MPU Meeting Tuesday 14th July 2015

LCFG Client Refactoring

Nothing happened.


The orders parsing code is on test, using a different rfe map. Mohammed has been helping with the testing. Alastair and Mohammed have agreed on the format of the orders file. It's documented in OrderFileFormat and discussed in OrderFileFormatDetails. The automated tests for the parser code are complete, and the parser documentation is being written. The order files have been edited to conform to the new standard format.

Alastair is going to seek advice on SQL.

The case of serial numbers has become an issue. Should they be treated as case-dependent or case-independent? Should they be all upper case or should lower or mixed case be permitted? The feeling is that a case-significant serial number seems very unlikely to crop up, and that our serial numbers should be converted to and recorded in upper case.

The project will need a conduit from Theon for space and people data. Alastair will talk to Graham about this.

Chris will look at the parsing code.

The project has been named Tartarus.

Miscellaneous Development

Stephen has finished the new package server, but is still unpicking aspects of the old package server. In particular the "sites" repository mirrors are now available on rsync and http from The and addresses now serve only local RPMs, not "sites" mirrors.

The configuration of the rpmaccel squid cache service is now vastly simpler, thanks to the new package servers setup: requests for "sites" go to and other requests go to

At the end of July we will dump the /afs/ volumes and give the space back to the Services Unit. We'll also decommission the elderly server which is currently serving them.

Chris has been looking at pkgsearch. It needs a little routine maintenance and conversion from SL6 to SL7.

Stephen noticed that SL7.1 is lacking install profiles. We'll add installbase profiles and install tests to the documentation. (Done.)

Stephen has updated the SL7 PXE image and kernel to the latest available versions.

The SL6.6 upgrade broke PXE booting, because its syslinux package was updated. The new syslinux package expects boot images to be in /var/lib/tftpboot rather than in /tftpboot. Stephen will adjust the pxeserver component to match.

Alastair has added a feature to kvmreport. It now reports on whether or not a server has enough disk space for all VMs to be suspended. Currently waterloo and oyster do not have enough space for all running VMs to be suspended simultaneously. However both machines do have some unused local disk space, so we will put that into service to provide the necessary space. (We'll add the spare space as a new partition mounted on /var/lib/libvirt/qemu.)

Chris and Alastair plan to adjust the kvmtool configuration file to conform to the inifile format. This should make it far easier to override individual configuration settings in the file.


Alastair has found that we still have 27 active i386 SL6 hosts! We will therefore abandon our hope of ending 32bit support soon, and continue it for the remaining life of DICE SL6.

Alastair has experimented with adding extra disks to an LVM pool. This works, and the extra space is found by KVM. Alastair will write how-to instructions.

In the wake of the recent flurry of Flash security problems, Stephen reported that Firefox has now blocked all Flash, worldwide.

We pulled a recent change to auditd and lcfg-auditd systemd config on SL7 because it created circular dependencies in the systemd configuration. We were not impressed with the unpredictable and unhelpful behaviour of systemd in this situation.

The latest SL7.1 mock broke pkgforge. Stephen eventually tracked down the cause: the latest "mock" disables the "yum priorities" plugin by default. We need it to confer greater priority on SL repos than IS repos. (The cause of the breakage in this case was one package in an IS repo which claimed to provide parts of glibc, and which was picked up by "yum" in preference to the real glibc package.)

We'll dispose of the old server district (but save its disks) and we'll move atom into an emptier rack.

Once this week's stable release is installed, Chris will test the 7.1 installer. We will then make 7.1 our default SL7 release after perhaps one further week.

We want to remind people that the small-server.h header not only makes smaller disk partitions than server.h, it also installs a smaller set of packages. Packages are in three groups: common, user and graphical. All machines (including those using small-server.h) get common packages. Desktops and server.h machines also get user packages. Desktop and graphical machines also get graphical packages. To configure a server to have very little software, but large disk partitions, use small-server.h but with larger partition sizes.

We will need an SL7 version of Virtual DICE for September. Chris will tackle it.

This Week

  • Alastair
    • Inventory project
      • continue working through InvProjectWorkFlow
      • finish deploying new order file processing code
      • finish document new parser and API
      • consider what next can be integrated into existing system, if anything
      • meet with Graham to discuss SQL queries and conduits
      • @home - look at using rsync from site.pkgs instead of mirroring from upstream
    • Need to remove default bridge from kvmtool create
      • make necessary changes to live/mpu_kvm_server.h (support both methods)
      • Look at wrt azul.
    • Remove default pool if ops meeting agrees
    • Schedule firmware upgrade for DS3254
    • Take creation of mdp-installbase profiles to LCFG deployer's meeting (bug #878) (On July meeting agenda)
    • Add instructions on adding extra disks to an LVM/KVM pool - to KVM host guide
    • Talk to Phil Wadler about machine upgrade - ask for a list of software he requires built
    • Experiment with different window managers under VNC (making the assumption that performance under NX will be similar)
    • Look at pkgsearch code (to see vulnerability)
    • Expand suspend space on oyster needs a reboot to pick up /dev/sda4
    • Think of a use for 'atom'
    • Upgrade gala to 7.1
    • Convert kvmtool to support ini file as well as yaml config
    • Ask Graham want atlas package is user_common for

  • Chris
    • Inventory project
    • Finish work on SL 7.1
      • test installer after stable release of 15/07
    • pkgsearch for SL7
    • Deploy azul (new KVM server)
    • Expand suspend space on waterloo
    • Coordinate move of district to junk rack and harvest disks and move atom
    • Look at inifile component configuration of kvmtool
    • Start looking at SL7 Virtual DICE

  • Stephen
    • LCFG client refactor stage 1
      • schedule debrief meeting
    • LCFG client refactor stage 2
      • finish off C code
    • Think about PD - Interested in ZeroMQ
    • Add extra memory to waterloo (and if those work, order up more memory for hammersmith)
    • Finish off window manager selector code
    • Fix pxeserver component to work with SL upstream syslinux
    • Fix docs on mirror update on MPUOsUpdates
    • Understand auditd systemd issue
    • Circulate a list of MPU servers to reboot for SL6.6

-- AlastairScobie - 14 Jul 2015

Topic revision: r9 - 23 Jul 2015 - 12:50:07 - StephenQuinney
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