2006-12 Newsletter

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Welcome to the second Grid'5000 newsletter.

The editorial team now has an mailing list : newsletter-editors@listes.grid5000.fr, feel free to report comments.

You can find this newsletter online for easier reading : https://www.grid5000.fr/mediawiki/index.php/2006-12_Newsletter

Project news

by Franck Cappello

During this fall, several workshops took place discussing about the connection of Grid'5000 with other Grids. One of the most exiting perspectives is the preparation of a proposal for an European project in the FP7. Other international discussions are ongoing with Japan and USA in order to develop collaborations in "Computer Science" Grids. During DAS-3 - Grid'5000 workshop, we respectively presented our infrastructures and tools, in order to be able to share our resources in the future, and discussed technical matters. Renater is of course deeply involved, and a lot of work is underway to even improve our national network infrastructure.

We have also launched an audit of Grid'5000 by its users. The objective of the audit is to reveal and identify the main factors which make experiments complex to prepare and run. From the results of this audit, we plan to concentrate a significant part of the Grid'5000 engineering forces to reduce or fix the limiting factors.

Thus, the project is going forward to the next steps, while we are at the same time working hard to strengthen the platform and improve the service quality.

Platform news

by Pierre Neyron

Support, again and again

Please keep in mind that if you want to see enhancements on the platform, you must inform us about your needs. The user's mailing list traffic is still quite low, and in such a case, do not be surprised if the priorities of the technical staff do not reflect your priorities.

One more remark, we often hear that people do not use the user's mailing list much, but have a good contact with their local site admin. Please remember that your local admin, as gentle or guru as he is, cannot have all the answers, or at least all the more relevant answers. So please use the mailing list, so that even other users may share their knowledge.

Again, have a look at the support page: https://www.grid5000.fr/mediawiki/index.php/Support.

Network monitoring

Thanks to Renater's contribution, we now begin to have tools to monitor our network interlink backbone. This is currently still a work in progress, but you may have a look at the following page: https://www.grid5000.fr/mediawiki/index.php/Renater_G5K_project%27s_metrology We are waiting for feedbacks. Please feel free to report missing features so that we can work on improvements.

Retiring Clusters

  • Rennes' Paraci cluster (Intel 32 bits) retired from service end November. It will be replaced by a new machine allready described in Rennes' Hardware page but not accessible to the community yet: staff in Rennes is busy installing it.
  • Grenoble's Icluster2 cluster (Intel Itanium2) also approaches the age of retirement. Early studies are currently made for a possible replacement machine in the next years.
  • Grenoble's Idpot cluster (Intel 32 bits) which used to act as the prototype cluster for Grid'5000 tools (kadeploy, etc...) is now managed by OAR2, to serve as a demonstration platform for the new version. Feel free to test it yourself.

Keeping an eye on the platform

by David Margery

  • Putting 100's of machines in the same room of a building isn't that easy, as you can guess. Machines are heavy, consume quite a lot of electricity and produce a lot of heat, therefore the physical infrastructure needed to host a Grid'5000 node isn't that simple and a lot of time is spent by site administrators to see to these problems. For example, Orsay's fire suppression system was accidentally triggered in October, which lead to damage to one of the room's wall. We cannot solve wall problems with a simple reinstall or reconfiguration. This kind of problem explains why machines are sometimes down for long periods
  • You might have noticed that for special events such as plugtest or planned workshops the reservation system behaves in a unusual way. Indeed, before these events, the nodes are reserved by the organizer of the event, and during the event, nodes are free, but only usable using accounts linked to the event. This should avoid cases where you had your reservation or submission killed when you started working without noticing that Grid'5000 was in a special mode.
  • Account expiration procedures are being harmonized across all sites. This explains why some expired accounts are still seeing mails from the users mailing list whilst others are getting mails warning about account expiration.

Experience of the month

by Benjamin Depardon
Editor: Eddy Caron

For each newsletter we select an experiment. 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 Benjamin Depardon (GRAAL / LIP / ENS-Lyon)


Tip of the month

by Xavier Delaruelle

Grid'5000 does not provide backup facility but each site has its own file server, independent from those of other sites. Thanks to this, a user can manage backup by synchronizing his data between the different sites...


-- The Grid'5000 newsletter editors and staff wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year ! See you in 2007.

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