[Beowulf] 9 traits of the veteran Unix admin

Robert G. Brown rgb at phy.duke.edu
Thu Feb 17 11:36:48 PST 2011

On Thu, 17 Feb 2011, Lux, Jim (337C) wrote:

> And you have a whole "cluster" of brewing vessels that you make small
> changes in to do a suitable Monte Carlo approach?

Actually, I'm converting to a superbrewer -- I had a two node brewery,
and will probably keep my two five gallon 1 cycle per week nodes around
to do cereal brewing, but my new fifteen gallon node will permit me to
brew even more beer in the same time without the cereal penalty.  Of
course, the five gallon nodes were simple to configure -- I just
installed a Gnu fermentation lock to keep the source open.  The
superbrewing node I actually have to assemble out of parts, including
special network pipes that will allow me to dump cruft (trub) mid-cycle,
sample progress through a special port, and bottle the final product
directly out of the node instead of having to pass through a "master"
five gallon bottling node that I have on the side (that really doesn't
do much when the cluster is full and running).

I suppose I could put them all together into a very large heterogeneous
cluster and make a 30 gpw cluster (that would be twelve to thirteen
cases) but my primary mashing vessel (with an absolute maximum 12 gallon
of fermentable liquid limit) then becomes a bottle.. um, neck in the
process, and I have no idea how I'd manage the requisite boil.  In other
words.  Besides, I only HAVE around 20 cases of bottles to fill, and if
I get more the administrative penalty of using our laundry room wall as
a beer storage unit will become, um, "severe".

In other words, before I reach that point I will have to acknowledge
that I've passed a critical scaling threshold and upgrade everything,
and will probably need improved infrastructure in the form of a
seriously air-conditioned and darkened corner of the garage devoted to
just the brew-cluster, or the whole project might get kicked
off-premises by my wife.

Its these sorts of things that separate out the casual small brewcluster
builder from the professional -- its easy to throw together a one, two,
or even three node operation, but at some point you need special
cooling, a floor that can support a metric ton or so of liquid (8 pounds
per gallon plus container weights adds up fast), special heat sources
capable of boiling 30 or so gallons at a time, and a mill and 55 pound
stacks of barley to keep the whole process flowing.  And ultimately, I
can only drink 1-3 beers a day, sustained, before other problems surface
affecting my belly and my liver.  My more modest cluster is more than
sufficient for keeping up with that, with a surplus production large
enough to cover sporadic out-of-band demand on the resource such as
bringing my beer to parties, letting my older sons drink some two,
providing some for my wife, serving guests.  I do look forward to the
finishing the new superbrewing unit as doing 12+ gallons all at once
will actually permit me to brew only once every 2-3 weeks and still
gradually fill all of my bottles so that they get the maximum aging time
before consumption.


> ________________________________________
> From: beowulf-bounces at beowulf.org [beowulf-bounces at beowulf.org] On Behalf Of Robert G. Brown [rgb at phy.duke.edu]
> Sent: Thursday, February 17, 2011 08:43
> To: Leif Nixon
> Cc: Beowulf Mailing List
> Subject: Re: [Beowulf] 9 traits of the veteran Unix admin
> On Thu, 17 Feb 2011, Leif Nixon wrote:
>> 2011/2/17 Robert G. Brown <rgb at phy.duke.edu>:
>>> I'm game.  Any excuse to drink beer is a good one, now that I make my
>>> own (needless to say, perfect) beer...
>> Sans alcohol, I presume.
> No, merely with >>a fraction<< of the alcohol in, say, Everclear...;-)
> Although the batch I'm currently fermenting should be quite strong -- as
> much as 7-8% if it ferments dry.  Not quite brandywine, but higher than
> most commercial beers.  But usually I shoot for the usual 5-6%, with a
> hint of sweetness counterbalancing the bitterness and aroma of the hops
> and the rich biscuit of the barley...;-)
>    rgb
>> --
>> Leif Nixon                       -            Systems expert
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> National Supercomputer Centre    -      Linkoping University
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
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> Robert G. Brown                        http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/
> Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
> Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
> Phone: 1-919-660-2567  Fax: 919-660-2525     email:rgb at phy.duke.edu

Robert G. Brown	                       http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/
Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
Phone: 1-919-660-2567  Fax: 919-660-2525     email:rgb at phy.duke.edu

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