MPU Meeting Tuesday 8th July 2014

Virtual DICE

With the documentation page on Virtual DICE's local accounts this project is complete. Chris will tackle the final report.

LCFG Client Refactoring

This project is stalled.

Systemd and EL7

Stephen has introduced a cpp macro called USE_SYSTEMD. It's true if we're using systemd (for example if the OS is EL7). This macro is now used throughout the lcfg level headers. It still needs to be added to other levels.

The systemd component now adds config which gets LCFG components automatically started. It's currently a little crude: all components depend on lcfg-client and all start simultaneously, whereas we know that a number of components need better ordering than that. For instance, some need to be started after the openldap or openafs components. We need to add these dependencies to the systemd config. We should add targets for these dependencies - something like or perhaps - rather than depending on actual components. However the main point at the moment is that components now start on EL7, rather than having to be started by hand.

While adding the USE_SYSTEMD macro Stephen tidied up the headers by removing swathes of SL5-specific stuff and removing "SL6 only" restrictions. The latter means that SL7 and pals will also get the formerly SL6-only config. We can reintroduce these restrictions again as & when necessary.

Stephen has been thinking about We could do with a platform-independent way of specifying that a task needs to be run, for example, once a day. This could then farm out the details to the appropriate tool on each platform, for example anacron on Linux or launchd on OS X. It would be very convenient for it also to have a "oneshot" capability - to run a task once only. Stephen will write up some thoughts.

Most EL7 package lists have now been generated. Stephen used yummy. By the end of the week we should be in a position where package lists can be expressed in the form of templates for yummy, which can then generate the actual lists. We'll then be able to quickly regenerate package lists for Centos, EL7, SL7 and so on whenever we need to without much effort.

We still need to finalise what we need in the base package list: to the minimal install we need to add perl, some perl modules, kernel-related packages, some useful tools...

We also need a default partition layout for EL7. At lcfg level we will keep the SL6 layout until it's clear what other schools and units will want. At dice level we need to talk it over at an operational meeting.

Following Stephen's changes to the ngeneric component and various other changes brought in to cope with systemd, we could do with a "Quick guide to writing a component".

For EL7 Stephen has moved everything that used to be in /var/lcfg/status into /run.

BuildTools is now on EL7. CMake can now detect the difference between EL7, SL7, Centos and so on.

Important packages are starting to appear in EPEL for EL7. MOOSE is now there. DBIX and Catalyst are not yet there but hopefully will be some time soon.

Miscellaneous Development

None. It was noted that we'll need to start work on SL6.5 soon, so we can get lab machines upgraded in time for the next session.


Stephen has updated some software - VirtualBox is now on the latest 4.3 version; NVidia drivers; Flash.

The LCFG Master was moved from schiff to steen. It largely went smoothly. We kept a log in a chatroom during the move, which gave us a record of how it had gone. This helped us to remember those things we did forget and add them to the instructions for next time. For the time being ordershost is still on schiff but it will also move to steen in due course.

Stephen has noticed that all of his NX problems (for example the mouse pointer disappearing after a while) have vanished now that he's switched his NX session from GNOME to KDE. We'll recommend KDE more strongly in the documentation.

This Week

  • Alastair
    • Order a spare 600GB disk for waterloo (hot spare)
    • Double check latest web security reports
    • systemd project
      • start writing in blog
        • document the debugging including stuff about disabling graphical boot
      • Modify lcfg components/rc scripts list as a result of COs talk.
      • Complete lcfg-systemd component - install method
      • Consider how components will work with systemd
      • Consider journald
      • Look at how component triggered reboots will work
      • Start designing a systemd target structure for LCFG components
    • EL7 project
      • continue process of managing components using systemd component
      • look to see if I took some notes about which extra packages are required for our base package list (from SL6 notes)
      • systemd patch from Stephen
      • Look at Chris's lcfg-fstab problem (on bank)
      • Start looking at installer
      • Think about
        • attempt to group common cron and jobs together via cron/anacron
        • ? dostuff component that will do stuff daily.weekly,monthly etc ?
        • does anyone rely on existing ability to order things in * Add more memory to Forum KVM servers? - 700 per server to upgrade 64GB -> 128GB
    • Move dice orders -> new server
    • Review activities list
    • Look at iplimit for
    • RT tidy

  • Chris
    • EL7
      • Continue looking at systemd
      • Resubmit failed auto build packages
      • lcfg-mail component - test
      • lcfg-fstab - continue work on adding xfs support
      • pkgsubmit - test
      • installbase package list
    • announce staff.nx
    • Think about PD
    • Kill SL5 buildhosts
    • Investigate 2 of 24" monitors with HP Elite 800

  • Stephen
    • LCFG client refactor stage 1
      • schedule debrief meeting
    • EL7
      • finish package lists (using yummy)
      • Continue thinking about functionality
      • Propose DICE desktop partition layout
    • Ask Alison when she needs SL6.5 by (for teaching labs)
    • Reboot hare to test firmware update
    • Write up daily security checks
    • Think about PD
    • RT tidy

-- AlastairScobie - 08 Jul 2014

Topic revision: r5 - 15 Jul 2014 - 12:46:28 - ChrisCooke
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