2006-09 Newsletter

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Welcome to the first Grid'5000 newsletter. This newsletter is brought to you by the technical committee of Grid'5000. As we are all users of a shared tool, we believe we will all gain something by sharing a bit more information. Please feel free to contact the editorial team. In this first edition you will find

  • A word from Franck Cappello, Grid'5000's director
  • Platform News, where you'll learn about user support and the new version of user reports !
  • Keeping an eye on the platform, where you'll learn early about what could be news in the next newsletter.
  • Experience of the month, featuring Parallel Task Scheduling Heuristics Design and Comparison
  • Tip of the month, about ssh keys
  • News from other research testbeds, where you'll learn about DAS-3

A word from Franck Cappello

Grid'5000 is nowadays seen as a unique platform by the international community in Grid/P2P computing. At the time where we are receiving invitations by USA, Europe and Japan to share skills and establish collaborations, it's important to stick on the fundamental aspects of Grid'5000: it's a research tool not only for Computer Scientists but also for Scientists of other fields to understand and improve the performance and efficiency of algorithms and applications of Grid and P2P Computing.

Platform news

by Pierre Neyron

September: time for the new scholar year to begin... Thus, also a good time to emphasis some of the last improvements achieved on the platform, and let you focus on them.

Support: emulating Grid'5000 community

First of all, you may have noticed that during last year, we reconsidered a lot the way we would like to handle user-to-admin relationships. We actually would like to see the Grid'5000 users + administrators as a real community, like many communities on many projects exist. Thus we changed the way of doing support, mainly by requesting that every support request goes to the users mailing list.

You can find on the wiki all the explanations for a support request: https://www.grid5000.fr/mediawiki/index.php/Support (users portal: Bugzilla/Support) We hope this will suit your needs, and that we will get some kind of an emulation... We hope even users-to-users dialog may grow, helping the community, beginners for instance.

Please note also that we will shortly make the archives of the mailings lists available, thus enabling efficient look at what may already have been discussed before.

User reports: we need feedbacks !

As you may have noticed, we finally found time during this summer to improve the user report forms... People complained about some missing functionalities, and it seems that many people did not understand the need of such a database. Thus, we took in consideration the remarks and we hope that now everything will be more straightforward... New features includes:

  • Experiments and publications list are now displayed in Grid'5000 website public portal. Registering your experiments can then allow you to inform eveybody of your work, and ease collaborations. Please see it as a wide open window on your work.
  • Publication are now stored as bibtex, as with several other tools you may use... We hope that registering will be easier for you, and that it will require less time to fill the forms.
  • Experiments/publication/collaboration can now be shared among users, with your workmates basically... We hope that this will avoid redondancy of information. No need to cut and paste parts of the report of your colleague anymore... Please just ask him/her to share his/her experiment/publication/collaboration with you. You may then even be able to work together on updating the common parts of your reports !
  • Experiments description goes more factual: we ask you for information on your typical resource need, usage, etc, which will give useful details on experiments being performed. Furthermore, giving information about your experiments is very convenient for the community, as people may have a look at what you are doing when using resources.
  • Collaboration are now clearly thought as related to a project, or a context, more than a people to people link.
  • A Highlights part was added, and we hope to get good success story here.

Finally we hope you will enjoy the new user-interface, and that you will find time to fill and update your reports. This is by the way a very good way to get your work googlised !;)... For us, let's remind that it is of the highest importance, as this builds Grid'5000 public portal.

Keeping an eye on the platform

by David Margery

The first evaluation of our platform is under way. Therefore, some additional stats have been gathered by kaspied, in particular stats about grid usage. Your work will be seen as grid work if you used oargrid, or if you had two reservations on two different clusters within the same hour. This is the best we could do. The results are from kaspied. June sees a spike in grid usage: will September follow suit ?

A user charter is in approval process. This document defines the common rules applicable to all participants of the Grid'5000 community in the best interest of all users (we hope). You should read it to avoid angering other users because you don't follow good usage rules.

IPDPS deadline (October 9, 2006) is approaching. It might be a bit more difficult to reserve nodes in the preceding weeks: you should prepare your experiments in advance if you don't want to have to much surprises.

Lastly, the question of brute force attacks on public access points to Grid'5000 has been brought to the attention of the technical committee. Ssh password authentication is at risk here, and if your password is to weak, your account could be an entry point for malicious users. We are thinking of disabling password authentication on public access points. It's time you take time to configure ssh keys (see tip of the month).

Experiment of the month

by Tchimou N'Takpé and Frédéric Suter
Editor: Eddy Caron

Each month we select the experiment of the month. Based on an important use of Grid'5000. Large usage of CPU or numbers of CPU, scientific impact... The experience of this month is provided by Tchimou N'Takpé and Frédéric Suter (Nancy University / LORIA)

https://www.grid5000.fr/index.php/2006-09_Parameter_sweep_application_on_Grid5000

Tip of the month

by Xavier Delaruelle

SSH public key authentication can be used by users to access machines without typing their password. Password free logins benefit remote access and automation. Moreover public key authentication prevent brute force attacks if all password-based authentication methods are disabled...

https://www.grid5000.fr/index.php/Public_key_authentication

At the same time, elsewhere

(by Olivier Richard)

DAS3

(extracts from DAS3 and Starplane sites)

DAS-3 (Distributed ASCI Supercomputer) is an experimental grid designed by the Advanced School for Computing and Imaging (ASCI). As one of its distinguishing features, DAS-3 employs a very novel internal wide area interconnect based on light paths (StarPlane project).

DAS-3 consists of 272 compute nodes, spread out over five clusters, located at the four Dutch universities. The system is currently being built by ClusterVision. Unlike its predecessor, DAS-2, DAS-3 is rather heterogeneous in design [dual or mono Opteron cores at different speeds, Myrinet and/or GbE].

The StarPlane project will allow the control of a wide area optical interconnect by grid applications to optimize applications. This gives lots of opportunities for research studies.

Interconnexion DAS3 / Grid5000

This year, a collaboration will begin to address the interconnection of DAS3 and Grid'5000. Multiple issues will be raised such as network connection (trough GEANT network), user accounts management and resources management.

More information will be given in future newletters.

References:

http://www.cs.vu.nl/pub/das3/

http://www.starplane.org/

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