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The Dice Project

Operational Meeting

Minutes of the meeting held on Wednesday 9th July 2014 in IF-2.33

Ross Armstrong, Richard Bell, Lindsey Brown, Roger Burroughes, Chris Cooke, Carol Dow, Alison Downie, Graham Dutton, Stephen Quinney, Iain Rae, Gordon Reid, George Ross (convener and minutes), Alastair Scobie, Craig Strachan
  1. Minutes of the last meeting

    These were accepted.

  2. Actions and blog articles

    Actions discussed:

    Actions added:

    Actions completed:

  3. Report from Computing Executive Group

  4. Reports from units

  5. Topics for discussion

    1. Discuss individual points raised by Computing structure discussions

      It was felt that it would be better to advertise beforehand the intention to discuss this. Alastair will schedule and announce.

    2. New time for TDM

      Craig will organise a ?doodle poll.

    3. Default partition layout for EL7

      This provoked some discussion beforehand in the chatroom. The following points were raised at the meeting:

      • Stephen circulated some initial thoughts in advance of the meeting.
      • There are genuine security benefits from changing, not least to do with filesystem auditing, which would be expected to trump most negative aspects of the changes.
      • It might make sense to add a separate audit partition, as is already done for the ssh servers.
      • Tighter mount options would be a good thing to have. We do need to be able to run things out of /var though. And would nodev preclude sockets?
      • We really do want to try to move things out of /tmp where possible. (Credentials-caches come to mind.)
      • Breaking things down into smaller chunks would however bring more points of failure, as it wouldn't then be possible for space usage to be pooled. This was thought less important than the benefits a change would bring, however.
      • Another motivation is the desire to be able to log in to a system with a filled partition in order to be able to diagnose and recover it. At the moment, some full-partition failures make this impossible.
      • The change will be brought in only as part of the EL7 (or whatever) upgrade. It won't be part of SL6. (Aside: SL6.5 will be going out before the start of the next semester.)
      • Would labs need to be different from single-user desktops?
      • We might be able to provide a personal /tmp through pam. Would this be desirable?
      • AFS cache-needs vary. Some machines need a large cache, which can then be painful at boot time. Some need hardly any at all.
      • Stephen will do a survey of existing partition usage and disc sizes.
      • 160Gb looks to be about the minimal required disc size. Do we have any machines with smaller (that we do expect to upgrade to SL7 rather than just recycle)?
      • What's the difference between /var/tmp and /tmp? Could they become one and the same? Or do we want to maintain different tmpwatch policies?
      • The suggestions are for the default layout. Things will continue to be tunable as needed.
      • Should we adjust the non-root creation threshold? Up? Or down?
      • For desktops, the intention is that the root partition should be big enough to absorb additional packages and bloat that inevitably come along through the release's lifetime.
      • Stephen will revise and expand the document, adding some reasoning, and then recirculate for further discussion.
      • ALL to think about the issues, and pass any more thoughts to Stephen.
  6. Items for the Computing Systems blog

    (None suggested.)

  7. AOCB

    How is commercialisation to be supported in South College Street?

    As regards FH and Wilkie, the intention is that these will be run as virtual parts of Appleton Tower, with all the usual AT VLANs/subnets in place. This is intended to make migrating out and back in again easier.

  8. Next meeting

    The next meeting will be on 23rd July 2014 at 10:00, in IF-4.31, chaired by Craig.

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