The Outer Limits of Server Maintenance

Today I’m bringing down zanti, our Sun Ultra10 that runs Red Hat Linux 6.2. It’s main job is being a PostgreSQL server. Zanti has been up for 597 days but now it’s time to do some major upgrades. I’ll probably switch it back to Solaris as well since Red Hat no longer supports the Sparc distribution of Linux. All our Intel servers run Red Hat Linux and all our Sparcs (except zanti) run Solaris. The interesting part will be getting a current version of PostgreSQL runnning on it after Solaris 8 is installed. There are no PostgreSQL binaries available for Solaris, so I’ll have to build it from source which is always a pain on Solaris boxes. Overall I’d prefer to stick with Linux. It’s a sad day but, then, zanti always was a misfit.

Random News

Not much to report today. Most of the day was spent debugging C++ code. (if there was a bed here at the office, I’d never need to go home!) Programming in Perl can spoil you really quick. It takes a lot of C or C++ code to do what Perl can do in one or two lines.

The SETI@home server was down for several hours today and, unfortunately for me, the downtime coincided with the completion of about four work units – which apparently got sent to the bit bucket. This caused me to fall back to 7th place on Team Slashdot. I’m confident that I’ll regain 6th place tomorrow though, as I have upgraded the three Windows machines to run the new CLI client instead of the tediously slow GUI version. This change should help them keep up with the Solaris and Linux boxes and provide a gain of several work units per day.


Slashdot mentioned the SETI@home project today and it made me wonder why I haven’t been putting some of my idle processor cycles to work for a good cause. I visited the SETI@home site, downloaded the Linux and Solaris versions of their client programs and now have a PII450/Linux and Ultra10/Solaris box busy processing radio telescope data in their spare time. It seems to take about 60 seconds of file transfer time to keep a machine busy for 5 or 6 hours. I added the SETI@home logo at the bottom of my home page. So if you’re interested in helping out, click it and download a client for your machine. It’s easy to set up and even works on old, clucky platforms like Windows and MacOS.