A Tale of Two Upgrades
Okay, you all know about the big move and upgrade that CCP had planned for the Tranquility cluster, and how it all turned to worms on them, resulting in them giving us a slug of skillpoints each to make up for it. (They mentioned that the CSM signed off on this particular mode of compensation. So, thanks, Mynxee! 🙂 ) I’m sympathetic; just tonight, the development team I work for just managed to properly deploy an important piece of software for the first time in about a month. As with everything else, it’s always the details that come back to bite you in the ass.
But, on the not-so-negative side, I’m fascinated by the description of the technologies involved. In my previous job, I worked for a company that sold high-performance cluster computing systems; Tranquility is just one of those clusters writ large, and the way the EVE server system is structured is one of the more interesting applications of distributed computing I’ve seen. The only thing I can compare it to is Second Life, and EVE’s cluster is just a bit more advanced. SL basically requires that each region, or “sim,” comprising 64K square meters of virtual territory, have its own dedicated CPU core (with some exceptions), while EVE can load multiple lightly-trafficked star systems on a single CPU core, while able to assign heavier-loaded systems to dedicated CPUs, either statically (in the case of Jita et al.) or dynamically (in the case of fleet fight reservations). This allows EVE to run a larger “world” on a smaller cluster. (Admittedly, SL has to cope with high degrees of user-generated content, while EVE does not.) And, looking at that picture, it looks like CCP is putting its equipment in APC racks, just like the ones the company I used to work for assembled and shipped our clusters in!
. . .
Meanwhile, one of the things I was up to in the gap between when we suspended operations in EVE and when we reactivated things, once I had secured gainful employment, was a much-needed program of system upgrades here at the Ralpha Dogs Orderhall. Both my and Selena’s workstations got an almost total overhaul; each of us is now running quad-core, where we were single-core before. Selena is now running an Athlon II X4 630 on a Gigabyte motherboard, while I have the Phenom II X4 955 Black, on an Asus board that turned out to be one of the better motherboards you can get for the money. We went with 4 Gb of RAM each, which is usable by Windows 7 64-bit edition, which replaced Windows XP on our systems. (Mine dual-boots to Ubuntu Lucid Lynx 64-bit as well, which I use for work and for serious hacking.) With the OS upgrades also came drive upgrades; we now each have over a terabyte of disk space at our disposal, divided across three spindles in my case, two in Selena’s. My old 21″ CRT monitor has been replaced by a pair of 21.5″ widescreen LCD displays, HD-quality, driven by a new nVidia GeForce GTS 250 card. The resulting system runs EVE buttery-smooth, with little or no display lag and gorgeous quality. (I’m not done yet; I want to replace the keyboard with a Logitech G19 and the mouse with a Razer Naga. Basically, I want to intimidate the hell out of anyone else that tries to sit down at my desk…)
With well-balanced systems like these, no power in the ‘verse can stop us. Unless it’s another bout of extended downtime… 🙂