Daily Log - 27th August 2020

Trying out AWS for kernel CI

I have been looking out for solutions on how best to compile the Linux kernel (fast) and I had so far been not so happy with my laptop and cloud VPSes that I have tried (Scaleway and Linode). When I tried AWS’s C6G instance I was pretty pleasantly surprised with the performance, a 16-core Graviton2 instance compiled the kernel in flat 5 mins! The catch? Graviton2 instances are not a part of Amazon’s Free Tier offering. I am considering writing a script that’d automatically spin up the AWS instance whenever I need to build a kernel and download the built artifacts on my PC to continue working on the project. A hybrid solution to the problem of not having enough horsepower in your personal development machine.

which brings me to…

Is the future of servers ARM?

Trying out the Graviton2 processor also gave me an idea of what could be expected from custom desktop/server grade Apple/ARM silicon a couple of years down the line: the current iPad Pro is known to perform as good as a current MacBook (via GeekBench benchmarks), and that too with very limited thermals. Imagine giving it the kind of cooling solution that lives in the current big laptops and the kind of performance that can be extracted at even half the thermals of the current processors in use.

update 30th Aug: I learnt about the Odroid N2+ SBC hitting the market and I’d be pretty interested in evaluating its performance. I’d be interested in building a personal farm of a few of these SBCs and then distcc-ing them for kernel compile, let’s see.