Debian Project seeks Hardware Donations

February 8th, 2009

Debian Project seeks Hardware Donations

The Debian project is looking for sponsors for two new official services: snapshot and data archives. Both services utilize large amounts of data and therefore require a capable machine with a large disk array that provides 10 TB of disk space to start, with the ability to be easily extended. We'd like interested sponsors to contact hardware-donations@debian.org.

The Debian project is hoping for an independent storage array that can be extended or upgraded without having to reconfigure the hardware of the server attached to it. A disk shelf based SATA SAN seems ideal for this application. We envision needing to start with roughly 10 TB of storage to cover known archives. 12 x 1 TB SATA drives seems like an ideal compromise between price and capacity.

The snapshot archive is a wayback machine that allows access to old packages based on dates and version numbers. It will consist of all current and future packages the Debian archive provides. With roughly 3 to 4 GB of new packages each day, this service needs a large storage system to keep up. The current implementation already consumes 4 TB and provides a valuable service for the community.

The ability to install packages and view sourcecode from any given date in the past is very helpful for developers who try to fix regressions. Users frequently need an older version of the software in order to make a particular application run.

The data archive will contain huge packages that cannot be distributed through the regular archive due to their sheer size. The number of free large data packages, such as medical and statistical data sets, and also game data, is increasing and we ask for a new service to make them available to Debian users.

The Debian project plans redundant deployment in two separate geographical locations for which the Debian project is seeking sponsors as well. US-based hosting is not possible for legal reasons, since the snapshot archive also contains older releases, including the non-US tree, which contains packages which must not be distributed from within the USA. We envision being able to run both services on the same hardware, provided sufficient resources are available.

Hardware requirements for these services are not met by any available machines in the Debian project. The new hosts should consist of at least two recent CPUs and 32 GB RAM in addition to a storage backend that is easily extendable and comes with 12 x 1 TB disks combined via RAID. These machines should have remote out of band management included, offering full serial console access and remote power switch.

Sponsors will be mentioned prominently on Debian's web server and may be named on the service web pages as well.

The current implementation of the snapshot archive is at snapshot.debian.net.

About Debian

The Debian project is an organisation of many developers who volunteer their time and effort, collaborating via the Internet. Their tasks include maintaining and updating Debian GNU/Linux which is a free distribution of the GNU/Linux operating system. Debian's dedication to Free Software, its non-profit nature, and its open development model makes it unique among GNU/Linux distributions.

Contact Information

For further information, please visit the Debian web pages at http://www.debian.org/ or send mail to <press@debian.org>.