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March 2005 Archives

March 10, 2005

Welcome to the OIT SysCore Blog

Welcome! The purpose of this blog is to discuss technical changes and other things of interest to the SysCore group, other OIT administrators, and the UMBC community. The SysCore group handles a wide variety of systems and projects, such as the campus portal (myUMBC), Blackboard servers, identity managment system, AFS fileservice, central web servers, and email service. Other, less widely used systems, include the Oracle Calandar service, the Remedy trouble-ticket system, central research computing resources (titan & hercules), and general shell login service. In our remaining free time, we also maintain open source software distributions that are used througout campus.

As it turns out, since we're always busy doing this and that, our communication -- both within our group and to those outside -- has been lacking. This is an attempt to address that.

March 16, 2005

Sun Studio 10

The new Sun Studio 10 compilers are installed for for Solaris Sparc > 8, and Solaris x86 10, in /afs/ These are linked from /opt on sys-core administered machines.

March 23, 2005

And so we begin: The AFS server overhaul.

For the past three to four years or so, the AFS servers which house and serve all UMBC users' UNIX home directories, email, and personal web pages have been operating on a mix of Sun UltraSPARC and x86-based hardware platforms running Solaris 8 and Linux. Each server has its own direct-attached SCSI-based storage array, each containing 8 drives of various sizes. Host-based software RAID has kept drive failures from becoming a visible issue to the users whose home volumes are stored on a particular server.

Four years is a fairly respectable period of time for a service to be running non-stop like that. Naturally, though, technology and physical wear and tear progresses to the point where it becomes advantageous to seek out a upgrade before the old gets too old and catastrophic failure becomes a distinct possibility and resident boogeyman.

Continue reading "And so we begin: The AFS server overhaul." »

March 24, 2005

license1 upgrade

"" has been upgraded to (a variant of) Redhat Enterprise 3. Meaning, the magical 'gendisk' system has been upgraded to generate a working
disk image of RHEL3. There are, however, some caveats.

RedHat is nice to put a lot of odd patches into their kernel -- significantly, the
"audit" subsystem and a backport of Thread Local Storage. As we use stock kernels
on our servers, and there aren't very good patches for these around, we don't have them built into our kernel.
The audit subsystem ain't no thang, as a link (created by devfs, of course) to /dev/null for /dev/audit seems to satisfy their libraries instances in being able to write audit records when people log in. TLS, as well, is not a problem, as moving aside the TLS-aware libc/pthread libraries seems to clear this up.

In the end, it's suffice to say that this admin is now officially only using redhat under duress. If your linux distro can't handle users putting a "stock"
kernel on it elegantly, your linux distro ain't my distro.

March 25, 2005 disk failure's system disk was periodically timing out on SCSI commands, and was replaced this morning.

March 28, 2005

Remedy (

jarjar, the remedy server, was down due to a fail(ing|ed) disk this morning from 7:50am until approximatly 9:30am. The server was power-cycled, and the machine
came up cleanly. A replacement disk has been ordered, and it will be replaced.

About March 2005

This page contains all entries posted to OIT SysCore in March 2005. They are listed from oldest to newest.

April 2005 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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