Meeting Notes for 19 September 2007

Present: Eric, Mihael, TomL, Bob
Absent: Liz, TomJ, Mike W, Tibi


Bob reports that the order for new server hardware has gone to procurement. He hand-carried it himself. The procurement office needs a justification for buying from a single source rather than putting it out for bids. The issue is not the vendor (CDW) but the manufacturer, which is IBM. Mike W. has provided him with an appropriate argument, which includes that the existing hardware is IBM, the support team already has experience with IBM, and the generally good reliability of the existing IBM hardware.

Bob has no idea when this would all go through. It's the end of the fiscal year so procurement is very busy right now.

Storage Space

One of the reasons new hardware is needed is for additional storage space, both for cosmics and eventually for LIGO and other e-Labs as they come on line. We discussed use of data1:/disks0, which was used for mirroring of data0 up until around May. Mihael says he may use some of this space for other uses. It was suggested that Mike W. sign off on any re-use.

Workshop Cancelation

Bob had a workshop at Purdue scheduled this weekend, but it was canceled because of server down-time scheduled at very short notice by MCS Systems for all of Saturday. We vented about the short notice, and how difficult it is to get teachers together all in one place. Bob will provide a list of future workshops which can be forwarded to MCS to try to get them to avoid those times in future. We'd like to find a way to communicate to MCS at the highest level possible how much damage this has done.

Bob reports that there have been server issues at every workshop he's ever given. This lead to a discussion of reliability, testing, and rollout of stable code. That in turn lead to discussion of having a small off-site backup server.

Backup server

We talked about the possibility of having another machine somewhere other than MCS with the cosmics code installed (a known-stable version) and a usable subset of the data. Then in a pinch the workshop could be run from this box rather than from Argonne. (It would be the server, not a demo of the client.)

This could be on a laptop, which could then be plugged in anywhere convenient, or possibly a desktop machine at FNAL, or some other non-Argonne site. It might even be a commercial hosting site, which is only around $10/month, though there was concern about limited access (most don't give you ssh access, only ftp upload). The idea is to have the server software and a reasonable subset of data available from somewhere so that a workshop could be run even if the primary server is failing, either due to hardware issues, power, or software problems.

This could also be used for limited production in the even the cluster fails, though of course it would not be able to handle the full load. Still, it would put something on the web rather than an empty hole, and it could be enough for introductory training.

We came to no conclusions, other than that it's an idea to think about further.

Fellows Wiki

Eric reports that he has the wiki ready for the QuarkNet Fellows, or at least ready for Bob to try out. They will meet later today by phone to go over it.

As it was International Talk Like a Pirate Day someone said "Arr, any port in a storm!", and the meeting ended after half an hour.

-- Main.EricMyers - 19 Sep 2007
Topic revision: r3 - 2007-09-19, EricMyers
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