How long should a boot take?

Help with booting MiniMyth

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zeptic
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How long should a boot take?

Post by zeptic » Tue Jan 22, 2008 8:59 am

I'm investigating the possibilities of creating a diskless MythTv Frontend using MiniMyth and want to know what boot times I should expect.

Can anybody answer these questions related to boot time?

  • 1. Which part of the boot takes the longest time?
    2. How long is the overall boot time?
    3. Is instant boot possible (does it require special hardware)?
    4. Can I speed up boot time by building MiniMyth from source myself?
    5. What is fastest: network boot or local boot using CF?
I want a boot time of 20-30 secs. Is that possible?

Dorant
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Post by Dorant » Tue Jan 22, 2008 12:00 pm

5. For me booting from a USB-stick (2.0) is faster than from a CF (133x)
And it also got the advantage of easy upgrade from my laptop with an offical or working build..I'm changing things every now and then and kernelpanics are no problems anymore

m_kane
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Re: How long should a boot take?

Post by m_kane » Tue Jan 22, 2008 3:52 pm

zeptic wrote:I'm investigating the possibilities of creating a diskless MythTv Frontend using MiniMyth and want to know what boot times I should expect.

Can anybody answer these questions related to boot time?

  • 1. Which part of the boot takes the longest time?
    2. How long is the overall boot time?
    3. Is instant boot possible (does it require special hardware)?
    4. Can I speed up boot time by building MiniMyth from source myself?
    5. What is fastest: network boot or local boot using CF?
I want a boot time of 20-30 secs. Is that possible?
Here is some talking about boot times:
http://linpvr.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1360

I think it depends on many things. My boot time is ~60sec with latest test build. It is clearly slower than older builds.

1. Don't know exactly, but:
- Bios screens and network filesystem loading takes about 20sec for me
- Configuring minimyth takes ~35sec
- Starting X and frontend takes ~5sec
2. My hardware is sempron LE-1100, 512mt and 1GB lan. Takes ~60sec. In one frontend I have X2 CPU, and it is significally faster in configuring part. I have tested Athlon 3800+ And X2 4000+ and I can say, that two cores make booting much faster than single core.
3. I think CF and USB boots are possible. My opinion is that TFT-boot is best solution, indeed I haven't test other methods. TFT boot is really flexible, you can update versions just throwing new images to server's tftboot directory. Also, filesystem never gets corrupted when using ram image :)
4. I think you can , but Pablo sure knows better.
5. Not sure, but I bet network

Some time ago, with simple theme etc. I was seeing ~35-40sec boot time.
It depends very many things; hardware, network speed, myth version, minimyth version, local ntp-server, minimyth script execution (if you have custom script or downloads), themecache etc.

-kane

Pablo
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Re: How long should a boot take?

Post by Pablo » Wed Jan 23, 2008 12:28 am

zeptic wrote:I'm investigating the possibilities of creating a diskless MythTv Frontend using MiniMyth and want to know what boot times I should expect.

Can anybody answer these questions related to boot time?

  • 1. Which part of the boot takes the longest time?
    2. How long is the overall boot time?
    3. Is instant boot possible (does it require special hardware)?
    4. Can I speed up boot time by building MiniMyth from source myself?
    5. What is fastest: network boot or local boot using CF?
I want a boot time of 20-30 secs. Is that possible?
Besides the BIOS, processing the configuration file, retrieving configuration files (e.g. themecache) using TFTP, and starting mythfrontend take the most time. Processing the configuration file takes time because it is done using a shell script. It could be made faster were it rewritten using C and libpcre. Retrieving configuration files can sped up significantly by retrieving them form an HTTP server or a local flash drive. Starting the mythfrontend can be sped up significantly by saving the themecache. However, even after saving the themecache, it can still take time for mythfrontend to validate that the themecache is current.

Boot time is hardware and network dependent.

I a not aware of anyway to instantly boot. I believe the best you can hope for is to use S3 (suspend to RAM). Of course, thanks to (almost) universally bad BIOS support of ACPI, this can be a challenge.

Building from source is not likely to give you much speed improvement.

Assuming that you have a good network connection and you are retrieving configuration files from an HTTP server rather than a TFTP server, network booting and local booting take about the same time.
MiniMyth running on an Acer ApireRevo 3610 and a Zotac ZBOX-ID80-U. Find out more at my MythTV page.

zeptic
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Re: How long should a boot take?

Post by zeptic » Wed Jan 23, 2008 8:56 am

m_kane wrote:[...]
Some time ago, with simple theme etc. I was seeing ~35-40sec boot time.
It depends very many things; hardware, network speed, myth version, minimyth version, local ntp-server, minimyth script execution (if you have custom script or downloads), themecache etc.
[...]
How much time is spend setting date/time by calling an NTP-server? Is it significantly faster to use a local NTP-server?

gusse02
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Post by gusse02 » Wed Jan 23, 2008 9:29 am

How much time is spend setting date/time by calling an NTP-server? Is it significantly faster to use a local NTP-server?
Well, you could just try. Probably depends on network and the choice of time server.

Speaking of setting time. I'm using minimyth version 37 and "setting time" takes significant time. I can't remember that version 32 took that long time. Looking in the logs I can see that time is set with "ntpd -q" which means set time and quit. ntpd sets time synchronously, thus waiting until the time is set. I suppose this is a safety measure, if the RTC should be really off. In my opinion, booting time could be sped up by, say 5 sec if ntpd was not waiting. At least in my setup.

I'm using a local time server by the way, and it takes a few seconds, but that is really significant compared to other things done booting.

m_kane
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Re: How long should a boot take?

Post by m_kane » Wed Jan 23, 2008 2:36 pm

zeptic wrote: How much time is spend setting date/time by calling an NTP-server? Is it significantly faster to use a local NTP-server?
For me, It took ~5sec to get past "setting time" when I used internet ntp-server.
After setting up my ntp-server, it takes less than 0,5sec, it is not noticeable.

But, with latest svn test release, it takes longer time, maybe 5sec is close.
I think this hase something to do with moving domain variables to be fetched from dhcp-server.

Pablo
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Post by Pablo » Wed Jan 23, 2008 4:43 pm

The increased time it takes to set the time during init is a result of switching from using ntp's ntpdate to using ntp's ntpd. Using ntpd results in a more trustworthy and accurate value, but for MiniMyth this is not important. However, this increased trustworthiness and accuracy comes at the cost of making more measurements before setting the clock.

According to the ntp documentation, ntpd contains all the functionality of ntpdate and ntpdate has been deprecated for some. Therefore, the tell you to use ntpd rather than ntpdate.

Personally, I have not see it take anywhere close to 5 seconds. However, if it is taking that long for people, I can switch it back.
MiniMyth running on an Acer ApireRevo 3610 and a Zotac ZBOX-ID80-U. Find out more at my MythTV page.

gusse02
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Post by gusse02 » Wed Jan 23, 2008 5:05 pm

Pablo wrote:The increased time it takes to set the time during init is a result of switching from using ntp's ntpdate to using ntp's ntpd.
That's what I figured. I just tested and compared versions 32 and 37. In 32 I can hardly see "setting time", but in 37 it takes some 7 or 8 seconds.

I don't mind if you switch back :)

Booting my myth takes 62 seconds with version 32 and 71 seconds with version 37.

Thanks!

Pablo
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Post by Pablo » Wed Jan 23, 2008 10:49 pm

gusse02 wrote:I don't mind if you switch back :)
Done. It will be in the next test build (38b6).
MiniMyth running on an Acer ApireRevo 3610 and a Zotac ZBOX-ID80-U. Find out more at my MythTV page.

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