Tuesday, June 29, 2010

OpenOffice, Evolution & Benchmarks

The week has been busy and it's only Tuesday. Here are updates on my current projects.

Migration to 64bit Linux is complete and things are working pretty well. Even with 100 users, OOo opens in about 2-4 seconds, nice. I was able to confirm that indeed there is a nasty memory leak when using the Start Center and have submitted a bug report and valgrind information. The short term work around was just to install enough memory to cover the leak. Hopefully someone will be able to look at it soon.

We migrated the rest of the users to SLED 11/SP1 and things appeared to be working well initially. We then started getting reports of Evolution crashing during peak loads. After some investigation it was determined that we are having the same problem that we did with OpenOffice -- having too many people to run the 32bit release. You basically run out of 'low' memory even though when viewing 'top' you perceive of no memory problem. When low memory is exhausted, it begins picking processes and zapping them with oom-killer. I have the servers configured to make them super easy to migrate, so we downloaded 64bit SLED 11 and it's already installed and working on another box. I'm testing Evolution and mime types, and all we have to do tomorrow is just backup /home for everyone and move it over and change IPs. Everyone then instantly is on a new server.

Benchmarks & New Server
The one area of our computing infrastructure that is growing the fastest is the use of Firefox/browsing. More than ever it's being used for data retrieval, videos and downloads. We also are purchasing some new software that might make heavy use of Java and we wanted to ensure the best possible performance; so using budgeted monies we ordered a new server.

The new server finally arrived this week. It's got 8 CPus each with 6 cores. I took a shot of 'top' below so you can see what it looks like. I had to pick 6 point font just to get the CPUs all to display. :)

One of the things that we do when these new servers arrive is hook up with our good friends working on OpenOffice and give them a chance to try and set a new compile world record. This is done before the server is placed into production and when they are finished we move it inside our firewalls and reload the operating system. So in the coming days, hopefully we will get some interesting information concerning just how fast this new server runs.


jorge said...

Hah, that top screenshot is ridiculous, must be fun to play with that kind of hardware!

Dave Richards said...

@jorge: I know, I had to post that picture because it's just crazy. We actually consume far less tax dollars than other cities. With basically no desktop costs, all we have to buy are servers; and we are only doing so every 5 years now. I'll let everyone know how it runs!

Dave Richards said...

I also wanted to mention in case anyone is considering running Evolution on a server in this manner: 32 bit Linux will get you to about 170 concurrent users running 2.28 before the failures occur.

Anonymous said...

What make and model server??

Dave Richards said...

There server is a HP ProLiant DL785 G6 8439SE 2.8GHz Six Core 4P 64GB ICE Rack Server (AM438A). We will be running it for 5 years, and got it for a lower price than list price on the web. I would expect to have around 200 concurrent Firefoxs open in the coming months.