Daylight saving time

by Mads
March 26, 2006 at 11:57 | categories: soulfood, misc

Today it hit once again, and still makes no sense to me. Looking out the window, it is gray, dark and sure doesn't look much like spring. I'll spare you the rant about why I hate Daylight saving time and just leave you with the lyrics of the music I have playing in the background now.

Robert Johnson: Come on in my kitchen

Mmm... you better come on in my kitchen babe, it is goin to be rainin outdoors The woman I love, took from my best friend Some joker got lucky, stole her back again You better come on in my kitchen babe, it is goin' to be rainin' outdoors Oh, she's gone, I know she won't come back I've taken the last nickel out of her nation sack You better come on in my kitchen, babe, it is goin' to be rainin' outdoors Oh, can't you hear that wind howl? Can't you hear that wind howl? You better come on in my kitchen, babe, it is goin' to be rainin' outdoors When a woman gets in trouble, everybody throws her down Lookin' for her good friend, none can't be found You better come on in my kitchen, babe, it is goin' to be rainin' outdoors Winter time's comin', it's goin' to be slow You can make the winter, babe, that's dry long so You better come on in my kitchen, 'cause it is goin' to be rainin' outdoors

This entry (not the song) was written sitting in my kitchen, while looking out at the less than inviting weather and wondering if I should pack up and move me and my kitchen to another country.


T2000 Benchmarking

by Mads
March 24, 2006 at 11:16 | categories: hardware, httpd, solaris, sun

T2000
I said that I was going to take httpd for a spin and see how much it could do on a T2000, but Colm MacCarthaigh beat me to it with some impressive numbers.
Later discussion on irc show that the numbers could probably be even better! than what Colm found in his testing - having turning keepalives on makes a whole lot of difference.
So the testing opportunities aren't quite over for me yet. I want to hit the machine on a consistent high load and then start tweaking little bits and pieces to see what happens to resource usage. There's also the beta of Solaris 10 Update 2 which I've been wanting to test anyway.
Many of the ideas I have for tweaking solaris itself came from a tutorial by James Mauro and Richard McDougall at last years LISA where they spoke about "Solaris 10 Performance, Observability, and Debugging". I haven't seen the slides from that talk anywhere but on the conference cd, but solarisinternals.com has a similar set of slides with a few extras. If you ever get a chance to attend a similar tutorial, I highly recommend doing so as I thought it was well worth the whole trip to LISA.

I've written earlier about ideas for using a t2000 at the ASF. Lately we've seen some very heavy hitting of mail-archives.apache.org which has very many gigs of mails spread over quite a few files. A T2000 alone wouldn't do it, but a T2000 on top of a large number of disks (not so much for spaces as for spindles) might very well do the trick. That's another thing that I'm hoping to get a clearer picture of with the T2000 that arrived at work yesterday (worst timing ever as I've got a couple of weeks off) because we plan to hook it up to a spare Hitachi if we can find a couple of extra HBAs.

Unfortunately I'm also hit by the "So many shiny toys, so little time" problem.

Update: Anandtech gets some different numbers from their type of testing. Their numbers doesn't seem quite as favorable as Colms, but they're running a different type of workload.


AMD X2 based box headed my way

by Mads
March 22, 2006 at 22:32 | categories: hardware, solaris

I've been looking for a machine to run opensolaris on at home instead of having to fight for test machines at $work.
I wish it could have been a sparc based machine, but while Sun make some really sweet machines, they are neither cheap nor quiet. The release of the OpenSPARC T1 might solve the problem in the long run, but it is bound to take a while.
The solution for now is buying an AMD X2 based box and learning to live with the small deficiencies of Solaris on X86/64. It hasn't been easy though, because even with the Solaris HCL, there's very litte information to be found out there about what works and what doesn't.

My choice based on what I've found on blogs and really wanting a quiet machine is:

  • Asus A8N-SLI/Premium, nForce4, S939
  • AMD Athlon64 X2 3800+, S939, E6
  • Asus EN6600LE/SI/TD/256MB, PCI-E
  • Antec Performance P180
  • ThermalRight XP 90
  • Kingston DDR400, 2x1024 MB

It will be good to get a decent machine again to do some more playing around with opensolaris. Now I just hope that SHG will devliver it within a few days.


Gold Prag / Den Tatoverede Enke

by Mads
March 20, 2006 at 22:52 | categories: food

I went out last Tuesday with a couple of friends from work to Gold Prag for dinner. It wasn't exactly the best goulash I've had and the "fresh from the freezer" potato rosti it was served with seemed a bit misplaced. No complaints about value for money though - at about EUR15 including a pint of urquell, it was quite reasonable.
After that, we went to Den Tatoverede Enke for some really good beer. I think I've more or less got a new favorite beer after drinking Liefmans Goudenband there. People tell me that Den Tatoverede Enke also serve some very good and rather expensive food. The food is made and served with good Belgian beer and looking at the menu right now has me thinking very hard trying to figure out a good excuse for going back.
Right now I'm drinking "Experimental brew no. 23 a" from Thisted Bryghus. It is a top fermented porter with a good strong taste of licorice and nice enough that I hope they will keep brewing them in the future.

All this talking of food and beer reminds me of a plan I've had a while to make "Carbonade Flamande". I know that I've got at least four different recipes for it and somewhere between my 200 cookbooks there has got to be a few more recipes. The trick is in choosing the right recipe and finding the courage to pour a good beer into the pot. Watch this space for more once I get around to cooking again.


More SunFire T2000

by Mads
March 20, 2006 at 21:53 | categories: hardware, httpd, solaris

T2000
Another ASF committer Dan Diephouse has been running tests on a T2000 with 4x 1 Ghz cores. He has some interesting webservices related benchmarks showing good performance and concludes that "it gets more than 5 times the througput of my Intel 2GHz Dell".
It would be interesting to see what he could get out of it with enough clients and a decent network. Another thing I'd like to see is some graphs for resource usage while running these tests.

Sun sent mail last week to confirm that they'd shipped a T2000 to us. This 60 day trial isn't part of any official project, so it will just be a colleague and me running it through whatever tests we can dream up.
We haven't talked too much about what to test on it other than hooking it up to a couple of T Hitachi storage that a kind customer let us to borrow (thanks!). It will be fun to see what filebench can pull out of a dedicated Hitachi. Maybe not worth much in the greater picture, since this is an older model of Hitachi, but hopefully it will allow me to find some good measuring points with dtrace to deploy in production and use as an early warning system and a debugging aid when running into san performance problems. Another thing will be rolling a couple of customer systems onto the box to see how they behave on it and try to see if it can keep up with a v490.
Last but not least, I hope to take it for a test run of httpd with the event and worker mpms. Solaris is well known to benefit greatly from the worker mpm because of its great threading implementation, so it will be very interesting to see just how far I can take it.
Another couple of interesting things to test will be the in-kernel ssl proxy and the crypto accelerator that the t2000 has built in. Not that I expect to be able to scrape together enough gear to give it any real challenge, but there's the whole Apache httpd integration to take a closer look at. I wonder if either of the two are any good with client certificates and making the cert contents known to the backend.
With a little luck I'll be able to run most of the tests on the beta of Solaris 10 update 2.
Unfortunately I probably can't publish any figures with this being $work related :(


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