Readying a new tinderbox? I could use your help!

I don’t think it’s much more of a secret anymore that I’m planning on moving to the United States before end of the year if I can. This means not only that I have to bring down and move around the business happening in Italy, but also that I have to find a way to rebuild my own infrastructure here in the US.

This has become more important since yesterday my home router in Italy decided to have hiccups that it didn’t have in a long time, and I’m now unable to reach any of the computers back at home. Including the monitoring services, the containers I use to build the packages for the remote servers, and so on so forth. Given I was already planning retiring Yamato after almost four years of almost uninterrupted service, simply because the mainboards started acting up, and adding to that, the fact that shipping it between EU and US is going to be a pain, and more expensive than the system is worth, I decided it’s time to get a completely new box, here in the US.

At first I was looking for dedicated servers offerings, but the monthly prices are definitely too steep for my taste — yes of course I could get one in the EU but that’s not the same thing. Besides, I’d really much prefer having something that, in the worst case, still allow me direct access to the box as needed. After discussing it with KingTaco, I decided to check out what was available from NewEgg, and the result is that I found what would be the perfect box to host the next round of testings: a dual 16-core, 32GB RAM, 4TB HDD system, for just under four thousands dollars.

Of course that’s still quite a bit of money especially considering I’m trying to account for all factors of moving here, closing the business in Italy, and still giving enough to my mother to keep on going for a while…

And here’s where the pledgie is coming into view. While I’m going to use the new box for a few personal projects as well, it’s obvious that its main use will be again tinderboxing, and since this time I don’t intend for it to be hosted within my home, I want to be able to give access to other developers to the different tinderboxes as well. Add to that the enormous amount of time required to go through the logs and report bugs (most of which I’ll be unable to spend during my work hours), and you can probably see why I’m asking again for some help to go back at tinderboxing.

While I set up the pledgie to the actual, full price of the box, this does not mean I’m not going to pay my share: both PayPal and Pledgie take out their own fees, which is actually quite steep in by itself (PayPal’s more than Pledgie’s!), and there is the issue of finding a co-location, which I’ll also take care of paying for. For more details of what I had in mind, see the following, quoted text of the Pledgie page:

Those of you who have been following me for long enough know this already, but for those who haven’t, my Tinderbox is an effort to keep compiling and installing the packages available in Gentoo to make it possible to know whether they are working correctly or not.

While this is not considered an “official” effort, the fact that I’ve not been running this for almost an year starts to show with packages being bumped without their reverse dependencies being checked, and new automagic dependencies cropping up that weren’t noticed before.

Also considering that I’m now in the process of moving from Europe to the United States, and the fact that the motherboard of the system I’ve been using to run tinderboxing has been showing problems (which is the reason why I stopped working on it), I think it’s time to get a new system (from scratch at this point), and restart the effort.

This time the system will be clearly cut so that the tinderboxing is handled in a separate environment, so that other developers will also have access to it, but I’ll also keep running some of my personal projects in there, and some work-related software. From my side, I’m going to take care of assembly and maintenance of the system, and will pay for its connectivity (likely in a co-lo near where I’m going to stay in the US).

But since it’s still a non-trivial amount of money that is required for a system powerful enough not to be replaced in the next few years, I’m going to ask for the help of you all out there. The target is set to the exact price of the system I’m aiming for on newegg but unfortunately that also means that it includes sales taxes. Please note that while the following specs could look like overkill, this time I aim on running multiple, isolated tinderboxes, in particular I have three configurations I care about: amd64, amd64-hardened and x86.

* Dual Opteron 6272 16-core 2.1GHz CPU
* 4x1TB Western Digital Caviar Black HDDs
* 32GB OCZ Onyx SSD (for operating system)

Please keep in mind that the hardware is only one fraction of the value behind the tinderbox, as the most important part is reporting the bugs, which is still not automated, so while I’m asking you to pledge money, I’m pledging a lot of my free time for this project again.

Please help, if you can. Thank you immensely.

Diego Elio Pettenò aka Flameeyes

For those who wonder how it’s possible to have a donation before the Pledgie started, I had some extra funds from previous donations which I’m pledging myself against this. Furthermore I’m going to pledge all the Flattr funds that I can get into my PayPal account in the future months. For those who don’t want to use PayPal, I’ll be tallying up donations coming in form of gift certificates for Amazon or iTunes (both US) manually, just make sure to tell if you want to have your name shown or not.