Chameleon Changelog for July 2021

Dear Chameleon users,


It's hard to believe, but we're once again approaching the tail end of summer, and the start of a new academic year. We've been busy with our "Summer on the Edge", but also have been getting back to our bare metal roots this month. Here's what we've got for you:


Squashing bugs in python-chi. We really appreciate any bug reports filed by users of python-chi, Chameleon's Python API library. To show our appreciation, we spent some time fixing these up for you all! As a reminder, python-chi is pre-installed on all Jupyter notebook servers in Chameleon's shared Jupyter environment, allowing you to perform all of your experiment management via Python/Jupyter.


Very interested in squashing bugs.


Say cheese! Access camera devices on CHI@Edge. This month, we bought some Raspberry Pi camera modules and plugged them into both our Raspberry Pi cameras and Jetson Nanos. While they're not pointed anywhere particularly interesting at the moment, they provide a great testbed environment for experiments involving video capture and streaming. This functionality, like most of CHI@Edge, is in preview and as such is only available via the Python interface; you can find an example in the CHI@Edge user guide; the example shows how to make a reservation for a device with a camera and launch a container that can access the camera device. We're working to expand the set of supported peripherals; we already support attaching the on-board GPUs to Jetson devices, and are working on more types of devices, like Raspberry Pi GPIO and generic USB devices.

Enroll x86 edge nodes on CHI@Edge. Before this month, we had focused on the Jetson and Raspberry Pi platforms, targeting the Jetson Nano and Raspberry Pi 4 specifically. We're happy to announce that we've since expanded support for x86 edge nodes, allowing you to deploy edge nodes of many other standardized platforms.

Restrict edge device reservations to certain projects. When contributing an edge device to CHI@Edge, you may reasonably wonder: what if I and my colleagues need exclusive access for some time? As the device owner, we're making it possible to "lock down" an edge device such that it's only available to certain Chameleon projects. Please ask us if you want to do this, as the capability is only configurable by Chameleon operators; we plan to release it as part of device enrollment in the future.

Improved UI for complex reservations. Over time, we have made more resources on the testbed reservable: while we started with just bare metal nodes, we now support reserving VLANs, public IPs, and now edge devices in advance. The GUI for this functionality wasn't keeping up with the new capabilities, so we rewrote it to accommodate reservations spanning multiple types of resources. Give it a spin! It looks like this now:

Get reminded when your allocation is about to expire. There's nothing worse than getting ready to do some really important work… only to find your Chameleon allocation has run out! We added a new email notification that the PI of the project will receive one month before the allocation will expire, to give you enough time to put in renewal or recharge requests as applicable.

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