back to article Server retired after 18 years and ten months – beat that, readers!

The Register has learned, thanks to a post to a semi-private mailing list, of a server that has just been decommissioned after running without replacement parts since 1997. The post, made by a chap named Ross, says he “Just switched off our longest running server.” Ross says the box was “Built and brought into service in …

  1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    Not surprising

    If you are not constrained on space a custom job is guaranteed to have a higher MTBF than an off-the-shelf server. Nearly all off-the-shelf systems are too dense and too hot to deliver anything like these numbers.

    While I am not surprised about the electronics and the disk I am still surprised about the fan MTBF. So the 64000$ question is who made the fans - I cannot think of a single fan vendor from ~ 1997 which would deliver a fan with MTBF of > 5 years (even with a "speed reduction" resistor).

    1. Jess

      Re: Fan lasting 5 years +

      In about 2002 (+/- a year) I set up a large fan from an old olivetti 386 to act as an extractor in the entrance to my house.) It was running 24/7 (powered by an old gamegear psu).

      It packed up about 9 months ago. And that was in a harsh environment, dust, damp and temperature extremes.

      1. David Pollard

        Re: Fan lasting 5 years +

        I set up a large fan

        That's the thing. A decade or so ago desktop fans used to be 5", now the trend has been to 3.5" or smaller, less efficient, faster running and generally more noisy.

        1. Joe User
          Holmes

          Re: Fan lasting 5 years +

          David Pollard: A decade or so ago desktop fans used to be 5", now the trend has been to 3.5" or smaller, less efficient, faster running and generally more noisy.

          You have that backwards. Years ago, desktop machines were equipped with 80mm chassis fans. Nowadays, they usually have 120mm, 140mm, or even 200mm fans.

          1. Daniel 19

            Re: Fan lasting 5 years +

            For server fans it is the opposite. Servers have been taking up less rack space and therefore the fans are all really small weird sizes. The are also small. The general thought is the servers will be in separate rooms anyway so who caresaid if they are loud.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not surprising

      We have a couple of NT4 servers still running on hardware that dates from 1996. We have had at least one fan and one PSU replacement along the way.

      1. You have not yet created a handle
        Coat

        Re: Not surprising

        Same broom for 20 years eh...

        1. Aqua Marina

          Re: Same broom for 20 years eh..

          How could anyone downvote that?

          Can't give you a medal, so I'll give you an upvote!

          As a side note, in 11 months it will be 20 years since this particular episode, and probably everyone's all time favourite.

          As another side note, the original joke was in another David Jason sit-com.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HisD_pqlRHQ

          1. Myvekk

            Re: Same broom for 20 years eh..

            Ah yes, a variation of Grandfathers axe. And even older than that. It was a philosphical conundrum long considered, but still funny as it is always relevant in some way.

            From wiki: The ship of Theseus, also known as Theseus' paradox, is a thought experiment that raises the question of whether an object that has had all of its components replaced remains fundamentally the same object. The paradox is most notably recorded by Plutarch in Life of Theseus from the late first century. Plutarch asked whether a ship that had been restored by replacing every single wooden part remained the same ship.

            The paradox had been discussed by more ancient philosophers such as Heraclitus, Socrates, and Plato prior to Plutarch's writings; and more recently by Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. Several variants are known, including the grandfather's axe, which has had both head and handle replaced.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Same broom for 20 years eh..

              "Several variants are known, including the grandfather's axe, which has had both head and handle replaced."

              A Dixon of Dock Green episode had that too. He talked about the pipe that his late wife had given him many years earlier - which had had several replacement bowls and stems. My memory suggests it was at the end of an episode and he was talking to his future? son-in-law Andy.

              Isn't memory wonderful - that has probably been dormant for at nigh on 50 years from one viewing.

              Evenin' all.

      2. Unhandle

        Re: Not surprising

        NT3.51 would run for eternity and never need a reboot. NT4 was a little buggier due to more stuff allowed into ring0, but those were the days when a windows os could just go and go and go. Anybody still running os/2 applications? That was also extremely stable.

        1. Manaz

          Re: Not surprising

          Yep - NT 3.51 kept printer and video drivers out of kernel mode. While chasing better printing (really?) and video performance, Microsoft allowed printer and video drivers to execute in kernel mode - meaning that bugs could cause a kernel panic or impact on memory operations of the kernel, reducing reliability in a trade-off for performance.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not surprising

          "but those were the days when a windows os could just go and go and go"

          They still do at least on the server side. We have found Server 2000, 2003, and 2008 boxes with years of uptime. Which is actually not that great as they were not patched...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not surprising

      I presume you're talking about desktop kit ... we recently permanently retired a couple of ancient dust-covered Sun Netras, which had never suffered any sort of hardware failure apart from a couple of SCSI drives which had given up. We had originally sourced all of that old kit second hand, including the SCSI drives, so no suprise about the disc failures.

      The retirement was only necessary because we're no longer running the service they support. The boxes themselves are still perfectly happy, and in a way I'm sad to see them go.

      Our disks were also Seagate, the SCA-80 / 10,000rpm variety - which do seem to last a very long time before failure as long as you let them keep spinning for years on end. Our longest continuous uptime was 3.5 years for one of the Netras, running Sparc FreeBSD ... and the downtime was only because someone managed to unplug our box by mistake.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not surprising

        I second that.

        I had a customer call me about a Sun Netra that had been running happily in a corner for 14years.

        The only reason they called was to now if they could replace it if anything went wrong!

    4. Manaz

      Re: Not surprising

      Papst and Panaflo would be the brands I'd expect to give this length of service if any would.

      Neither exist as an existing product (in terms of 80-120mm 12v DC axial fans) any more.

    5. one-of-many

      Re: Not surprising

      At the time of construction, we used large, 24V case style fans with proper bearings, but running on the 12V rail. These ran slowly and quietly, yet moved plenty of air. The clean conditions probably helped

      them survive. All the fans were still running at the time it was switched off.

      1. jimmyj

        Re: Not surprising

        ah yes... longer fan life : I've got two versions in my elderly XP (ha) tower -

        1) two fans connected in series at the rear - so 2 at ~ half speed '=' one

        with ~same air flow, ~ twice life & ~ half the noise! & 2) a large squirrel-

        cage axial fan kludged onto the P4 (ha) 'sink with 5 diodes in series which

        subtract ~ 2.5v from the 12 for, again, enough air (under 40*C P4) and

        much less whine even with 20% o'clocking. repurpose & rest !

    6. John Doe 6

      Re: Not surprising

      PAPST

  2. werdsmith Silver badge

    There's an 80386 netware box at a place that I worked at in the 1980s, that I am reliably informed by my former colleagues is still running since 1988 and doing useful work, it had managed a 10+ year uptime score before its PSU had to be replaced because the fan stopped.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      I find this one a bit difficult to believe

      1988 means an original AT PSU with those lovely two plugs instead of the ATX 20 pin block connector which superseded it. Your chances of finding a working one in the last 10 years are hovering just about zero. While not completely impossible, whatever you find is not likely to be in a good working order.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Resourceful not your middle name then.

        I don't think I said that it happened in the last 10 years did I?

        Anyway, only a small amount of resourceful would be needed to deal with such a minor issue.

        I find it difficult to believe that you know what you are talking about.

      2. Lee D Silver badge

        Re: I find this one a bit difficult to believe

        There are ATX -> AT power convertor cables readily available.

      3. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: I find this one a bit difficult to believe

        "AT PSU with those lovely two plugs" - I'm still using one of those as a bench power supply, though it is necessary to attach a 5V load (incandescent bulb) for the voltage regulation to work.

        The lovely two plugs are not my favourite design - I once plugged them into a motherboard swapped. Fortunately, the motherboard survived. Non-reversible plugs are much preferred, and non-reversible plugs where it is bloody obvious which way round is correct (unlike USB plugs) are the best.

        1. Lockwood

          Re: I find this one a bit difficult to believe

          Back to back, black to black.

          1. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

            Re: I find this one a bit difficult to believe

            Red and red and you are dead.

            1. Tom 38 Silver badge

              Re: I find this one a bit difficult to believe

              Red next to black, jump the fuck back. Red next to yella, cuddly fella

        2. Peter Simpson 1
          Thumb Up

          Re: I find this one a bit difficult to believe

          After checking the prices of 300W 13.8V DC supplies (to power a land mobile FM transceiver used indoors), and recovering from the considerable sticker shock, I once reverse engineered and heavily modified one of these AT supplies (acquisition cost = $0) to output 13.8V at 20+A. As far as I know, it's still working fine, complete with overcurrent and overvoltage protection.

          They are versatile, cheap and highly modifiable supplies, and very underappreciated, in my opinion. It's a robust design (they're all cut from the same pattern) with many possibilities.

        3. RIBrsiq

          Re: I find this one a bit difficult to believe

          "Non-reversible plugs are much preferred, and non-reversible plugs where it is bloody obvious which way round is correct (unlike USB plugs) are the best".

          My vote is for reversible plugs such that it doesn't matter how something is plugged in.

          It's hard to manage, but I have seen what happens when the standard Molex power connectors used for old IDE drives, which should not be reversible, are reversed nonetheless. It's not pretty.

          1. theOtherJT

            Re: I find this one a bit difficult to believe

            I have seen what happens when the standard Molex power connectors used for old IDE drives, which should not be reversible, are reversed nonetheless.

            Wow. How much brute force and ignorance was required to get one of those in backwards? They're hard enough to connect the right way around!

            1. viila

              Re: I find this one a bit difficult to believe

              "Wow. How much brute force and ignorance was required to get one of those in backwards? They're hard enough to connect the right way around!"

              ...which ensures that brute force will be expected and used. Although I've managed once without much force because the socket had only the smallest hint of keying that didn't actually key anything.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: I find this one a bit difficult to believe

                "Although I've managed once without much force because the socket had only the smallest hint of keying that didn't actually key anything."

                Killed a 3.5" floppy drive like that - it was too easy to get the power connector in upside down when you couldn't see the connector on the drive. The only key on some was the springy tongue of plastic that was very flexible. Every drive seemed to have the power connector in a different place and possibly different orientations too.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I find this one a bit difficult to believe

          "I once plugged them into a motherboard swapped"

          Did that once when getting punch-drunk swapping components to diagnose why a new motherboard's video card wouldn't work properly. I was very surprised, and gratified, that it hadn't killed the board. The question is why not? Good intrinsic design somewhere - or luck?

      4. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: I find this one a bit difficult to believe

        No need to find an AT power supply, a brand new ATX PSU can supply all the voltages you need, so you just need to solder on the old plugs.

        (there seems to be plenty of AT supplies on ebay though)

        1. viila
          Boffin

          Re: I find this one a bit difficult to believe

          Not necessarily. The old AT supplied and used some oddball voltages, of which -5V hasn't been in ATX standard for quite a while. Whether you can live without it depends on the peripheral cards you have.

          1. Mr. Byte

            Re: I find this one a bit difficult to believe

            I might be wrong, but I think the -5 was used only for the RS-232 signaling on serial ports.

            1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

              Re: I find this one a bit difficult to believe

              Nope, it's used for a limited number of old ISA cards. If the ISA card is used in later motherboards that don't supply -5V, some/all of their functionality may not work. Serial ports still exist on modern kit, and there's no -5V on an ATX 2.x PSU.

              It's still possible to buy PSUs with -5V on them if necessary.

      5. Tom 38 Silver badge

        Re: I find this one a bit difficult to believe

        Not only are adapters available, but its trivial to make your own using a molex crimp tool and the appropriate 3x2 and 2x10 molex socket/plugs.

      6. boltar Silver badge

        Re: I find this one a bit difficult to believe

        "Your chances of finding a working one in the last 10 years are hovering just about zero"

        Since the server was commisioned in 88 and he said the PSU needed replacing 10 years later, see if you can do the maths and figure out the date. Hint: it wasnt in the last 10 years.

      7. Frank Leonhardt

        Re: I find this one a bit difficult to believe

        If you're running old hardware (to support old software) you'll have plenty of spare parts. I've got at least two spare AT PSUs within reach right now. As others have commented, it's often the fans that go but when you've got an incentive it's easy enough to adapt a standard fan to blow enough air in the general direction. And old hardware didn't get nearly as hot.

      8. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I find this one a bit difficult to believe

        > Your chances of finding a working one in the last 10 years are hovering just about zero.

        They are about thirty quid all up off ebay.

      9. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I find this one a bit difficult to believe

        How many new AT power supplies do you want...?

        http://www.nipron.com/product_detail/index.cgi?p=00504905&gclid=Cj0KEQiAq920BRC8-efn57XrotYBEiQAlVlMQ0UO0P3LjqvNCzUq9N_GuIWnxjgTV9oPYg31TJdW12MaAqiH8P8HAQ

      10. Vic

        Re: I find this one a bit difficult to believe

        Your chances of finding a working one in the last 10 years are hovering just about zero.

        I've got one. I retired it about 5 years ago because I wanted an upgade...

        Vic.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have a firewall running on a P3, will have to keep it going for just a few more years...

    processor : 0

    vendor_id : GenuineIntel

    cpu family : 6

    model : 7

    model name : Pentium III (Katmai)

    stepping : 3

    cpu MHz : 447.645

    cache size : 512 KB

    fdiv_bug : no

    hlt_bug : no

    f00f_bug : no

    coma_bug : no

    fpu : yes

    fpu_exception : yes

    cpuid level : 2

    wp : yes

    flags : fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 sep mtrr pge mca cmov pse36 mmx fxsr sse up

    bogomips : 895.29

    clflush size : 32

    cache_alignment : 32

    address sizes : 36 bits physical, 32 bits virtual

    power management:

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      I recently retired a couple of Vias

      The power cost of running this is more than the cost of replacing it.

      A Katmai at 450MHz will consume ~ 90W of power. That at UK retail prices is 90£ per year.

      This is the exact reason why I retired my old Via based firewalls despite them being considerably more economical (~ 24W) and moved them onto my main server to run under virtualization. They were about 12 years old (across several reincarnations from case to case) at that point. I could have left them to run and they would have clocked 15 years in a couple of years time, but it was clearly not worth it financially.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I recently retired a couple of Vias

        I get your point but if it was just the cost of power involved I'd have replaced it years ago!

      2. StripeyMiata

        Re: I recently retired a couple of Vias

        Where they VIA C3s? I recently retired one of mine because I had problems with the latest Linux distros and the processor's lack of CMOV support. Shame as it was a reliable (if slow) old girl.

        1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

          Re: I recently retired a couple of Vias

          Where they VIA C3s

          One C3 (fanless M600) and one C7 (fanless S1000). 15W-22W and 20-27W measured at the wall respectively. Nowhere near what you get from an early vintage P3 (100W or thereabouts). If you are still running one of those, that is like burning money and enjoying the glow for its geekiness.

          I still miss the integrated crypto in the C7. The new crypto instructions in AMD64 set are yet to make it into stable openssl so openvpn, encrypted backupts, etc continue to be run via "brute force". The C7 could swallow hundreds of MBit of AES in its stride and not even notice. Not something I would say about any of the Intel or AMD CPUs till this day.

          However for what I used them, the case of moving to a virtualized environment was fairly clear cut (even without accounting for the fact that I worked on network virtualization at the time and it was "eat yer own dogfood").

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I recently retired a couple of Vias

        "This is the exact reason why I retired my old Via based firewalls despite them being considerably more economical (~ 24W) and moved them onto my main server to run under virtualization"

        A software firewall running on the same hypervisor as the main server OS is not really a firewall.

        1. Calleb III

          Re: I recently retired a couple of Vias

          "A software firewall running on the same hypervisor as the main server OS is not really a firewall."

          Care to explain? Never heard of a real vulnerability that can seep between a VM and host running one of the major Hypervisors, or between VMs running on the same host through the hypervisor layer.

          Virtual appliances Firewalls are offered by all major vendors for a reason

          1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

            Re: I recently retired a couple of Vias

            Care to explain?

            Concur with Calleb III. Please care to explain.

            I actually wrote a significant portion of the hypervisor in question network IO at the time. It was a part of "EAT YER OWN DOGFOOD".

            So as someone who used to do that for a living, I would be extremely interested in hearing the enlightened commentard explanation.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I recently retired a couple of Vias

              "I actually wrote a significant portion of the hypervisor in question network IO at the time."

              "So as someone who used to do that for a living, I would be extremely interested in hearing the enlightened commentard explanation."

              I'm sorry, as an inferior person who isn't able to produce 100% bug free and vulnerability free code to order, I made the mistake of thinking that hypervisor writers were as fallible as I am. I apologise for my error.

          2. DougS Silver badge

            @Calleb III - "never heard of a real vulnerability that can seep..."

            There have been several over the years. The Venom vulnerability last year allowed breaking out of Xen, KVM and QEMU. Cloudburst allowing breaking out of VMware (not ESX since it was related to the virtual graphics adapter) I can't recall the details but there have been exploits for ESX and HyperV as well. They're rare, but they exist.

            Whether you should worry about it for running some ancient firewall code in a VM because you can't be bothered to upgrade to something more modern is another matter. There is probably a hole in the firewall itself when it is running outdated code so an attacker wouldn't need to bother with breaking out of the hypervisor.

            And that's before you worry that the NSA has either paid off VMware to leave open a back door (in the form of one or more security holes) for them, or had one inserted by a plant on their payroll... If I was the NSA, given a choice between a backdoor into ESX and a backdoor into Windows, I'd take the backdoor into ESX. You can always find another Windows zero day with their resources, you don't need Microsoft to insert one for you.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I recently retired a couple of Vias

            "Never heard of a real vulnerability that can seep between a VM and host running one of the major Hypervisors"

            Until very recently, who would have said that anti-virus programs running on Windows could in fact themselves have vulnerabilities?

            It doesn't matter that you haven't heard of one or experienced it. The fact remains that modern computers usually have a single primary store, despite all the memory management gubbins, and therefore any vulnerability that allows something using one part of the memory to read and write another part (or indeed read and write virtual disc space belonging to another VM) could compromise a virtual firewall.

            In the US, Toyota lost a lawsuit because it was claimed that if a particular bit in memory flipped incorrectly then consequences would follow, even though it was never proven that this was the actual cause of an accident. It's called the precautionary principle and it applies here.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I recently retired a couple of Vias

              "In the US, Toyota lost a lawsuit because it was claimed that if a particular bit in memory flipped incorrectly then consequences would follow, even though it was never proven that this was the actual cause of an accident. "

              Depends if there is parity on the memory and the bus. The English Electric KDF9 prototype second generation mainframe had no parity checking. It was considered that the state-of-the-art ferrite memory was reliable. They quickly retrofitted parity.

              The System 4-72 had parity on memory - but not on the bus. Problems with poor earth noise spikes corrupted data on the bus to the cpu - which was then written to memory with apparently good parity.

              Rarely see a PC with parity on memory - or better still ECC. The biggest risk is supposed to be cosmic particles that can affect a single bit. Some come from space - but many are emitted internally by the plastic or ceramic casing of the chips. The denser the memory on the chip - the more likely to have a corrupting hit. If that changes the value in static code or data then there could be a problem.

              There is a memory spec figure that my mind says was something like "Failures in ten to the nine" (FIT?) that quantifies the probability of a cosmic particle changing a bit in a memory chip.

              We once did the calculation for a 2MB PC that would not get reloaded. IIRC the calculation suggested a changed bit once every two weeks. We didn't extrapolate that to the probability of it actually causing a permanent corruption of code/data directly or indirectly.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Some come from space

                the cosmic ray proton/pbar soft errors have been mapped in large datacentres with the servers at the bottom of the rack suffering less parity problems than those physically closer to $Deity!

  4. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    It IS Rocket Science

    Not something I had the joy of working with, but I believe the computers on the Voyager spacecraft (see also) have to be at least in the top 10 in this respect. No-one's been round for a service call since 1977.

    1. Unicornpiss Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: It IS Rocket Science

      ...and the V1 and V2 spacecrafts used TAPE drives!

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Gene Cash Silver badge

          Re: It IS Rocket Science-and the V1 and V2 spacecrafts used TAPE drives!

          That would be Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft, since the thread mentioned Voyager & tape drives. Please do try to keep up.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Alien

      Re: It IS Rocket Science

      No-one's been round for a service call since 1977.

      That's what you think.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The drive's a Seagate...

    ...for those of looking to avoid drives that can't deliver more than 19 years of error-free operations

    I wouldn't put so much faith in their newer drives. As they say in the financial markets, past performance does not guarantee future results.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: The drive's a Seagate...

      Yep, SCSI drives were built to much higher standards than consumer IDE drives.

      As for running 20 years without stopping. Well, that does sound like par for the course for FreeBSD: devil icon because there's no daemon!

      1. eJ2095

        Re: The drive's a Seagate...

        Wonder how many miles the disk has spun...

        1. toughluck

          Re: The drive's a Seagate...

          You mean the inside tracks or the outside?

          Assuming it was running constantly from 1997-03-01 to 2016-01-01, a 5400 rpm disk would have made 53.5 thousand million revolutions.

          This translates to 25.6 million miles at the rim or 6.6 million miles at the spindle.

          1. Phil W

            Re: The drive's a Seagate...

            Impossible to know for sure, I may be wrong but I'm pretty sure that even disks/controllers of that age support spin down when idle.

          2. Owain 1

            Re: The drive's a Seagate...

            Does that mean that, due to relativity, there is a tangible time difference between the inside and outside of the disc?

            1. richardcox13

              Re: The drive's a Seagate...

              > Does that mean that, due to relativity, there is a tangible time difference between the inside and outside of the disc?

              Yes, since any velocity or space-time distortion will give a change. But I doubt it will be much.

              Assuming the outer edge of the data area of the platters is 3", I get a linear speed of 21.6m/s.

              Which gives a adjustment, of special relativity, of 0.0026%.

              However, this is non-linear motion so general relativity applies. Which reverses the effect. But I've no idea by how much.

            2. 2+2=5 Silver badge
              Joke

              Re: The drive's a Seagate...

              > Does that mean that, due to relativity, there is a tangible time difference between the inside and outside of the disc?

              Yes. When you read a file that's on the outside of the disk you get last week's version.

              1. DJV Silver badge
                Trollface

                @2+2=5

                Wow, you have media where you can store data OUTSIDE the disk? Like in the power cables or something?

          3. Wilseus

            Re: The drive's a Seagate...

            "This translates to 25.6 million miles at the rim or 6.6 million miles at the spindle."

            When you consider that that's barely more than a quarter of the way to the Sun, that's actually a bit disappointing :)

            1. Steven Roper

              Re: The drive's a Seagate...

              "When you consider that that's barely more than a quarter of the way to the Sun, that's actually a bit disappointing :)"

              I find it awe-inspiring. This sort of thing really hammers home just how big space is.

              Another comparison I once calculated that puts it into perspective, is that if we could build roads in space, and you drove a car along such an interplanetary M1 at 100 kph (60 mph) 24/7 without ever having to stop for food, fuel or rest - it would take you 6 months to reach the Moon, and 126 years to reach the Sun...!

          4. bpfh Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: The drive's a Seagate...

            The inner platter radius is about 39.9 mm, so a circumference of 250.5608 mm.

            Taking the above dates, comes out to 14168 days... excluding leap seconds and all that, that is 20427840 minutes...

            Multiply Minutes * Circumference * RPM's

            In kilometers:

            - 5400 rpm : 27 639 446.04

            - 7200 rpm: 36 852 594.72

            - 10000 rpm: 51 184 159.33

            - 15000 rpm: 76 776 238.99

            In Miles (plain 1.6 km/mile):

            - 5400 rpm: 17 274 653.77

            - 7200 rpm: 23 032 871.7

            - 10000 rpm: 31 990 099.58

            - 15000 rpm: 47 985 149.37

            I think I have too much time on my hands this afternoon.... Beer time soon!

            1. John Geek

              Re: The drive's a Seagate...

              note ALL 15000 rpm disks use 2" platters, even the ones in 3.5" form factor. Most 10000 rpm disks are 2" internally too. the linear velocities are just too high at those RPMs for larger platters.

        2. one-of-many

          Re: The drive's a Seagate...

          "The media used on the drive has a diameter of approximately 95 mm"

          That's about 15,966,810 km at the periphery.

    2. Benno

      Re: The drive's a Seagate...

      My guess is that it was running a 1/2-height 3.5" Barracuda drive - the ones with the vertical and horizontal PCB's. If I remember rightly, the 2GB 'Hawk' was quite a bit slower than it's more expensive cousin!

      1. Ken 16 Silver badge
        Holmes

        2GB?

        That's a bit big, isn't it?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 2GB?

          For you.

        2. Robert Moore
          Paris Hilton

          Re: 2GB?

          > That's a bit big, isn't it?

          That's what she said.

    3. jMcPhee

      Re: The drive's a Seagate...

      A Seagate drive... before TPG and Silverlake bought the company and 'extracted shareholder value' from it.

  6. StripeyMiata

    We had a VaxCluster at work that ran from around 1995 to 2011 so that's 16 years, was only turned off about 2 or 3 days during that time for power supply work - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VAX_4000

    In it's glory days it supported about 1000 users, in it's last days was just used for legacy COBOL print jobs to a huge old Digital printer - http://www.purplewave.com/cgi-bin/mnlist.cgi?130409/W9416

    1. Chris King Silver badge

      That's not unusual for a VAX. We had a 4000 series that was installed in 1992 and was finally decommissioned in 2013 - no doubt there are older systems out there still providing service.

      1. StripeyMiata

        I think build quality must have suffered during the Compaq days, we had one of these and it was a dog reliability wise compared to the Vaxen - http://www.compaq.com/info/CU9803/CU9803HM.HTM

      2. Chris King Silver badge

        Before I forget, the previous holder of the "Father of the Network" title was a Sun 3, which got the "I AM 20" badge before finally being replaced by a Linux workstation.

    2. Just Enough

      Power Supply Work

      Power supply work is the main impediment to any record-breaking 100% uptime. I've never worked anywhere that hasn't had to have down time due to some kind of power supply work. Either locally within the office, or the building, or the entire street. And I'm talking about planned, prolonged interruption, something that can't be safely handled by a UPS.

      To find somewhere that's managed to avoid both power supply work and power failure for 18 years is remarkable. It makes it a remarkably durable server, but saying it's been on constantly all that time seems a bit unlikely. If it was part of such a critical service that benefited from such a guaranteed and protected power supply, then surely they wouldn't be relying on running it on such ancient hardware?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Power Supply Work

        Sounds like you haven't been around very long nor vary far. There are many critical systems running on old hardware which cannot be switched off. Numerous reasons, application can't be ported, source code nowhere to be found, original developers gone so no one understands how it works, technology so old no one wants to work on it. As for prolonged power supply work, never heard of a generator?

        1. Erewhon

          Re: Power Supply Work

          " As for prolonged power supply work, never heard of a generator?"

          Eh?! How does having a generator help if you have to swap a power supply inside a server?

          Many servers (e.g. HP) have bays for redundant PSUs and redundant CPU/internal cooling fans - so this would have been a way to keep a server running whilst swapping out a failed PSU or fan - but a generator is of no help at all.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Power Supply Work

            >Eh?! How does having a generator help if you have to swap a power supply inside a server?

            It doesn't, but if you read the comment to which I replied he's referring to the electricity supply as in "Either locally within the office, or the building, or the entire street." not the PSU in the machine.

            However seeing as you brought up that point any decent server will have redundant hot swappable PSUs.

            1. theOtherJT

              Re: Power Supply Work

              As for prolonged power supply work, never heard of a generator?

              Yup. We were reliably informed that it was totally capable of supplying enough juice to run the entire building, never mind the entire server room for the 2 days that the mains would be off due to works in the street.

              I'm told you could hear the bang it made when they flipped it over and let it take up the load from nearly a mile away.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Power Supply Work

                Our generator didn't go bang. Oh no. It started up a few seconds after the UPS kicked in, ran for maybe ten seconds, and then there was a big cloud of white smoke and it stopped.

                Because at the last service, the shortly-to-be-sacked mechanic had run the generator, emptied it of oil, and forgotten to replace the oil.

      2. one-of-many

        Re: Power Supply Work

        Each rack had its own UPS.

        The entire server room had an autostart generator and transfer switch.

        Generator was tested monthly, but was only ever needed about 5 times.

        UPS batteries were hot-swapped, and on the rare occasion we replaced a UPS, we used suicide leads to bypass it during the process.

  7. caffeine addict Silver badge

    two years ago I had one that had been running since 1999. Not because it was critical but because the boss didn't understand IT. Also, not an uptime since 1999 because said boss's IT understanding meant our UPSs were about as useful as a PP9 battery.

    Last time I saw it, it was a virus riddled mess that wasn't plugged in to anything but was still spinning away. The boss demanded we kept it running because he had "critical emails on there" but he didn't notice when we pulled all but one of the cables out of the back. So it's sat there in quarantine, no-one looking after it or treating it, but no-one taking it round the back of the barn either.

    One day they'll get a PFY who will wonder what the box it, plug it into the network, and release the wrath of skynet...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've got a dev cluster from 2002 which is still running, but it has lost a couple of hot-swappable drives over the years. The matching live cluster dates from 2003; its DB server died four years ago and I had to rope the dev DB server in to function for both (not that dev is really used now anyway).

    I've been trying to kill it all off since 2012, but there were four functions still running on it by that date. Only one function (the most important) has been replaced by a new system since then (and they didn't do that until last autumn). I just haven't had the time to write a new framework on a new box to support the minor three, even though it goes on my yearly plan as a priority each year...

    Posting AC this time, for obvious reasons.

  9. jhml2011
    Happy

    486 chicanery

    Built a little 486 dx2-66 with 16MB ram and a scsi hard disk (1.2GB?) that ran as a smoothwall box which was put into service circa 1997/8 for a small accountancy firm. It connected to a 56K modem and a little 8 port 10Mb hub and was flawless. I know this because I got a call from that office around 5 years later from a telecoms engineer who was upgrading to ISDN asking how the heck to do it. In all that time it had not even been rebooted!

    1. Dan Wilkie

      Re: 486 chicanery

      Your memory is as bad as mine - smoothwall didn't come out till 2000 ;)

  10. Chris Hawkins

    As I wrote in 1995, a computer is for life not just xmas!!!! Well done that machine!!

  11. Aqua Marina

    Server longevity

    "Ross reckons the server lived so long due to “a combination of good quality hardware to start with, conservatively used (not flogging itself to death)"

    Don't know about anyone else, but this has been my experience with virtual hosts. Hardware with 4 virtual guests on it, dies around 4x faster than dedicated boxes. I seem to be switching out components regularly in the hosts.

  12. wolfetone Silver badge

    FreeBSD

    More stable than a stable full of four legged tables.

    1. DocJames

      Re: FreeBSD

      3 legged would be better

      1. Erewhon

        Re: FreeBSD

        "3 legged would be better"

        It depends how we define 'stable' - if this is meant in terms of 'resilience against failure', a 4 legged table could afford to lose 1 leg and would still remain more stable than a 3 legged table that lost 1 leg.

        Same goes for those horses in the stable. However they are more likely to end up in a Findus Crispy pancake should such a failure occur.

        1. DocJames
          Paris Hilton

          Re: FreeBSD

          It depends how we define 'stable' - Erewhon

          Have an upvote for pointing out my narrow mindedness. Although in my defence I would suggest that in most situations the issue is not a missing leg.

          Icon for demonstrating 2 legs doesn't guarantee stability

    2. asdf Silver badge

      Re: FreeBSD

      And OpenBSD is even more stable than FreeBSD with significantly less CVEs to its name. Got to love an *nix that whose base doesn't by default include hairball bash and whose default window manager current version was initially released nearly 15 years ago (once you audit code why change for change sake?). Of course there is that matter of hardware support and a much smaller ports universe but that is why there is a BSD for everyone lol.

  13. jason 7 Silver badge

    Hmm 1997!

    That summer I bought my first PC (had used Dad's since 1993) and it was a Pentium 150 with 32MB of RAM, 2GB HDD (maybe), Matrox Mystique, CD-rom, generic Soundblaster card running Windows 95. Oh and a 14" monitor.

    Cost me £1300!

    Haven't spent anywhere near that much on a PC or laptop since.

    The rub was I only kept it a year. We took over another small company that had just bought all new PCs that were not the same company standard as ours (read newer and better) so we were quietly told by the accountants to 'lose them!" Oh well if you insist.

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      Re: Hmm 1997!

      That's £2,180.34 in today's money to save everybody else the effort.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmm 1997!

      "Cost me £1300!

      Haven't spent anywhere near that much on a PC or laptop since."

      Not a Mac user then.

      Though, looking at my successive laptops the prices have gone like this:

      1998 £3000

      2002 £1600

      2005 £1300

      2009 £1100

      2011 £1000

      They have all been broadly comparable in being intended for software development with separate graphics and good but not excessive res screens, so allowing for inflation that's a price reduction of around 5 times in 13 years. In terms of compute power I hardly like to think about it, but it has gone from 64Mbytes of RAM to 16Gbytes.

      I think this shows why, though servers can last forever doing simple jobs, laptops get retired after a few years. Though my 2011 laptop looks like it will do at least another year provided you aren't a hunt and peck typist since some of the keys are no longer labelled.

      1. jason 7 Silver badge

        Re: Hmm 1997!

        No not a Mac user since 1988. Now any urchin has them, so not special any more.

        Reminds me I must get that fat 512K Mac into auction sometime.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hmm 1997!

        "1998 £3000"

        1979 Apple II 48KB with floppy disk and B&W video £1780

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Hmm 1997!

      "That summer I bought my first PC"

      Pah! Kids today :-)

  14. Yugguy

    There's a lot of this about.

    1) it still does the job.

    2) it's very difficult/nigh-on impossible to replace.

    Keeps us old blokes in jobs.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    While I appreciate it's not a server, I have an old Shuttle small form factor box from around 2003 that still runs happily. When you consider how dense packed these boxes are, I'm astounded that it still chugs along at all.

    Sadly, I had to scrap my old Pentium 75 box in 2006.

    1. Nigel 11

      I have to hand a Compaq 80286 system that still runs Windows 3.1 perfectly on its original hardware. To be fair, it's not a server, and has spent a good fraction of its life switched off. It was the control system for an expensive piece of lab apparatus that was (relatively) recently scrapped because it broke beyond our in-house abilities to mend it, and the manufacturer went bust many years ago.

      I don't have the heart to throw it away. Will probably fire it up annually at Xmas party time until it won't boot, or until I pop my clogs, or until the National Museum of Computing or NASA wants it.

      It has a 5.25 inch floppy drive.

      1. lafnlab
        Windows

        While not as old as your 286, I support a white box Windows 98 PC hooked up to some brand-name lab equipment. The lab equipment maker is still around but no longer supports this particular piece of equipment.

        The PC itself is pretty archaic. It doesn't have USB or networking capability, so when the researchers want to send data to colleagues, I have to pull the hard drive and hook it up as a D: drive in an old Optiplex that uses PATA connections. From the Optiplex, I move it to the lab folder on the server, and they can send it wherever they need to.

        The PC is only used on occasion and spends most of its time turned off.

        1. chic

          Sounds like you need to knit a laplink cable!

  16. Steve Walker

    Longevity

    We have recently retired a Windows 2000 box that was made before 1999 (the OS has in fact been migrated to a VM as it still serves a use) and the hardware was all made from items we were using at the time, it would be AT and would probably have been AOpen hardware with a PIII at around 450Mhz it has done the job for many many years and it was only retired as a hardware server as we were worried the original hard drive from the 90s would fail.

    It was in Telehouse nearly all it's life after leaving our little "server room" and then finally retired from a new DC when we moved in Jan 2015 where it was running up-to October last year.

    Not sure on the fans but the insides look like the day it was made, a fine layer of dust on the odd component but nothing major.

    Probably at the time it was pretty expensive to make - even had 2GB of RAM ...

  17. Roger Kynaston
    Go

    a few years ago

    A SPARCServer 1000 finally gave up the ghost and Oracle or it may still have been Sun didn't have the parts so we dug out a slightly less aged E450 to move the app to. It had been running since 1993 I think. Oddly, the disks were a dreadful setup with a series of small disks mirrored onto one larger one using disk suite.

    The users hated the application as well as I remember but it took years to migrate to the new one.

  18. BebopWeBop Silver badge

    Well I have been responsible for porting instrumentation and analytics software for a 25 year old Sun installation (it just kept on working and reporting and no-one really noticed it) at a radiological monitoring service. And I am pretty sure that is not the oldest thing lurking there - given the number of PS1 stations attached to instruments I have seen while tracing physical lines....

  19. billium

    Can't talk about up time because I don't know. I made a computer in 1995 which ran DairyPlan on DOS in a milking parlour , not the best of environments, 24/7. It died last month. I don't think it was the computer's fault so much as a surge because each individual part was defective. I repaired it 5 years ago, all the fans were solid! I replaced the old AT PSU with a new ATX style by soldering the old plugs on the new. It was horrible to repair as it was covered in cow and fly shit.

  20. Alister Silver badge

    Well it isn't a proper server, but I'm still running a Mesh Pentium 90 Desktop from 1995-ish which is now used as a NAS at home. It's got 96MB RAM, and a PCI Sata Raid card with two 250GB Drives, and runs the Linux Free-Nas software distro booted off a LiveCD.

    The motherboard, processor and RAM are all the original items though, so they're doing pretty well for being 20 years old.

    1. handle

      Looks like another power consumption nightmare. You could probably do that with a Raspberry Pi with a couple of 2.5" external drives (or even SSDs) nowadays.

      1. Jess

        Re: power consumption nightmare

        Huge power consumption isn't always wasted.

        I have a G5 PPC in my bedroom. Last winter it provided pretty much all the heat I needed. (Must get an ARM system for the summer though)

        1. Nigel 11

          Re: power consumption nightmare

          I have a G5 PPC in my bedroom. Last winter it provided pretty much all the heat I needed.

          Also quieter than your average Chinese fan heater, I'd guess?

        2. handle

          Re: power consumption nightmare

          Not always wasted - just wasted most of the time (like when you're not there) and becoming a nuisance some of the time (like when it's too hot). Still daft to be carrying on in that way.

    2. /dev/null

      Linux Free-Nas?

      I think you'll find FreeNAS is based on FreeBSD. Unless that's another "Free-Nas" you're talking about?

      1. Darryl

        Re: Linux Free-Nas?

        Maybe a NAS that's free of Linux?

  21. naive

    IBM RS/6000 F50 PowerPC-604e 332MHz + SSA disks AIX4.3.3

    One of our customers uses an IBM RS/6000 F50 as application server for their core business applications. The system runs stable since 1997, with years of uptime. The only issues we encountered is the occasional SSA disk replacement and an empty BIOS battery.

    They use AIX 4.3.3. Stability of this OS is easily outperforming current MS versions, with no memory leaks or anything.

    IBM still services these machine with spare parts, and as far we can see, they will be used for several years to come.

    It is kind of magic, to support a server with 82 user sessions, having less CPU power and memory than a modern smartphone. It is sad AIX is slowly fading away in the market, there never was a better OS.

  22. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    When did Time cease to be a thing? I upgraded my cousin-in-law's Time mini-tower to Linux a few months ago.

  23. Teddy the Bear
    Thumb Up

    Great to see proper resource usage

    I love this story - it's great to see that, no matter what the PR bods and Ad-folk would have you believe, stuff can still keep going for years and years if it's looked after and properly specced in the first place.

  24. Archaon

    Fax Server

    A previous customer of ours had a 486 running as a fax server, that was still in place until at least 2013.

  25. jzl

    What is time but the passing of events?

    A multi-core Skylake Xeon is something like a thousand times as fast as the Pentium in the article.

    So by one measure of it, a modern Xeon server reaches the same uptime in 6.5 days, give or take.

    </FatuousComment>

  26. TeamEvil

    We've got a 486 running SELTEK Voice Manager, connected to an equally stable Avaya Index Switch that's been running since 1997. It's only down time, power cuts.

  27. Inspector71
    Thumb Up

    Still plugging away

    We have an old Compaq 286 from I think about 1988 still running an important piece of test gear. 1MB RAM,40MB hard drive, DOS 3.0. Runs for about 12-13 hours a day every week day. It has a custom ISA board and and custom software. We are only now getting around to looking at a replacement.

    The only backup we had was a fan fold printout of the software. I managed to get the files off it with the help of a floppy based FTP server. It is built like a tank though.

  28. Infosec Katy Perry

    Are you even trying?

    http://ftp.arl.mil/

    1. Infosec Katy Perry

      23 years. still in operation; anyone actually beat this? All I see is more smack talking than Conor McGregor about 'IIRC' and 'shall remain nameless'... smdh

  29. x 7

    I know of a local shoe shop which runs its stock database (16-bit) on a PC running Windows 3.11 / DOS6.22

    That machine acts as a server, with a Windows 98 PC acting as the client interface, The Win98 machine had to be replaced with a box I built from scrap bits four years ago, but the 3.11 box is original. Exactly how old I don't know

  30. Bodhi

    Not an entire computer but my Logitech keyboard recently dies, so I had to dig out the old faithful backup keyboard - and IBM Model M from 1987. Still works an absolute treat and still superb to type on.

    I suspect if me old man hadn't thrown out the IBM PS/2 it was supplied with, that would still be running as well...

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      I own a IBM PS/2 Model 70 (built circa 1987) which runs Windows 3.11 that I bought about 3 or 4 years ago from some bloke in London. It was the same model I had as my first PC in 1997, so I made the trip from Birmingham one evening to get it. That, I'm happy to say, still works. So yeah it would still be working now if you kept it.

      Along with that, I have an IBM PC-XT 286 which was built in 1984 if my memory is correct, running Windows 3.0. Still works like a dream, and it's a lovely thing to hear it's IBM Hard Disk whirring down after being switched off. These two machines are only used the odd time, sparingly, though.

      Neither are servers, but I think they stand as a testament to what IBM used to build and the quality of their machines. Lenovo should take note of these.

      1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Pre-Thinkpad laptop

        I acquired a circa 1991 IBM PS/2 Note N33SX (16 Mhz 386sx, 2Mb RAM, 320Mb HD) laptop which wouldn't boot (turned out all it needed was a BIOS floppy). Still works today, though the backlight is nearly dead. The (separate) floppy drive is dodgy, but luckily I'd also acquired a parallel-port ZIP drive for easy installation of Win 3.1 and NewDeal Office ((when I need to work distraction-free - great keyboard!).

    2. Adam Hartfield

      The IBM Model M I'm writing this on was made in April 1988. I think I started using it in the late 90s when it came from another office that we closed. They'll have to pry it out of my cold, dead hands.

      1. no-one in particular

        I replaced the IBM Model M with a Northgate OmniKey Ultras (dated April 26 1991) - even bigger, heavier and with more keys! Colleague carried them back to the UK from a trip to the US, so that took up most of the luggage allowance.

        If they take this away from me I'll never be able to move the cursor again (upside-down T! Madness!)

  31. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Pint

    Not 18 years but..

    When I worked a job as a "Point of Sale Administrator" (yes, I was a POS administrator), the restaurant units I supported had NCR and IBM boxes running either RH Linux or SCO Unix. (hated SCO) The NCR boxes had Maxtor 2.5GB IDE drives while the IBM boxes had mostly 10K RPM SCSI drives of similar capacity. All were P1s running around 233MHz. They ran a terminal server environment with dumb green-screen terminals and printers. They operated in what I would consider a hostile environment, typically the restaurant's kitchen, where good heat and A/C were rarities, and the air was filled with grease and dust. Temps would swing from <40F in winter in some areas to >110F at times.

    Years after I left that job, they finally retired those boxes after 12+ years of continuous operation. Mostly the NCR boxes and IDE drives spinning slower and running a lot cooler outlasted the fancy SCSI (Seagate) drives. I don't remember who made the boards, but NCR used to build a hell of a reliable box. Aside from power supply failures and the occasional dead drive, I only remember one outright motherboard failure from 70+ restaurants. (not counting the one that was done in by a mouse living in the case and continually peeing and defecating on it) Many of these units, running 24/7, had fans that were choked with fuzzy slime from the air and had long since stopped turning. The processors did not have a fan, but instead had a giant heatsink, which I'm sure is what contributed to the reliability.

    The thermal printers would print 10s of millions of lines without a fuss. (they would print you a history of their lives if you put them in test mode) The green-screen terminals on the other hand, often had the lifespan of a goldfish.

  32. saxicola

    Crystal Maze

    I can't beat 19 years but the games in the Crystal Maze in Pembrokeshire ran for 15 years on 386's with 4MB of RAM and 40MB HDD's. I spent 5 years coaxing then into life every morning. The non-booting ones mostly needed to be left on, warming up for a while, then rebooted again. At the end getting HDDs that those 386's would recognise was getting to be a real problem and when I could get one it was expensive compared to the current GB drives. The OS was MSDOS 5.2.

    There were 20 in total. So 20 x 15 = 300 years, no?

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No big deal

    I once had a Windows 98SE machine run for almost 3 weeks!

    ****

    Oh, 18, .... years, I see.....

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When did you last reboot ?

    OK, not necessarily the oldest server in the world, but I reckon this old Sun box is doing alright...

    root@bxxxxxx3:/# uptime

    12:03pm up 3315 day(s), 4:13, 2 users, load average: 0.83, 0.27, 0.18

    The reason that it's still on, is that nobody really knows what it does and is too scared to turn it off !

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: When did you last reboot ?

      Quote: "The reason that it's still on, is that nobody really knows what it does and is too scared to turn it off !".

      We had a similar situation with an old client we had a few years back. All their 'apps' ran in local server rooms in the various office buildings they had around the UK.

      Around 2009, as part of a 'transition' programme, all these local applications/services were moved to a data centre (where they already had several central applications running), and the various server rooms were then to be decommissioned.

      They identified stakeholders for each service/application, planned the migrations and moved them, mostly one by one. Finally they were down to the last couple of servers, no idea what they did, no records of them anywhere, and no stakeholders identified.

      We reckoned they had been there from sometime around 1996 to 1998. No one had any idea what they did, so they had just been left alone.

      The client made the decision that they were just going to switch them off and see what happened!

      We suggested disconnecting the network instead, as a start, just in case they wouldn't reboot, and that's what we did.

      The client sent a global communication out to every department, telling them when the disconnect would happen, and to keep an eye out for anything that might stop working, and to make sure they tried using all the applications and tools they had to hand.

      The due date arrived, the network was pulled, and we waited....

      Two weeks later, no one had reported any issues, and so the power was pulled, and the hardware was thrown in a skip.

      As far as I know, to this date, no one reported any issues, so the assumption was that what ever these boxes had been doing, that function had long since stopped, and so this switch off could probably have been done many years earlier!

  35. Tom 7 Silver badge

    I've got a 50Mhz 486 from 93 or earlier

    which gets as far as telling me the keyboard is not found and to press a key or complains about the cmos battery or something

    Its an old DIN type keyboard socket and I havent found one of late but if I do I feel it might work.

  36. jake Silver badge

    Well ...

    ... my "previously used", "fell into my lap", 1988 Sun 3/470 "Pegasus" is still happily serving email, gopher, usenet, ftp and that new-fangled WWW-thingy for my friends & family, as she has for over twenty five years :-)

    She's firewalled behind a more modern stateful firewall, of course. She has outlasted seven "headless" laptop Slackware fallover boxen ... I honestly think I'll shed a tear or two when she finally goes titsup, even though I'm not prone to being emotional about hardware.

    I'm almost certain I'm not alone running hardware this old for personal use.

    1. Fibbles

      Re: Well ...

      1000 watts for e-mail and Usenet? Perhaps it's time to move on...

      1. jake Silver badge

        @Fibbles (was: Re: Well ...)

        Quite a bit more than 1000W. Sun 3/470 "Pegasus". She's a 68030 (68882fpu) dual-pedestal model, with 5 777meg CDC SCSI drives and 128megs of RAM. Why keep her going? Curiosity, more than anything else. (It ain't inertia, I've had fall-over boxen ready for roughly 2 decades.)

  37. John Jc

    VAX / VMS Clusters

    I supported these at DEC from before they were launched back in the early '80s, It was common for clusters to have years of uptime, while individual nodes came and went. These were REAL clusters, not the inferior products that followed on!

    Jc

    1. Nigel 11

      Re: VAX / VMS Clusters

      Not years. Decades of uptime. It was the individual nodes that clocked up years. You could migrate the fscking architecture (VAX to Alpha) without requiring a new cluster incarnation. You could relocate the datacenter without requiring a new cluster incarnation (though that trick did require a really high bandwidth fiber link).

      Oh, what might have been, if Digital hadn't been subverted by some idiot PHBs (running Microsoft indoctrination OSes in their crania, or possibly their colons).

  38. Disko

    Now that's what you'd call...

    ..a dedicated server. (…)

    The longest I've seen a "server" run nonstop was a machine that had been handling mailservice for over 6 years non-stop - from the day it was put into service, nobody had even touched it. I'd been called in to streamline all IT systems in this office, with most systems hanging on by a thread, some of them crashing daily and the lot being quite temperamental, but not this one. It was of all things, a PowerMac 6100 running at all of 60 MHz and sporting a whopping 16 MB of RAM, possibly one of the most underwhelming desktops Apple ever made - the codename Piltdown Man was at this point pretty appropriate.

    I marveled at the longevity and stability of this heavily underspec'ed setup, but after setting up a solid backup schedule decided to just cross my fingers and leave it for the moment, since it was functional enough, and to focus on the really unstable stuff first. Sure enough it plowed along just fine, and only when the power in the whole block went out, Piltdown Man spun down for the first and last time, to be replaced by a machine with a bit more than a single memory chip, harddisk, and network port.

  39. JamesPond

    BBC Micro from 1981

    My BBC B Micro from 1981 is still running, along with the extra 32K Watford Electronics RAM expansion board and Cumana 5.25" disk drives. Can't say it has been in continuous use (from '85 to 90 it was switched off whilst a Tiko 486 took its place) but I still do a bit of BASIC and assembler programming on it from time to time. Sadly my Sony cassette player stopped working but I can still play Elite from floppy.

  40. Rob Moss

    Windows NT 4.0 servers

    My previous employer, whom I left around 6 years ago but who sadly went bust last year, had two Windows NT 4.0 servers. One was a fax server and the other was a phone system server. The fax server was the younger of the two, a Dell PowerEdge 2350 (I think that's the right model number) purchased in 1998. It had a Brooktrout ISA card handling fax duties. The same server was still faithfully sending faxes out after numerous OS and software upgrades 17 years after it was first implemented. Not constant uptime, but not bad.

    The older server was a homebrew tower PC built at great expense by a company named Armstrong Communications in early 1994. Originally running then-just-released Windows NT 3.1 Advanced Server on an IntelDX4 80486 processor with 16MB RAM and an HP 2.1GB hard disk (sadly I can't remember the spec any better than that), it was upgraded to Windows NT 4.0 Server in 1996, was hauled up to SP6a in around 2001, and apart from that was only ever switched off when the lights went out. None of the components were ever replaced until the server was superseded by a Mitel 3300 in 2012. However, for some reason I will never understand, when they switched the old server off, some incoming phone numbers stopped receiving calls. When they switched it back on and started the services back up again, the incoming phone numbers started receiving calls again. The server was left performing this mystical, mythical, magical wizardry for the following three years until the company was liquidated in early 2015. Not 21 years' uptime, but 21 years of largely uninterrupted, error-free service.

    I'm still unsure where this box ended up, but unfortunately my best guess is it's been recycled. Shame, really - there can't be too many working IntelDX4 processors left.

  41. tellytart

    Windows NT4 was quite good

    A few years ago we retired an old Windows NT 4 box that was used as a shared for a Quantel video editing system. I took a screenshot (though now mislaid) showing the box had an uptime of over 4 1/2 years!

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well

    Ive got an ipad that I use everyday that I bough in 1983... uhem.. (sorry)

  43. /dev/null

    How about an old laptop?

    Speaking of DEC products, I've been running a DEC HiNote VP710 laptop (circa 1998, fanless(!), upgraded to 112MB RAM, 20GB disk, 233MHz Pentium MMX) as a NetBSD server more or less 24/7 for the last 8 years. Quite surprised it's still going tbh. At some point I expect I'll replace it with a VM, but seems a shame to retire it while it's still chugging away...

  44. Alistair Silver badge
    Windows

    Sometimes you just can't get them off the floor.

    HPV2200

    "The hoverblock" If you've ever had to deal with one of these you know what I mean.

    This particular unit had been "upgraded" to 2500 class. (CPUs, ram, backplane were all replaced). So, not particularly crazy on the uptime numbers, but -- there was an effort to remove it from the floor simply due to the fact that its power draw was very close to the mainframes's. 99% of the apps were moved off to new hardware and environments in the first 6 months. It took, however, almost 4 years to get the last three things moved off or retired. This stood out since the system was spun up on the day my second year started. Turned it off and took it off the floor 14 years later, one month shy of my anniversary date.

    We had a novel netware system, compaq DL380 that when we shut it off for the last time had an uptime in the area of 3900 days. The only reason I can think of that it wasn't longer was a hard power down in the third week of my employment. A hair longer than 10 years it ran. We're still not quite sure what it was running since we dropped netware about 3 years after I started.

  45. d3vy Silver badge

    I had an old home built PC that I recommissioned as a mail server in 2001 - from memory it was an old AMD K6 (266) with 32MB RAM 4.3GB Hard drive running a dodgy copy of windows 2000.

    That lasted 10 years in a dusty hot cupboard at the back of my spare room... When we moved house I unplugged it, plugged it back in at the new house and it was dead.

    Not bad for cheap consumer hardware.

  46. DainB Bronze badge

    Too easy

    DG/UX is running some bits of payroll for govt department of one of (very) remote Australian states which shall remain not named.

  47. Daniel Hedley
    Happy

    Amiga HVAC controller

    Not sure this beats the record of the Amiga 3000 running HVAC for a US school district for the thick end of 3 decades:

    http://www.engadget.com/2015/06/14/amiga-controls-school-district-hvac/

  48. gannett

    Sun Enterprise 220R - Managed 15 Years as external FTP server

    We had a Sun Enterprise 220R - that ran as an External FTP server until recently. 150GB spread over 8 drives. Did have a few new bits along the way. IT ignored it for so long they lost the console connection for 18 months. Service manual still available here : https://docs.oracle.com/cd/E19088-01/220r.srvr/806-1081-10/806-1081-10.pdf

  49. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    I have to show this to my shiny obsessed consultant SAs who sniff if the equipment is more than two years old.

    Well done Ross. Doin' It Right.

  50. Paul Woodhouse

    I replaced a win2k Domain Controller with a Zentyal box about 2 weeks ago, not sure exactly how long it had been running for, but certainly 10 years, closed an office not all that long ago where the firewall was one of those ancient shuttle boxes that had been running IPCop for God knows how long...

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At least they knew it was there......

    In the early noughties, I was involved in a Data Centre project, pulling all the kit in from the various sites. Each box was catalogued, a new HP-UX server assigned, the software and data migrated and the old box decommed. A certain amount of consolidation took place as well.

    When it was the turn of the UK, the project plodded along for several months and eventually ground its way to completion. Once finished, there was a suspicious PA-RISC box still sat in their server room doing whatever it did and missing from the catalogue. Once the migration lads squirrelled out its details and logged in, several things became apparent (and a few rude words were said).

    Firstly, it was the main middleware messaging gateway serving the UK and somewhat critical. Second it was still on HP-UX 9, which wasn't supposed to be Y2K compliant. Third it was sporting an uptime of something seriously over 900 days. A quick call went in to HP to find out if there was any problem with this hitting 1000. They eventually got back to say there wasn't, but would we mind taking a screenshot when it happened.......

  52. hamiltoneuk

    Good To See So Many Comments...

    ...the modern gear has no mystique, if that's the right word.

    Dave

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Good To See So Many Comments...

      I think I still have one of those. Matrox Mystiique SVGA card :-)

  53. Alan Sharkey

    old kit?

    I've still got an original Compaq luggable (circa 1983) and a Compaq plasma portable (1985?) in the loft. Both running DOS and both still work - but I can't do anything with them because I have no 5.25" floppies to get info on and off (and they have no network, of course).

    Alan

    1. Zap

      Re: old kit?

      I have a few of those old floppies some of them bootable.

  54. John Hughes

    substantial rework

    I don't understand this bit:

    the original code was so tightly bound to the operating system itself, that later versions of the OS would have (and ultimately, did) require substantial rework.

    Unix is Unix. A newer BSD or Linux system should have no problem at all running a program written for an antique version of FreeBSD.

    You might have to recompile it but that should be all.

    1. tokyo-octopus

      Re: substantial rework

      You think so? For nostalgia reasons I tried compiling an early PostgreSQL version (7.1 from around 2001 IIRC) on a modern Linux distro - no chance. Well, maybe if I'd spent a few days fixing all the various compiler, library and API incompatibilities. Ended up installing an ancient Debian version in a VM, worked fine. So I can well imagine some code well into its second decade on FreeBSD not compiling out-of-the-box.

      1. Tom 38 Silver badge

        Re: substantial rework

        So I can well imagine some code well into its second decade on FreeBSD not compiling out-of-the-box.

        FreeBSD has jails, unpack the old release ISO and make it a jail, everything runs. If you don't need to compile it, and it is built statically, you don't even need the jail.

        You don't have to imagine it if you know it exists and did it last week.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: substantial rework

      "You might have to recompile it but that should be all."

      Did a mainframe upgrade project where everything had to work without recompilation. For some applications the customer could no longer find the source. In others the bureaucratic assembler coding standards made it incomprehensible, so debugging would have been very difficult.

      The old hardware was from the 1970s - over 10 years old - and the video terminals were also an obsolete vintage. A small team was assembled with specialist knowledge of the various technical areas. The idea was to migrate the old real-time O/S to a powerful new generation machine VM to give the customer time to redevelop their applications.

      We managed to interface everything with various custom code shims - and some requirements were not straightforward.

      On completion - the old system was switched off after three days as the prior compatibility testing had been thorough and the new system worked perfectly.

      Ten years later there was a call from the sales team to say the customer still hadn't migrated the applications. Were the upgrade team's members possibly available to do another migration without recompilation?

  55. Hairy Airey

    PowerEdge 2200 Pentium II (Klamath) 233Mhz (dual processor) - still going and running CentOS 5.11 - two different 9GB SCSI disks - no disk errors in over 16 years. Weird machine all EISA and no IDE controller. The SCSI CD drive died about two years ago I think.

  56. Hoe

    I know a Vista machine running as a server which has been going since the dawn of time itself, or at least that's what it feels like, does that count?

  57. User McUser

    Luxury...

    It's not a server, but when I left my previous job about 1.5 years ago there was a user with who was still using a PDP-8/E. I assume it's still in use.

    We also had a fully functional, but thankfully unused, Osborn 1 on the shelf complete with dual-floppies and a 1200baud modem. My boss at the time once joked that nothing gets thrown out as long as somebody remembers how much we paid for it.

  58. Androgynous Cowherd

    Why didn't they ghost the drive and keep it running?

    (Binary Research Ghost c1997).

    1. Myself-NZ

      Disk Magic

      Disk Magic (Binary Research c1995) became Ghost in 97' if memory serves.

      What a fantastic tool., made setting up new machines so much faster....

      Started off installing Windows and Office from floppies

      Then did a network install of the floppies and ran the install off the network.

      Created our own installer/s using scripted pkzip/unzip and reg entries to do a large chunk as well

      Then to Ghost installing off custom builds burnt onto CD

      Finally Ghost multicast using a dedicated switch so we didn't kill the rest of the (ancient) network, could image tens of machines at a time then (limited by space to plug em all in)

      1. Zap

        Re: Disk Magic

        I used Ghost (on Hiren Boot Disk) up to last year but for GPT I have now had to find alternatives.

        My laptop does not use GPT so used Ghost to clone Win7 to a second primary partition, then hid one, upgaded 2nd to Win10 then unhid and made dual boot Win7 or Win10.

        Can't stand Win10 so in Win7 most of time, it will see me out till I am personally decommissioned.

        Win10 is just an affilate and advertising platform for Microsoft, same way as Chrome is for Google but worse.

  59. Barbarian At the Gates

    All this talk of crufty old computers

    Reminds me of all the old computers I've been blessed with that I wish had died much sooner than they had.

  60. 404 Silver badge

    Meh...

    I'll raise you a Pentium 1 133mhz, 512MB ram, 20GB HD, Dictaphone server running NT 4.0 in a lawyer's office. It's_still_there.

    Made blood shoot out of my eyes both times I had to work on it - first making the recording software work with XP and then later with Win7 Pro. Did you realize Dictaphone doesn't support it anymore? Not for any real reason other no one left in the company that remembers this particular version. Probably all dead and passed on. Thank God I'm no longer responsible for that office, it really made me hate life.

  61. MrT
    Alert

    Can we please retag this article...

    ... to something like "cats", "boring financial forecast", "Quick! Someone check Morgan Freeman's pulse!" or maybe something more fruity that will fail to pass through our interweb filters at work? My network team is asking for new servers and I fear the beancounters may find it as an excuse to keep our current ones another 12 years... ;-)

  62. Dhurgan
    Thumb Up

    Amiga still running the schools heating system...

    I had a few long time servers during my years, even had a customer call in and complain that the uptime on the SunOS system started at zero days again after 1024 days :)

    This Amiga has done a great job so far :)

    http://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/theres-30-year-old-commodore-amiga-still-controlling-heat-ac-19-public-schools/

  63. James O'Shea

    old reliable

    Many years ago (mid 1990s...) I inherited a system based on Apple Workgroup Server 95s, running A/UX, a.k.a. 'UNIX, the Apple Way', only long before they rolled OS X out. We had AppleShare running over TCP/IP. We had UNIX with a graphical interface, based on Apple System 7 for Mac. We had... we had machines which would not die. The only downtime I had with them was the time when a drunk slammed into an electric utility pole outside the company offices, knocking it down and introducing the 13.8 kV primary distribution lines to the main power line going into the office, and the resulting 13,800 volts at 50 amps fried every UPS we had. (When we came in to work that morning the UPSes were literally still smoking. Humongous, and humongously expensive, UPSes hooked into the main circuits so that we had 'computer power' electric wall sockets. The UPSes all died to save the computers; once we got power, everything spun up without a problem.) The AWS 95s still lived when I left the company, and for at least six years after that. They outlived Apple's brief flirtation with AIX, and were still around for the start of the OS X Server era. So far as I know they had at most minutes of downtime in well over a decade. They were finally replaced by Active Directory systems running Windows Server 2008, quickly updated to 2008 R2, none of which were as reliable as the ancient Apple kit. Faster and with larger disks, though.

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Commodore 64

    A company that I did a short-term project with still uses a Commodore 64 in continuous use to this day. It stays on 24 hours a day. I'm not at liberty to discuss what it does, but it was a business-critical application. I asked the owner about the computer and he says they continue to use it because of a homemade interface they built long, long ago that continues to work.

    I guess if it ain't broke.......

    1. muss

      Re: Commodore 64

      LOL someone got a high score on frogger and dont want to loose it

    2. Zap

      Re: Commodore 64

      Michael Palin: Ahh.. Very passable, this, very passable.

      Graham Chapman: Nothing like a good glass of Chateau de Chassilier wine, ay Gessiah?

      Terry Gilliam: You're right there Obediah.

      Eric Idle: Who'd a thought thirty years ago we'd all be sittin' here drinking Chateau de Chassilier wine?

      MP: Aye. In them days, we'd a' been glad to have the price of a cup o' tea.

      GC: A cup ' COLD tea.

      EI: Without milk or sugar.

      TG: OR tea!

      MP: In a filthy, cracked cup.

      EI: We never used to have a cup. We used to have to drink out of a rolled up newspaper.

      GC: The best WE could manage was to suck on a piece of damp cloth.

      TG: But you know, we were happy in those days, though we were poor.

      MP: Aye. BECAUSE we were poor. My old Dad used to say to me, "Money doesn't buy you happiness."

      EI: 'E was right. I was happier then and I had NOTHIN'. We used to live in this tiiiny old house, with greaaaaat big holes in the roof.

      GC: House? You were lucky to have a HOUSE! We used to live in one room, all hundred and twenty-six of us, no furniture. Half the floor was missing; we were all huddled together in one corner for fear of FALLING!

      TG: You were lucky to have a ROOM! *We* used to have to live in a corridor!

      MP: Ohhhh we used to DREAM of livin' in a corridor! Woulda' been a palace to us. We used to live in an old water tank on a rubbish tip. We got woken up every morning by having a load of rotting fish dumped all over us! House!? Hmph.

      EI: Well when I say "house" it was only a hole in the ground covered by a piece of tarpolin, but it was a house to US.

      GC: We were evicted from *our* hole in the ground; we had to go and live in a lake!

      TG: You were lucky to have a LAKE! There were a hundred and sixty of us living in a small shoebox in the middle of the road.

      MP: Cardboard box?

      TG: Aye.

      MP: You were lucky. We lived for three months in a brown paper bag in a septic tank. We used to have to get up at six o'clock in the morning, clean the bag, eat a crust of stale bread, go to work down mill for fourteen hours a day week in-week out. When we got home, out Dad would thrash us to sleep with his belt!

      GC: Luxury. We used to have to get out of the lake at three o'clock in the morning, clean the lake, eat a handful of hot gravel, go to work at the mill every day for tuppence a month, come home, and Dad would beat us around the head and neck with a broken bottle, if we were LUCKY!

      TG: Well we had it tough. We used to have to get up out of the shoebox at twelve o'clock at night, and LICK the road clean with our tongues. We had half a handful of freezing cold gravel, worked twenty-four hours a day at the mill for fourpence every six years, and when we got home, our Dad would slice us in two with a bread knife.

      EI: Right. I had to get up in the morning at ten o'clock at night, half an hour before I went to bed, (pause for laughter), eat a lump of cold poison, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, and pay mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our Dad would kill us, and dance about on our graves singing "Hallelujah."

      MP: But you try and tell the young people today that... and they won't believe ya'.

      ALL: Nope, nope..

      PS. My CPM box has been running 28 hours a day since 1972 and we are keeping it running till 3072

  65. Fungus Bob Silver badge

    Where I work we have several Teradyne Catalyst test systems bought between 1994 and 1996 still running the original Sun Workstations.

  66. Richard Altmann

    Crayday

    On my journeys i once passed by a company to replace their workstations, about 6000 and another 3000 laptops. Doing double shifts for the bonus. It was the greatest team, i ever had the honour to work with. Half of the team consisted of my fellow graduates, the other half where our lecturers who hired us to join the project after graduation. The chemistry between us was just perfect. The best year in my sysadmin career i ever had. Receiving the final touch from this professors and doctors in this team of ten guys. The company we´ve been refurbishing is spread across the country with seven sites. One site was running the salaries for the whole group. So one friday pub´o´clock we went to invite the local IT crew for a brew. We found them in the basement. Equipted with a crate of beer, they where sitting on the benches of their Cray- X series machine from ´86, calling it the Crayday. It was their ritual weekend call ever since. The Beast was humbly processsing the salaries. That was 2003.

  67. GrumpyKiwi

    The WANG that would not die

    In 2014 we finally decommissioned the WANG "server" we'd been running since 1992. Had to be decommissioned despite all the grumblings from the Grognards as the guy who looked after it was retiring and moving to the Gold Coast and there was no-one left anywhere else who knew how to look after one.

    Can't say that I shed any tears.

    1. Trixr Bronze badge

      Re: The WANG that would not die

      Ugh, I had to run some kind of maintenance procedure on one of those things every month when I worked for an insurance company, even though I was the "Windows admin". The Wang guy was paid three times more than I was, but it apparently wasn't in his job description to get out of bed to do the job.

      Here's me very nervously typing hieroglyphics for at least 15 minutes into the console at 9pm on a Thursday night in the lonely datacentre, hoping like hell I don't typo some weird crap and make the thing completely die. This was in the late 90s, and so I really feel your pain if one of those buggers was still running a year ago!

  68. Andy Taylor

    What about the TAC?

    At the National Museum of Computing we have one of the pair of TACs (Transistorised Automatic Computer) from Wylfa nuclear power station in Anglesey. These machines were in service between 1963 and 2004. Following a relatively light restoration, which included swapping some circuit boards for unused original spares, our TAC is now working.

    We are now looking for a nuclear power station to control with it.

  69. jobst

    16 years uptime.

    http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/03/epic-uptime-achievement-can-you-beat-16-years/

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Will a printer do?

    It's not a server, but it has been in the family for three generations.

    Must have been one of the first laser printers, a Canon job, and the amazing thing is that you can still get toner cartridges for it.

  71. Anthony Hegedus Silver badge

    I once saw a Tiny brand PC that had been running for nearly six months without having a capacitor burst on the motherboard. Rare and unbelievable, I know.

  72. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Happy

    Classic coin-ops

    I have a few classic coin-op video games. The oldest is "Joust" from 1982. I acquired it second (or third, fourth or fifth) hand when a friend of mine that had a vending route was getting rid of it in 1994. It needed a monitor and the ROM chips reseated. I have over the years replaced part of the power supply, 2 of the ancient 4116 RAMs, and one of the ROMs that died--burned a new one from the ROM image of the game used in an emulator. Oh, and maybe 2 of the lamps that illuminate the coin slots. Aside from these fairly minor repairs, the machine still works great. All the mechanical bits have never needed any attention.

    Since these were made to take abuse and run for years in arcades, I have no idea what the total run time is. I had it in a couple of different restaurants for the first 5 years I owned it, and it ran 24/7 and made me some thousands of $$. The younger kids had never heard of it, and it was a popular game to play, and still fun today. Not bad longevity for a 34+ year-old reasonably complex bit of electronics.

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They just scrapped a Vax last year

    Took it to bits. In 2015.

    I'm not sure when it was last used.

  74. HWwiz

    Ha, beat this.

    I know of a Honeywell DPS6 server that was installed in 1985 if I remember correctly.

    Which is still in "Production" use today.

    We even purchased 2 junk units from the mericans to use as spare parts.

    Unfortunately the DB running on it is so bespoke, no one can convert it to a modern back end system.

    So, that's 31 years.

    1. Everard

      Re: Ha, beat this.

      Looking for Honeywell DPS 6 parts for my production machine. Can you help please HWwiz. Your post in 2016 mentioned Honeywell DPS 6. A long shot I know but if you have any contacts I would be grateful.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ha, beat this.

      Interested if the DPS6 or any of its parts are still available.

  75. HWwiz

    And another.

    Also know of a Digital VAX PDP11 running in a DC for a large bank in the UK.

    Still in production.

    Think they were from the mid-70's ?.

  76. muss

    Bloody impressive would like to buy the old server and put it in a glass case.

    mind you I work in resources and you would be stunned by some of the gear that keeps running even when its full of dirt dust and "oh god what is that?" lol

  77. oceanhippie

    DOS

    I was called out to East Arm Port, Darwin about 18months back. There were the broken remains of a Industrial PC running DOS 6.2. Not original - much bodged.

    I managed to find an old ide 2.5inch drive which dos would see, remembered how to set sectors heads etc, reinstalled DOS.

    Their "15 ton spanner" is a happily torqueing up oil rig drill rods again.

    They sent me as the oldest in the office.

  78. Manaz

    "18 years and ten months"

    The mix of digits and words in the same sentence to describe the age of the server makes my OCD go off...

  79. Manaz

    I know of an embedded CPM system that is still used for production purposes in an office in Auckland. Boots off a 720KB 3.5" FDD (it amazes me that the media is still valid, especially given the environment in which it operates).

    My parents only recently dumped a '286-based system - we powered it up before disposing of it, and the 8MHz CPU, 640KB RAM and 20MB hard drive were still functioning, along with MS-DOS 3.2 and the batch-file boot menu I wrote to load things like Q&A, Lotus 123 and Mean 18 (an EGA-graphics golf simulator that paid homage to Caddyshack!). It was one of these: https://books.google.com.au/books?id=LeosrkjnlM8C&pg=PA97&lpg=PA97&dq=NEC+APC+IV+Powermate+2&source=bl&ots=baiMrxvRyP&sig=uVuGUa1bj_1voQzbQnmLJzIX0zM&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi-95KviavKAhUE4SYKHSdiDUEQ6AEIHjAB#v=onepage&q=NEC%20APC%20IV%20Powermate%202&f=false

  80. crediblywitless

    My secondary MX is a 1993 Sun Sparc IPX with a 4GB (Seagate) SCSI disk attached. The only breaks in service are for building power maintenance.

  81. This post has been deleted by its author

  82. Christopher Blackmore

    Not a server, but...

    There's a monumental mason near us that does all his designs on a Windows 3.1 box.

  83. glenn_uk

    Knocking on 10 years...

    Got a while to go, but my system's got nearly 10 years uptime:

    SunOS 5.8 Generic_117350-27

    10:47am up 3580 day(s), 16:47, 1 user, load average: 0.04, 0.04, 0.03

    Not showing any faults, all original parts.

  84. Zap

    Not Surprising

    There are loads of systems like that in medical sector, running software that can't be replaced, I have seen them in USA and UK.

    Key thing was to keep it in its era, not upgrade the OS so it could do it's thing.

    I have migrated a few such systems to VM's of their former environment

  85. glenn_uk

    Got one that's knocking on 10 years uptime:

    SunOS 5.8 Generic_117350-27

    10:47am up 3580 day(s), 16:47, 1 user, load average: 0.04, 0.04, 0.03

    No replacement parts - not bad for an old Sun Ultra-60.

    1. Vic

      Got one that's knocking on 10 years uptime

      I got an email from a machine the other morning to say it had been rebooted.

      I've not touched this particular box in a good 8 years[1]. I suspect it has been merrily humming away since last I played with it...

      Vic.

      [1] I no longer administer it. Yes, I should have been removed from the notification list. Yes, I did tell them that when I jacked it in. No, they didn't take any notice of me. No, I wasn't surprised...

  86. calmeilles

    Some hardware just lasts.

    And there's little predicting which will and which won't.

    I had a Sparc 20 that was in use (albeit not always for the same purpose) from 1995 until 2009. When finally closed down for decommissioning it showed 1953 days uptime.

  87. Sherrie Ludwig

    Old hardware

    Typing this on a fourteen year old Acer laptop. The door to the CD compartment fell off long ago, the space bar is a bit sticky, running some ancient Windows. My less than two year old iPad Mini bricked solid last month. Not giving this old workhorse up until they pry it from my hands. May give it full burial honors when it does seize up and keel over.

  88. Stuart Halliday

    Somewhere there'll be a BBC B still running.....

    1. AJ MacLeod

      I have a customer who still uses his BBC B for word processing (he's an ex-teacher, naturally enough.) His wife does have a modern PC which he uses for Internet duties, but he can't see any reason to give up his BBC and nor can I!

  89. jimmyj

    educational & entertaining !

    much delight over the last couple days... thanks to you gurus & historians. I'm an inventor, with drawers of tools in several disciplines.. son of a prof & a schoolmarm (I'm now 72!) that began with a Meccano set & the early issues of Popular Electronics magazine. I've accumulated a 'museum' due to "it's old (or) broken - so Jimmy probably wants it" (yes) with now truly valuable instruments such as a working galvanometer (compete with a tiny mirror on the support shaft meant to reflect a point of light onto the wall for expanded measurement !!) & naturally many vintage computers, including an Osborn, an HP 386 (a jewel !) and (laughter off) my Sinclair ZX81 on which I learned assembler - complete with B&W TV (monitor) & audio cassette recorder for programs & storage! works fine. as my invention requires 'real-time' computing.. nemind they pesky slow hi-level languages! thanks all !! Jim

  90. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anon for what should be obvious reason ...

    FIVE pages of comments, and not one "I don't recall anyone called that working here" or "can we have it to replace our old kit" comments. Come on guys, some slacking going on here !

    A while ago I got a "new to me" hand me down. Out of curiosity I looked it up in the procurement system and found it was (IIRC) 12 years old when I put it into service - or as my manager put it, 9 years past it's refresh date.

    Only in the last few months has the boss started to witter on about the lecky bill and start asking about what new kit we'd need to get rid of the old lecky slurpers.

    1. x 7

      "I don't recall anyone called that working here"

      its not unusual to go onto an NHS GP site, do a survey, check the clinical server and find an old Win2000 server chugging on alongside the "real" Win2003 clinical server..........usually the roles had been switched to the 2003 box, but no-one ever went back to decommission the 2000 box, with the result its sat there burning fuel for no reason for the last ten years or so

      Most of these are now being found during survey work due to the need to upgrade away from 2003

      1. HWwiz

        I did some work in a GP based in Slough UK about 3yrs ago. In the corner of the confidential records room was a BBC B. Still in active use.

        Apparently it did have to have a modernised PSU fitted a few years earlier, but otherwise it was ticking over 100%.

  91. Quark

    uptime

    Had a Dell Poweredge running FreeBSD with an uptime of over 2500 days. Only reason it went down was cos someone switched it off by mistake. After that it ran for over another 1000 days without being rebooted before finally being retired.

  92. HWwiz

    Thats nothing. Weve got one that 27yrs old.

    The largest bank in America, within its largest DC has a

    Digital Equipment Company VAX 11/780. I believe we put it in around 1990. So that makes it 27yrs old.

    We also have 1 full spare unit in the lab, just for bits. But actually we have not needed to touch it in the last 8yrs.

    1. gannett

      Re: Thats nothing. Weve got one that 27yrs old.

      Is that one of the VAXs converted to beer fridge ?

      http://toyvax.glendale.ca.us/~vance/vaxbar.html

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