How to Monitor RCF - The RCF Monitoring Shift
A meeting with the RCF and other experiments is scheduled at a later time to verify its accuracy and relevance.

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Basic purpose & Established procedure when a problem occurs : 

  1. The purpose of this shift is to answer calls from experiments, check GUI status or Web pages for problems and report to the RCF expert (as explained later in this document) .

  2. A person calling the counting house from another experiment to report a problem MUST :
    (a) Have submitted a ticket describing the problem PRIOR to calling
    (b) Ask for the appropriate person covering for the RCF Monitoring, that is, by Experiment Specific title. In STAR, the shift covering for the RCF monitoring is the Shift Crew Person position.
    (c) Identify itself by Name & Experiment (AND leave a Phone number)

  3. After assessing a reported problem, the shift person must decide whether an expert needs to be called during the night. If the problem does not interfere with data-taking, a CTS ticket should be filed if not already done by the caller. However, if the problem does affect data-taking, then the appropriate expert should be called.

Note1 : The equivalent Phenix Shift position is named PHENIX Offline Shifter.
Note 2: You MUST have a valid RCF account in order to submit a trouble ticket and access the authenticated pages and cgi mentioned in this tutorial. If you do not have an account, please ask to create one immediately.

Now that you already know the summary, let's go into the details ...

  1. General Information

During normal business hours (8 AM - 4 PM), the RCF staff members are always on shift. The next shift period goes from 4 PM - 12 AM, which is the responsibility of an RCF operator. The operator name can be found on the RCF Shift Monitor page .
During a run, the time between 12:30 AM - 8:30 AM belongs to a STAR OR a PHENIX shift person on alternating weeks. On BNL lab holidays, STAR or PHENIX is responsible for shifts during the entire day. To see who is responsible for the overnight RCF Monitoring shift, use the Shift Schedule page.
In the case of STAR, the Shift Crew Person position is responsible for the RCF monitoring.

Please check first the Shift Schedule , when you start taking the Shift Crew Person responsibilities.
In the following sections, we will explain how to monitor the RCF and what you should do.
The STAR RCF monitoring shift person is required to carry the RCF phone-list above onllinux2 in the STAR counting house. A second list is taped to the STAR Shift Leader's desk. If you do not find this list, Email me immediately. If anyone from the 4 experiments experiences a problem with the RCF, the RCF Monitoring Shift person should call the appropriate expert. The shift person is not required nor qualified to fix the problem. The main responsibility of the shift person is to assess the severity of a problem and decide whether to call the appropriate RCF expert or to file a CTS ticket.
The shift person is required to monitor the data transfer rate to HPSS from the counting house.
The counting house monitoring shifter should be aware of the data transfer to HPSS.
Only problems affecting data-taking justify a call to the expert in the middle of the night.

(1) Mandatory Monitoring

1-1. HPSS Monitoring

HPSS Check list for the shifter

  1. The data sent to HPSS by STAR can be seen on the STAR DAQ Network Activity summary page. You should see those numbers progress as time passes. The expected rate for STAR is also close to 60 MB/sec. Deviation remaining below 50% for a long perdiod of time (at least an hour) without any increase while lots of data is available for transfer and the client is functionning normally is suspect.

  2. For STAR, errors related to failed pftp connections in the DAQ Operator Log is an indication of a problem.

  3. An overview of the data rate for the four experiments can be seen on the DAQ Summary Snapshot page. A drop or complete stop of the data transfer by all (or most) experiments for a long period of time is a strong indication of a global problem.

  4. The number of PFTP connections should be below 50. A saturation at 50 connections is an indication of a problem.

  5. The space available on the HPSS disk cache should not saturate to the maximum. Check it for STAR ; we also provide the graphs for Phenix, Brahms or Phobos. The line should not leave the yellow area.

If you find a problem as described in the above check-list

If you receive a call from another experiment reporting similar problems

you should then go through the

HPSS Action items for the shifter
  1. Check the clock in the HPSS GUI is actually working. If not, please, quit and restart the GUI and check the clock again. If the clock is still not functioning, HPSS is simply dead. Call RCF HPSS experts immediately.

  2. Check the "Servers" status is [Normal] , [Suspect](the result a Minor problem) : you do not have to call. If you see the status changing to a , call RCF HPSS experts immediately.

  3. Check the "Space Thresholds" is Normal (green). If you see the "Major Problem" for more than 30 min. , call RCF HPSS experts. Otherwise, the HPSS cache will fill up!

  4. Check "Alarms and Events" status by clicking "Monitor" menu on the top of the GUI. Watch this screen, but red does not necessarily mean that someone needs to be called. Only if there are continual red lines, then expert should be called.

Figure 1.
HPSS Health and Status monitor GUI.

On-call person for HPSS problem

Click Current HPSS on call person to see who is covering for HPSS now. The office and beeper numbers summary is indicated above.

Razvan Popescu

X5806, pager: 877-546-9067

John Riordan

x7201, pager: 877-526-2715

Ognian Novakov

X2813, pager: 877-451-1920

Grace Tsai

X3905, pager: 877-629-4452

How to setup HPSS monitoring software at the STAR counting house. (not necessary to read, if HPSS GUI has already been set up)

  1. Log on to onllinux2 in the STAR control room as starcrew. See instructions taped to the monitor.

  2. Login as STAR_op on using ssh by typing
    % ssh -l STAR_op
    and then enter the password. (ask Micheal DePhillips <> or Jérôme LAURET <> for the password).

  3. The procedure starts automatically the HPSS control. Accept the default values for user and display. A graphical login window (Figure 2) will prompt you for user ID and Password. Use user STAR_op and the same password as for login into HPSS as described in step 2 above.
    Type the username in the first field, THEN SWITCH TO THE SECOND FIELD (using a tab or the mouse), type the password and then press "Enter". The main control window (shown in Figure 1) will show up !

  4. To logoff ( IMPORTANT !!)
    Select [Session] , [Quit Sammi] and confirm. DO NOT use [Log off Session].

    The terminal window that initiated the session will not close since its process handles the X encrypted channel. Minimize it and ignore it. It will automatically close when the HPSS session will be terminated.

    Figure 2. The Sammi Login window

Here are a list of links toward several HPSS related monitoring tools and interfaces.

1-2. Network Monitoring

Network Monitoring

It is important to monitor the network traffic as a network problem may be the reason for a broken data flow / data sinking. In other words, if data sinking stops from the counting house point of view, you MUST determine if the problem is related to HPSS (see section 1-1) or network related.
There are several tools helping to monitor the network traffic. All links provided above may be found on the RCF Network Infrastructure page. We will describe what we believe is important for STAR.
The RCF Gigabit snapshot page is a complex graph showing the overall network layout at the RCF. On top of it, the purple boxes connections to the first green box labeled SW1 shows the traffic between the different counting houses and the main switch SW1. The green number displayed below the purple [ STAR ] box is the number for STAR. If 0, there may be a problem OR STAR is not sinking data ... Now, following the traffic (black line), the next number appears below SW1 on the way toward SW6 ; this number measures the internal traffic rate. Finally, the last relevant number appears in the corner of the connection SW6 to rmds08. This is our final data sinking rate to HPSS . Numbers are integrated transfer rate in MB/sec ... Again, ff any of those numbers goes to 0 it may be the sign of a network problem or the fact that there is really no activity. This complicated graph however can be analyzed in more detailed using the following
Here stops your mandatory monitoring ...

(2) Non mandatory monitoring

2-1. Servers Monitoring

The status of monitored machines can be checked from here. Figure 3 shows the snapshot of the status of monitored machines. You can check the current status of the ssh gateway servers, FTP servers, NFS servers, DNS/NIS servers and mail servers. In this status monitor, green signal indicates OK, yellow is the warning sign and red is a failure sign. Failure (in red) on one of the RMINE (NFS server) machines does not warrant a call to the expert in the middle of the night.
A CTS ticket could/should be filled. However, RKDC (Kerberos servers) machines and ssh gateway machines (RSSH) are critical and DO warrant a late-night call during data-taking. Call the appropriate RCF responsible person (see below). The hard copy of list of RCF staff's home phone number should be available at the control room. If you cannot find this list, please send me (J.Lauret) a note ASAP and I will provide it.
On-Call RCF persons for RKDC and SSHGW problems

Maurice Askinazi

x2159, pager: 877-450-3915

Shigeki Misawa

x2635, pager: 877-600-2401

Figure 3. Status of monitored machines display. The provided link will show all servers in one column. We did split the view in tow panels for presentation purposes.

2-2 Instructions for CAS and CRS node monitor

(3) Links Summarized

RCF personnel complete and summary phone list
See the phone list at STAR counting house (above onllinux2) for home phone number. If you do not have this list, please ask your shift leader as he should have it. The main office and pager numbers are displayed above



Office Phone



RCF Operator

x5480 (4:00pm - 00:00am)



Maurice Askinazi



Shigeki Misawa




Terry Healy




Razvan Popescu



John Riordan



Ognian Novakov



Grace Tsai



Paging RCF Personnel

Other useful Links for the online QA shifter