Turning off the lights when you leave the room
By Linda Fellingham on Oct 12, 2007
Or how do you get people to conserve a free resource?
I've set up a graphics server on SWAN that anyone at Sun can use to try out running a 3D application with hardware acceleration from any Sun Ray (or other kind of client) on SWAN. (email me for instructions).
I want to set up a similar system on the public internet for anyone to try, but I have a problem.
The resource, of course, is limited. We use Sun Grid Engine to manage graphics resources to keep too many people from running on a graphics card at one time. On a wide-area network. we use a variant of vnc called TurboVNC, the vncserver session gets assigned a graphics resource and then the user can run various graphics applications and then connect from his/her client with vncviewer to see and interact with the application.
All fine, with enough clever scripting, really easy to use. The only problem is that the user has to quit the vncserver session when they are done in order to free up the graphics card for a subsequent user to use. There might be multiple users viewing the same session so you can not automatically get rid of it when the viewer exits. We put up a window with a message that says "exit this window when you are done with your vnc session", but it seems like lots of times that doesn't happen and people just quit the viewer and happily leave the vncserver tying up the graphics card.
I need to solve this problem before putting up the public graphics application server demo.
Right now, I end up cleaning up after users myself, making an ad hoc determination that they are unwanted leftovers. Since it is just a demo, that's not terrible but it is not very satisfactory. I can make a policy that jobs can only run so long, but that seems heavy-handed.
What to do?