Wed Jan 30 12:37:10 PST 2008

NFS Issues Causing Problems with Web Server, Other Clients

Since moving to the new server, we've seen some issues with NFS mounts to various clients, notably to the web server. These problems result in long delays before data is delivered, and sometimes can only be cured by rebooting the client.

During the initial switchover, we encountered some problems with the kernel on the server, and opted to stay at the previous version. As some time has passed, newer kernel versions have been released, addressing a number of NFS issues, some of which may have some impact on the problems that we're seeing.

I plan to reboot the main file server late this evening (Wednesday, 2008 January 30). As most other services (print, authentication, web) are provided by other systems, the reboot should only dramatically impact those who are in the process of logging in while the server is down or those trying to access web resources from individual accounts.

Apologies in advance for the inconvenience, but I hope that this brief outage will result in significantly improved and more reliable service.


Posted by Claire Connelly | Permalink

Tue Jan 15 15:20:28 PST 2008

Apple's MacWorld 2008 Announcements

Some thoughts on the new Apple announcements.

Time Capsule

An Apple Airport Extreme (wireless) Basestation with a built-in hard drive for doing backups using Time Machine.

These look cool. Although I think that reactivating the support for connecting to a disk connected via USB to a regular Apple base station would be cooler, especially for people who already have such a device, I would definitely encourage folks with Macs running Leopard to consider getting one of these for home.

Personally, I would prefer the ability to plug in a device. That would allow you to upgrade the drive independently from the wireless basestation; not take your wireless connectivity out if you had to have the drive serviced; allow you to connect something more redundant and reliable (like a multidisk RAID appliance) instead of a single disk.

MacBook Air

A lightweight (3 lbs.!) laptop computer with no optical drive and with a new multitouch touchpad.

Still not the much-hoped-for tablet Mac, but possibly a nice option for a supplemental machine for people who do most of their work on a desktop machine. It's not powerful enough to replace a desktop machine -- the MacBook Air is limited to 2 GB of RAM and a 1.8 GHz processor. You're also limited to an 80 GB hard drive or a 64 GB flash memory drive.

The multitouch features are very attractive. I already find myself occasionally frustrated when I try things that work on my iPhone on my laptop; some of those gestures are available with the new touchpad. Presumably some or all of these will show up in other future machines.

Overall, I'm not really wowed. The 15" MacBook Pro was still my best choice, but the MacBook Air might work for some of our faculty.

iPhone Updates

New iPhone updates allow users to move icons around on their home screen, add icons for web pages, and adds a bunch of new functionality to the Google maps tools.

All cool. I'm looking forward to banishing some of the icons I never use, and also having direct links to web pages I use all the time. The maps features also look great -- we could have used them when we were wandering around the Bay Area!


Posted by Claire Connelly | Permalink

Wed Jan 9 18:03:03 PST 2008

Server Back Up

The migration is complete. Workstations are now mounting home directories from the new server.

Mail, shell, web, and other services should be back to normal.

As usual, if you have problems, please report them.


Posted by Claire Connelly | Permalink

Wed Jan 9 12:48:09 PST 2008

Work Is Underway...

The home-directory migration work is underway. All systems have been locked, directories unmounted, and syncing is in progress.

Stay tuned for more updates....


Posted by Claire Connelly | Permalink

Tue Jan 8 12:19:40 PST 2008

Server Work Planned for Wednesday, 2008-01-09

Various services related to home directories will be off line on Wednesday, 2008 January 9, for several hours beginning in midmorning while we move home directories to a new server.

Services affected include:

  • Interactive logins at machines or via ssh
  • E-mail, including
    • Sending e-mail (SMTP)
    • Receiving e-mail (IMAP or POP)
  • File transfer
  • Web access to home directories (i.e., www.math.hmc.edu/~you/ URLs)

There are two major parts to this work: (1) syncing your data from the old server to the new server, and, (2) reconfiguring machines machines to mount partitions from the new server rather than the old server. The data sync should take the majority of the time, as I've already done most of the groundwork for reconfiguring machines, but because of the volume of data, you can expect that the work will take several hours.

As usual, check back with the sysblog (you're reading it!) to get progress updates.


Posted by Claire Connelly | Permalink

Tue Jan 1 16:58:11 PST 2008

Amber and Hex Up

The Amber cluster and hex should now be up and running. At this time, all workstations in offices and labs should up and available for use.

If not, please let me know, although I may not be able to fix some issues until next Monday.


Posted by Claire Connelly | Permalink