Possibly the World’s Smallest Team Foundation Server!!


Lol, well I couldn’t resist it, I scored a Via EPIA CN13000 Embedded Motherboard at the Oz MEDC, the boards are mini ITX form factor and run on the smell of an oily rag.


The motherboard draws 16 to 17 watts, a 2.5in drive draw 3 to 4 watts so all up the system draws approx 20 watts, it runs cool and near whisper quiet.  If you ever wondered what happened to Cyrix x86 Technology then it found its way on to these boards. 


So armed with a A$100 1Gig memory stick, a spare 2.5in drive and a nice small case I had all the pieces for the project.  (I just loaded up from an external USB2 CD Drive)



Yes possibly a bit risqué for MSDN and with no expense spared here’s an “x rated” cheeky peek at the internals of possibly the world’s smallest TFS system:)


Thought it would be fun/useful/portable to run the board as a Workgroup Team Foundation Server, so I loaded Windows Server 2003 SP1, SQL 2005, Sharepoint, some hotfixes and Team Foundation Server . 


I have to say that I’m delighted with the system performance and stability, it’s been running now for a couple of weeks without any issues.  Yup most of the time it’s not doing a lot (and I didn’t install the build server), but when it does, it does it quickly and I’m developing one of those dependency disorder thingmes for TFS Source ControlJ


Lol, and yeah I couldn’t resist loading up the June CTP of .NET Framework V3 and the system was processing 3000 – 4000 WCF messages per second over TCP.  It also makes for a nice FTP and IIS Server, not bad for a system that draws around 20 watts when active.


Couple of things I picked along the way


1)      Wanted to reference the source control, reports, work items etc via an external URL so I could access from home, work, hotels, conferences etc – so I needed to register the address in TFS – check out http://ognjenbajic.com/blog/doc/vsts/enabling%20team%20foundation%20system%20ssl.htm#_Toc126043467, actually I’ve not set up SSL yet, so the Sharepoint admin still runs on port 17012 but you’ll see the XML doc  you’ll need to configure and the command to run (don’t forget to reboot after)


2)      Did hit an authentication problem and  spotted the resolution on Rob Caron’s blog at http://blogs.msdn.com/robcaron/archive/2005/10/07/478336.aspx


3)      I didn’t set up alerts and I did get a pesty error message in the logs saying invalid “From” address – spotted the fix at http://blogs.vertigosoftware.com/teamsystem/archive/2006/07/11/Changing_SMTP_settings_on_Team_Foundation_Server.aspx


Anyway,  just shows what you can run on such a small system and TFS rocks!!


So go on, Fill Ya Boots Man and give it a whirl:) 


Cheers, Dave


Ps, click on the “Fill Ya Boots Man” link, Becky and the Demolition Man is one of the funniest things on the web at the moment.  Thanks Mike!!


 

Comments (21)

  1. Rob Caron says:

    I’ve wanted to build a Mini ITX computer for a long time ’cause it looks like a lot of fun. Dave…

  2. Jack says:

    Can this thing decode H.264 / High def video? If so would make a rather smart xbox media centre replacement…

  3. Fletch says:

    This looks great, putting an embedded board to good use :)

    It would be great for a meadia centre that is for sure.

  4. dglover says:

    Haha, ok ya caught me out!! I did fire up Windows Media Center on to this system too but alas the video drivers for the onboard graphics do not play well with Media Center and video playback, there was a problem with video overlays.  I didn’t pursue this with Via and maybe they’ll update the graphic driver.

    To make it MCE work with the CN13000 board you need a PCI Video Graphics card, something like http://www.scorptec.com.au/product/19290, it works well enough but the board has limited interrupt lines so I had to play a lot to get ensure the video card and turner weren’t sharing the same interrupts to get it stable.

    There are reports of Windows Media Center working well on the Via EPIA SP13000 (ie not the CN13000) using the onboard graphics – check out http://deliverator.silverfir.net/?p=271, http://www.pcpro.co.uk/reviews/70410/tranquil-t2esp13000.html and check out the discussions on http://www.epiacenter.com/forums/ on Windows Media Center running on Via EPIA boards and here’s a thread on decoding perf http://www.epiacenter.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1675.

    Hope that helps Jack!! Cheers, Dave

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  7. dglover says:

    Hey Matt of http://mdavey.wordpress.com/2006/08/09/wcf-and-wpf/ fame, this was not intended to be a benchmark or any projection of perf, just a bit of fun to see what the system was capable of processing.  

    The messages I send over TCP are attributed oneway WCF messages to the service, about 40 bytes payload, no security on messages or transport, just going over my home networking kit, through a couple of 100Mbps switches etc, nothing special and very little network load.  The client was running on my laptop.

    I dont do anything to the messages other than write to console.  Actually the writing to the console was the main gating factor, if you minimise the console service app then it really takes off.  

    The demo is just the code I posted at http://blogs.msdn.com/dglover/archive/2006/08/07/690411.aspx and I just ran the debug version on the server.

    Cheers Dave

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