MPU Meeting Wednesday 14th November 2018


Nothing happened as Alastair was away.

Virtual Desktop

Chris has spent some time famliarising himself with cgroups in a bid to share the limited resources in a fairer way which avoids the server crashing all the time. Stephen has added new lcfg headers for cgroups support, these are mostly based on those provided Geosciences.

The new login pop-up dialog box which points users at compute servers will appear in the next stable release.

LCFG Profile Security

Stephen has returned to this project. He has been looking at why rdxprof wasn't starting properly when launched by the client component. He reckons the best approach is to get systemd to start rdxprof first and then the client component can configure it as necessary. The hope is that this can be rolled out to develop machines soon with an aim to get it into stable machines in early 2019.

Stephen has also been looking at the LCFG logserver, this needs a lot of work and probably needs a complete rewrite. We probably want to remove all the daemon code and move over to using something like lighttpd which can handle the requests in a secure, encrypted way and also provide authentication/authorization.

Misc Development

  • Spectre : Stephen has created a clientreport module to gather information on Spectre vulnerabilities and also a tartarus report to summarise the findings. It is clear that some old hardware is going to need to be retired as Intel can't/won't provide fixes. We also need to investigate what further action is required for VMs.

  • kvmtools : The guest location code now has a timeout to deal with slow/unavailable servers. The list of servers is also now randomised to spread the load of requests.

  • root logins : Stephen has made a start on changing the standard sshd configuration to allow root logins when using GSSAPI authentication, for the moment this is only enabled on develop machines.


  • KVM servers : There are now just two KVM servers needing to be upgraded to SL7.5 - gaivota which is scheduled for Thursday 15th and azul which is scheduled for Thursday 22nd.

  • hammersmith : After the recent crash Chris spotted some disk warnings, he will investigate.

This Week

  • Alastair
    • Inventory project
      • continue working through InvProjectWorkFlow
      • Document clientreport (eg how to add modules)
      • Document order sync code
      • Document hpreport processing script
      • Start work on final report!
      • Consider what else needs done other than docs and tidying and backups
      • Blog something....take dev meeting talks
      • and give details on how Tartarus tables are accessed to Ian D for inclusion in his privileged access discussion paper
      • Look at postgresql replication (do after shipping)
      • Add tartarus info to SwitchToSelfManaged
      • Complete removal of non authenticated access to API and web
      • Need tests for API /orders and need new tests to check for correct authorisation
      • Make lcfg header generation live (need to check what will be deleted when we do this - big discrepancy between old inventory and new)
      • Look at user support form - how does that lookup hostname?
      • Produce a python library to provide people with a programmatic equivalent of ii query
      • Look at whether there is an easy library way for Chris to grab the macaddr of a machine given the hostname
    • Schedule MPU meeting to discuss systemd ordering
    • Take a look at RT #78875
    • Look at /etc/hosts - dns issue (IPV6?)
      • work out what we need to fix current problem
    • Circulate info on RH7.3 systemd changes we may wish to consider
    • RT actions (as agreed)
    • Implement change to kvmtool to allow KVMs to be marked as disabled
      • looked at this - looks like the metadata tag isn't passed through libvirt (prior to 4.0.0), so can't be read/written by kvmtool
      • put on activities list to do once upgrade to libvirt-4.0.0
    • Look at Stephen's 'Thoughts on shell components'
    • Look at MPUActivitiesList
    • Start looking at https and (remove assumption that https means want cosign login)
      • wait on Neil's efforts with EdWeb
    • Investigate systemd reboot bug on gaivota and add some more debugging (store tree diff somewhere)
    • drupal username collection re GDPR
      • configure live server to run the user expiry script
      • Fixup email domains for existing accounts and check fix for domain setting to is in place on live service
      • need to ship fixed cosign module on live service
    • Inventory stuff re GDPR
    • Check with Tim / George about capability for login to student machines - where are we
      • Tim says that we should create a capability that is given to the base cohort and set that capability to no-grace
    • Useful? - a script which checks how fast a machine's console log is growing (eg huge number of dbus problems on hammersmith)
      • suggest to Ian D
    • Blog on projects
    • KVM pcid
      • Created MPUSpectreMeltdown
      • Put detection script somewhere for people to use
      • Which CPU is needed for each group..
Following config worked on 'brent' (hosted on vermelha). We might need to consider whether we want "match='exact'" wrt migrations.
<cpu mode='host-model' match='exact'>
<model fallback='allow'>IvyBridge</model>
<feature policy='require' name='pcid' />

  • Stephen
    • submit polkit bug to redhat - with Alastair (still exists under 7.3)
    • Produce some text for systemd mount bug (to submit to RH)
    • Take issue of disable per user journald logs on certain servers to OPS
    • Consider PD work for after LCFG client ...
      • looking at Ceph
    • Look at MPUActivitiesList
    • Look at where we're using ALL in access.conf
    • Finish off NX replacement project (#389)
      • produce final report
    • Continue with RT ticket clearout as discussed in October
    • Produce plan for upgrading Forum KVM servers to SL7.5 (Stephen and Alastair to do)
    • Review

-- AlastairScobie - 14 Nov 2018

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Topic revision: r4 - 21 Nov 2018 - 13:15:02 - StephenQuinney
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