Temperature: +34.0°C
Thu 20 Dec 20:24:21 GMT 2018;
> GPU Temperature: 33.0°C
> CPU Fan: 1167 RPM
> CPU Temperature: +54.0°C
> MB Temperature: +34.0°C

A while later once the transcoding stops

Thu 20 Dec 20:37:40 GMT 2018;
> GPU Temperature: 33.0°C
> CPU Fan: 725 RPM
> CPU Temperature: +37.0°C
> MB Temperature: +35.0°C
Thu 20 Dec 20:37:50 GMT 2018;
> GPU Temperature: 33.0°C
> CPU Fan: 724 RPM
> CPU Temperature: +37.0°C
> MB Temperature: +35.0°C
Thu 20 Dec 20:38:00 GMT 2018;
> GPU Temperature: 33.0°C
> CPU Fan: 725 RPM
> CPU Temperature: +37.0°C
> MB Temperature: +35.0°C

As you can see with proper testing it was clear the GPU isn’t being used for transcoding (unless the CPU magically is doing something else, but looking at Htop, its clearly Plex transcoding). This was confirmed when doing more research on the issue.

Seems the problem I got is the AMD processor and if I was to swich it to a Intel one it should work with the Nvidia GPU?

So this brings me to the idea of maybe changing parts of my server.

Si pointed me at PC part picker which is alright but I don’t really understand why some Linux operating systems are not listed under operating systems? I listed most of my parts here and to be fair changing the CPU, motherboard, case and of course getting my own GPU might be a good idea?

My home network explained again

My Home network setup

So this is a turn around from my now usual ranting about dating…

Last Friday, we were in the northern quarter and some how got around to talking about networking. I mentioned I had 3 gigabit switches and everyone asked why the heck have you got 3 gigabit switches? To which I tried to explain, very badly. So I promised to do a diagram of why I need those switches and not just extra long cables.

So here it is… Funny enough its not the first time I’ve explained my home networking setup. With a little more time I might have done something a lot more attractive.

First thing is the rooms are serial not exactly how you see them above. Aka the bedroom is as far away from the living room as possible and the spare room is in the middle of them both. Ok maybe I should consider redrawing them… The ADSL2 line works best off the main socket in the cupboard (Its how I can achieve my 1.5meg upload consistently rather that 1meg upload). The next room with power is the spare bedroom, where the ADSL2+ router lives. The router is only 10/100, so I use it just as a modem but I’ve recently been turning on the 54G wireless and using it for guest connections. Turns out at the time it was very difficult to get a ADSL router with gigabit wired points, might not be true 2 years later.

The next step into the network is the WRT firmware upgraded Switch complete with 108N wireless. Because its running WRT I can do many things like Quality of Service (QoS), VPN and port knocking for remote access. I class this part the inners of my home network.

Due to the room layouts, I’ve decided to string the network together by putting a gigabit switch in each room. This means I only have to feed one cable room to room rather than 4+. As you can see I have about 4 devices in the bedroom and living room and thats not including a spare one for guests.

So why wired and not wireless? As I live in a set of flats, theres a lot of people with those BT/Sky boxes on random channels (would show how messy it is but you can imagine). The wireless is good but not really for sending full HD videos to my TV without waiting 5 secs for it to buffer and maybe some pauses in the middle. If I switch to wired 100megbit networking, its fine but if I start to do a large transfer over the network, for example if I’m working on some footage on the server at the same time, its noticeably slower and you may get slight pauses. Now I’m certain it might actually be a IO issue with my 54000rpm disks. But I get nothing like this with my gigabit network.

Once I went Gigabit, everything just worked smoothly. I don’t ever see any latency issue, even when streaming stuff to the Xbian in the bedroom at the same time. I once did a test of both my Lenovo XBMC and RaspPI playing Inception at 1080p with me pulling the same file to my laptop. Although the PI struggled playing it back, everything seemed to work as expected. I bought into Gigabit at the point when it just dropped in price. My laptop, Server, Lenovo XBMC box, etc have gigabit ports so it was a no brainier really.

I am keen to try out 802.11AC but right now my main focus is to replace my Lenovo XBMC box which outputs in VGA to the LED screen. This is why I was trying out Simon’s Ouya. I already removed all other desktop machines from the network (got 3 mini desktop machines in the spare room to get rid of).

So thats the crux of why I got 3 gigabit switches…

Feel free to talk about other solutions but they need to be cheapish and not interfere with much else. Its worth pointing out the runs of cables between the rooms are roughly 20meters long. I will at some point drill into the walls but not quite yet. Finally I looked into powerline solutions but there pricey and I’m not sure of how good they are in a set of flats. Think I prefer a ethernet cable, as I would end up with a setup similar to what I have now.

Microsoft’s forward vision

I don’t get it.

Ubuntu can be a server or a user system but its certainly not a home server. I have no idea what happened to the ubuntu homeserver project but Microsoft have got the upper hand when it comes to servers in the home.

There is a large enough difference between a server in a home and server in a data centre. Microsoft understood this when they launched Windows Home Sever. They could have just re-bundled Windows Server but no they brought out a different cut of Windows Server focused on the home market. Its also different enough from a NAS (network attached storage device) due to its great range of Apps or Add-ons.

I’m not the only one to say this either.

95% of the would-be “nixers” are completely stunned, at that point when the Ubuntu Server installation states that it has finished and all that’s offered to the user is a black screen and a prompt line. Users … basically scrap the whole thing, install Windows and use … solutions which lack raw power but come with an comprehensive interface”

Like all the others I’m pleased to see that you decided to continue this project. I’m a new NAS end user: i first bought a Synology DS410j, but i realized quickly that the processor was far too limited for me. So I made a 4 bay NAS by myself, counting on freenas. My problem is that i use linux a lot (I have a Mythtv server), but i don’t know FreeBSD at all. So the promise of a linux based NAS is a very good news. You can’t blame people to defend their chapel. Don’t listen to them, walk and see ! I assure you that i’ll be among the first switchers and the first donators because your work is useful, there’s no doubt about that.

The closes thing to Windows Home server on Ubuntu is maybe Freenas (which requires you to format all your drives into UFS for the best use, oh and its BSd based. Theres also Amahi which takes over too much of your system (it likes to control the dns, which is a pain if you got a good router).

So what makes a home server?

  • Low Minimum System Requirements
  • Simple Storage Space Management
  • Scalable Architecture
  • Cross-Platform Client Support
  • File/Data Server.
  • Backup/Restore
  • Printer Server
  • Network Functions
  • Remote Access from the Internet

Windows home server does all this really well, Ubuntu Server edition falls very short.

What else is out there? Because to be honest I’m very close to installing Windows Hone server on my home server.

Open Media Vault looks pretty good but its not quite mature enough yet.

Canonical really need to get moving with this stuff… Microsoft had the vision to kick this off, now its time for Linux to lead this area. Just like how Android is now stiring up the mobile world.

MT? you might as well be dead to me

From Fowa, do you trust these people?

I've heard about the problems but have not publiclly said much. But I'm sorry as far as I'm concerned, I stopped recommending Movable Type a long time ago and can't understand why people still use it. Suw's post on strange attractor is simply awesome and well worth reading if you also recieved the email from Sixapart. But generally it doesn't scale effectively, and I'm not saying many blogging servers do. But I wonder why everyone seems to think there are only 2 blogging application servers out there?

What about Blojsom, Community Server, Dasblog, B2, Roller, etc. Theres much more to blogging servers that MT and WordPress. Go Explorer, don't be constrained by whats the norm. Thom Shannon recommended http://asymptomatic.net/blogbreakdown.htm

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Personal storage servers are back in fashion

Seagate D.A.V.E

Found on Engadget. Seagate D.A.V.E /images/emoticons/laugh.gifigital Audio Video Experience ) is simply a mobile hard drive with USB2, Bluetooth and Wireless. Its got a server built in so you can connect over wifi or bluetooth with almost any device. Currently it comes with 10-20gig of space, but there expecting much more in the near future. Oh and it launches in May.

My thoughts, on this very nice device which I can certainly see myself buying one. Does anyone remember the Toshiba Hopbit? Yes it didn't support Wireless and USB2 but the principle was the same. To be fair I wanted one of those a back in 2002 too.

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Moving server and hoster, please bear with me

Servers in a rack

So I've just changed the DNS records which means your reading this blog post from my new servers in Panama (don't ask!). I'm also currently in the middle of moving the domain cubicgarden.com to Godaddy.com. So i'm expecting there will be some issues during the next week or so while I get things sorted out. Please bear with me during this difficult time, and I expect to be blogging as usual soon.

Realisticily nothing should change for anyone subscribing out there. The feeds will stay the same but now you shouldn't get that weird RSS thing when I do a update and it throws up some old entries. I'm also aware the access to the new server isn't as fast because its hosted in Panama instead of America but it will mean I can take advantage of services like feedtree and feedburner. Hey and I've learned some of the sharper end of unix administration which is a big bonus. As they say, google is your friend. Althought recently the opposite would be true.

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Like watching a baby playing with a loaded gun…

Baby face closeup

…Is what Miles said about me setting up my own virtual private server on the weekend. Yep I finally took bull by the horns and slapped down my credit card and decided to go with Hub.org for Cubicgarden.com's new resting place. To be fair I didn't really know what I was getting myself into. See I kind of thought Tomcat and Apache would be installed and ready to go. But nope I finally logged into my FreeBSD box and quickly found out that it was a barebones box and I would need to do the configuration of applications, permissions and users. Well trust me, this is no easy thing. I mean there something very different about running unix on the desktop and running it as a server. In a server environment permissions and applications running all need to be kept under tight wraps. I would agree this should be the case for a Desktop environment too, but you can be a little more flexable with the configuration of a desktop machine. Put it this way, being a admin with root access to your own server is certainly compareable to building your first F1 car then racing it along the streets of Monte Carlo. Or as Miles puts it a baby with a loaded gun.

Either way, with thanks to Miles and tons of resources online like this one, I'm almost up, running and hopefully pretty secure. Rather than the usual Apache 2.x and Tomcat 5.5.x type configuration with mod_jk, I've gone for Tomcat 5.5.x with Pen in front for a reverse proxy and load balancer. Miles suggested Pound and Balance but I couldn't get Pound to compile without seriously messing with OpenSSL and Balance didn't seem to forward HTTP traffic without stripping away the header information. Pen is just like Pound it would seem, but also runs on Windows which is good to remember for other projects I may have in mind with my old Windows 2000 box. So yeah its a pretty sweet setup so far and means I loose the overhead of running Apache when all I really want is Tomcat. By the way, I was very close to installing Resin 3.x but decided against it for now.

Compiling Cocoon only took 2 mins once I finally untared and gunzipped the source. Can I just say how much of a nightmare Compression is? This guide was very useful for not only uncompressing files (tar -xvvzf cocoon2.1.8.tar.gz) but also compressing them. It took me a while to work out the correct parameters to compress a directory of files and its contains but keep the permissions and modified dates (which is extreamly useful for moving blojsom blog entries) . tar -cRvzf archive.tar foldertocompress/. Anyway, Cocoon is running happily in Tomcat now and Blojsom is also running fine with everything this blog has up till Feb 26th. So I'll have to do another update just before I swap over to the new server. This will also mean there will be a period of maybe 2 days when the blog and RSS feeds may time out or seem out of date. Don't worry I'll warn you in advance of the exact day.

So what next on the horizon? Well I need to do some more securing and enable Log4J on Tomcat and Cocoon. I've also still got to sort out basic Unix type things. For example while I was setting up the server, the only text editor I had was vi and the only shells were tsch and some other weird ones. Yep thats right no Nano or Bash. I don't know how I managed, but trust me I'll be avoiding vi when ever possible. I've already chpass all the users and made Bash the default shell. Beyond this, I'm considering Hamachi for Linux which would mean I could securely login to Blojsom, Tomcat and anything else from anywhere without setting up that crazy port forwarding in Putty. This sounds over kill but I'm tempted to at least run Hamachi on my Smoothwall Firewall server at home.

In regards to Cocoon, well my next step which I had planned to do if I was not writing this long blog post, would be to install Saxon 8.7 (good to see a .net version btw) in Cocoon using this guide (I know it works, i already installed Saxon 8.4 on the development machine at work). While with Blojsom, I will start trimming down some of the outstanding issues I had.

Oh before I finish, did I say how great Wget and Sudo are? Loaded gun indeed.

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