Development Meeting

Room IF-4.31 - Minutes 2009-05-06

Present: Toby Blake, Neil Brown, Roger Burroughes, Tim Colles (convener and minutes), Chris Cooke, Alison Downie, Graham Dutton, Ian Durkacz, Stephen Quinney, Iain Rae, Gordon Reid, George Ross, Alastair Scobie, Craig Strachan

1. Minutes of last meeting

2. Matters Arising

  • George should document how the host keys of the ssh servers can be preserved during upgrades. [Action George]

3. Approved Projects

  • Logging policy and centralised logging
    • Last Month: Nothing - pending OpenVPN completion.
    • This Month: Should be able to get started. Going to look at current state of play, who logs what and produce a document listing all these things to drive what we should do centrally.

  • Collaborative LaTeX System
    • Last Month: Initial authorisation now managed via Roles/Capabilities. All staff have access by default, other categories of user can be granted access by assigning an appropriate secondary role.
    • This Month: Re-write client script.
    • Comments: A re-write is necessary as the original client script was only ever a quick demonstration/prototype developed while the API was also evolving.

  • OpenVPN Service
    • Last Month: Documentation done. Pushed out to a few specific users for further testing.
    • This Month: Refine documentation following user comments. Announce more widely.
    • Comments: Screenshots of Network Manager settings would be very helpful.

  • EUCLID Informatics Enhancements
    • Last Month: CSCE meeting happened and draft report written for CCPAG.
    • This Month: Finish draft based on any comments received back.

  • EUCLID Interoperability
    • Last Month: Nothing.
    • This Month: Nothing - tip from EUCLID to DACS has been put back until July.

  • Upgrade Twiki
    • Last Month: Test server now running latest version.
    • This Month: Move the real server to the latest version.
    • Comments: LCFG server upgraded to new version fine.
    • Actions: Project should be at Implementation stage. [Action Roger]

  • Progress TiBS to full service
    • Last Month: Descriptor fleshed out with plan and milestones.
    • This Month: Discuss plan with Alastair and Chris. Package TiBS software as RPMs.

  • AFS file system
    • Last Month: Component essentially done.
    • This Month: Add a few bits to component and test thoroughly. Add monitoring support.

  • Production Condor Service
    • Last Month: Tweaked documentation based on feedback from support.
    • This Month: Move to Sign Off.
    • Comments: Use condor component to manage configuration file rather than file component as this is the safest way to guarantee ordering.
    • Actions: Write final report and propose for sign off. [Action Iain]

  • Improved RPM submission tool
    • Last Month: Finished code. Documentation done. Code review done.
    • This Month: Procuring hardware (virtual server not fast enough). Benchmarking with AFS cache. Write architecture document.

  • Infrastructure for Appleton Tower Refurbishment
    • Last Month: Cleared out AT basement for contractors moving in.
    • This Month: Nothing significant - waiting on completion in August. The Comms rack will be lifted at some point in June or July.

  • Replacement of LPRng with CUPS
    • Last Month: Poll servers on each wire replaced by new per-site servers. Looking at CUPS related printing problems - some improvement.
    • This Month: Install test of CUPS 1.3.7 (as in SL5.3, currently using 1.2.4).

  • DICE under emulators
    • Last Month: Nothing.
    • This Month: Carol talking to Steve and Conrad for testing.

  • Simple server virtualisation
    • Last Month: Finished.
    • This Month: Move to sign off.
    • Actions: Write final report and propose for sign off. [Action Alastair]

  • Cluster Parallel filesystem
    • Last Month: Running test data. Shows that it will be network bound. Faster than NFS and likely to be comparable to local hard disk (this is with 8 servers each with 100Mbit NIC).
    • This Month: Announce to users for testing.
    • Comments: Should procure server hardware now during this financial year.
    • Actions: Spec and procure hardware. [Action Iain/Alastair]

  • Revisit Account Management
    • Last Month: Finished the perl framework, with a number of test and sample conduits.
    • This Month: Document the framework. Discuss DB syncronisation. Discuss User Support tool requirements. Bring Toby up to speed on conduit creation. Write LDAP export conduit.

  • DICE client LDAP configuration
    • Last Month: Nothing.
    • This Month: Discuss crashing further with OpenLDAP developers to try and draw some conclusions. Deploy into develop release.
    • Comments: Crashing happens 2-3 times a week in the test labs.

  • Desktop Virtualization
    • Last Month: Immutable base image support tested and documented.
    • This Month: Deploy onto all desktops by default. Arrange tests on 745s (Stephen and Richard have seen disk I/O problems).
    • Comments: Problems may be related to BIOS virtualisation setting. Could also try SCSI disk rather than IDE default.

  • Develop power management solution for DICE desktops
    • Last Month: Over the past month the project has concentrated on analysing various problems related to suspend and resume on the test machines. Some of these have been solved with changes to the component or to the resources. As a result of these problems the scope of the project has progressively narrowed from "look for sleep opportunities on all DICE desktop machines, all the time" to "look for sleep opportunities on Dell 745s and 755s, running SL5.3, when no X session is running". In the longer term, as OS and hardware support for sleep gradually improves, as surely it must, we may be able to widen the scope of our power management once again and spread automatic sleep to more machines for more of the time. That may not happen as part of this project however, but more as small incremental developments over the coming years. For example: once the pm-utils package (which implements power management) supports the concept of timed sleep with automatic wakeup it will be possible to integrate it safely with lcfg-sleep.
    • This Month: In the next month I plan to arrange to test the component in at least one student lab, with a view to deploying it in the student labs for the next session. I also plan to check that lcfg-sleep does cooperate properly with lcfg-condor on machines that use both.

  • Package Teaching & Research Software for Fedora
    • Last Month: Ross has done some packaging.
    • This Month: Follow up whats been done so far and create a list of suitable software packages that Ross and Richard can carry on working through.

  • SICSA Database
    • Last Month: Basic version now up and running for Anna to use. Development version also running for ongoing testing and fixing.
    • This Month: Complete basic version to the level that meets basic SICSA requirements.

  • AV facilities
    • Last Month: Active ports labelled. Put two network cables in each meeting room. Mediascape were in for five days but didn't do everything we asked for. Some progress on documentation.
    • This Month: Identify remaining Mediascape work and schedule a return visit. Refine documentation.

4. Project Status Changes

  • LCFG Core Refactoring - moves to Implementation. No changes will be made in this phase of the project, bugs found will just be noted for addressing later.

  • Review of User Documentation - should move to Evaluation once Ian has updated descriptor to include estimate of cumulative effort involved. [Action Ian]

5. New Project Proposals

The following projects were all brought to Proposal stage as they were on the list of priority projects for the next six months. Those not moving from Proposal to Evaluation or Implementation below (either due to not starting soon or needing the project description fleshed out) will be kept in the agenda for subsequent meetings.

  • Final stages of commodity CMS - Needs LCFG managed aspects added to the project description and fleshed out with plan, milestones and expected effort for the next meeting. This project has inter-dependencies with two others, situation should be clearer in a weeks time as to what work belongs in each project once more has been done on Informatics Commercialisation Website. Still agreeing steps and revising scope, should be done for next month. [Action Craig]

  • Progress TiBS to full service - Not currently LCFG managed however it is in use as our primary backup technology. Chris likely to start work on this next month. Move to Evaluation and Chris, Craig and Alastair will discuss and flesh out with a plan, milestones and anticipated effort in time for the next meeting. A document detailing what is required is being worked on which will allow the project description to be fleshed out in time for the June meeting. This should be done for the July meeting. [Action Craig]

5. AOB

Further discussion on the Development Meeting.

  • We should involve customers earlier in testing out new software/services to avoid situations arising where we don't properly meet end user requirements/expectations. This should happen before projects move to sign off. Formalise this in project procedures. [Action Tim]
  • We still aren't good at tracking technical design. Should we all be doing daily blogs? We should maybe have short talks (say only fifteen minutes requiring minimal or no preparation) each development meeting in strict project rotation. This may not be frequent enough to cover all projects in a timely fashion so could add short talks onto Operational meetings as well.
  • There are redundant fields in project descriptors. They should be simplified. Propose a simplified format. [Action Tim]
  • Project managers should produce a last month / this month report prior to meeting by updating a wiki page. Create suitable wiki page and send reminder to update prior to next meeting. [Action Tim]

The next meeting will be on July 1st in the Forum.

-- TimColles - 05 Jun 2009

Topic revision: r1 - 05 Jun 2009 - 13:34:10 - TimColles
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