Debian Project Pleased with Ten Times Faster Build Server

Mar 17, 2010

The Debian project was given a new server from Thomas Krenn AG, Intel and Adaptec for its image building. With the Dual-Xeon computer the build process was reduced from 20 to two hours.

New in Debian's infrastructure is the SC846 server with a 4-unit height and two Intel Xeon E5540 processors. While the previous five-year-old system took 20 hours for a build, the new one took less than two hours, according to the project and its benefactor, Thomas Krenn AG, in a joint press release.

A build speed factor of ten? "The people at Thomas Krenn were just as excited as we were," Alexander Reichle-Schmehl of the Debian press team revealed to Linux Magazine Online. Debian project lead Steve McIntyre went further: "To get the best possible out of the new system, I ran a series of benchmarks with various configurations: various RAID levels, various filesystems and so on. The figures that emerged were truly astounding."

In the Debian project the cdbuilder computes the official ISO images after all the software packages are completed for the release. A critical point in the project's opinion is that Debian users expect the ISO files on short notice. The completed images are copied to the built-in RAID array connected to an Adaptec ASR5445Z controller and 24 SAS disks, and from there to multiple mirror servers from which Debian users download them.

The Thomas Krenn company wants to "give something back" to the community with its support, according to supervisory board chairman Max Wittenzellner. The south German company itself uses Debian for its critical services and profits well from Debian and the entire open source community. Its "We Care for Linux" website is a testimonial for its support of the open source world. The CPUs for the server are from Intel and the RAID adapters are from Adaptec.

The 24 hard drives are also from Freyung in Bavaria where Thomas Krenn has its headquarters. They are funded by regular donations, said Reichle-Schmehl. In particular, support for the image building system comes from the Debian-related Association for the Advancement of Free Software and Information (FFIS) in Oldenburg, Germany.

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