Thursday, January 15, 2009

Minus 29 degrees celcius - Need more servers

I used to work out of a 1800's renovated log barn. I had two floors each with ~400 sq ft. It is set back from our 1906 brick farm house about 400 ft. A nice but cool walk from the house to work. I did this commute for ~5 years. This fall I decided not to heat the building over the winter. It's heated with a propane furnance. Propane almost doubled in price last year, it's better now but the heating cost was noticable last year. But I digress.

Drove the kids to school today. Oldest (still at home) walked to the bus earlier. Our driveway is 1/3 mile long. Must have been a cold walk. I found it cold driving it. Outside temperature readout on the truck said -29 celcius. Never changed from the house to school or back again. And my fingers confirmed it.

Back in the house, the thermostat read 69 degrees fahrenheit. Our new oil furnance is doing well. Our old water source heat pump could never keep up with the severe cold. We needed to supplement with a wood stove. New furnance is doing well to keep an almost 100 degree fahrenheit temperature swing going.

But I digress.

I left my old Bell Expressvu PVR back in the old office connected to my internal network via a Slingbox. The main internet router is there. I have an 80' tower there with my two wireless Internet connections - each to a different ISP. I left the heat off.
Today, I cannot watch 'The Lab with Leo Laporte' or CNN or anything. My satellite receiver has closed it self down because it is too cold. Kind of impressive actually.
Someone put together the right set of requirements for this product. Some combination of engineering, product management and quality control did the job right. I own this device outright but pay $5 a month for DishCare which means Bell fixes it if it breaks. Around the 6 year mark it died and I got a replacement. I figure at $60 a year, it will cost me $240 every 4 years for a perpetual PVR. I'm okay with that.
The correct engineering has swayed the odds from me the consumer to Bell the service provider.
The 4 year prediction could be off. Maybe so, maybe not. But the right level of engineering has provided self managing smarts to deal with the realities of it's operating environment.
Many people leave satellite receivers in their cottages with the heat off in the winter, even a small, well insulated building will consume hundreds if not thousands of heating energy with the type of winters we get here in Canada.
On a side note, I've left the building naturally ventilated during the summer and have seen the other side of the coin: the high temperature shut-off. Hopefully, I never will. Our summer's get warm and for a month or so get hot but rarely if ever does the daily peak go over 95 degrees f.
I've left my main Dell server back there too. I moved two other servers to my office in the house. No reason other than space for leaving in there. Better check on it. I know it is alive, it hosts my exchange server and I do know that my mail is working. Maybe I need more servers. More servers equals more heat.
Likely my daily dose of spam is keeping it warm though.
Update: Satellite receiver reports internal temperature at 37 degrees F at 1:45pm
Will set sleep to off once it comes back alive (if it does), no sleep should mean more heat from working components.
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