The History of Himiko

Himiko Server is a place where i keep all my online notes for easy access whenever i need them. It also allows me to share what little i know of my knowledge in the various fields of computing to the rest of the world.

Himiko Server 1 (1999)

  • Pentium 90
  • 32MB RAM
  • 3.2GB HDD

Himiko Server 2 (2001)

  • Pentium 166
  • 64MB RAM
  • 20GB HDD
  • 20GB HDD added

Himiko Server 3 (????)

  • Pentium III Slot-1 type mother board at 433MHz
  • I lost track of the HDD upgrades along the way, but the core CPU remained the same
  • ATA66 card replaced with ATA133

Himiko Server 4 (2004)

  • A New Harddisk swapped into Himiko Data partition now sits at 120GB. It was a 60GB LVMed disk.
  • Many more HDD replaced and swapped around within this year
  • I believe i also swapped the casing to a aluminium casing at about this time

Himiko Server 5 (Sept 2004)

  • Server died for 20 hours due to a bad motherboard
  • ATA133 card died and downgraded back to ATA66
  • Upgraded to 768MB RAM
  • 733Mhz CPU
  • 10G primary HDD
  • 120G sec HDD
  • 120G backup HDD
  • 1 CDROM
  • 1 CDRW
  • 1 UPS (Loaned)
  • 32MB Nvidia card
  • 100MBps network card
  • Onboard Sound

Himiko Server 5: Upgrade (2005)

  • Bought UPS
  • TVCard inserted
  • Upgraded IDE cables

Himiko Server 6: (April 2006)

  • Upgraded to a RAID system with a 3ware card
  • RAID5 with 5 x 250GB Drives
  • RAID1 with 2 x 120GB Drives
  • Chained PSU configuration utilizing 2 aluminium casings
  • Removed TVCard
  • Removed CDROM
  • Cork lining applied to casing to lower noise
  • Upgraded CPU fan to server class fan

Himiko Server 6: Upgrade (Dec 2006)

  • Tested GE card based on realtek 8169 and found that it isn’t good
  • Upgraded to Gigabit Ethernet Card using Broadcom chipset

Himiko Server 6: Infrastructure Upgrade (Oct 2007)

  • I finally decided that my faithful WRT54G is no longer able to catch up with my hefty network demands. It decided to just quit working one day and i replaced it without trouble shooting. The entire routing backbone now runs on a GE based router using DD-WRT mini on a WRT350N. The first wireless network is now able to support 802.11n.
  • The 7dB antennas used originally on the WRT54G is migrated to wireless AP in the living room giving it reach to the entire house.
  • A 250GB USB based Time Machine backup drive has been added into the entire connectivity. This would provide seamless backup once the laptop arrives on the desk and plugs into the infrastructure.

Himiko Server 7: Machine, Storage and network Upgrade and Transition (Dec 2008)

  • This is a full transition and upgrade moving from a PC form factor box into a small form factor Mac Mini
  • Full transition from Linux into OSX Leopard Server
  • Transited storage from 3Ware RAID card into ONNTO DataTale RAID 5 storage with Firewire 400 connectivity.
  • Himiko now spots a 1.5GHz Intel Core solo with 2GB Ram 500GB Internal HDD DVD Superdrive and a RAID5 6TB Storage

Comments: It is a sad day indeed when the original concept of Himiko being a selfput together box” of old parts (only buying accessories) turns into a beautiful collection of new hardware. The old machine having served me well for almost 3 years with only one unscheduled shutdown, in a day an age where the Gigahertz race reigns supreme. Himiko is really a testimony to the fact that older hardware last longer.

The Linux that was installed (Fedora Core 2), compared to the current (Fedora Core 10), is also proof that even old linux installations can last. The final cleanup of the old Himiko also ends my days as a Linux admin at home, to become a UNIX admin running OS X Server. The transition was tough, with me wishing i was still working on a Linux machine especially when things didn’t work the way it is supposed to. But what needs to be done, need to be done.. and fast.

This day also marks the end of my Linksys 10/100Mbps switch as the core network switch and the beginning of a new era using Corega as the main GE backbone. It is indeed disappointing that the Linksys GE model didn’t really cut it. But the corega definitely performed well. So no regrets there. Granted that none of the things i transited to was spanking recent, the spirit of Himiko lives on.

See all the pictures of this final transistion here. The final pictures of Himiko Server 7 is also available in the attachments, together with some photos of the recabling process. For full transition notes, please look here (Himiko Transition Notes).

Himiko Server 7: Time Machine addition (Dec 2008)

  • Added m9 Mini Pod for Time machine of the main server OS. Also serves as a FW Hub

Himiko Server 7: Performance Tuning (Jan 2009)

Himiko Server 7: Integration with AppleTV (Mar 2009)

  • My XBOX finally died after 6 years. Bought [[AppleTV]] as a replacement to integrate into the environment.

Himiko Server 8: Upgraded to Dual-Core Mac Mini (July 2009)

  • This is actually a server migration. I considered keeping this as Server 7 but finally decided that it isn’t fair as all previous versions of himiko came with hardware upgrades. Especially in the CPU space. However, as the Server 7 and Server 8 only had CPU differences. The migration was rather smooth.
  • Added a new M9 with equal internal space to the mac mini for better backups.
  • Thermal strips added for heat display

Himiko Server 8: Network Upgrade (August 2009)

  • Corega blew a fuse. Changed it to SD2008 Linksys Revision 3.0.
  • Removed APC Master switch (didn’t use it that often)
  • Power and surge protected network and modem equipment

Himiko Server 9: Hardware Upgrade (March 2010)

Upgraded to Mac Mini Server with 2.5GHz and 4GB RAM and Snow Leopard Server. Internal Dual Software RAID with a RAID1 Time Machine.

Migrated from TWiki to WordPress. Plugins used in word press includes:-

  • NextGen Gallery
  • AnflexGA
  • flickr RSS
  • Lightbox 2
  • SMart Youtube
  • Stocks Quote Slidebar
  • Theme My Login
  • WordTwit
  • WP Super Cache
  • WPtouch
  • Mimtypes
  • Secure WP
  • Better Tag Cloud

Himiko Server 9: Hardware Upgrade (Dec 2011)

RAID drive failures lead to replacement of hard drives

Himiko Server 10: Hardware Upgrade to 2012 Mac Mini (Oct 2013)

Its been a while since the last hardware got a refresh. Some things has been running steadily but spinning hard drives are starting to show its age. Upgraded to SSDs in a supposedly desktop based MacMini and completely rehashed Himiko to OSX 10.9 Mavericks. Its a rather interesting migration as this marks the first time i am officially doing a server migration of the home. Transporting the mails as usual is a pain. For just 4 users, at least its manageable.

Moving to SSDs also meant higher drive costs. No more RAID1 but a more aggressive data backup schedule is being applied. Another difference is Himiko moved from the remote computer  back to my small room. The H-mount that places the mac under the table makes this possible. 64-bit OS and SSDs sires makes things faster.

WordPress migration was the worst, having me trying to figure how which is the most fool proof war but optimisation got the better of me and a native port was done.

Himiko Server 11: One step forward, Two steps back, Becoming a cluster (Feb 2016)

Many years since my last upgrade to my Mac Mini Server and i have to say that while certain things has been great, some functionalities required of himiko has since changed. For one, while the Mac Mini Server as a mail server has been great, certain things such as flexibility in implementing a web server has been very painful. Package upgrades also hasn’t been as trouble free as i would like it to be. Granted that i can now have some rather advanced software running, there are certain things that i would much rather not break. And the Web server is one of them.

My biggest gripe is that the WordPress installation and maintenance has been painful for every update that has been released on OSX. So as i move towards Server version 11, i’m having to decide on how i might divide the functionality of the systems at home.

As of now, Himiko Server would now be a legacy name meant to mark the master website that would be my primary communication to the world. As always, my little way to post my thoughts and notes to the web. An archival. The new hardware also reflects what i think about servers moving into the future. Multiple low powered systems working together to provide functions in an integrated manner.

So with sadness and much anticipation of its future, Himiko Server is based on the following.

CubieTruck – Primary
Hardware Specs

  1. AllWinnerTech SOC A20 ARM® Cortex™-A7 Dual-Core ARM® Mali400 MP2 Complies with OpenGL ES 2.0/1.1
  2. 1GB/2GB DDR3@480MHz
  3. HDMI&VGA 1080P display output on-board (Runs headless)
  4. 10M/100M/1G Ethernet
  5. 16GB primary SDCard Storage
  6. 500GB secondary SATA Storage
  7. 128GB backup storage over USB
  8. Linaro (Ubuntu 14.04)

Functions

  1. Nagios Server and Network Monitoring engine
  2. Reverse Proxy
  3. IoT Power control
  4. NFS Server

CubieTruck – Secondary
Hardware Specs

  1. AllWinnerTech SOC A20 ARM Cortex-A7 Dual-Core ARM Mali400 MP2 Complies with OpenGL ES 2.0/1.1
  2. 1GB/2GB DDR3@480MHz
  3. HDMI&VGA 1080P display output on-board (Runs headless)
  4. 10M/100M/1G Ethernet
  5. Wireless connection
  6. 16GB primary SDCard Storage
  7. 32GB secondary USB Storage
  8. 128GB backup storage over NFS
  9. Cubian OS

Functions

  1. Ebook Generation server
  2. Web Server
  3. General Purpose Processing

Load direction as follows
cubietruck.cube.sg (Apache)
-80|443-> cubietruck (nagios server) /nagios
-80|443-> cubietruck (apache) /cgi-bin/ws
-8080-calibre-> cubian (calibre server) /mobile
-80/443-himiko-> cubian (wordpress) /wp
-80/443-webmail-> www (roundcube) /roundcube
-80/443-ws-> www (apache) /ws

Himiko Server 11: Enhancements (Late Feb 2016)

There had always be a could of goals in building Himiko:-
1) Improve my skills in hardware
2) Enhance my skills in programming
3) Most importantly, to have fun.

As Himiko 11 is largely a low power box based on a lot of DIY parts, i have added a LCD screen to provide a display over serial. This would provide some status update to the state of the system as its running headless.

Himiko Server 12: Migration

The good and the bad of running the low power board for home is starting to show. The good is that it simple, but the bad seems to be that a MicroSD card can break down. It doesn’t break as in crash, but occasionally, the filesystem would just disappear. Given that Himiko version 11 resulted in me moving my stuff into a cluster form, migration of services was simpler this time and i could do things in stages. This update sees me moving the WordPress back end into a Virtual Server running Proxmox. Specifications running Proxmox as follows:-

  • Intel NUC Core i3 
  • 1TB Samsung SSD
  • 32GB RAM

The reason behind Proxmox is to potentially be able to move all the multiple clustered systems into a couple of virtual machines. This would then allow me to migrate the system services to another NUC in the future should the cluster expands. It also allows me to dynamically setup/test/destroy new systems without buying new hardware and re-perform a whole new setup. Live VM migration is also tempting. This could very well be the future of my home setup.