Having determined that the loading dock didn't have enough space, we spent the next few days trying to find some solutions to this problem. Step one: move things to storage and start working on a test cluster. Step two: start assembling in what space we might have, using the lessons of step one. And so by the end of 11 May 2004, we had a full five systems mounted in the rack.


    pictures / Computational Facility / Ariel Cluster / Days 2-3: Test Cluster Assembly

System One

Our very first node! We retrieved it on the 10th, and got to work.

System One, Assembled

Ready for testing...

System Two, Boxed

This is what the nodes look like as they come out of the boxes.


By the end of the 10th, we had this actually set up as a small cluster, so that Jim could work on it.

Rack in Storage

By the afternoon of the 11th, we decided that we needed to start retrieving systems from storage so we could start working.

Rack on Pallet

Jim, John and I spent a while trying to work out how to get this thing off the pallet.

Inside of the Rack

Yes, we eventually took this paper (and shipping brace) off.

Power Switches

It's a nice change to have well-designed power on our racks.

Inside of the Rack

It's fascinating to look at new toys sometimes...

Unbolting the Ramp

Our first trick was to find the proper socket set so we could disconnect the ramp from the pallet.

Loads of Stuff

And that's just one angle; I was completely surrounded by equipment in this position...

Loads of Stuff, II

Most of this is just rackmount kits!

Ramp, Part I

I found it really satisfying to see that the ramps are held on with velcro.

Rack's Back

At this point I was walking on the computers in back, because it seemed like a good way to get some shots.


The racks came bolted to the pallet, and so now we unbolt it so we can move it.

Ramp, Part II

Just about ready to move!

...down the ramp...

Jim and John roll the rack down and off the pallet, to where we can actually use it.

...and out the door!

John pushes the rack out to the hallway, where we can start using it for storage for the first time.

Cart Of Machines

I got to push this cart; it was exciting trying to not hit anybody, let me tell you.

Rack and Rails

And so we complete loading up the systems to go upstairs.

Destroyed Floor

It doesn't show up well, but we beat up the floor tiles with the rack as it went through. Oops.

Stacks of Machines

Our front machine room really isn't large enough to hold all of these boxes, but we used them all the same.

Proof of Concept

With this, we proved to ourselves that we knew how to mount a system. We then promptly took the system back out because we figured out what we were doing wrong.

Mounting the First Machine

After a few false starts we finally worked out how to use the catches. Kirby and John therefore slide the first system home.

First Rack-Mount Complete

Jim looks on victorious as the first of just 78 systems is finished.

Day Three, Final Product

Five systems and five rail kits - that's the result of three hours of work by four of us.

Day's Garbage

That's how much was generated by just five systems, *without* the boxes.

Pictures by Tim Skirvin

Created with the tool album script from Marginal Hacks by David Ljung