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PACE quarterly maintenance – October ’15

This entry was posted by on Tuesday, 6 October, 2015 at


The PACE team is preparing for our quarterly maintenance that will occur, Tuesday, October 20 and Wednesday, October 21. We have a number of activities scheduled that should provide positive improvements across the board.

  • Major upgrade to DDN & a new scratch storage. This is the flagship activity in this maintenance period. We have negotiated a no-cost upgrade of the DDN infrastructure to add additional performance and ability to expand our DDN storage. In particular, we will be adding a dedicated set of drives to serve as a replacement for our aging Panasas scratch storage. This should more than double the storage available in the scratch filesystem available to campus and provide a substantial performance increase as well. We’ve heard your concerns about scratch, and are doing our best to make improvements in this area.


After the maintenance period, we will begin migrating users to the new scratch storage. This will be a lengthy process, with some user actions and coordination required. We will do our best to minimize the impact of the migration. We are targeting our January maintenance to retire the Panasas storage, as the service contracts expire at the end of December.

  • New PACE router and firewall hardware. This replaces the stalwart router and firewalls that have been the core of our network for the better part of 10 years. Additional redundancy will provide increased protection from datacenter failures and increased firewall capability should result in increased file transfer speed in and out of PACE. Our dual 10-gigabit link to the rest of campus remains unchanged, but the new firewalls should allow us to actually use more of that capacity.
  • Additional core network capacity. Upgrades to 40-gigabit switching in the core of our network provides additional capacity and allows 40-gigabit upgrades to various infrastructure services.
  • Panasas scratch filesystem maintenance. We need to do a filesystem check on a couple of the scratch storage volumes. This should be an innocuous operation, but may take a long time to complete.
  • Migration of home directories. We are replacing the aging servers providing home directories with new high-availability NFS storage. This should be a transparent change. Home directory quotas will not change.
  • Migration of /usr/local storage. We are migrating the location of the /usr/local software repository to a new storage device as the company from whom we purchased the old storage has gone out of business. This should also be a transparent change.
  • Begin transition away from diskless compute nodes. Many of our older nodes currently operate without any local storage. Using old, but tested, disks reclaimed from retired equipment, we will be transitioning as many as possible away from a diskless mode of operation. This is the beginning of a long-running project to fully transition away from diskless nodes.  Apart from more predictable performance of these nodes, this should also be a transparent change.

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