24 April 2015

23rd of April

Farm news
For the last few days Sydney has been hammered by a storm with strong winds and rain.

Meanwhile crunching continues. Its quite appropriate that I am running climate models. All the Intel GPU machines are running CPDN models, mostly the ANZ (Australian and New Zealand) ones that take around 120 hours with a few short models that only take 50 hours.

I managed to also get a burst of GPUgrid work done. They keep running out of their short work units which take around 3 hours so I opted in to the long work units that take 9-12 hours. I ran a few before I had to button up the house due to the storm.

More upgrades
The continual upgrades keep happening. This time I am looking at the file server. It will get a new motherboard, CPU and I will steal the memory out of one of the 6 core/12 thread machines, in return it will get faster memory. The rest of the parts will get reused.

The end result will be a file server that can expand as the new motherboard has 10 SATA III ports (old has 6 SATA II and the're all in use). It has a few PCIe slots (old only has one), it supports disks larger than 2Tb and the CPU power drops from 120w to 85w.

I will update the hard disks at some later date to bigger capacity ones but less of them. It only takes 3 drives to make a RAID 5 array. There is no urgency to replace the existing drives which are 4 x 2Tb.

17 April 2015

17th of April

Farm news
The weather has been cooler for most of this week so I have had the Intel GPU machines running climate models (still going they're up to 113 hours so far) and some Asteroids work. Asteroids have finally fixed their missing files issue so work is now flowing again.

CPDN announced that they will only target 1 particular platform (Windows, Linux or Mac) for each type of climate model in future to save on development and improve their reliability. I would think that it may be easier to issue the work units as VirtualBox VM images so they don't need to get involved in which operating system to target.

Intel driver update
Intel released driver for the HD4000 so I was trying it with Einstein. It actually seems to work. The last few releases from Intel haven't worked. I didn't do many work units but managed to get the BRP4 work units done and then some Parkes PMPS XT (aka BRP6) work units. The bad news is its quite a bit slower than the (recommended) driver. I didn't try it with Seti and have since gone back to the 3621 driver as its faster.

BOINC testing
We got an early look at the preference changes in 7.5.0. They seemed to work fine but I have suggested some cosmetic changes. Others have also asked for additional settings such as a "in use" and a "not in use" set of preferences. No word yet on them coming or not.

Windows updates
Got a few fixes again for patch Tuesday as its known. There was the usual run around and update the farm. Also a few for the Raspberry Pi's (Debian Jessie).

While that has been going on I have been trying to get the windows time software (w32time) to behave and keep the PC's clocks more accurate. Microsoft chose to do their own version of the ntp client that works somewhat differently from the standard ntp software. Anyway after fiddling with a few things and using google a lot I have them working as they should be.

03 April 2015

3rd of April

Farm news
The weather is cooler now so I am managing to get a bit of work done. Last week I managed to get a 3 of the Intel-GPU machines running CPDN work all weekend. They have some HadCM3S (short) work units that only take around 16 hours to process. The bad news is they produce 2 upload files each that are 64Mb, so then they kill the internet connection as they all try and upload at the same time. I restricted the number of uploads for them to try and improve things. This week I am running more of them, but only on two machines.

The 6 core 12 thread machines are running Seti work at the moment. I'm trying to get the Seti credits up to the Einstein credits (they are about 200,000 less). The only Einstein work I am running at the moment is on the Raspberry Pi2's and Parallella's.

Proxy server
I've been running Squid 2.7 for some years now without any updates, so the last month has seen me updating it to something more current and try and get it to behave. One advantage to this is I can finally use HTTP 1.1 (just as they release 2.0). Squid 2.7 only supported HTTP 1.0. There is some more fiddling and optimising I need to do that takes time. This was further complicated by getting a new router which has various firmware bugs and loses some settings when rebooted.

There was a security bug discovered with NTP (the Network Time Protocol) and the Linux guys were pretty quick with a fix. The problem was they now ignore user settings. That lead to some late nights and trying to work out why it seemed to ignore my config settings and do something totally different to what it used to do. The init script that starts it up uses its own dchp derived config file so I had to fix the ntp init script to point to my config file.

The fix version seems a bit behind the "official" release from the ntp.org website which is up to 4.2.8p1. I expect the Linux guys will update to that eventually.

Future purchases
I'm looking at the network infrastructure at the moment and what needs to be done to make it more secure and reliable. I suspect a new (dedicated) proxy server and possibly new file server may be on the shopping list. More on this when I have a better idea how to organise the network.