Tiny ARM PC's as Server replacement - RPI2 and ODROID

Discussion in 'Other CPUs and chipsets' started by aXis, Feb 18, 2015.

  1. aXis

    aXis Member

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    I have a couple of dual core Atom boxes running as servers (file server and zoneminder security server), they've been working quite well for several years now but are due for a refresh. Because of an innefficient chipset they use 35 watts, not bad but these days we can do a lot better. A new quad core Raspberry PI 2 is very tempting - at just 3W I'll save around $40 worth of electricity a year and will pay for themselves within 18 months. Anyway, I thought i'd do some testing and share the results for anyone else considering similar ventures. :)

    Testing as a file server replacement, I installed Raspbian and shared a 3TB USB drive via SAMBA. It happily saturated the 100mbit network interface with a solid 10.5MB/sec transfer. This is OK for media playback, but a bit slow when I want to do bulk transfers.

    Testing as a zoneminder security server was the real kicker. This has a heavy CPU load due to decompressing jpeg images and performing motion detection. I ran a full test with 3 IP cameras @ 640x480 resolution, 5 frames a second capture, motion detection and streaming the live video to my desktop. The Atom box does this at 40% CPU and the RPI2 was 52% - not bad for a tiny credit card PC!! The only issue was a slow web interface when using the event browser, this may have been due to a really slow SD card I was testing with.

    Due to the slow network interface I decided to pass on using the RPI2's as servers, but have decided instead to give the ODROID-C1's a go. They are the same price and size as the RPI2's but have a genuine gigabit interface, faster SD card support, faster RAM and faster CPU's (4 cores @ 1.5GHz). Given the tests above these should perform as good if not better than the Atom boxes at both file sharing and Zoneminder!
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2015
  2. mtma

    mtma Member

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    I don't really think I would do it for data.

    One major point would be needing to get a decent USB based SATA controller. One that actually puts drives into low power modes appropriately, as well as do queuing so you get proper levels of throughput. They are out there these days but I'm not sure at what cost and whether you will get good results with USB2.

    The SD card interface has similar limitations. Enough for an OS but not a replacement for drives on a native SATA interface. The eMMC module on the ODROID-C1 should take care of that if you need good speed on the OS drive though.

    EDIT-
    Thanks to the fact that they are so barebones, they don't quite pay for themselves that quickly on power consumption basis when you add the needed accessories. Still, I am a fan of selecting the right sized tool for the job ;)
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2015
  3. OP
    OP
    aXis

    aXis Member

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    I've been using modern 2TB and 3TB external USB hard drives, they are well priced and have the power management built in, plus I've augmented it with some scripts to keep them awake during typical usage times. They will of course limited by USB2 data transfer rates on the host (20 - 30MB/sec) but it's not too bad. I wouldnt do this for at work but it's perfectly reasonable for a home NAS and overall I've been quite happy with the set up.

    I've already got the USB drives so the accessory cost for me is the 16GB micro SD card ($19) a power lead ($2) and a power supply ($4 DC-DC converter). There's also other downstream benefits too - my UPS will last a lot longer as it will reduce the load from 160W to around 100W, meaning lower depth of discharge during an outage and longer battery life.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2015
  4. cordedconch

    cordedconch Member

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    I have actually done pretty much the same thing, i ordered my odroid c1 a week before the RPI2 came out...

    The only thing that the RPI2 has that the odroid doesn't is the community, that being said they have made some pretty significant effort to keep the community happy on the forums.

    The odroid, can sustain 20-30mb/s with the gigabit ethernet, reading off the sdcard. Just a word of warning about the sdcards, samsung evo sdcards are horrible with the odroid, and they cant figure out why. I have one and i cant reboot, have to powercycle every time i want to reboot. The other thing is that it runs pretty hot, which in heatwaves can cause problems... I highly suggest getting a passive heatsink.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    aXis

    aXis Member

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    Sweet, good to hear they work mostly OK.

    Yeah I bought the heatsink module for it and will position them above some low speed fans that previously cooled my atom boxes.

    Unfortunately I just bought Samsung Pro 16GB micro sd cards so hope they work OK. I wont be file serving from the SD card though, will use USB for that.
     
  6. cordedconch

    cordedconch Member

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    They work fine, theres just a few hitches with them... either super slow boot times (after boot normal speeds) or fast boot with no restart.
     
  7. OP
    OP
    aXis

    aXis Member

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    Just got my ODROID's last night :)

    Initially I thought I was having problems with a slow boot on those microSD cards (was taking ages for my DHCP server to show the client allocation) but I've done some testing and it's definitely OK now. I can boot / reboot successfully and it takes about 25 seconds to respond to a ping or SSH login - not as fast as the RPi but not too bad either. Also Im using a third party minimal Debian image instead of the factory Ubuntu, not sure if that makes any difference.

    The cards I'm using successfully are the Samsung PRO 16GB here: http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=692_1243&products_id=28560


    I spoke too soon, after a reboot today I had all sorted of dramas with very slow boots, and when it did finally boot I found SD card errors in the logs indicative of other users with samsung cards.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2015
  8. zero_velocity

    zero_velocity Member

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    Hey, atleast swapping for a non-samsung sd card is an easy fix :p
     
  9. booksacool1

    booksacool1 Member

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    What a great idea! RP2, HDD and a few cameras as a cheap CCTV system!
     
  10. OP
    OP
    aXis

    aXis Member

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    So the odroids are working a treat as the zoneminder camera server, 36% CPU usage compared 40% on the dual core atoms. Events are being stored on a 32GB usb thumbdrive, which should cover about 1 month for the three cameras. Zoneminder will then periodically delete the older events when disk usage goes > 80%.

    Just waiting for some new SD cards to arrive as rebooting is really hit and miss with these Samsung cards. I've documented the build process now so it should only be a couple of hours to setup again from scratch.
     
  11. cordedconch

    cordedconch Member

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    So I haven't been getting any errors with the samsung sdcards... just that reboots dont work... No crashes... its been pretty stable, only restarts are due to kernel updates pushed via apt-get.

    Overall also pretty happy with the C1... Highly recommend it to those who are looking for a bit more powerful RPi.
     
  12. OP
    OP
    aXis

    aXis Member

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    I didnt mean corruption type errors - when I look at the dmesg logs those really slow boots are because the SD card failed to initialise properly and gets remounted in read only mode. It take a while for that failover to happen. Similarly if you connect the serial console you can see what happens during the boot failures - there is a constant loop trying to access the SD card and failing.

    Some poeple are saying it's because the internal controller in the SD card fails to get reset properly? Anyway it's happening quite randomly and when it's most inconvenient, i.e. usually after I've unplugged the serial console and cant diagnose easily. :rolleyes:
     
  13. OP
    OP
    aXis

    aXis Member

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    Just an update - my replacement SD cards arrived the other night. These are Sandisk Extreme 16GB cards rated for 60MB/sec read, doing some testing the ODROID-C1 got around 40MB/sec read and 20MB/sec write which is quite reasonable.

    So far I've been able to boot / reboot without issue so hopefully this one is sorted. Zoneminder server is built now, will move onto the File server next. :)
     
  14. resonance

    resonance Member

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    Seems getting one of these is quite expensive due to shipping. Where did people get these from? Best price I can find is Jiffyshop, works out to be $62 with shipping.

    https://jiffyshop.com.au/SBC/odroid/8-odroid-c1.html

    Otherwise I have been reading Odroid forums where they have managed to rectify the CEC issue so I'd be ready to order.

    [Edit]: Just ordered one from Jiffy Shop. Looking forward to getting it going!
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2015
  15. zero_velocity

    zero_velocity Member

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    Might be an idea for you OP but ive started using a raspberry pi at home for a VPN gateway connection.
     
  16. resonance

    resonance Member

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    Well I've had it going for a couple of weeks now, and I'm impressed. I can't compare to a raspberry pi 2, but the UI it's fast, cataloguing my library was fast and everything is generally seamless. Installed OpenELEC 5.0.4 on it from an image posted to the odroid forums. Haven't got an rtc battery yet, so can't test CEC.

    I've used kodi on a rpi model B, of course this is way different in speed.
     
  17. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    You can get USB2 gigabit Ethernet ports for the RPi, although real-world speeds cap out at about 200mbit/s (20MB/s).

    http://www.midwesternmac.com/blogs/jeff-geerling/getting-gigabit-networking

    And then there are RPi clones like the Banana Pi with Gigabit and SATA on board:

    http://www.htpcguides.com/raspberry-pi-vs-pi-2-vs-banana-pi-pro-benchmarks/
    http://hardware-libre.fr/2014/06/raspberry-vs-banana-hardware-duel/
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2015
  18. NSanity

    NSanity Member

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    just picked up an ODroid C2 with intension of making it a Ubuntu-based Kodi Media player.

    should be fun.
     
  19. Lasmi

    Lasmi Member

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    Unless it's different now, or for the C2, Kodi running on Ubuntu can't match the display refresh rate to the media which does suck quite a bit.

    I use Openelec on my C1 and though there's not much development for Openelec for the C2 wrxtasy is working on Libreelec.

    http://forum.odroid.com/viewtopic.php?f=138&t=20415
     
  20. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Do you know why?

    I thought it was just an XRandR call, which should be fairly hardware agnostic.
     

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