hardware and package builds

Kris Kennaway kris at FreeBSD.org
Sun Nov 4 15:23:44 PST 2007

Royce Williams wrote:
> Kris Kennaway wrote, on 11/4/2007 2:40 AM:
>> That is no problem, even on single CPU machines I run concurrent builds
>> since it turns out to be more efficient.  In the past we have even used
>> 14 CPU e4500 machines for package builds although they all died from
>> hardware failure.
> I'd like to put some time and money where my mouth is on package builds.
> To summarize a couple of threads and off-list exchanges:
> - A 4x 450MHz Ultra 80 would be good for sparc64 package builds, and
> all of the CPUs would be useful.
> - There are more machines used by the project than there is space to
> comfortably host them, so remote hosting is needed.
> - If more packages were working and built more often, and if
> freebsd-update was available for sparc64, the overall "health" of the
> platform would be improved.
> Based on the above, here are some proposed actions and associated
> questions.
> System: I am willing to buy a 4x U80 for myself and make it available
> to the project for package builds.  Shipping to Alaska is a bear, so
> once the deal goes down, if any other donors could chip in to get it
> shipped here, I would appreciate it.  I don't want to do this,
> however, unless it will actually be useful -- and used.  Will it?

All other factors being satisfied, yes.

> Alternate system: IIRC from a couple of years ago, the unsupported
> onboard SCSI controller in my Ex500 machines prevented me from easily
> making them available to the project.  What is the status of the
> needed (esp?) driver port from NetBSD?

Yeah esp has been supported for several years now, and I have personal 
experience with e4500 systems.

> Disk: How much disk will be needed for package builds, and what
> configuration will reduce turnaround time?

The build machines should have at least 20GB, preferably 40GB or so. 
Much larger amounts of disk will not be efficiently used.  To cut down 
on network traffic, somewhere local to the machine should be an FTP 
mirror which would be configured to mirror a distfiles tree.

> Remote access: I will ask my employer if we can host the U80 on work
> premises and provide remote access.  Kris, I assume that your needs
> haven't changed since this post?
> http://lists.freebsd.org/mailman/htdig/freebsd-sparc64/2004-August/001961.html

Basically, yes.  The current status of FreeBSD/sparc64 appears to be 
somewhat degraded, so it is likely that frequent reboots and/or kernel 
debugging may be needed.  That will be easiest accomplished if there is 
at least a serial console available remotely.

> Load/use: How much daily/hourly load would the system see?  I assume
> that ports are built on a rolling basis (as they're updated) between
> release cycles, and that there's a big push to prepare an entire
> package set for a given release?

They are built continuously, so the machine would be in use basically 
24/7.  Sometimes there are delays when one package set finishes building 
and before another one starts, but we try to minimize that downtime.

> Tools: I've only just now discovered and started to try to grok
> ports/Tools/portbuild/scripts/*, so I have some catching up to do to
> even understand scope here.  What other recommended reading is there?

There is an article in the website documentation that gives some 
overview of how these scripts are used.  Mark also has private notes 
about the care and feeding of the build system, but I don't know if 
these are ready for sharing.


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