0110.be logo

~ OpenRD - A Low Power Server Running Debian on ARM

This blog post comments on using the Marvell OpenRD SoC(System on a Chip) as a low power multipurpose home server.

The Hardware

The specifications of the OpenRD SoC are very similar to the better known SheevaPlug devices, so it has 512MB DDR2 RAM, an 1.2GHz ARM processor and 512MB internal flash. To be more precise the OpenRD SoC is essentially a SheevaPlug in a different form factor. The main advantage of this form factor is the number of available connections: 7xUSB, SATA, eSATA, 2xGb Ethernet, VGA, Audio, … which make the device a lot more extendable and practical as a mulitpurpose home server.

The Software

Thanks to the work of Dr. Martin Michlmayr there is a Debian port for the Kirkwood platform readily available. He even wrote a tutorial on how to install Debian on a SheevaPlug. Installing Debian on an OpenRD is exactly the same except for one important detail: the arcNumber variable.

Once Debian is installed you can apt-get or aptitude almost all the software you are used to: webserver, samba, ruby, …

The Alternatives