Skip to the Main Content

Note:These pages make extensive use of the latest XHTML and CSS Standards. They ought to look great in any standards-compliant modern browser. Unfortunately, they will probably look horrible in older browsers, like Netscape 4.x and IE 4.x. Moreover, many posts use MathML, which is, currently only supported in Mozilla. My best suggestion (and you will thank me when surfing an ever-increasing number of sites on the web which have been crafted to use the new standards) is to upgrade to the latest version of your browser. If that's not possible, consider moving to the Standards-compliant and open-source Mozilla browser.

August 19, 2014

Golem V

For nearly 20 years, Golem has been the machine on my desk. It’s been my mail server, web server, file server, … ; it’s run Mathematica and TeX and compiled software for me. Of course, it hasn’t been the same physical machine all these years. Like Doctor Who, it’s gone through several reincarnations.

Alas, word came down from the Provost that all “servers” must move (physically or virtually) to the University Data Center. And, bewilderingly, the machine on my desk counted as a “server.”

Obviously, a 27” iMac wasn’t going to make such a move. And, equally obvious, it would have been rather difficult to replace/migrate all of the stuff I have running on the current Golem. So we had to go out shopping for Golem V. The iMac stayed on my desk; the machine that moved to the Data Center is a new Mac Mini

The new Mac Mini
side view
Golem V, all labeled and ready to go
  • 2.3 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 (8 logical cores, via hyperthreading)
  • 16 GB RAM
  • 480 GB SSD (main drive)
  • 1 TB HD (Time Machine backup)
  • 1 TB external HD (CCC clone of the main drive)
  • Dual 1 Gigabit Ethernet Adapters, bonded via LACP

In addition to the dual network interface, it (along with, I gather, a rack full of other Mac Minis) is plugged into an ATS, to take advantage of the dual redundant power supply at the Data Center.

Not as convenient, for me, as having it on my desk, but I’m sure the new Golem will enjoy the austere hum of the Data Center much better than the messy cacophony of my office.


I did get a tour of the Data Center out of the deal. Two things stood out for me.

  1. Most UPSs involve large banks of lead-acid batteries. The UPSs at the University Data Center use flywheels. They comprise a long row of refrigerator-sized cabinets which give off a persistent hum due to the humongous flywheels rotating in vacuum within.
  2. The server cabinets are painted the standard generic white. But, for the networking cabinets, the University went to some expense to get them custom-painted … burnt orange.
Custom paint job on the networking cabinets.
Posted by distler at August 19, 2014 3:05 PM

TrackBack URL for this Entry:   http://golem.ph.utexas.edu/cgi-bin/MT-3.0/dxy-tb.fcgi/2762

15 Comments & 0 Trackbacks

Re: Golem V

If the flywheels are what I think they are, they aren’t all that big, and they’re made out of carbon fiber to save weight, counter-intuitively. They make up for it by rotating very fast—25,000 RPM if I recall correctly.

Posted by: Adam Rice on August 19, 2014 5:50 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Flywheels

As I read the spec sheet, each of those cabinets weighs 7,144 kg (15,750 lbs), most of which (I expect) is flywheel.

They also hum rather ominously, a “feature” not mentioned in the Press Release.

Posted by: Jacques Distler on August 19, 2014 6:16 PM | Permalink | PGP Sig | Reply to this

Flywheels

Some further Googling seems to reveal that the flywheels in question are of a more conventional nature, rotating at 8000 RPM.

Posted by: Jacques Distler on August 20, 2014 12:32 PM | Permalink | PGP Sig | Reply to this

Re: Golem V

Wow, that specced-out Mac Mini must have cost a fortune. To save money, I would just get a Lenovo ThinkCenter M92p, which is the same size as a Mac Mini.

Must be nice getting rich off that string theory stuff! Good deal, man. Right on! Keep Austin Weird! Hey man, has string theory even calculated anything to do with our universe yet? I’m just curious.

Posted by: TheEdge on August 19, 2014 9:14 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

I want me some ‘o that $@!#

Wow, that specced-out Mac Mini must have cost a fortune.

A bit over $1400.

Not mentioned above, but pretty necessary if you want VNC to be usable, was one of these.

To save money, I would just get a Lenovo ThinkCenter M92p, which is the same size as a Mac Mini.

Umh …

  1. Nominally the same size, but not (AFAICT) rack-mountable. The Mac Mini fits in a 1U rack.
  2. Even if it were rack-mountable, it would cost more if comparably configured.
  3. But, of course, it can’t be comparably configured.
    • The 2-core i5 is much slower, for the present purpose, than the 4-core i7.
    • I don’t think it can accommodate dual ethernet NICs (correct me if I’m wrong). Which is something you absolutely need at the Data Center.
  4. It doesn’t run MacOSX. ‘Nuf said.

Must be nice getting rich off that string theory stuff! Good deal, man. Right on! Keep Austin Weird! …

Whatever you’re smoking, I want some.

Posted by: Jacques Distler on August 20, 2014 1:17 AM | Permalink | PGP Sig | Reply to this

Re: I want me some ‘o that $@!#

Alright, you sound like you know what you’re talking about. There are so many untrustworthy opinion about the OSX vs Windows choice.

Why is the fact that it doesn’t run MacOSX important? Is MacOSX considerably more stable? Is it the Unix? What are the benefits, for you, that you cannot get on Windows, for example?

Hey man, you want some? You have the entire hippie capital of Texas at your disposal!

Posted by: TheEdge on August 20, 2014 10:21 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: I want me some ‘o that $@!#

Is it the Unix?

Yes.

Posted by: Jacques Distler on August 20, 2014 11:44 AM | Permalink | PGP Sig | Reply to this

Re: I want me some ‘o that $@!#

Care to elaborate on the Unix part? I admit, I’m a Unix noob!

Posted by: TheEdge on August 20, 2014 12:22 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: I want me some ‘o that $@!#

I guess the 480 GB SSD was not bought from Apple?

At least at the moment, I see only 1 x or 2 x 256 GB SSD options in the Apple Store …

Posted by: Martin on August 31, 2014 3:49 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: I want me some ‘o that $@!#

I guess the 480 GB SSD was not bought from Apple?

Correct. For that matter, neither was the RAM purchased from Apple.

Posted by: Jacques Distler on August 31, 2014 4:18 PM | Permalink | PGP Sig | Reply to this

Re: Golem V

The current version of Mac mini a bit outdated. People were hoping it would get Haswell chips but it looks like it’s not going to happen. Now people are hoping it will get Broadwell chips. Also an update to Iris integrated graphics (which works great on my Macbook pro) would help a lot. Otherwise a fine machine.

Posted by: JJ on August 20, 2014 11:51 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Golem V

Will you be doing the ice bucket challenge and nominate a fellow UT Austin physics professor? I hope so!

Posted by: Bobby on August 24, 2014 11:49 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Golem V

What’s your security setup, i.e., do you have a dedicated firewall?

Posted by: Martin on August 31, 2014 3:42 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Firewall

I’m using IPFW. I thought about trying to convert to PF, but decided to postpone that. If I understand correctly, Yosemite removes IPFW entirely, in favour of PF.

Posted by: Jacques Distler on August 31, 2014 4:10 PM | Permalink | PGP Sig | Reply to this

Re: Golem V

so, it’s not a NeXT computer anymore… was it GOLEM I?

Is there somewhere a NS 2.1 running slab ou Cube?

Posted by: Raymond Lutz on September 8, 2014 8:43 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Post a New Comment