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[_] Small Computer

Matt Hamilton matt at
Mon Jun 24 18:08:53 BST 2019

Curious... is there are reason you are writing to the SD card? Surely you can run off that in read-only mode and just be writing to a ramdisk / the external hard drive?


> On 24 Jun 2019, at 12:40, Craig Francis <craig at> wrote:
> Hi [_],
> I've been using Raspberry Pi computers as cheap backup machines for a few
> years, but I'm finding the reliability a bit of a problem, and was
> wondering if anyone had any thoughts on replacements?
> I'm after a cheap, small device, which would ideally hold 2 disks (1 x
> small SSD for the OS, 1 x 3TB encrypted HDD for their data), everything
> else can be minimal, but ideally reliable (as they are hosted in offices a
> few hours drive away), and should be easy for me to instruct someone
> non-technical to restart.
> I would prefer an Intel/AMD chipset, so I can install a more standard
> version of Ubuntu Linux.
> ---
> For some background...
> I build web-based systems that run all of my clients office tasks (time
> sheets, reports, invoicing, etc). That's done on a normal virtual machine
> (AWS), with the database running separately (via RDS; with a read-only
> replica acting as a backup).
> That's fine, but I also want my clients to have a backup within their
> office, so it's offsite (outside of AWS), contains a history of their data
> (e.g. last 6 days, and last 9 weeks), and provides them with a read-only
> copy of their system if their internet connection fails (this also proves
> that their backups are working, as it effectively restores from backup
> every day, allowing me to easily login and check it).
> The RiPi3 has been more than powerful enough to do this.
> It's also allowed me to simply post new parts as needed (e.g. a larger
> external disk, or an SD card with a new OS); and by using a Pibow Case
> <>,
> members of staff could easily find it (where I believe the bright colours,
> and open design, does make them more interested in it, which I see as a
> nice point).
> But it does have problems, e.g. the SD card, which can't seem to handle the
> everyday read/write operations; and sometimes it has power issues. And
> because it uses USB power, and an external disk, it seems to suffer from
> people messing around with their other in-office servers (e.g. cables
> falling out).
> One of them stopped responding yesterday, the second time this month, after
> reporting a high load again (8.00 8.00 8.00, which I assume is related).
> While I'm sure a restart will bring it back up again, after a year of
> perfect reliability, having two failures like this, so close together, I'm
> not sure I can trust it.
> Craig
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Matt Hamilton
matt at
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