I actually went through this same scenario about a week ago here at ECU during 
a planned power outage for our datacenter.  The process you need to follow is:

Go to Manage Schedules
Under Schedules, create a name for your "offline" time and click Add.

Once you are at the Edit Schedule page you will need to setup the times when 
VCL will be AVAILABLE.  Take note of the statement about the start/end times 
being Sunday 12:00 am.

So, for example, if you needed to have your downtime this weekend from Saturday 
at 8:00 pm - Sunday at 12:00 pm then you would want to create the following 

Start Time:  Sunday 12:00 pm                        End Time:  Saturday 8:00 pm

This means that VCL will be available from Sunday 12:00 pm till Saturday 
evening at 8:00 pm (which in our example is when the downtime would begin).  
The schedule would then repeat itself again which means it would be available 
beginning at 12:00 pm on Sunday (which is when downtime would end).

The next step is to go to Manage Computers and then Computer Utilities.  You 
will want to choose "Check All" (or just check whichever vm's/blades you want 
to make unavailable) and at the bottom you will want to change the schedule to 
the new schedule you just created.

You can test to make sure your schedule worked correctly by creating a 
reservation during the time when VCL should not be available.  Please note that 
when you choose the future time for the reservation (when testing your 
schedule) that you have to click submit on the reservation page before it shows 
you that the computers are not available during that time (it will actually 
show the end user a big grid of when VCL is available and when it is not so 
they should be able to see when the "downtime" is scheduled to be over).

One thing to remember is to change your schedule back to the normal schedule 
(which for ECU is 24x7) or else it will repeat itself each week.

Thanks to Andy at NCSU for taking the time to explain this process to me!

Please let us know if you have any other questions or problems with this 

David Creech
East Carolina University

On 2/5/10 9:23 AM, "Liz Wendland" <l...@duke.edu> wrote:


I am wondering if maybe VCL can already do this...  Sometimes we need to
take our VCL system offline for maintenance of some aspect.  Generally
we know about these times well in advance.  We'd like to be able to
block out all our nodes so they can't be reserved during that future
maintenance window.  I was imagining I could create a web-form where
someone could set the start and end times and even enter a message that
would be posted within the VCL web applications for our users so they
know about the upcoming downtime.

I've looked at block allocations and they don't see quite right because
they want to install an image on the VMs and we don't want that - we
would like the distribution of images to stay the same.  I have also
looked at the Maintenance state, but there currently isn't a way to set
those for the future and again, the system wants to re-image the nodes
when it later becomes 'available'.

I am considering creating a new state and altering vcld to understand
it, but I thought I should check with you guys first - you must run into
the same situation occasionally.  How do you handle it?

Thanks for all your hard work!

Liz Wendland
Duke University Office of Information Technology

David Creech
Technology Support Analyst
ACE Student Support Center Coordinator

Academic Technologies
Rawl Building - 108
East Carolina University

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