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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Semester Wrap-up: Presentations

I gave three presentations, two workshops on Xen, and several lightning talks this semester. Information about each can be found on the presentations page of the wiki.

posted by Zach at 9:54 am  

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Xen Training at LISA

The training session Wenjin and I gave at LISA went well. We had many more attendees than we originally expected (around 75), which caused us to alter some of our plans, but everything still flowed fairly well. We haven’t yet seen any evaulation information.

After the session, we were interviewed for a blog post on the USENIX website and were mentioned in a post on the blog. The training materials we used have been released under a creative commons license and are available on the xen website.

posted by Zach at 9:45 am  

Friday, October 31, 2008

Autoguilt Status Update

So far this semester, the autoguilt team has assembled some requirements and planning documents as well as writing a bit of code. The code is available on the subversion repository ( and the current version of the main planning document is below.

One or more administrators define who needs to report what to whom by when (and when they need to be reminded/guilted about it).


  • Reports can be submitted via web interface or by responding to a reminder.
  • Reports can have a defined format.
  • Reports can be required from a list of entities including groups and individuals.
    • Two cases: All or x member(s) of a group.
  • Reports can be set to a list of entities including groups and individuals.
  • Reminders can be scheduled relative to due dates (positive or negative) on a per report basis.
  • Reminders can be one of many formats (email, sms, im, twitter, etc.)
  • Due dates can be specified on a recurring basis (see google calendar recurring scheduler).
  • Vacation mode (no reminders for some period of time).
  • Individuals can be assigned roles globally or on a report-by-report basis.
  • Roles consist of a set of permissions.
  • Groups consist of one or more individuals.
  • Reports can be posted to another service.
  • Other services can be checked to see if the report has been submitted.
    • Maybe use tags?


  • How is invalid input handled?


  • Reminders/Submission
    • Mail
      • Incoming
      • Outgoing
    • SMS
      • Incoming
      • Outgoing
    • IM
      • Incoming
      • Outgoing
    • Twitter
      • Incoming
      • Outgoing
  • User Management
    • User Management
      • Preferences
        • Vacation Mode
    • Group
    • Permissions Management
  • Report Format Creation
  • Reminder Scheduling
  • Web Report Management
    • Submission
    • Editing
  • Submission Detection (check services to see if it has been submitted)
  • Pipelining (taking submissions and sending them elsewhere)

posted by Zach at 4:30 pm  

Friday, October 31, 2008

Presentations to-date this Semester

I’ve given two presentations so far this semester, “Basic Web Programing and an Alternative” and “Developing with Drupal”. The former covered the basics of PHP and the latter covered Drupal module development (using the management module as an example).

I’ve also given an “Introduction to the Open Source Xen Hypervisor” with Wenjin Hu. See the post about the presentation for more information.

posted by Zach at 4:26 pm  

Friday, October 31, 2008

Xen Training Status Update

Wenjin Hu and I were approached by Stephen Spector and Usenix and will be running a presentation “Introduction to the Open Source Xen Hypervisor” at the upcoming Usenix LISA conference. We did two run-through presentations for small groups in the ITL. Attendees seemed to get a lot out of it, so we have high hopes for the actual presentation.

posted by Zach at 4:22 pm  

Friday, October 31, 2008

Benchvm Status Update

Benchvm development has been put on the back burner for another semester. It’s a project I’d like to see completed, but just haven’t had the time to make a lot of progress on it. The only notable progress this semester was to respecify the config files as follow

Definitions for

  • Installation
  • Tests

Specifications for

  • Machine organization (which guests are installed on which hosts)
  • Tests (which tests are run on which machines)

The project is in dire need of someone willing to take over and get things moving. If anyone is interested, I’d be more than happy to pass along all of my plans and ideas. If I don’t find someone, hopefully I can make progress during break or next semester.

posted by Zach at 4:17 pm  

Friday, October 31, 2008

Docs Status Update

Docs is still running smoothly; it hasn’t had any downtime other than general downtime for power outages and such.

Backups are still being made on a regular basis, and minutes are being uploaded regularly.

A few minor changes were made to information structure (namely adding a “How do I … ?” page and revamping the way the presentations page works).

posted by Zach at 4:13 pm  

Friday, October 31, 2008

SVN Status

A few weeks into the semester, I created a virtual machine to host a subversion server for the labs. Currently there are around half a dozen repositories (for projects, infrastructure and personal use). Backup is still under development.

For full details of the setup and configuration process, see

posted by Zach at 4:04 pm  

Friday, October 31, 2008

Management Status

For a presentation on Drupal I gave earlier this semester, I developed a web-based management system for our production Xen infrastructure. It supports starting, stopping, rebooting, and migrating vms on any number of domain 0s.

The source code is available on the cslabs svn server at (username, password = anonymous).

If you’re reading this, are interested in using it on your own setup, and can’t seem to figure something out, drop me an email or post a comment.

posted by Zach at 3:59 pm  

Friday, May 9, 2008

Server Room Backups and Such

Goals of the backup:

- Backup a Production Blade (dom0)
(Zach) Helium was backed up (locally in the /backups directory, to the server_backups folder on the cosi polaris storage, and to production backups folder on animal)

- Backup Animals root file system
(Zach) Animal was backed up (locally in the /backups directory, to the server_backups folder on the cosi polaris storage, and to production backups folder on animal)

- Backup Righteous’ root file system (or attempt to) & possibly backup Righteous’ old file system
(Matt) Domain 0 and all guests backed up to animal.

- Copy backups (as 2 gb chunks, due to AFS file size restrictions) to COSI’s AFS Space
See above

- Install UPSs for Animal, the Raid Units, Hadoop, Switches, etc.
Will be taken care of another time

- Test configuration for shutdown upon power loss
(Matt) Everything seems to work

- Rewire some of the networking on righteous to include a direct link to the Clarkson switches (not through the blade center) and to the server room network (not through the blade center)
(Matt & Zach) Six wires were run from the switches to the Blade center (four are in use now, two for future expansion)

- Kick blades that don’t need server room network access off of the server room network
(Matt) Blades five and higher were kicked.

Extra things accomplished:
- (???) Disk check on raids A, B, and C of Animal

- (Zach) Hadoop backed up to polaris space

- (Matt) Blade Center Management moved to the internal network

- (Matt) Backed up windows servers

- (Zach) Backed up production and requested images (8) to raidA

- (Zach) Old, unused, images cleaned out (moved to the “old” folder)

- (Zach) All image xen configurations cleaned out and regenerated

- (Zach) Updated docs to reflect changes to which VMs are running

Estimated duration: ~2 hours
Actual duration: >>2 hours

posted by Zach at 3:54 pm  
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