by January 3, 1999 0 comments

How small can small get? And that too for a
Webserver which is expected to serve a few thousand visitors?

Less than one cubic inch in volume and a bit bigger than a matchbox, the world’s smallest Webserver measures 2.7Is a desktop system small enough? What about
a notebook? Will one of those new ultra-thin magnesium alloy notebooks be able to
withstand the load?

Well then, what about a matchbox-sized Webserver?

Matchbox! Are you sure?

Do I see disbelief in your eyes?

Look carefully at the photograph, and you can feast
your eyes on the world’s smallest Webserver, less than one cubic inch in volume,
slightly bigger than the standard Indian matchbox.

We’ll let Pratt Vaughan (pratt@cs.stanford.edu), who built this miniature
wonder tell its story.

It’s Jumptec’s DIMM-PC, a single- board
AMD 486-SX computer with a 66 MHz CPU, 16 MB RAM, and 16 MB flash ROM, big enough to hold
a useful amount of Red Hat 5.2 Linux, including the HTTP daemon that runs the Webserver.
At relatively low CPU-usage levels it consumes 800 milliwatts from a 5 V power-supply,
rising to 2 W at 100 percent CPU usage.

Connection to the Internet is via PLIP, a
point-to-point network protocol utilizing the Jumptec’s parallel port and running at
about 27 kbps. (Both ends of the connection are EPP-capable and a much greater speed is
therefore possible, just a small matter of programming.)

As of around noon, Monday, January 25, it has been
averaging 40 hits a minute, and showing a load average of 20 (consistent, I suppose, with
keeping the 20 httpd’s busy). I’m not currently sure whether the bottleneck is
in the demand, the PLIP line, the CPU, or the server (Apache 1.2.6 using 1.3.4 might
improve things).”

Want to check it out yourselves? Surf over to http://wearables.stanford.edu.

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