Monday Jan 21, 2008 in Vegas (belated)

I have had these pictures sitting on my laptop for about 1/2 a year. I pulled a couple out for a screen cast that I still haven't published because the audio blows. I have been doing a better job again on publishing pictures shortly after I take them. is the Sun Grid Compute Utility, I have a few pictures from the on site work. setup in Vegas, Bellagio, Glass Flower Ceiling setup in Vegas, Shawn, Courtney setup in Vegas, Compute Nodes setup in Vegas, Thumper disk bay, green setup in Vegas, Torx Peg in a Hex Hole. I didn't put it in there :), I just removed it so we could relocate the rails. setup in Vegas, Courtney loves Storage setup in Vegas, Core Switch Time Servers

The Whole Gallery

Sunday Dec 09, 2007

Wii for the Hollidays

As I alluded to earlier, I won "Best Wow Blog" for CEC 2007. The Judging criteria was

Best Wow Blog:
Blog that is about CEC and leverages as many different technologies as possible to communicate its message. Chosen by a panel of judges, approved by the CEC Executive sponsor Dan Berg, will review blogs for:

  • Wow factor: Does the blog incorporate technology in unique ways? Is it fun to read?
  • Is this a blog that will last throughout the year?

Sweet, I have incorporated technology in an interesting and or unique way and I am fun to read.

Alec Muffett won best podcast for his “Terabyte iPod” presentation (which was quite interesting, you
should watch it) he is wondering if he can get a UK Wii.


Lou Springer won Best Red Shift Blog.  Go Lou!  I met Lou at CEC having previously conversed on

twitter and had dinner with him (and some other people see my dinner post listed below :) ) the last day of CEC.

Monday Nov 26, 2007

SGE quick and dirty how to find jobs on 'bad' slots

I occasionally have a need to find queues in Sun Grid Engine that are in one of the possibly problematic states which have an occupied slot. It is just infrequent enough that I don't remember exactly how I did it the last time.

qstat -f | awk '$6~/[cdsuE]/ && $3!~/\^[0]/'
queuename qtype used/tot. load_avg arch states BIP 1/1 -NA- sol-amd64 adu BIP 1/1 -NA- sol-amd64 adu

An alternate is "qstat -f | awk '$6~/[cdsuE]/ && $3~/\^[1-9]/'" which also avoids printing the header line. In the example above 'state' in $6 matches 's' and 'used' does not begin with '0'.

The possibly more elegant 'qstat -f -qs cdsuE' still requires a second comparison in awk of '$0!~/--/' to filter out the queue separator lines. (qstat -f -qs acduE | awk '$0!~/--/ && $3!~/\^[0]/')

Finally because I can never remember what exactly all the queue states are and the qstat man page doesn't have the nice table:

aoACD – Number of queue instances that are in at least one of the following states:
a – Load threshold alarm
o – Orphaned
A – Suspend threshold alarm
C – Suspended by calendar
D – Disabled by calendar


cdsuE – Number of queue instances that are in at least one of the following states:
c – Configuration ambiguous
d – Disabled
s – Suspended
u – Unknown
E – Error


Job State/Status:

d(eletion),  E(rror), h(old), r(unning), R(estarted), s(uspended), S(uspended), t(ransfering), T(hreshold) or w(aiting).

References: SGE (N1GE 6.0) -- Monitoring and Controlling Queues

Edit: Added Job Status, literally couldn't find that in any of the online docs (notwithstanding ~40% through the qstat(1) man page, targeted google searches do a poor job finding the link)

Monday Mar 05, 2007

Project Balckbox Pictures from DC

I just sent Paul Monday over at the Blackbox Blog a link to the full gallery of pictures that I posted from our visit to the Blackbox while it was in DC. For your viewing pleasure I will post a few of them here. 

Blackbox in DC

As we pulled into the Wardman Park Marriot I was suprised to see a line of taxi's coming down the street.  I had attended LISA here a few months ago and the taxi line was never that long. I knew that the Blackbox was popular but that was a bit more than I was expecting.

When we rounded the corner it was a cool thing to see the Blackbox Tour Mobile...taking up the middle of the normal taxi lane. One of the taxi drivers came over right before we left and asked C- what was going on. She informed him that this was Sun's Project Blackbox... A whole bunch of computers on the back of a truck. I don't know if he went on the tour.

Paul just posted an interview with Joe Carvalho, here is a picture of Joe (or his hands) modeling a SunSPOT accelerometer.
Joe SunSPOT accelerometer

The geek in me really needs to mention how much fun the SunSPOTs are.  The black box has a number of linked SunSPOTs in it. However Joe actually had this one in his pocket. The chip in the center is the accelerometer. The really geeky fun part was when he pulled it out of his pocket. 

As Joe tilted it back and forth the led "rolled" back and forth. When tilted just to one side led rolled down and "bounced" at the end. That is entirely eye candy but I liked it. He didn't have two in his pocket to actually show me but apparently when they are placed in discovery mode and linked you can tilt the one towards the other.  The led rolls to the side crosses over and rolls on the other SunSPOT indicating that they are linked!!

So while the Blackbox is really cool and useful and all that I can't afford one. However I can handle a couple of SunSPOTs.

We also got some swag from the event. As if the Blackbox itself wasn't cool enough we are the only people on our block who have the incredibly wrinkled Blackbox T-shirts and Trucks! 

Blackbox swag 

The T comes shrink wrapped and I guess crammed or vacuformed into a truck shaped brick. The truck comes in a relatively uninteresting box, of so little interest I didn't even post a picture of box with the truck in it.  

The Truck/Shirt still in Truck form. 

Truck Shirt still in brick format 


The truck,  I still think it needs to have racks in the back be a transformer...or both!

Open back of toy truck

To end for now I leave you with a picture of the Emerency Power Off button. Which I did NOT press. I did ask if anyone had yet pressed it while on tour and was informed that the answer was no. Given that the demo is not a production environment I was me sorely tempted to  press the jolly candy-like button.

Jolly Candy-Like EPO Button

So if anyone happens to be on the should ask if you can press the EPO button and get back to me. That is enough trouble for the moment possibly there will be more pictures later.

Thursday Feb 01, 2007

Sun Blade 8000 Chassis and Servers are Cool

I have been listening to/watching the Sun internal Blade Summit. (Really a couple of days ago, but I never got around to posting this)

Interesting notes on hardware in general. The things that struck me the most about the general hardware discussion was the power cost of FB-DIMMS. The expectation is that with the high power consumption of FB-DIMMS that the memory will use more, even significantly more power than the CPUs. We have more IO and higher CPU density. That even with the memory power consumption and our higher slot density we still come in at lower power consumption rates. Everything is fully hot swap and hot plug.

Of course there are an incredible number of other cool things that are available now and that will be available soon. Unfortunately as I am attending this because I am interested and I have customers that may be deploying full chassis in relatively large numbers. I can't quite justify not doing everything else I needed to do today. 

Had I been paying more attention to the whole thing I would have a better feel about which of the really cool things I can freely talk about.

Mean Time Service Interruption (MTSI) is reduced, fewer components == fewer failures. Fewer higher reliability fans and power supplies etc.

The concerns aren't really any different. Cooling capacity, Floor Space, Power.  High density in blades helps address floor space. Cooling and Power are the new black.
Peter Snelling, just gave a very interesting and compelling talk about the limitations caused by power draw and as a result cooling capacity.

I had to drop off again, but not before one of the parts I had been waiting for. The management aspects and how the Chassis and Blade management would interact. Not much of a surprise, now I just want to get my hands on a few and play.  

 Sun Blade 8000

The Uptime Institute 

Tuesday Oct 17, 2006

Blackbox, a couple of pictures and random thoughts

The Blackbox concept is cool, as has been said, I would love to have one at home :)
Although the power bill, even at the reduced consumption from T2000s would be a bit much for my home power budget.
So really, if anyone would like to send me a T2000 and some storage, maybe a 5320 and an x4200

Members of the Grid Engineering Team have been working on this project for a while.
Internally we have had a couple of discussions about how to work Managed Operations into the deployment automatically (everything comes with services now). So what I want now is to get my hands on one operationally.

So the following picture I am posting, not because it was the most technically interesting one that I saw
there were plenty of other technically interesting photos, I liked the lines and the partial reflection of the photographer.

Black Box Interior Cables

This picture I am posting because...well, seriously.  It seems to me that we may be pushing this example just a little.

Blackbox Mars Rover
So can someone tell me who will be hooking up the water?

Here because I figure people might want to see an actual Blackbox

 BlackBox External

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Wednesday Oct 11, 2006

Sun SecondLife Press Conference...A Disappointing Experience

Disappointed, I forgot to set an alarm so I ended up getting online about 8 minutes after the start.

When I got there I couldn't get into the Sun Pavilion. I was told when I tried to get in directly that the space was invalid.
Stacia and Doug tried to invite(teleport me in), but they got parcel is full messages.
When they finally could invite me I got the following error.
could not teleport

On the plus side, I guess this means it was popular enough to fill up quickly.

I did get told to shove off by a female avatar in mime wearing a shirt but no pants.
(although I am guessing that it was really all rendering problems not really someone in mime, that and the use of words)

So the message is mixed, for Stacia, it worked and was cool, she could hear the conference and I think see the video.
Doug was unable to hear the streaming audio and when directed to the instructions board he was unable to get it to resolve.
(Some items in SL are out of focus, I would guess to save bandwidth, when you look at them the come into focus)

It seems to me that we may need a teleport area for business purposes. After I teleported in, I was standing around for about two minutes with only a shirt on. No hair, no pants.  While the thought of virtual streaking the conference amuses me I think it might not be the best idea.

Now while we are waiting for people to join, as opposed to getting on a con call, we need to wait for a couple of minutes after they are in to have pants on before they can come in.

I wonder if you can code objects to reject avatars not in pants (assuming that pants are the generic name for lower body clothing)

Note the mocking...that there in the center, that is where you want to be.
See that tiny little arrow, you are way over there.
Invalid Location

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Monday Oct 09, 2006

Sun Provides Universal Access to Safari Books Online

So Sun has negotiated access for all Employees to the Safari eBook Library.

I have used and been happy with the Safari Books before...unfortunately I find myself slightly disapointed by the following

Unable to generate a temporary class (result=1). error CS2001: Source file 'C:\\WINDOWS\\TEMP\\pvpviplu.0.cs' could not be found error CS2008: No inputs specified

Not that it didn't resolve itself in a moment (presumably after the file was copied into place) but the use of windows in the backend.

Shame on you Safari Books Online, of couse if I worked for Microsoft I would probably be happy.

Maybe we are working out a trade, we get access to your books and we will help you move to our wonderful Solaris operating system.
In any case, Sun Managed Operations would be happy to help you implement the migration AND monitor the entire infrastructure BOTH running on windows and running on Solaris.

Go and Register Yourself for access: Sunlibrary
I must say, that was one of the easiest self provisioning processes I have experienced in a very long time.

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