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Old Mac server survives Digg and just keeps on ticking

In November we posted a list in our blog of old Apple Macs that are being used as web servers. Being an uptime monitoring service, we figured we would monitor their uptime and see how they were performing.

The post actually ended up on the front page of Digg, which threw an unexpected amount of traffic in the direction of these old machines, even if it was secondary traffic via our blog. Most of them (not surprisingly) temporarily faltered under the extra pressure from Digg visitors, but we were really impressed by Paul’s Macintosh IIci, which hasn’t had a second of downtime, not even while the post was on Digg. This is quite an achievement for a server based on hardware that’s almost 20 years old.

BSD + Apple = true love?

The old Macintosh IIci won’t run the BSD-based Mac OS X, but Paul has managed to install NetBSD on it. Ok, it’s not Mac OS X, but it’s BSD.

It seems it took him some effort to get it up and running, though. On his site Paul says:

It took a long time and was fairly complicated to install NetBSD, but finally I got it working, installed Apache, and hooked it up to the vast tubes of the interweb for your enjoyment.

So not only is Paul’s old Mac doing a great job as a web server, it runs an OS that is a close relative to the modern-day Mac OS X. Even though he has enhanced the basic hardware a bit, we here at Pingdom think that’s pretty impressive. You can kind of say that he’s given his Mac a modern twist.

Paul’s Apple Macintosh IIci specification

Paul's Apple Macintosh IIci
Introduced: September 20, 1989
CPU: Motorola 68030, 25MHz
Ram: Upgraded to 128 MB
OS: NetBSD
Web server: Apache
Upgrades: Cache card and 1 GB SCSI hard drive

No downtime

As we mentioned, during the time we have monitored it (since November 28), Paul’s Mac server has had no downtime at all. This is better than many web hosting companies. Yes, that’s comparing Apples (pun intended) and oranges, but it’s nevertheless an interesting observation. Maybe all hosting companies should host on Mac servers? 😉

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