It’s alive! ketch is powered up

5 02 2009

Ketch lives!
About six months ago, it became pretty apparent that boomer‘s newest brother, guardian, wasn’t going to be enough to bring the load off the main server, and that applications needed to be shifted off boomer soon. The paired 80gig SATA drives were getting full – it was time to expand the cluster.

Because homeport is a community cluster, I couldn’t just go to the CTO and requisition up another couple servers. One of our community members coughed up a little cash, thereby setting a budget, and I was off. After much ebaying and craigslisting, I came home with a pair of Penguin Computing Relion 130 1U servers. These were pulled out of a computation cluster, and were missing some small parts (one had no fans in it, and between the two of them they only had 2 40gig drives), but the price was right, the CPU oomph was good (dual Xeon 2gig CPUs), and the budget allowed for further upgrades.

Last week I got the final parts and did the assembly last weekend. ‘ketch’ here is the first machine assembled and loaded, and so far things are going fine. I moved the 2 40gig drives into this machine, and set up RAID-1 mirroring. ‘ketch’ will be an application server, taking the load off ‘boomer’ (which is only an AMD Sempron 2400+). The real kicker load wise was that I’m now deploying Tomcat based applications, and boomer just can’t handle big Java footprints and still manage 20-30 users comfortably.

‘ketch’ will stay here until configuration is done. I still have to build ‘dock’, which is an identical machine, except for a pair of 500gig drives that, once mirrored, will act as homeport’s NFS and MySQL server, further unloading boomer. We have dozens of Drupal sites running now, and the MySQL traffic is pretty hefty.

I haven’t made the final decision on directory services. There’s more and more pressure to just knuckle under and use NIS, certainly the easiest and best-known mechanism for replicating user information around a cluster, though I still hold out hope of a central LDAP based authentication / authorization system.

I hope to have ‘dock’ configured in the next week or two, and once they’re both ready, they’ll be shipped off to our colo facility for installation, bringing our homeport-specific server count to 4 (6 if you count 2 other machines that we share services with).

Pretty durned cool.

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