Projects are offline. Often.

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SuperSluether

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Message 55382 - Posted: 13 Aug 2014, 15:21:17 UTC

I'm still pretty new to BOINC. I know how the system works, but I've noticed that several projects seem to go offline. Often. Are the projects being attacked by hackers and viruses, or are the servers really that unreliable? Either way, I didn't think projects would go offline so much.
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Richard Haselgrove
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Message 55387 - Posted: 13 Aug 2014, 15:57:51 UTC - in response to Message 55382.  

If you're new to BOINC, read about the philosophy behind the platform in Why Use Boinc? - in particular the opening section on the relative costs.

BOINC is designed from the ground up to be inherently tolerant of the failures to be expected when using cheap hardware, and without access to dedicated data centres and the associated 24/7 engineering staff with an unlimited supply of spare parts.
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noderaser
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Message 55388 - Posted: 14 Aug 2014, 1:34:17 UTC

It happens from time to time when things break, usually more often for projects that have a small team or limited funding. What project(s) in particular are you talking about? It's always good to have a couple of projects attached, that way your host will have others to fall back on and not run out of work.
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Profile Dave
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Message 55397 - Posted: 14 Aug 2014, 12:45:02 UTC - in response to Message 55382.  

I have been around BOINC for a while but primarily with CPDN though I have flirted with others when there has been no work. Most projects have times when they are off line for maintenance work and projects like CPDN which have a nuber of servers involved more often than not only go partly off line but sometimes when a disk array is rebuilding itself or a restore is happening it can take a while because there are several terrabytes of data to put back on a raid array. My view given the amount of work those disks get is that it is surprising projects aren't down more often.
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SuperSluether

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Message 55402 - Posted: 14 Aug 2014, 14:27:36 UTC - in response to Message 55397.  

Yeah, I guess I should just get used to it. Normally when I think of a server, I think of websites like Google that are always accessable. I suppose I could always adjust my offline cache...
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David Ball

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Message 55447 - Posted: 17 Aug 2014, 23:15:48 UTC

Also, it's normal for projects to go offline at least a few hours (some even a day or two) once a week for weekly maintenance on the BOINC databases.

Some projects are online but aren't distributing new work because they are going to introduce new software whose results are in a different format than the existing software and that would cause any existing jobs that haven't been validated to fail. They stop distributing new jobs, except for the ones that are already in the queue for the old software, until all the existing jobs have been processed and returned or it's been so long that they abandon them. Then they kill any old jobs left over and switch to the new software and distribute new jobs.

Many of the projects are run from universities and I've been amazed at how often the project has to go down because the university is doing maintenance and cutting power to the building that the servers happen to be in for a day or two (usually a weekend since the buildings house mostly classrooms).

Some of the smaller ( or even mid-range ) projects can have problems because
A) A large team with 1000+ users and some users having as many as 50 dedicated BOINC crunchers decides to make that the project of the month and swamps the projects servers.
B) If the project has a GPU application and one or two of the major GPU projects have either dropped their GPU application or are down for some reason, a massive number of clients who do GPU computing may switch to that smaller project and it can't cope with the several hundred percent increase in clients. For instance, World Community Grid and POEM have had GPU projects that finished and they suddenly had no more GPU work. FYI, POEM is starting a new GPU project but it's been a long time and I've also heard people complaining about the credit the new POEM GPU application is going to award. I don't know if the new POEM GPU project is live yet or still in testing phase. I have my machines set to only run the POEM CPU projects. The machine that I did have trying to get GPU work from POEM had a motherboard failure (SATA controller) so it's not running any more.
David Ball
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Message boards : Projects : Projects are offline. Often.

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