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Author Topic: considering switching from nslu2 to guruplug w/ lil linux experience  (Read 3072 times)
whitehat09
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« on: June 07, 2010, 11:38:20 AM »

Hi everyone,
I tried to find my answers elsewhere but couldnt get direct solutions. I currently use a nslu2 with a thermaltake muse r-duo external hdd enclosure, running unslung 6.10. I am considering switching to a guru slug for faster performance, but I have very lil linux experience/know-how beyond the nslu2. I use my slug mainly for:
-FTP
-samba
-daap server (mt-ddapd)
-media server to ps3 (ushare)

My question is which linux distro would best suit me for these applications, or which one would be easiest for a linux noob to get use to? Also, Id like to keep the OS on a separate disk than my hdd enclosure (this is how I run my nslu2 as well), can I boot from microSD and use the attached hdd for data?

Side note: The hdd enclosure I have (thermaltake muse r-duo) is a dual bay enclosure that supports raid0 and raid1 with usb and esata connectivity. I was also hoping to use the esata port on the guruplug to increase transfer speeds. Would this be tricky to do? Ive never used esata (especially on linux) so Im not sure if special drivers would need to be installed.

If anyone has any answers or even suggestions, it would be a great help.

Thanks
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fragfutter
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« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2010, 12:34:56 PM »

currently i would not recommend a guruplug. It is a thermal design failure. The cpu performance of the sheevaplug is the same as the guruplug, so i would buy a sheeva. Esata will give you higher disk throughput as USB will limit current harddisks, and less CPU overhead on disk access. So an esata sheevaplug would be my choice.

You can install the os on SD-Card or internal flash and use the external disk as a datapool.

If you take a guruplug you need to keep the kernel in flash as it can't boot directly from sd.

IMHO the plugs are not the best devices to learn about linux. But pretty good devices to learn about embedded linux. (So easy to access, no eproms, so much documentation...)
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whitehat09
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« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2010, 12:51:15 PM »

thanks fragfutter,
It doesnt really matter to me if its a sheeva or guru, but I wasnt aware of the heating issues so thanks for the heads up. Did a quick google and found that NewIT has an esata sheeva, are they they only manufacturers for an esata option?
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feffer
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« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2010, 03:50:12 PM »

I recently switched from NSLU2 to a sheeva plug. It works great, but to get the most out of it, you need to use the linux on the command line. This is just a heads up -- you will have to spend some time learning about it and configuring it especially if you are new to linux. I wouldn't worry about the esata thing for the uses you mentioned. I'm using samba to mount sheeva shares on my linux client boxes, and transfer speeds are about 20 MB/s which is fast enough for file serving, music sharing, media to PS3, backups etc. Probably not fast enough to work on video on the sheeva though. Compared to the Slug speeds, the SheevaPlug blows it away! During my transition, I've been running both the Slug and the Sheeva on my home network. That way, I'm under no pressure to suddenly have the Plug working.

If you are looking for an easier entry, the SheevaPlug comes standard with Ubuntu installed to internal memory (NAND). You could use it that way, and later after getting comfortable, do something like install debian to an SD card. I don't know about your enclosure though and whether it would work OK with the Plug, or if it would how much trouble it would be to set it up. I'm using a powered USB hub into the Plug and have a WD Elements hdd attached to it. This works nicely. These drives are about $110 for a 1.5 TB.

Regards,
feffer
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whitehat09
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« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2010, 06:26:33 PM »

Feffer, thanks for all the great details. The esata thing was just a bonus, if it doesnt work I will stick with usb. However, you mentioned you get about 20MB/s, is this on a 100 or 1000Base network? Im curious because I currently only have a 10/100 router and dont plan on upgrading for a while. And Im assuming theres prolly lots of guides for this programs (FTP, samba etc.) for both ubuntu and debian. If there are plenty of guieds I might just try debian right off the bat.

Can anyone tell me if NewIT is the only manufacturer of a sheevaplug with esata?
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fragfutter
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« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2010, 12:17:55 AM »

if you are on a 100Mbit network, then the normal sheevaplug will be enough. USB has 480Mbit/sec. The plug will be capable of saturating the 100Mbit.

Newit has (or had, no idea how long) an exclusive deal about the esata sheevaplug. There are other plugs with esata (ionics, i think), but they are reduced in one way or the other (lacking jtag, less memory, less flash, ...).
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whitehat09
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« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2010, 07:23:55 AM »

Yea I realize USB would be fine for the applications Im interested in but one thing I was hoping to improve was FTP from a remote location. I assumed esata would help this but maybe the faster processor of the sheeva will improve it enough.

I took a look at Ionics and as far as I can tell there sheevaplugs dont have esata. So I guess I wither get the regular sheeva from Globalscale with only usb for $100usd, or NewIT sheeva with esata for about $150usd. Is the guruplug heating issue really bad? I was just really hoping for the esata possibility but its not worth it to me for $50.
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fragfutter
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« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2010, 08:30:03 AM »

you need to buy an external jtag board with the guruplug. (otherwise no serial console and access to jtag). So it is 170 USD for a guruplug with esata.

for me the guruplug is unusable because of the heat issues.
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birdman
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« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2010, 01:43:29 PM »

...FTP from a remote location.
If by "remote" you mean "external to my home network" then you'll probably find yourself limited by the external network connexion - and if you are trying to download from an FTP server running on the box that will be your upload speed (which matters a lot for ADSL - as that's the slow side of the "A").
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whitehat09
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« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2010, 08:00:33 AM »

yes I did mean from outside my home network, and I do realize the ISP would be the dominant bottleneck for uploads but I figured the computer processor speed and hdd transfer speeds might contribute to it a lil as well . Currently I can average between 150-200KB/s using filezilla from a remote location (through LAN not wifi). I have comcasts 12MB download and 2MB upload package. The faster processor and/or esata connection wouldnt noticeable improve this?
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fragfutter
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« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2010, 09:22:59 AM »

i assume it is as 12 Mbit/sec line. So for a perfect connection it would be 12Mbit/sec = 1.5 MByte/sec. Deduct some overhead (syn, ack) you would reach around 1.2 Mbyte/sec. Downstream.

Upsteam 2Mbit = 0.25MByte = 250Kbyte -> 220Kbyte.
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whitehat09
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« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2010, 11:08:42 AM »

fragfutter, u r correct I meant 12Mb up and 2Mb down. Guess I didnt think about that one too hard. So maybe I should wait until I upgrade my network to 1000 before I get a sheeva. In the mean time I will install some distro of linux (not sure which one) on my old laptop and play around with it. Thanks to everyone that helped me out and gave suggestions.
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whitehat09
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« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2010, 06:25:15 PM »

ok now Im regretting saying that I shouldnt get one. They just look so amazing, lol. So first I did a lil number crunching and after a few test file transfers Ive concluded that my 100Mb linksys router seems to cap at ~5MB rates. And since the theoretical max transfer rate for the router is 12.5MB, my router gets about 40% of the max. Assuming this is a common percentage I apply this to 1000Mb routers and 40% of that is 50MB. and the theoretical max for usb 2.0 is 60MB. so even if I do upgrade to a 1000Mb router in the future, and assuming the usb transfer speed is the max, then the network will only be bottlenecking it by a very lil, am I correct in my thought process? So that being said I really dont need esata and still really do want a sheevaplug, lol. So that being said should I just go with the globalscale one?

And Im gonna ask most of  the same questions I asked at the beginning, except this time for the sheeva.
-Can it boot from SD (micro?)
-Which distro should I start with? (if I start with ubuntu, will I need some cable to hook up a monitor, or is it all commandline consoleing)
-is there need for a jtag thing like the guru?

sorry for being repetitive, and asking noob questions
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fragfutter
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« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2010, 12:38:02 AM »

If your internal network is 100Mbit, you can get around 10Mbytes sec.  Here are some benchmarks

http://www.held-im-ruhestand.de/software/sheevaplug/benchmarks

http://computingplugs.com/index.php/SheevaPlug_Performance#Network_Performance

The Sheevaplug can boot directly from SD Card (standard size, also the kernel can live on the SD). I would use debian squeeze or lenny. Ubuntu dropped support for armv5 processors. And it is all commandline (welcome to the world of real men). The Sheevaplug has an integrated jtag/serial interface.

You should start reading this forum and/or the wiki. Most/All your questions have been answered there.
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