Standardizing a large, heterogeneous cluster...

May 31st, 2011 11:33 am
Posted by Brock Taylor

Intel® Cluster Ready increases efficiency at UC Irvine.

Check out this paper, Bringing Consistency to a Heterogeneous Research Cluster, related to upgrading the GreenPlanet cluster at UC Irvine to Intel Cluster Ready architecture.  GreenPlanet is an organically grown HPC cluster that went from seven nodes to over three hundred in just a couple years.  The system grew  as principal investigators pooled grants and added more nodes to the system in batches.  Adding nodes in this fashion means the system is comprised of many different types of compute nodes which can become a pretty tough administrative task.  In the paper, Dr. Nathan Crawford states, “We were trying to keep track of all the differences in spreadsheets or in our heads, and like any academic institution, we had the problem of graduate students moving on and taking their knowledge of system details with them.”

Enter Intel Cluster Ready.  UC Irvine combined an equipment move with an upgrade of their software stack using Clustercorp Rocks+ 5.3.  This version has built-in functionality to install the necessary components to meet the Intel Cluster Ready architecture specification including a Roll to install Intel® Cluster Checker.

The result: changes to over 100 nodes in the system.  “The process of getting certified cleaned up a lot of underlying issues, and immediately
made the system much more stable,” said Crawford. "We’ll have more jobs running to completion, and scientists can spend less time trying to
debug underlying hardware and software problems.”

Scientists doing more science.  Nice.

>> Download the full case study




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Author Info
Brock Taylor

Brock Taylor is an Engineering Manager and Cluster Solutions Architect for volume High Performance Compute clusters in the Software and Services Group at Intel. He has been a part of the Intel® Cluster Ready program from the start, is a co-author of the specification, and launched the first reference implementations of Intel Cluster Ready certified solutions.

Brock and others at Intel are working within the HPC community to enable advances and innovations in scientific computing by lowering the barriers to clustered solutions.

Brock joined Intel in December of 2000, and in addition to HPC clustering, he previously helped launch new processors and chipsets as part of an enterprise validation BIOS team. Brock has a B.S. in Computer Engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and an M.Sc. in High Performance Computing from Trinity College Dublin.