Chameleon Changelog for November 2021

Dear Chameleon users,

Happy post-SC! At Chameleon we spent much of this month supporting various cool/wacky things during SC21. In particular, Chameleon participated in the IndySCC competition, providing both hardware and some tooling to pull real-time power usage metrics into a Grafana display, so the competing teams could see how their power efficiency stacked up as the competition proceeded. You can read more about the competition in our writeup on the Chameleon blog!

But! We also had some time to put together some nice changes to the testbed. Enjoy!

New edge devices for CHI@Edge! We scoured the globe and managed to secure some of what appears to be the last edge devices that will make it through the supply chain for a little bit. These little things are in high demand! 10 more Jetson Nanos and 5 more Raspberry Pi 4s have been setup and installed for your edge experimentation! They have the same setup as the prior devices we seeded the testbed with and you can find out more about them on our edge hardware page.

Show me the receipts! Or, a new way to see your allocation usage. Who doesn't love looking at bank statements? That's what we had in mind when we dreamed up a new interface for you to view your allocation usage. With the new system, you'll be able to get more specifics about when and how your allocation was charged, so you can understand your usage a bit better. We'll be rolling this out slowly over the next month as we replace the older system. You can read more about it here in our documentation.

Frequently asked edgy questions. Over time there have been a few common issues or questions we've noticed on the chameleon-edge-users group, and there is now a handy addition to the CHI@Edge documentation: a FAQ! Here you can find answers to some of the most pressing questions of our day, or at least the ones that you might think of when using the testbed.

BIOS boosters hate this! One weird trick to access the new Optane nodes. Last month we installed lots of new hardware to the CHI@UC site, including a few with Intel Optane (NVDIMM) memory. These nodes are different than the ones we've had on Chameleon prior: they require a UEFI boot system rather than BIOS. Never mind what this means for us, but what it means for you, the researcher, is that you must use a newer version of our base images if you want to use these nodes! Specifically, CC-Ubuntu18.04 and CC-Ubuntu20.04 have UEFI boot support, and we're working on porting it to our CentOS images as we speak. In the future we'll be looking into doing more with UEFI, which we hope will lead to faster provision times.

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