Living in RAM

I switched to SSD on my home server a few years ago, at a time when SSH was still new and sort of hyped. However, I immediately knew that this type of technology is for me: it is fast and rather silent.

SSD storage has this air of being fragile though. You are supposed to not wear it out too much. It's not like in the good old days where you would write to your hard disk without any extra thought.


Before I switched to SSD I was already using tmpfs to store /tmp in RAM, for performance reasons mostly.



Since RAM is relatively cheap these days I have lots of it in my home server.


When I switched to SSD, I extended this concept by mounting /var/cache/apt/archives via tmpfs. This is to save disk I/O for package updates. And for a machine running sid which is more or less regularily updated, this saves quite some useless writes to disk. Roughly 100MB per update.


Nowadays, I have almost all of my source code checkouts and build-trees in /tmp/src. myrepos makes this very easy to handle. Simply clone all repositories you are interested in, and remember their details with mr register. After a reboot, all you need to do is:

$ mkdir /tmp/src
$ cd !$
$ mr up

Your repository locations have (likely) been recorded in ~/.mrconfig.

Of course there is the danger of accidentally loosing data due to a power outage. However, I feel this leads to a rather clean workflow. Changes need to be pushed anyway. So since you can not trust your local repository to really persist, you are forced to push your changes regularily, which is a good thing!

Besides, I have a UPS at home which gives me roughly one hour of backup power. This was enough to sustain every power outage I have witnessed in the past years. Typically, outages are rather short lived in my area, somewhere between a few seconds and 5 minutes. It is rather rare that electricity goes missing for more than half an hour.

The only downside of this approach is that from time to time, you will use more bandwidth by re-cloning repositories after a reboot. But really, who needs reboots on Linux? Last time I had half a year uptime, and only rebooted because I wanted to jump from linux 3.8 to 3.13.

This approach only works on long-running machines though. It is probably not very useful for a laptop.



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