Another Look at the Servers - December 22, 2008


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As a holiday special for all the real nerds out there, here's yet another look at our server closet (and our auxiliary room 329 where we keep extra stuff that doesn't quite yet fit). Photos/text by Matt Lebofsky.

(click on images for larger versions)

These first couple of stills are from a cheap digital video camera (hence the poor quality) - and the rest using a slightly better standard digital camera. Anyway.. here's the last shot before Jeff and I started dismantling the Network Appliance NAS which was taking up the whole middle rack. It's been a solid server for many, many years, but it's old now and spatially inefficient at this point in time - it takes up a third of our closet by only provides 3% of the total storage. Plus its drives are failing at an increasing rate (the ones that have white labels on them).
Famous last words.
So we emptied the rack thus leaving many usable, adjustable shelves (yay!) - on which we started adding or rearranging servers. At top is server "anakin" (the scheduling server). In the middle is "worf" - a new head/expansion unit donated by Overland Storage - giving us about 6 Terabytes of storage (3 TB when RAIDed) which we are flooding with raw data as I type this up.
A better look at the bottom of the middle rack, which contains another Overland Storage expansion unit, which we are glomming onto our current workunit storage server "gowron" (the remainder of which occupies the bottom of the rightmost rack).
Left rack, top to bottom: Nothing really interesting at the top - administrative solaris box (yeah, we still have some Sparcs around here), kvm, and a couple switches. Then a Dell server "isaac" (which serves the BOINC web site and other BOINC development stuff), then "bruno" (the upload server) sitting on top of its own 12-drive fibre-attached storage (those green LEDs flicker as results get uploaded). That solid gray thing is a shelf. Under that is "ptolemy" which has 16 drives - about 12 TB of storage - and is functionally replacing that NetApp rack by itself. Barely visible underneath that is a 1U server "bane" which handles half the workunit downloads, and another shelf. Then the two big science database servers, "bambi" (the secondary) and "thumper" (the primary, as well as current raw data storage server - there's 48 drives in that thing). At the bottom, sitting on a couple UPS's, is our hot-swap enclosure where raw data fresh from Arecibo gets mounted and copied elsewhere.
Right rack, top to bottom: Another switch, then Eric's Hydrogen mapping server "ewen" and its secondary storage array. Under that is CPU server "lando" (mostly busy with workunit creation). Then "jocelyn" (the master mysql database server) and its fibre-attached storage array. Under that is a 1U NAS that is used by an affiliated researcher now working mostly on planet finding. That big grey box is our router (to connect us to our own private ISP), and below that is the aforementioned "gowron."
Moving onto room 329.. here's the NetApp now dismantled and sitting in two sad piles, next to up-and-coming CPU server "clarke" which will move into the closet soon.
Elsewhere in the room is a giant rack holding two giant servers "sidious" (on top, the mysql replica server) and "vader" (on bottom, the second download server - among other things). Actually there's a 1U server on sitting on the very top - that's the casper.ssl.berkeley.edu web server maintained by that affiliated project, but housed up here. These and "clarke" are all slated for the closet, thus converting room 329 into a much quieter lab where people might actually want to spend some time.
On the other side of the room is our printer, and underneath the box of paper is CPU server "maul" (treated like a step-child since it is a bit unreliable, but good enough for testing stuff.). Next to that is a seemingly infinite pile of non-standard, unusable rack mounting gear, tossed there in frustration. Under the table is a couple old 3500s and related equipment that we longer use.
And here are more servers we no longer use. Those Suns at the bottom of each pile were the driving force behind SETI classic (the user database server, the science database server, and the upload/download server). We don't have the heart to just toss this into the salvage bins. Anybody wanna buy any of this stuff before we donate it to the Smithsonian?

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