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Maintenance Period, 2/17

Because of the system outage that occurred yesterday, some measures were put in place that introduced potential bugs in to the system configuration.  In order to prevent any unplanned outages in the future, we’ll need to take the system offline starting at 8:00pm on Thursday, Feb. 17th in order to make the necessary changes.  This will require stopping all running jobs in the queues as well as terminating all active user sessions on the system.  The maintenance window will last until 12:00am.

Systems that will be affected:

  • Information Technology Website
  • Student Websites and Blogs
  • High-Performance Computing Cluster
  • Several Departmental Websites for the Colleges of Arts and Sciences and Engineering
  • Software License Servers for Research Software

Not all systems will be down during the entire period.  Users should simply expect for any of these services to be unavailable for periods during the maintenance window.  We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and will work quickly to finish our work during the maintenance period.

Maintenance Completed

We have completed the update to blog.usf.edu. Details:

  • Upgraded to WordPress 3.0.1
  • All plugins updated to the latest versions
  • Most themes updated to the latest versions

If you experience any issues with your blog due to the upgrade, please make a support request.

Enjoy the new version!

Maintenance: 9/29/2010 from 9AM to 12PM

blog.usf.edu will be undergoing maintenance on Wednesday, September 29, from 9AM to 12PM for software upgrades. Brief service interruptions can occur during this period. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Login Outage: 03/13 3:30 PM to 03/15 9:00 AM

Due to an outage on one of the systems that service NetID, blog.usf.edu was not able to handle login requests. That problem has been resolved, and the blog.usf.edu login page is now able to handle NetID system failures more gracefully. Please contact the helpdesk at help@usf.edu if there are any problems. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.

Syntax Highlighting Plugin Added

Since we were on a roll, we installed an additional plugin to make software code examples in blog posts more readable using the “Syntax Highlighter and Code Prettifier” plugin.

The instructions for use are available here.

Spring Break 2010 Upgrades

We are happy to announce that blog.usf.edu has been upgraded, offering many new features to our users.

  • Flickr Plugin- supports insertion of Flickr account photos into posts as well as hosting galleries
  • Picasa Plugin- supports insertion of Picasa photos from any publicly-accessible account
  • Twitter Plugin- Can add a twitter feed to the sidebar of your blog
  • Share This Plugin- Adds a link to each blog post, allowing Share This users to quickly distribute links to your post to social networking sites in a few clicks
  • ‘Pretty’ Permalink Support- Allows your post URL to take the form of  http://netid.blog.usf.edu/2010/03/11/blog-post instead of http://netid.blog.usf.edu/?p=25
  • File Uploads- Limited to 10MB, since we recommend use of Flickr and Picasa instead

You can activate the new plugins in the ‘Plugins’ menu on the left side of your Dashboard. Permalinks can be changed in the ‘Settings’ Menu.

As always, send an email to help@usf.edu if you have any questions/problems. Happy blogging!

Embedding of Flash Video Supported

The blog.usf.edu system by default did not allow insertion of flash videos (YouTube, etc) into blog posts. Today we have enabled that feature due to the requests of users. Thank you for the feedback and enjoy the new feature!

NOTE: Just as a reminder, blog.usf.edu content must comply with the USF Network Access Agreement.

More Themes Added

When blog.usf.edu initially launched, we provided all of the WordPress Featured themes, which was a very small but solid set of themes. Today we installed and activated an additional set of themes. Go and check them out!

As time goes on, we will continue to add more themes to support other possible uses of blog.usf.edu- as a video blogging (vlogging) or photo gallery platform for students in the visual arts, for example.

We encourage feedback from our users. Feel free to leave a comment!

System Specifications

Its not often that IT puts out information on the systems that run the various services on campus, but I figured it would be fun to post this to satisfy the geeks among us.

The IT High-Availability Linux Cluster is responsible for running the following services for the university:

  • File services via NFS for the High-Performance computing resources (Beowulf clusters) and via Samba for access from Windows-based workstations
  • NIS services for system authorization, group management, and other system services
  • GridEngine for managing jobs on the High-Performance computing resources
  • Software License services
  • Apache web server and MySQL database for student and faculty web sites, departmental web sites (including IT, Research Computing, Clean Energy Research Center, etc.), and this fancy WordPress MU installation

So, you’re probably wondering what kind of hardware we’re running all of this stuff on… Well, the cluster is made up of four HP Proliant DL165 G6 servers, each with the following specifications:

  • 2 x Six-Core AMD Opteron 2427 Processors @ 3.8 GHz
  • 24 GB DDR2 Memory @ 800MHz
  • 2 x Broadcom NetXtreme BCM5704 Gigabit Ethernet
  • Dual-port Intel 10GB CX4 Server adapter
  • Emulex Helios-X FibreChannel Host adapter

The servers run RedHat Enterprise Linux 5.4 and utilize the Xen virtualization stack and RedHat Cluster suite for high-availability and continuity of service.

The system was designed and built in-house by the folks in IT Research Computing.

We're Taking Over

As part of our plot to take over the world, we have taken over student, staff, and faculty blogs and the MyWeb service.  You should start seeing more and more features pop up as we migrate services off of the old system onto our new High-Availability cluster.

More information will be posted soon!