Status of DFly server storage upgrades

Matthew Dillon dillon at
Fri Jul 13 15:26:29 PDT 2018

Last month we did some storage upgrades, particularly of internet-facing
machines for package and OS distribution.  Yesterday we did a number of
additional upgrades, described below.  All using funds generously donated
by everyone!

* The main repository server received a 2TB SSD to replace the HDDs it was
using before.  This will improve access to a number of things maintained by
this server, including the mail archives, and gives the main repo server
more breathing room for repository expansion.  Space was at a premium
before.  Now there's plenty.

* Monster, the quad socket opteron which we currently use as the database
builder and repository that we export to our public grok service ( received a 512G SSD to add swap space for swapcache,
to help cache the grok meta-data.  It now has 600GB of swapcache
configured.  Over the next few weeks we will also be changing the grok
updates to ping-pong between the two 4TB data drives it received in the
last upgrade so we can do concurrent updates and web accesses without them
tripping over each other performance-wise.

* The main developer box, Leaf, received a 2TB SSD and we are currently in
the midst of migrating all the developer accounts in /home and /build from
its old HDDs to its new SSD.  This machine serves developer repos,
developer web stuff, our home page and wiki, etc, so those will become
snappier as well.


Hard drives are becoming real dinosaurs.  We still have a few left from the
old days but in terms of active use the only HDDs we feel we really need to
keep now are the ones we use for backups and grok data, owing to the amount
of storage needed for those functions.

Five years ago when we received the blade server that now sits in the colo,
we had a small 256G SSD for root on every blade, and everything else used
HDDs.  To make things operate smoothly, most of that 256G root SSD was
assigned to swapcache (200G of it, in fact, in most cases).  Even just 2
years ago replacing all those HDDs with SSDs, even just the ones being used
to actively serve data and support developers, would have been cost
prohibitive.  But today it isn't and the only HDDs we really need anywhere
are for backups or certain very large bits of bulk data (aka the grok
source repository and index).  The way things are going, even the backup
drives will probably become SSDs over the next two years.

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