Chameleon Changelog for December 2021

Dear Chameleon users,


The massive gears of time lock in another lumbering rotation and we find ourselves just beyond the opening of the year 2022. Hope this message finds all of you well, and best wishes for the new year from all of us at Chameleon! We have some exciting things to kick off this year, so let's just get to it.


Early preview of Trovi Public API! In late 2020 we announced Trovi, the reproducibility platform that enables you to experiment with Chameleon via Jupyter Notebooks, and then package and share your work with others easily. Over the last year Trovi has been used to reproduce various systems experiments, evaluate research artifacts for SOSP'21 and SC'21, and we recently implemented the Daypass feature, which allows anyone to temporarily reproduce an experiment even if they do not have a Chameleon allocation (helpful for conference evaluation in particular!)


We are happy to announce that we are open-sourcing Trovi and working to transform it into a more general-purpose tool for reproducibility! As the first step, we've defined an API specification, which you can read on the early preview documentation site for the Trovi Public API. Later this month we will be standing up a dedicated API service that you can use to query and update the artifact repository. Eventually we will similarly open-source our extensions to Jupyter that make saving and retrieving artifacts to/from Trovi a breeze, so keep tuned for that as well :)


(More) new hardware at CHI@UC! The hardware continues to roll in. We're happy to announce that the Xilinx cards we teased in November are now installed and ready for experimentation at CHI@UC. Two Alveo U280s are attached to nodes P3-CPU-038 and P3-CPU-042; you can also filter for these nodes in our hardware browser by using the advanced filters and finding the "Board Model" option, as shown below.



We've also installed a new consumer SSD into node P3-SSD-010 for additional storage experimentation. There will be more consumer and enterprise SSDs arriving soon, and we'll announce in which nodes they are installed. As a reminder, some of our specialized nodes, such as those containing FPGAs and additional SSDs, carry a higher charge towards your allocation than some of our less "special" hardware.


CHI-in-a-Box point release. In the past months we've been making several refinements to CHI-in-a-Box, the packaging of the Chameleon infrastructure that you can deploy yourself. In particular, we've updated the Quick Start guide with more guidance about how to configure the networking at the host site, which has been a common source of questions. We also integrated support for out of band power monitoring via IPMI, something that was implemented to power the IndySCC competition! On an administrative node, we are trialing GitHub Discussions to answer questions and announce any minor updates to CHI-in-a-Box in the future, so do check that out and ask questions there; operators are standing by. For more details, please refer to the official release page on GitHub!


End of life for CentOS8 appliance. CentOS 8 reaches EOL on December 31, 2021. As CentOS Stream is its successor, we've released a new CC-CentOS8-stream and its CUDA version. They have UEFI boot support and can be used on the new UC nodes. We will keep the CC-CentOS8 and CC-CentOS8-CUDA11 images in the appliance catalog but they will no longer be updated and will not receive improvements to Chameleon-provided tooling.


Other things that happened

  • When reserving stitchable networks, you must now provide a "stitch_provider" constraint on the network reservation request instead of specifying "provider_network"--please refer to the documentation for an example CLI invocation.
  • It is possible to make reservations for any resource without specifying any constraints; in the past this would mean you would get some random hardware item from our inventory, which wasn't ideal because sometimes you could get an ARM architecture node, or something otherwise exotic from your perspective. We've added some different defaults now, so if you make a lease without constraints you'll get one of our "commodity" x86 nodes.
  • Squashed an annoying bug in the Chameleon Jupyter environment where you could get caught in a logout refresh loop!

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