Debian Project wishes to thank Mythic Beasts for loaned hardware

May 13th, 2016

Debian regularly produces many variations of installation CDs, DVDs, and live or cloud images for its users. We are due to upgrade soon to a new central build machine for image production to make the most of the latest CPU and storage technologies.

Tuning the hardware and software configuration of a large build machine can be tricky, and buying the wrong equipment can be a costly mistake in terms of finance and administration time.

To help with this, the friendly people at Mythic Beasts loaned the project a large build machine configured with 12 cores, 256 GB RAM, multiple disks, SSDs and NVMe storage. Using this machine, we were able to evaluate various possible configurations for image building to ensure we purchased the right equipment with the most value for our needs.

Steve McIntyre, who worked with the equipment, stated, We wanted to optimise our image build performance in two ways. First, the working filesystem used for input could be stored on disk, on SSD or pre-cached in memory. Secondly, the output data could be stored on either disk or SSD.

Several weeks of benchmarking told us that the best option was simple: using SSD for the working filesystem. Pre-caching in RAM didn't make a noticeable difference; the Linux VM system is clearly already very effective for using RAM cache here. The effect of the output filesystem was almost negligible in all the tests; tests using SSD here were no faster than disk, suggesting the input data was the limiting factor.

This data will allow us to effectively tune our next build server for best results.

We are very grateful to the lovely folks at Mythic Beasts for letting us use one of their large machines in this way!

About Debian

The Debian Project was founded in 1993 by Ian Murdock to be a truly free community project. Since then the project has grown to be one of the largest and most influential open source projects. Thousands of volunteers from all over the world work together to create and maintain Debian software. Available in 70 languages, and supporting a huge range of computer types, Debian calls itself the universal operating system.

About Mythic Beasts

Mythic Beasts ( is a privately owned hosting ISP with a focus on a no-nonsense service backed by excellent technical support. They have been hosting and supporting Debian VMs for years.

Contact Information

For further information, please visit the Debian web pages at or send mail to <>.