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Raspberry Pi Colocation (edis.at)
177 points by fekberg on Oct 10, 2012 | hide | past | favorite | 69 comments

I love this idea as a consumer. Just using it for an international VPN alone would be super worth it.

The biggest factor is the effort of setting up the OS on my Raspberry Pi, packaging it, and shipping it. If I could prepay say... $50-100 USD for a fresh Pi, cable, pre-installed Arch on a SD card, and a small setup fee, I'd be all over it. Especially since getting a hold of more Raspberry Pi's is such a pain right now.

As others mentioned, it's unclear what the risk of this "unlimited for free!" deal falling through, but I'd be willing to take that risk at the setup price of this scale.

Setting up a RPi could not be easier. Arch is now available in hard-float, which makes it worth using.

It's really just a matter of sudo dd bs=1m if=Image.img of=/dev/rdiskX. Once you're done, configure your unit, update and install desired packages (pacman). If you wish you can use dd again to create your own backup image to save you the hassle of re-installing packages if you mess things up!

Indeed, I have a Pi and I've done it, but the hassle is nuking it with a clean slate, packaging it up, shipping it.

Also ordering another Pi to replace the one I ship. :P

So just ship the new one instead.

Want to make some money? Do it for me.

Or you could put a RasPi in a waterproof box, running off battery/solar/wall, configured to connect to whatever wifi it can and SSH/SSL to an EC2 instance or similar.

Boom, you can throw it anywhere in a neighborhood or apartment building and access it from the cloud. You could leave one behind at each stop when traveling to get a distributed network solution.

It's still a solution in search of a use case...though they could be used as TOR exit nodes.

I've wanted to do something like this for a while now (I was going to call it "sub rosa linux"). Little linux machines that would try to stay connected to any network they could attach to and be as undetectable as possible. While I like the idea from a geekery point of view, I'm not sure what the real, legal uses would be.

Are there guides to setting up solar powered Pis?

Well, a 60W/h battery would, in theory, power it for one day. I'd use something like an old motorcycle batter. (12V 10Ah) Which might run for 2 days continuous.

Then, charging, you'd want at a bare minimum, a 10Watt solar panel. That, at an average of 6 hours usable sunlight each day, could possibly keep you running. Get a few dark stormy days though, and you'd run out of juice I think.

Could be fun. I'm tempted to co-host my Pi in Austria now that I'm looking at using Arduinos for my project instead. (Order of magnitude less current drain and instant start, which is awesome)

> Well, a 60W/h battery would, in theory, power it for one day. I'd use something like an old motorcycle batter. (12V 10Ah) Which might run for 2 days continuous.

I do this currently with a raspberry pi in the front of my backpack, using a 4500mAH lithium ion battery I bought off Amazon. Works great. It gets about a 12 hour charge so far, but I haven't really been keeping careful track of battery life.

You'd need a deep cycle battery. You'd kill a motorcycle battery pretty quickly. I'd strongly recommend a sealed battery too.

I recommend picking up one of these on eBay: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radioisotope_thermoelectric_gen...

I "know a guy" who will recharge it for you.

It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.

You can quite easily find startlingly cheap solar powered USB chargers, intended for use with mobile phones.

See also: how my coworker bricked his iPhone.

• 100mbit uplink

• 100GB/mo

• $0/ever†

† small charge to ship back Pi, offer will expire at an some time, no flying ponies, rainbows may be included intermittently.

I don't know why you would want to do this but I upvoted just for the audacity of such a service.

Ditto. I'm not sure what it's useful for, but it's very odd. And odd is good.

It could essentially be used as a very cheap vps. Maybe for running a bnc, personal website, etc.

Maybe one small thing you could do is use it as a teaching tool for kids. Let them load up some sort of web service/site on it (that they helped create) and allow them to see it working locally. Then you would put it in a box and ship it half-way around the world, open the browser, and bam! I think that would be pretty cool and worth the shipping costs.

Or you could create a VM image and then import it into the cloud.

For kids, that won't be the same. It needs to be physical, something they can touch and see.

Maybe useful to host a VPN in Austria for free ?

Maybe that's exactly why they are doing it (for free, no less). Just to see what people will do with such a potentialy disruptive service and technology.

Maybe they have bigger ideas for RaspPi's future than I do.

Looking at their VPS offerings, their 512MB package with 2 TB traffic costs 6.49 euros (~8.4 dollars) per month. Linode's 512MB offering is at 19.99 dollars. The only upside I can see so far with Linode is you get 20 GB of storage instead of 5 GB with Edis. So what's the catch? Can anyone who is using Edis VPS or otherwise share their experience with us?

Edis is not what I will call "professional". I got a UK VPS and was given an IP config such that the default gateway is outside of the subnet, with no explanation given.

After some rather heated exchange with William from Edis, where he:

- gave no explanation

- yelled at me in CAP and bold

- showed a lack of understanding of the slash notation (e.g.

I went around Edis and poked the data center, and the matter was mystically resolved shortly after.

Besides, I also experienced an unscheduled and unannounced downtime once in my short time with them. These things only happen with low end VPS providers, and of course AWS EC2.

Not sure but Linode is fairly expensive compared to other VPS providers. That said, I have just rented a Linode VPS ($20/month) and am very happy with it. The interface for managing it is great and there are tonnes of great features. My old £5 per month VPS was good too but you do get what you pay for (unless you're using AWS).

I've had a Linode since about '06, and I've been very happy with them.

~$ uptime 23:47:12 up 750 days

No kernel updates?

Nice uptime :-D Couldn't possibly get that with my cheap VPS. Would go down every 60-80 days.

I'm running a €2/month KVM VPS in UK with them, had to commit to a minimum of 1 year. The box has rebooted twice in the five months I've had it, whether due to OOM (only 128M RAM) or Edis, I don't know. No other hiccups.

Otherwise, I got all that was promised, 1 IPv4, IPv6 /112, it seems to be a 2533MHz 5066 bogomips amd64 thingy, but no idea how many others are sharing. I'm running Debian on it, basically just providing OpenVPN for my computers/devices.

Their management UI is quite barren and happily mixes German and English, so I'm not quite sure of all its features...

If your budget allows 7.9 euros, http://www.hetzner.de/en/hosting/produkte_vserver/vq7 is probably a nigh bit more reliable (according to a colleague, who has exactly that).

I also had a Linode's 512M, comparing the two Linode wins on reliability and management features. But at 14 GBP (what, ~22 dollars?) you can get a dedicated server from http://www.kimsufi.co.uk/

Interesting... do you have any experience with Kimsufi?

I've had one of the cheapest Kemsirve's (Kimsufi spanish brand) for a few months. The only issues with them is the lack of CPU, only two cores and not really powerful, and the not-redundant SATA drive.

But if all you need is a ton of bandwidth and space (1tb!), it's a nice deal. They have great connectivity (located in France), and only went down for one evening (when all of OVH network went down simultaneously worldwide).

For more power and CPU usage, you're better off with an VPS. They usually also have RAID underlying drives so at least you have some more warranties against data loss.

Linode is Xen virtual machines and Edis is OpenVZ based containers.

Edis is offering KVM and Linux-VServer (different from OpenVZ), see https://www.edis.at/en/server/linux-vserver/ Cool thing about their Linux-VServer: access to 16/24 CPU cores even on the cheapest VPS plans... Downside: no command-line-based firewall config, it is done using the web interface (quite annoying): http://www.edis.at/en/server/overview/info/

...just noticed a nice surprise in the EDIS VPS management console: "Due to high demand the firewall is now managed by the tool 'vrs_iptables' directly on the VPS." -- So no more clicking around in the web interface to manage the firewall, sweet!

What does that mean in reality?

In practice this mean that Linode offers 512MB RES/RSS memory (+swap) and Edis offers 512MB VIRT memory.

VIRT memory limiting is very a serious issue for some software. For example, apache may use 10x VIRT memory because it is threads-based (most linux'es reserve about 6-10M VIRT memory for the stack of each thread). VIRT memory is usually considered "free to allocate" and software (JVM, soft that uses mmap and so on) is written with this assumption. But this is not the case with OpenVZ VPS servers. Just run "top" to get an idea about VIRT and RSS memory usage of common programs.

It is exciting how this issue is not well-known. I even think that 91.318% of "apache is memory hungry" things (they are still partially true, but..) came from OpenVZ VPS benchmarks.

So in my opinion 20$ 512MB XEN is way better than 10$ 512MB OpenVZ because 512MB XEN is very different from 512MB OpenVZ.

P.S. my knowledge of OpenVZ may be outdated because I moved from OpenVZ VPS servers a couple of years ago.

> P.S. my knowledge of OpenVZ may be outdated because I moved from OpenVZ VPS servers a couple of years ago.

This is still true for OpenVZ. You can't really run JVM or SBCL on OpenVZ VPSes for that reason.

host level (para)virtualization vs. os level virtualization. The latter allows significantly increased density while the former enjoys much better isolation, customization and usually* more reliable resource reservations.

For me, OpenVZ lacks most of the advanced networking features, e.g. GRE tunneling.

xen: you can install any kernel openvz: only the host kernel gets shared amoung guests and less isolation. also in the past there was no swap support, seems to work now.

Edis also does KVM.

I imagine they have a higher density of virtual machines per host meaning that you're competing / sharing physical resources with many more people.

I'm a very satisfied edis customer. I used one of their dedicated servers for years and recently switched to the KVM Premium. I'm very happy with the performance and their support is excellent. The only downside, as mentioned above, is the limited space.

I have been using edis for different perks (just vps, though) in different locations and they have always worked extremely well for me. No complaints whatsoever.

Can I provide a SD card as opposed to a USB stick? Still not sure why I would want to do this, but I suppose it's better than the RPi just sitting in my drawer...

I think they are suggesting you boot from SD then use USB for long term storage. People have expressed doubts over the longevity of SD cards for sustained IO.

Edit: confirmed with them, USB is optional

I am wondering the same. Maybe an USB stick is faster/bigger?

Actually, they probably run their own firmware/config/whatever on the SD or something, so they can manage stuff.

This sounds like a disaster waiting to happen...

You send them your own Raspberry PI, at your expense, for many probably over seas/out of country. You pay them nothing for their service. They're Yet Another Hosting Company.

Wait until you overuse some resources, they're late paying their data center bill (not sure how IP allocation work over there, but RIPE has their IP space, not them), you Pi for some reason goes offline, or the company goes under.

There is no free lunch. Just wait, it'll be proven again.

But where is the disaster part? You wouldn't use it to host anything serious, right?

You might be out your $35!

Guess it wasn't implied enough: not getting your stuff back.

Sure, you pay to get it back, but they even mention "probably does not cover our costs" for some.

Well, if losing a cheap device in a situation when a large multinational hosting provider goes under qualifies as a "disaster" for you then sure.

"large multinational hosting provider" - I'd never heard of them until this post.

Going under isn't the only concern. A free service which most certainly costs them (bandwidth, power, rackspace, IPs). Even if they're small devices, they add up. And an offering that is losing money will get bumped for an offering that is earning money.

I'm mainly just predicting the future HN post. Panda tears will flow. Just think back to Joyent cutting out the old TextDrive lifetime hosting. People more than likely got their money's worth out of it, but still a large amount of drama.

I find this to be a fascinating idea. They don't seem to limit the number of machines, so I suppose you could send them a couple hundred.

One of the things I've discovered using a USB stick as a 'boot disk' on a couple of embedded ARM systems is that they fry pretty quickly. I was running a re-purposed Chumby with Ubuntu and a regular 'apt-get update/upgrade' schedule. After about 3 months the USB stick was reporting it had 6GB of space (down from 8), after 4 months when my system complained it was out of disk space it was reporting a total of 4.6GB. Now I also did stuff like build things with the armel GCC compiler so there was 'file churn' of the "write a bunch of .o files, then link them" variety. But still, dead in 4 months wasn't very impressive. My Pandaboard (same sort of deal) has been going 6 months now on an 8GB SD card which is still reporting 8GB of total space available.

Reminds me of the Mac Mini colocation, but more extreme. Just want to throw in that I have a KVM with Edis and they are a solid hosting company in that price range.

I admit I haven't looked very hard, but I have run into lots of conflicting numbers. Does anyone know what the Pi draws off the wall in server context (ie no GPU use) both at idle w/the phy on and running full bore both cpu & nic.

I really wish there was a market in budget targeted whitebox style home server arm boards. Some sort of format standard ala mitx but with 1 or 2 core 1ghz+ socs, and mix and match one or two sodims, 1gbe, msata/mpcie, usb or sata and i could envision a pretty popular ecosystem. Hell, spec it to fit a set of 3.5" disk mount holes, there's already tons of cheap cases for those everywhere.

you can go to buyvm.net (happy customer for 2+years) and get a debian vm for $15 per year. For the cost of the rasp, usb stick, powered usb, box and shipping, you can have your vm paid for 4 years. Plus activation is near-instant, you can reimage, pick a variety of images, and get 400 extra GB of monthly traffic. Also, if you want to cancel, there's no shipping back fee. Sometimes, they run a promo for $10 a year.

Very interesting if this catches on. It would be really cool if someone like Linode hosts a Pi for you as a Real Private Server (TM). You have a nice Linux box which you can ssh into. Combined with a free CDN like Cloudflare, you can host mostly-static websites which will scale very nicely, on something the size of a deck of cards.

Unable to order it (even after creating an account). When manually removing the disabled="" attribute, the next page says "Oops, there's a problem...

out of stock We are currently out of stock on this item so orders for it have been suspended until more stock is available. For furthur information, please contact us. "

It worked now (just tried again 30 minutes later).

Are there any other colocation providers where we can do something similar, but not just with a RPi, i.e., send them a small form factor, low-power computer and a USB stick imaged with (or containing an image file of) an OS that runs well under Xen that we know very well?

If you're shipping hardware, why would it need to run well under Xen?

What a terrific idea! I notice they are using hydropower. I guess the Pi is small enough to not bother a lot and uses little enough power to keep the costs down. Clever way to promote your services :)

Seems you can't actually check out?

OK, if you create an account first it works!

Ok, I've no actual need for this service - but I'm upvoting because it's cool!

I want to see some photos of these things in their datacenter.

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