JohnBet
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Raspberry pi 2 for long term usage

Tue Jul 28, 2015 2:02 pm

Hello, is there anyone that could answer if Raspberry pi 2 (with linux o/s) can used for long term functions (24 hours /7 days week /365 days)
Also is there any official/unofficial documentation about any type of raspberry stress tests?

Thank you

jamesh
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Re: Raspberry pi 2 for long term usage

Tue Jul 28, 2015 3:51 pm

There are no problems with running as long as you want - some people only turn off in power cuts! You will need reliable software of course, and you might want to take steps to reduce SD card accesses as SD cards can wear out after a year or so if in constant use.

Google should find various test, including stuff on this forum somewhere.
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jahboater
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Re: Raspberry pi 2 for long term usage

Tue Jul 28, 2015 4:00 pm

Don't forget the electricity costs when choosing a computer for such long term use - the Pi only uses two or three watts. Compare that to an x86 server. It explains why many/most? people never bother to turn Pi's off when not in use. The Pi is also silent as no fan is needed.

The CPU has an expected lifetime of about 40 years at stock speeds, so you don/'t need to worry about that either.

Mine have been running for years.
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about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth."
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henryhanselscott
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Re: Raspberry pi 2 for long term usage

Tue Jul 28, 2015 4:00 pm

Nothing official here but I have had one installed in a factory setting for several months now. It has no power conditioning, can lose power at any time without a shutdown procedure, experiences high heat (120 Fahrenheit) and vibration on the machine that it is on, and usually runs 24 hours per day unless the machine breaks down. As of now it has never failed to run and do what it is programmed to do, collect data and display parameters to the machine operators. I purposely installed it "crudely" so to evaluate its durability, so far it has never failed to start and run perfectly. I am impressed.

Henry

eugenenine
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Re: Raspberry pi 2 for long term usage

Tue Jul 28, 2015 5:16 pm

Mine has been sitting in a small network panel in my basement for several months now running Owncloud and syncing my phones/tablets and computers data over the internet. I ran nearly 20G of pictures and videos through it over vacation.

I only use the microSD for /boot and a small USB flash for / and a bigger USB flash for my Owncloud data folder.

W. H. Heydt
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Re: Raspberry pi 2 for long term usage

Wed Jul 29, 2015 5:44 pm

There is this thread:viewtopic.php?f=62&t=49488

Which contains a post saying:
Until this evening's power cut, where the Raspberry Pi writes to a file to record the uptime once a day, the last entry says...

07:35:05 up 688 days, 6:24, 0 users, load average: 0.07, 0.22, 0.32
I think one may safely state that the Pi is a stable platform for long uptimes.

TigerClawTV
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Re: Raspberry pi 2 for long term usage

Wed Jul 29, 2015 6:26 pm

jahboater wrote:...Mine have been running for years.
Three years?!? Okay I have a couple of questions.

1) what do you use them for?
2) What OS do you use?
3)Really? Three YEARS?
May I have an internet please? One internet here. Thanks.

Heater
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Re: Raspberry pi 2 for long term usage

Wed Jul 29, 2015 7:25 pm

I believe the Pi itself will run reliably as long as it has power and is not exposed to excessive temperature extremes or other physical hazards.

The software it is running could bring your system down at any time of course. But experience shows that Linux based systems are pretty damn robust.

The anecdotes here are a testament to all of that.

The killer is the SD card and the file system on it. A power outage at the wrong moment can corrupt the file system and rendering your applications un-runnable or the system un-bootable.

This is really annoying and expensive when the Pi in question is at some remote location and just expected to work. This has caused me a lot of problems, not just on the Pi.

If you want a reliable system then ensure you never write to the file system. Preferably arrange to have it mounted read-only at boot time. See here for how to do that: https://wiki.debian.org/ReadonlyRoot Put any data you need to write onto a USB stick, or preferably send it out over the net for some server to deal with.

Of course it all depends on how reliable you need it to be as to what precautions you take.

So, JohnBet, when you say "24 hours /7 days week /365 days" you forgot to mention what probability of failure you could tolerate. A 90% chance of failure per year, 99% maybe, 99.9% perhaps. Even in the most expensive fault tolerant systems there is no 100% guarantee.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

Luc Daigle
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Re: Raspberry pi 2 for long term usage

Wed Jul 29, 2015 10:06 pm

I have been using Raspberry Pi B+ for a couple years in my home without any hardware failures. As others have stated above, faulty software or filesystem corruption is the #1 cause for concern (as with any system, I would think). I've also run a few rpis at work for over a year now as a P4 server and web server without any issues.

So far I've been very happy with the reliability of the pi hardware.

Heater
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Re: Raspberry pi 2 for long term usage

Wed Jul 29, 2015 10:23 pm

Conversely I have seen many a system fail due to file system corruption after power outages. Raspberry Pi and others.

Anecdotes of long running systems are good to hear but not to be relied on if you want to engineer reliability into systems.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

markatlnk
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Re: Raspberry pi 2 for long term usage

Thu Jul 30, 2015 4:03 am

I have had several running for long periods of time, I only use the SD card for the boot partition. A USB hard drive for everything else runs very well. Don't forget to move the swap space to the hard drive also.

mark

Heater
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Re: Raspberry pi 2 for long term usage

Thu Jul 30, 2015 5:20 am

For a remote system that requires high reliability I would disable swap. Does your application really require so much memory space?
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

jahboater
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Re: Raspberry pi 2 for long term usage

Thu Jul 30, 2015 7:10 am

TigerClawTV wrote:
jahboater wrote:...Mine have been running for years.
Three years?!? Okay I have a couple of questions.

1) what do you use them for?
2) What OS do you use?
3)Really? Three YEARS?
Bad wording sorry, I simply meant I have never powered them down other than for hardware upgrades B to B+ to Pi2, OS upgrades, and the occasional change to config.txt.
They are used for software development and are mostly lightly loaded. I use Raspbian. I had a power cut once, with no problems.

There have been complaints here about reliability after lost power - surely if this is important, some sort of battery backed UPS should be employed? With the Pi's low power consumption, it needn't be very large.
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Heater
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Re: Raspberry pi 2 for long term usage

Thu Jul 30, 2015 7:43 am

Battery backup is something I would consider if I really wanted the Pi to be available all the time. All depends on what degree of availability you require and the reliability of your power source.

I think it's an expensive and complex solution if you can tolerate the odd power outage but just want to be sure the Pi always comes up again. It's also a bit of a band aid solution that does not address the underlying problem. Mounting the root fs as read only is a free solution.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

JohnBet
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Re: Raspberry pi 2 for long term usage

Thu Jul 30, 2015 1:20 pm

Heater wrote:I believe the Pi itself will run reliably as long as it has power and is not exposed to excessive temperature extremes or other physical hazards.

The software it is running could bring your system down at any time of course. But experience shows that Linux based systems are pretty damn robust.

The anecdotes here are a testament to all of that.

The killer is the SD card and the file system on it. A power outage at the wrong moment can corrupt the file system and rendering your applications un-runnable or the system un-bootable.

This is really annoying and expensive when the Pi in question is at some remote location and just expected to work. This has caused me a lot of problems, not just on the Pi.

If you want a reliable system then ensure you never write to the file system. Preferably arrange to have it mounted read-only at boot time. See here for how to do that: https://wiki.debian.org/ReadonlyRoot Put any data you need to write onto a USB stick, or preferably send it out over the net for some server to deal with.

Of course it all depends on how reliable you need it to be as to what precautions you take.

So, JohnBet, when you say "24 hours /7 days week /365 days" you forgot to mention what probability of failure you could tolerate. A 90% chance of failure per year, 99% maybe, 99.9% perhaps. Even in the most expensive fault tolerant systems there is no 100% guarantee.
First of all thanks you all for your answers. Now about your comments Heater, I am trying to find out if the h/w (not including microSD) of the Raspberry will have any type of problems after a "non-stop" usage (without any power failure, lets say that we use ups systems) for some years (4-5 years). I know about the microSD/SD card read/write issues. The O/S we want to run is Ubuntu. Also I want to believe that the failure of device could be between 0-3% per year.

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kusti8
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Re: Raspberry pi 2 for long term usage

Thu Jul 30, 2015 1:34 pm

The Raspberry Pi itself will last for years and years (I think I read somewhere that the chip was designed for 40 years?), your biggest enemy is the micro SD card, although that shouldn't be a problem if you have a ups, even without. I don't really remember one time where my microsd card got corrupted with a normal shutdown or always staying on.
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MarkTF
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Re: Raspberry pi 2 for long term usage

Thu Jul 30, 2015 1:38 pm

JohnBet wrote:The O/S we want to run is Ubuntu.
Is there a compelling reason for Ubuntu? While there are people who have Ubuntu on RPis it probably is going to be less thoroughly tested as Raspian and presumably less stable. Ubuntu's also going to have a heavier foot print (swap space and memory usage) which is probably best avoided on the Pi. Both are Debian-based so there is no meaningful difference in the available software base.

Joe Schmoe
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Re: Raspberry pi 2 for long term usage

Thu Jul 30, 2015 2:09 pm

Joe in IT probably requires that everybody use Ubuntu.
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