First snow

by Mads
November 11, 2007 at 23:51 | categories: soulfood

Snow arrived early this year.

New Sun T2 based servers

by Mads
October 21, 2007 at 23:40 | categories: hardware, sun

Recently, Sun announced their latest CoolThreads servers based on the UltraSparc T2 processor.
If you were familiar with the UltraSparc T1, then the new T2 is fairly similar, but without most of the limitations from the T1. Some of the most interesting news are:

  • 64 threads (up from 32, still 8 cores)
  • 8 fully pipelined floating point units (up from 1)
  • 8 x crypto accelerator
  • Dual 10Gbit Ethernet and PCI-E integrated onto chip (and the crypto accelerator to feed it full speed)

The 3 machines are:
T5120 - compares to the T1000 and fixes two of my largest complaints about the T1000 by having a redundant power supply and making room for 4 2.5" sas drives. All in a 1U package.
T5220 - compares to the T2000. Not much else to say other than there now being room for 8 2.5" sas drives. I rarely think I'd pick a T5220 over a T5120 unless I needed the extra internal drives (very unlikely) or wanted the 1.4GHz model.
T6320 blade - a blade version of the 5120 which is quite interesting because Suns blade enclosures let you mix and match between UltraSparc T1, UltraSparc T2, AMD Opteron and Intel Xeon based blades. Unfortunately, the 6320 blades appear to be unavailable for the time being.

At the ASF we have two T200s - see Out with the old and in with the new. Eos and Aurora are quietly working along through a decent workload and we're quite happy with them (allright, so Eos is very busy and Arora is mostly there as a backup, but redundancy is a good thing). The load usually only goes high when bots run wild or similar forms of abuse hits, but most times we manage pretty well.
There is however another area where an UltraSparc T2 based server could do a whole lot of good and that is on our Subversion repository. Keeping it afloat is currently a bit of a task as there seems to be popping up more and more stupid Continuous Integration tools that keep hitting us like there's no tomorrow. There seems to be no end to the silliness such as trying to trawl the whole harmony tree every 30 seconds looking for updates (one bad example had 2 ips belonging to a large micro......... company hitting us with between 400.000 and 1 million requests/day). It doesn't often affect other users of subversion, but it would be very nice to be able to keep up with the load a little better and not have to firewall early on when we get hit. A T2 based server would give us a whole lot more headroom than the current dual processor box and thinking about moving everything to SSL is no longer utopia.
I'm sure it could keep up with the load (as long as we can find a suitable storage array to duct tape it to) as the performance figures from bmseer are looking pretty darn amazing.

Looking at the US T2 based servers from a work perspective, I'm also expecting to see a few of them in the near future (if I get a say). There are plenty of candidate systems on older and much less efficient platforms.


by Mads
October 21, 2007 at 21:54 | categories: soulfood

All work and no play...

I haven't blogged about my work situation since Bye, bye Venice when I left Joost.
A few things have happened since then. First I spent 6 months consulting back at ... where I used to work before the jump to joost, although this time in a different department and supposedly doing system integration on Weblogic (although I spent a lot more time prepping a zones on T2000 consolidation project).
For the last two months, I've been back in a regular System Management job at wrangling Solaris 24/7. This is bordering on breaking my old wish never to return to a Telco job, but since we're mostly taking money from telcos, I've decided that it isn't too big a problem. I'm also having a very good time mucking about with systems that have been around forever and getting to know Sun Cluster a lot more.
Right now, there's more than enough to keep me busy, but I'm hoping that things will slow down a bit by the end of the year such that I can again find the time to do more at the ASF than work on keeping the Solaris machines up and running.

Sun SPOT and Project Looking Glass

by Mads
October 21, 2007 at 21:22 | categories: hardware, sun, solaris

Usually graphical noise such as Project Looking Glass really doesn't interest me one bit. And the first time I looked at it, I did find it rather pointless as it tends to make things rather confusing for something as simple as showing a couple of terms and a browser.

Sun SPOT or Sun Programmable Object Technology. A really cool programmable toy that I've often been wanting to buy (but can't because they don't ship outside .us). The downside of course being that programming them you have to use java, but I suppose it would be worth the pain to get access to the range of sensors such as accelerometers that Sun SPOTs have.

So, how does the two relate? (via).
The videos below show a demo of just how to put the two together:

If I wanted a Sun SPOT before, I really want one now!

Solaris 10 7/07 ^W 8/07 is out

by Mads
September 04, 2007 at 23:31 | categories: solaris

Today Sun released the long awaited Update 4 or 8/07 release of Solaris 10. It must have been at least a couple of months since the beta ended, so it has been a very long wait.
You can grab your own copy here.

There's quite a few new features in that I'm very happy to finally get:
  • Live Upgrade is now possible with non-global zones
  • rcapd can now be used from the global zone to cap memory for non-global zones
  • IP Instances allows LAN and VLAN Separation for non-global zones
  • Dtrace support for non-global zones
  • many X86 related improvements including fault and power management and improvements to some of the SATA drivers
See What's New in the Solaris 10 8/07 Release for full details.

Of course this landed right after me setting up a couple of new boxes on 11/06 and only a couple of weeks after ending my part in a large migration project that really could have used the memory capping bits.
As it is, I expect all the solaris based boxes at ASF will be moving to 8/07 as time permits.

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