Monday, March 19, 2012

Infrastructure Upgrades

As I have mentioned previously, the new GNOME servers are live and are considered "in production". I have been doing a small amount of final tuning, but really they're running beautifully. The big areas of customization beyond base OpenSuse were 1) file cleanups; lots of software leave behind files mostly in /tmp. A single user would not have any problems, but with hundreds of users it becomes unwieldy. 2) Flushing Cache; each morning I force a sync and then force all cache to disk. Certain processes seem to leak and this frees lots of memory for user processes each day. 3) User process cleanups; certain software packages leave behind errant or stray processes. No big deal with one person, but add up quickly with many users.

I'm back on infrastructure upgrades again. In the time since the last specifications were drawn, we've had a lot of new requests. Now that we're pushing all thin client updates from the server; I have started the process of simplifying screens as they appear on the thin clients. They only display for a few seconds on first reboot after update and are not seen by employees nor IT staff. They would only be used for troubleshooting.

The UI work has been done mostly in our "support portal" software. The screens below are my works in progress, please no UI nazi type comments. :) I'm placing widgets and working through the flow; but it's starting to work. One new requirement is the ability to have dual monitors each in their own resolution and possibly in differing orientation. Previously, we would only allow dual screens in the same resolution. This requires a change in the UI for configuring and then the thin clients had to be modified to understand how to accept all of these new settings. The show below shows the thin client screen as seen by our support staff that allows them to configure monitors. It will eventually poll the devices too and obtain information concerning types of cables used and manufacturer of hardware.

The Configuration tab will obtain information about the thin client, and allow you to configure it's function/purpose. It now also will allow you to configure a local RDP application. This feature will allow users to connect right to specialized point of sale type software without first connecting to the GNOME desktop. Some of our sites have users that move around frequently between devices and assist citizens, and this will help them in that process. I'm also exploring ideas to indicate to our support staff that the thin client is on the latest release. Mockup shows a thumbs down.

We're storing lots of data concerning alerts and authentications and now when you review a thin client, it shows you all of this activity regardless of specific user. This will help us find trends where a certain device is having problems. Pinched networking cables? Bad UPS? We should be able to find it easier with this data.

On the thin client side; after reboot with an operating system upgrade the UI will display the settings that were pushed from the server for 10 seconds and then reboot and use them. This is done in the wee hours of the morning and never seen;

This very simple screen shows the current thin client settings for the monitors:

Here the simple thin client UI has received the settings for running a local RDP application

This is the new UI that users see when the thin clients are powered. As before they were able to log into two GNOME desktop servers (A and B). But the circled space shows the local RDP application that displays when configured. If they don't have access to an application from their workstation, this area grays out.

Other things that I have done in the new thin client build: * Disabled XZap (Alt-Control-Backspace), * Fixed an issue with HP 5745s where the CPU was running through the code so fast that some data was not being saved correctly on update, * Continued adding support for this to work on VMWare.

I pushed an early alpha release out for testing by the end users and now am going to continue adding the rest of the features that we wanted to include in the upgrade.

I also have continued to QA LibreOffice with some beta testers and tracked and reviewed Evolution crashers on SLED 11.

1 comment:

Redspect said...

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