BatCave: The Basic Data Views


Entering the BatCave

The BatCave is a web-based system that uses PHP and MySQL to view Alfred activity at your site in real time. For this documentation we are going to assume that the BatCave PHP pages have been installed on a machine named batcave.mydomain.com, and that the pages are installed in a directory called batcave.

To test if your site is properly set up, connect your web browser to http://batcave.mydomain.com/batcave. If the BatCave has been installed, you should see the BatCave entrance, which looks like this:

 

If you see this screen, then your site has been set up and you can proceed directly into the cave.  If you don't see the screen above, please double check the installation section of this documentation.

Clicking on The BatCave link will take you into the main view of the BatCave. Click on the link, or enter the URL, http://batcave.mydomain.com/batcave/main.php.


The BatCave Navigation Bar

After the basic header, you'll see the BatCave navigation bar.  Let's take a closer look at this…

Along the top row of the navbar you will see the main categories of the BatCave.  The second line indicates a specific SQL query within that category.  In the image above, the Jobs area has been selected, but there is currently no active query (see the larger image, above). Let's click on Current to view the jobs currently running at our site.

 

Clicking on the Error link will display jobs with Tasks that have an error status.

As you can see, there are currently five defined queries in the Jobs category. Recent jobs are defined as actively running jobs or jobs that have finished within the last three hours.  Long Running jobs are jobs that have been running for more than ten hours, and Long Waiting Jobs are jobs that have been queued, but haven't started, for more than one hour.


Viewing Server Information

Just as the Jobs navigation link provides information about jobs in the system, the Servers link provides information on the various machines, or the slots defined in the Alfred schedule file.

The ServerLoad query provides a graphical view of load averages across the render farm machines.

The ActiveServer query shows us a list of all active machines, including who is using them and what is running.

The SlotPool query gives us a view very similar to the Alfred Watch Servers panel. This shows all slots, whether or not they are in use, and the active user and task.

The remaining queries are all variations on similar info.  SlotsActive gives information on active slots, while SlotsUnassigned details those slots which are not currently active.  SlotDefinitions details the slot definitions according to the Alfred schedule file.


Viewing Dispatcher Information

The Dispatchers link provides information on the dispatchers throughout your facility.  Whenever the Alfred application is started a dispatcher is created which handles the local job queue.  The dispatchers register with the database upon initialization.

Existing Alfred users might have the unique problem of rolling out this new release while still keeping their production running. Until all Alfred and alfserver applications have been updated on all machines (dispatchers and alfserver machines), there exists the possibility of an older Alfred or alfserver program that is active in your system but is not participating in the data logging.  This can potentially cause incorrect data views.

The Dispatchers views can play an important part in trying to track down these downrev processes.  When a dispatcher initially connects to the Alfred maitre-d, the maitre-d inserts a record into the Dispatcher table and sets the State field to MtdConnect. This particular state is never set by the dispatchers directly, and will therefore tell you when there could be a non-logging dispatcher at your site.  In the example before, the user Thelonius is running a RAT-6.0.1 dispatcher, which was created in June 2004, long before the BatCave logging was developed.


 

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