Monday, December 8, 2014

The FreeBSD Cluster: Infrastructural Enhancements at NYI

I spent several days on-site at our east-coast US colocation facility in July 2014 and again in November 2014 racking and installing servers that the FreeBSD Foundation purchased for the FreeBSD Project.

This hardware is essential for supporting the FreeBSD Project in a number of ways.  It provides services for public consumption (FTP mirrors, pkg(8) mirrors, etc.), as well as resources that can be used by FreeBSD developers for various tasks, such as building third-party software packages, release building, and miscellaneous (a.k.a, "testbed") development of services for general use.

More Horsepower to Serve and Support the FreeBSD Community

Since July, fourteen machines were purchased for the east-coast US site, generously hosted by New York Internet in Bridgewater, New Jersey.

The servers were purchased with the end-goal being a complete mirror of the primary site on the west-coast US.  The newly-added servers bring the machine count at NYI to sixty-eight total.

Reorganizing for Redundancy

Two of these servers are being used as firewalls, each equipped with four-port Intel(r) NICs.  Both firewalls have direct connections to the switches in all four cabinets at NYI, providing a redundant uplink to each of the four switches so we can reboot either firewall without losing connectivity

Restructuring for Additional Services

November's site visit had two primary goals: install and configure the recent shipment of machines, and reconfigure the network topology behind the firewalls.  Before many of the machines could be brought online, several changes needed to be made to the network.

Each site further separates services behind the firewalls using VLANs, limiting each set of services provided within each VLAN to its own network restrictions.  In order to properly allocate network space for the new machines, several of the VLANs at NYI needed to be redone.

The most publicly-disruptive part of this was reallocating the VLAN that contains the firewalls.  Thanks to Peter Wemm, there were no major service disruptions (aside from a planned simultaneous firewall reboot).

Although not all of these machines have been brought online yet, several of them have been allocated and assigned to the teams that will be using them.

Two machines have been allocated to the FreeBSD Release Engineering Team, one of which was used for the 10.1-RELEASE builds.  Four machines have been allocated to the FreeBSD Ports Management Team, which were brought online and handed over just this week.

FreeBSD, Powered by FreeBSD

If you are like me, words about new hardware do not do as much justice as seeing them.  Enjoy!

new servers - front view
new servers - rear view

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