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 Post subject: Dotsch/UX loads with diskless clients
PostPosted: 15. Apr 2009, 00:33 
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Joined: 03.2009
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Location: Republic of Texas, Central
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Howdy all,

Was wondering if anyone could report there experiences with running how many diskless BOINC clients under a single Dotsch/UX server?

Background:
My server is a Intel Quad that also runs BOINC itself. I now have 6 disk-less clients attached to it and am a bit curious about the HDD load. In the past my dedicated crunchers had any old used HDD I could find for as cheap as possible. I once got 10 8.6GB, 5400rpm ATA66 drives from the 90s off of eBay. I think I still have 1 of those, my brother has several of them. Overtime they slowly got replaced. Mostly with 7200rpm IDE drives in the 10 to 20GB range with a couple 40G drives recently because it's getting harder to find 10s and 20s. The load BOINC seemed to put on them wasn't much and they generally seemed to be good even well past their 10th b'day.

When I first built my Dotsch/UX server I put an IDE 120GB drive (vintage 2004) I had in it. I was focused on space required and not usage load. For some reason I later decided to move the partition /diskless (thankfully I'd made it it's own partition) over to a SATA150 40GB drive (vintage 2006, that I happen to have a pair of). Today it's running with the 120GB as /dev/sda and the 40GB drive as /dev/sdc. /dev/sdc is a single 37GB (by df -hl) ext3 partition that mounts as /diskless.

As soon as I can figure out how to get a PartMagic USB to boot I'll move the 3 partitions (1.5GB swap, 10GB / and 10GB /home, it also has a 90GB unallocated space) off of the IDE 120 and over to another, slightly newer SATA40GB drive I have. The machine will then have 3x 40GB drives physically on it, but for now only two will be plugged in. The OS 40GB drive and the /disk-less 40GB drive (df reports it's at about 50% full with 6 clients on it and each client is attached to 15 BOINC projects). The /disk-less drive could, from a space perspective only, easily handle 6 more clients and probably 7. Which is probably more than I'll ever have.

My mental wanderings are more about the how much can this 40GB drive take in terms of the blinking red light? Access I'm talking about. With 6 clients attached it seems to be in a state of constant blinking.. not quite a steady ON state but the time with it OFF never seems to last more than about a half of a second. I've got two more crunchers I was planning on turning into disk-less clients in the next week or two.

Having no experience with high load servers I am wondering how concerned should I be about this drive just giving up due to a high usage rate. I did some reading on software raid and while I think I could install it one of the drawbacks of software mirroring is that you double the load on the I/O bus which might not be a good thing... I don't really have any idea of how to determine what the load on the bus is... I only see the blinking red HDD access light. There are probably some I/O monitoring tools out in the repositories. I'll start looking at those once I get the 120GB drive cloned over to the 40.

I was hoping someone might be able to share their experiences with running the server with ? clients attached to it? For how long?

Does this application beg for hardware RAID? Would software RAID be OK?

Thanx, Skip

_________________
- da shu @ the BOINC farm, SkipsJunk, Guru Mountain
- BoincDV is on-line! Click HERE
Phillip Warren Anderson works on my RAM & CPU problems


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 Post subject: Re: Dotsch/UX loads with diskless clients
PostPosted: 22. Apr 2009, 05:28 
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Joined: 03.2009
Posts: 66
Location: Republic of Texas, Central
Gender: Male
With 11 multi-core disk-less clients going against md0 (software raid 1 array of sdb & sdc, single partition drives using ext3, mounts as /diskless):

Code:
Linux 2.6.27-11-generic (crunch34)    04/21/2009    _x86_64_

Device:            tps    kB_read/s    kB_wrtn/s    kB_read    kB_wrtn
md0             513.78       103.17      2036.93   12712645  250995012
sdb             159.70        52.74      2040.60    6498545  251447720
sdc             159.58        50.43      2040.60    6214468  251447656

Translated: little red light is nearly always on!

or if you like it in MB instead:

Code:
boinc@crunch34:~$ iostat -md -p /dev/md0  /dev/sdb /dev/sdc
Linux 2.6.27-11-generic (crunch34)    04/21/2009    _x86_64_

Device:            tps    MB_read/s    MB_wrtn/s    MB_read    MB_wrtn
md0             512.81         0.10         1.99      12497     247716
sdb             159.57         0.05         1.99       6381     248163
sdc             159.44         0.05         1.99       6116     248163


Between posts 1 & 2 I got the Dotsch/UX OS off of the 120GB IDE drive and onto a SATA300 40GB drive. I then manged to copy off /diskless to another drive build the two SATA150 40GB drives into a software RAID 1 mirror and load /diskless back to it. Jury is still out on this set up.

_________________
- da shu @ the BOINC farm, SkipsJunk, Guru Mountain
- BoincDV is on-line! Click HERE
Phillip Warren Anderson works on my RAM & CPU problems


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