22 November 2007

SRM2.2 deployment workshop - day 2 summary

OK, time to finish off my summary of the workshop; I'll try not to take as long this time.

After a great conference dinner (and amazing speech!) in the George Hotel, I made sure I was in NeSC early on the Wednesday morning to check everything was in working order after the power cut from the previous night. Unfortunately, there were a few gremlins in the system. First of all, a circuit breaker had gone, meaning that only half of the tutorial machines had power, and of those, only half of them had networking. At that point, the hands-on session was basically dead in the water. Fortunately, a University spark (that means electrician) appeared out of nowhere and flicked the switch. A quick reboot and all of the machines came back up - phew! I then had to spend a bit of time reconfiguring a few nodes which the developers had been set loose on; using virtual machines here would definitely have helped, but when I tried this prior to the workshop, the machines at NeSC were really struggling (I've already recommended that they upgrade their hardware). Anyway, the tutorials started and people were able to log on, configure some SRM2.2 spaces and run some client commands as a check. It helped to have the tutorial hand-out that I had prepared along with the dCache and DPM developers (thanks Timur + Sophie).

So far, so good, but disaster wasn't far away as the NeSC firewall had been reset overnight meaning that the tutorial machines could no longer speak to the top-level BDII in the physics department. This was discovered after a quick debug session from Grid guru Maarten Litmaath and the firewall rules were fixed. Unfortunately, this broke wireless connectivity for almost everyone in the building! By far, this was the worst thing that could happen at a Grid meeting - everyone was starting to foam at the mouth by lunch. To be honest, this was the best thing to happen as it meant there were no distractions from the tutorial - something to remember for next time I think ;)

The afternoon kicked off with a discussion about the the rigourous testing that the different SRM2.2 implementations have gone through to ensure they conform to the spec and are able to inter-operate. Things look good so far - fingers crossed in production it reamins the same. We then had a short sessiona about support as this is the latest big thing to talk about with regards to storage. The message that I would give to people is that make sure you stay involved in the community that we have built up; contribute to the mailing list (dpm-user-forum@cern.ch was announced!) and add to the wikis and related material that is on the web. It's really important that we help one another and not constantly pester the developers (although there help will still be needed!). The final session of the workshop talked about the SRM client tools and changes that have been made to them to support SRM2.2. Clearly, sites should have a good working relationship with these tools as they will be one of the mains weapons to check that SRM2.2 configuration is working as expected.

So that's it, the end of the SRM2.2 deployment workshop. I think everyone (well, most) enjoyed their time in Edinburgh and learnt a lot from each other. The hands-on proved a success and this should be noted for future events. Real data is (hopefully!) coming in 2008 so we had better make sure that the storage is prepared for it so that the elusive Higgs can be found! Remember, acting as a community is essential, so make sure that you stay involved!

See you next time.

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