Wednesday, August 15, 2007

PXE dust or, my boot over ib story

(editor's note - I wrote this during the night at midnight. upon further reflection, this is extremely stupid. but someone asked for an update, so here it is!)

One day there was a little infiniband card, freshly born into the world, wearing nothing but a blanket made of beautiful infiniband fabric.

This little card had no name, and was unable to get a name from his parents, for they could not speak his language. So he approached the gods in his area, and on bended knee, submitted a proposal that the god Mellan Ox strike him with lightning, and flash his memory so that he could speak to his parents, D.H. and C.P., in their native tongue.

So the great god Mellan Ox flashed his memory, and touched his tongue with a burning ember of rom, as well as a heaping pile of PXE dust, and he was thusly able to understand his parent's speech!

He felt very special, because there were not many other cards in the world that speak this language. His first order of business was to ask for a name. For this reason, he broadcast his message to his parents, shouting blindly from his crib in the night, but his parents could not hear him.

They did, however see that he was waving frantically to them from his crib. They did this by peering into a crystal ball called tcpdump, which told them not only his qpn number, but also the name given to him - his god-id, aka, guid. They were also able to see that he was asking for a name, but realized that the D.H. and C.P servant was blocking their ears.

They thusly asked their servant to re compile himself, which he did. This was achieved by removing the pounds of symbols near the rune-markings of his source-scrolls, allowing something called 'USE_SOCKETS'.

After the re-compile, the servant no longer prevented the little card's parents from hearing the little card's plaintive cries. D.H and C.P could now hear him asking for a name! They gladly responded, giving him the name ''. Not original by any stretch of the imagination, but they heard that this new name was pretty popular, so they went with it.

Now, the little card was able to stand up in his crib, and speak with his parents very clearly. He was so happy that they could understand him! For the first time, he realized he was hungry, and asked for some food.

The first order of business was to put on his special tftp boots, which would allow him the strength needed to actually hold the platters of food that were soon coming.

He liked the taste of the PXE dust the god Mellan Ox had given him earlier, so he asked for some more. They brought it to him on a silver platter, along with heaping helpings of initrd meat and some binary image gravy.

He was able to put the initrd in his mouth and start chewing, but it wouldn't go down!

He was choking on the initrd because it didn't understand his delicate infiniband nature. The only thing that would help him digest the initrd meat would be the 7 tiny dancing ib drivers, who all dance on the head of a pin, and who don't really fit into the initrd meat without alot of effort.

Which is where our story will continue next time.....

Friday, August 3, 2007

back online

Ok, so I'm back from vacation, and back in swing on the new system.

We are in the midst of getting everything ready for when the large amount of hardware starts arriving. Fun things like filesystem structure, pxe booting over ib, provisioning the OS over ib using torrents, and the necessary setup that will easily allow us to install and keep track of 4000 machines and all their characteristics, much less making them all play nicely together.

The cabling alone will be a massive undertaking, and will need to be completed before the equipment begins to arrive. In fact, the filesystem hardware, all 1.7 Petabytes, will begin arriving in about a week or so. Not much time before the tsunami of hardware arrives.

I'm pretty jazzed about working on this new, cutting edge equipment. The constellation system, and all the new management hardware and software is really making my life much easier. I spend about half as much time in a 57 degree meat locker-like machine room, which means my body can get re-acclimated to a normal temperature again. I am constantly switching between a 50 degree difference in temperature. 57 inside, 107 outside. It's like a hot tub and cold dip, especially with the humidity lately.