• Welcome to Computer Association of SIUE - Forums.

CAOS' Big OS Upgrade ... for all the Unix junkies

Started by William Grim, 2004-05-17T00:27:08-05:00 (Monday)

Previous topic - Next topic

William Grim

Well, earlier today you might have noticed that CAOS was down.  This was because I did my scheduled upgrade of the CAOS web server at a later than scheduled date ;-)  Come on; it's summer and the weekend.

So anyway, what's really sweet about their upgrade is they now run inside a jail on snow.cs.  This means they get to run their very own virtual server right on snow.cs, meaning they can do pretty much anything they need to do.

For all the technogeeks out there that want to learn what a FreeBSD jail is, check out jail(8) on FreeBSD or check out the online man page at http://www.freebsd.org/cgi/man.cgi?query=jail&apropos=0&sektion=0&manpath=FreeBSD+5.2.1-RELEASE&format=html.

Getting slightly more "real-world-ish", jails can let the admin running the host system have less downtime.  Full OS upgrades can be performed on the OS and software in the jails, and a simple reboot of the jail (taking about 3-5 seconds on snow.cs.. dual P3-800) is amazing for maintenance and uptime.  Basically, it limits any downtime in the host system to a minimum set of circumstances:
1) Hardware failure.  :-(
2) Security upgrade, requiring a host system kernel update and reboot.

Also, you can use these jails to setup OS for friends to use in order to teach them about FreeBSD and administration in general (part of what I plan to do with faculty).  You can also greatly increase your host system security by putting shell users inside a jail and separating them from services on the host system altogether.

By the way,  check out DragonFly BSD if you want to see an OS ramping up to have single-system-images (somewhat similar to MOSIX) and network RAID built right into the kernel.  I have begun development work with that team and plan to do my thesis on something they're doing.  It's based on FreeBSD RELENG_4 (4.x), and it's quite stable for all the changes they're making.  I think first stable release is due in the summer.  Really worth checking out if you're into distributed computing on CPU, I/O, and storage like I am!

Didn't slashdot have a troll saying BSD was dying?  What a tool.  The fun is only just beginning.  :-D
William Grim
IT Associate, Morgan Stanley