CentOS 5.6: 1TB to share

Posted By: brian

Last Updated: Tuesday April 19, 2011

Last week, it was announced that CentOS 5.6 was released. Since some of our internal, development, and utility machines use CentOS this is obviously a relevant upgrade to us. We’ve always followed news releases for all software very closely, and usually just act accordingly. This time though, we decided we’d have a little fun with it and turn it into a blog post.

CentOS offers a few options for installation. For example, you can do a netinstall, or download a CentOS CD or DVD. A lot of users will choose to take the DVD route, often because they’re installing the operating system on systems that aren’t connected to the public internet and they don’t want to have to download and burn multiple iso images. One major downfall of this method is the DVD images are rather large. For this latest CentOS 5.6 release, the x86_64 DVD came in two images. One was 3.95GB and the other was 639MB. The i386 image was 3.96GB. As a result of this, public mirrors will only provide a torrent for the DVD. This is understandable however, as the mirrors are hosted as a donation to the CentOS project and no mirror is going to want to be responsible for all that bandwidth.

The torrent method works great then, as a user can load up the torrent in a program of their choice (uTorrent, for example) and download the DVD files that way. The major hitch here, as most of you know, is that this works well assuming there are enough seeders to obtain the files at both a fast and reliable speed. So here’s where our fun came in.

There are times where we’ll need to do an installation on a non public facing machine, so we do have a need for the DVD. So we downloaded the torrent and grabbed a cup of coffee. Waiting for the downloads to finish decided we’d start seeding the images for a bit since we wanted to take a longer coffee break (that’s a good reason, right?). So then it hit us: Why not use some of our development and testing machines to seed these images for a week and then add up how much we uploaded? (At this point, you should now understand that even during a break, Hawk Host employees still talk about Hawk Host. The same applies to weekends and holidays.)

It’s been a week since we started, and here’s the final tally:

CentOS 5.6 x86_64: 511.3GB uploaded CentOS 5.6 i386: 485.8GB uploaded Total uploaded: 997.1GB

Something worth noting is we did rate limit the upload speed to 500KB/s, which if we hadn’t I’m positive these numbers would have *at least* doubled. But the bottom line is, in one weeks time between a few hardly used systems we did some good and shared just shy of 1TB of CentOS 5.6 DVD images with the rest of the world.

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