I recently came across an old, forgotten pile of discarded laptops. Over the years, as I have replaced slower models, I never sold off or gave away my old stuff. I was wondering what I could do with such old hardware (some of which sported as low as 256MB RAM) and it hit me: servers.
Think about it. All the required hardware is built in. It has a sort of UPS already integrated (the battery), takes little power, outputs little heat, and takes up nearly no space. Plus it already has a keyboard, mouse, and display with it at all times which can neatly fold away when not needed. Stick Linux and a low-impact service– like a web server on there– and you have yourself the best paper weight ever.
I want to take this idea farther. What if I were to deploy a small farm of low-end netbooks? What if I were to have one or two load balancers? All of a sudden my low-end hardware functions as if it has a pair.
Just food for thought…