Friday Nov 28, 2008

The New World

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Thursday Sep 04, 2008

Sun HPC ClusterTools 8.0

As I mentioned yesterday the next release of ClusterTools is out today... below is an official announcement.

Sun HPC ClusterTools 8.0 is based on Open MPI 1.3 and it is the first release of ClusterTools to include support for Linux platforms as well as Solaris. It also provides support for MPI application profiling with Sun Studio Performance Analyzer (available in Studio Express 7/2008). MPI is the dominant programming paradigm for cluster applications in High Performance Computing (HPC), and HPC ClusterTools provides a production-quality MPI -- supported by Sun -- which is crucial to today's compute-intensive HPC workloads.

Key features of HPC ClusterTools 8.0 include:

  • Support for Linux (RHEL 4&5, SLES 9&10), Solaris 10, OpenSolaris
  • Support for Sun Studio compilers and tools and GNU/gcc toolchains on both Solaris and Linux OSs
  • MPI profiling support with Sun Studio Analyzer, plus support for VampirTrace and MPI PERUSE
  • Infiniband multi-rail support
  • Mellanox ConnectX Infiniband support
  • DTrace provider support on Solaris
  • Enhanced performance and scalability, including processor affinity support
  • Support for InfiniBand, GbE, 10GbE, and Myrinet interconnects
  • Plug-ins for Sun Grid Engine (SGE) and Portable Batch System (PBS)
  • Full MPI-2 standard compliance, including MPI I/O and one sided communication

For what it's worth.

Thursday May 08, 2008

Not @ Java ONE

I feel a little out of the loop this year, one that Java ONE just snuck up and it happening now and that I am not attending and have not been following the news... time to get my head out of the sand I guess.

For what it's worth

Wednesday Apr 16, 2008

Michigan -> Amsterdam -> Edinburgh -> Cluster Hacking -> return(home);

Last week I was on some travel for work that took my from my home around the world to Edinburgh, UK to work on a large cluster of Sun v20z nodes. This is an internal cluster that will further enhance what we can test and try out with our products. More on the cluster to come... now for the adventure.

My manager called and asked if I wanted to fly over to Scotland to setup Nessie... that is right, we have a corny nickname for the cluster that matches the region of the world in which it is located. Of course I said that I would travel the world to setup a massive cluster so that we could make Sun HPC ClusterTools a more rock solid product. I have a passion for playing with the hardware as well as the software and have not been able to do that for some time. After the right folks all signed off I was given the green light to pack the bags and book the travel. So off I went.

I left the United States late one evening and landed in Amsterdam, Netherlands the next day on my birthday. On the flight over I watched, The Simpsons Movie, and American Gangster. I had a 11 hour layover so I headed into the city to walk around a bit. My plan was to first find a nice little cafe to have a coffee at, notice I said cafe instead of coffeehouse there is a difference. I chatted a bit with the barista and got some good directions on where to head to just browse around the city. I was pointed down a small side street to reach the canals and which ones might be better to see. While walking around with the day pack, the earbuds in and a camera out... I am sure I stood out like a tourist. Now after some wondering around a bit along with the lack of sleep I think I was basically lost, well that would mean that I knew where I was to begin with. I was just about to ask for directions when I saw the train station. I stopped by a small pub close the train station for a birthday drink. After that I headed back to the airport for a nap. Late that day I arrived in Edinburgh and off to the hotel for a couple hours of sleep before I headed off to the Sun facility to get cranking on the cluster setup.

After arriving a little late for my first day of cluster hacking (man I needed even more sleep) I was hooked up with some of the local folks on sight, given the quick ESD overview and pointed to the lab. The cluster will consist of 1024 v20z nodes, each with two AMD procs. The nodes are broken down 32 to a rack and there will thus be 32 racks. By the time I left we had the SPs up on 576 and Solaris installed or ready to be installed on 480 of them... ran out of hardware to get the three other racks up with Solaris. The other 14 racks are waiting for a power issue in the lab to be resolved and then they can come up online. I don't take all the credit, the local folks all ready had the racks in place and power to them and I was joined by a colleague from the London area.

While spending the week in Edinburgh I did venture out for dinner each night and a little sight seeing. Note, that almost all of the shops close at 18:00, plan accordingly. I had some great food while out in the city including some local favorites... fish and chips, bangers and mash. I did not partake of traditional Scottish breakfast... I stuck to my americano and muffin from one of the cafes right by the hotel. The Edinburgh castle was amazing and all of the sites along the royal mile. A full collection of photos from the trip can be found over here.

The travel home was a little eventful, I was delayed leaving Edinburgh do to a security issue with baggage on the flight I was on. By the time it was resolved all the bags were removed from the plane, laid out on the tarmac, each person had to claim their bags, re-board the plane, the extra bag was identified, removed and the flight finally took off... two hours late and two connections in Amsterdam down the drain. I stand behind the pilots decision to ensure that the correct bags were accounted for and unknown bags were not onboard in this day and age of travel. All delays aside, KLM is my new favorite airline. Their level of customer service is second to none. I have not flown Southwest or Jet Blue but the KLM folks know how to do it right for their passengers in flight, the counter crew could be a little more friendly. On the flights home I watched The Bourne Ultimatum and The Kite Runner. I finally made it home 17 hours later than I was set to and a couple hours late for my little girls birthday party. No worries, I was here for the presents and the cake but missed the pinata.

All and all a great trip and a wonderful experience... I would head back anytime to work on the cluster and to help bring the over half up when the power issue is worked out.

Thursday Mar 27, 2008

Sun HPC CT 8 (EA1)

The ClusterTools 8 (CT8) Early Access 1 (EA1) release is now available.

The CT8 EA1 software is a set of MPI libraries and tools for launching parallel MPI jobs on Solaris (SPARC and x86/x64). New in CT8 EA1 is MPI profiling support via VampirTrace and MPI PERUSE, Infiniband multi-rail communication, support for C++ applications built with libstlport4 or C++ standard, as well as other fixes and features contributed to Open MPI by the community.

CT8 EA1 is based on the upcoming Open MPI 1.3 release.

For what it's worth.

Monday Mar 17, 2008

Open MPI Heterogeneity

For a while now Open MPI has had heterogeneity support back into the source base. In the current version of Sun HPC ClusterTools 7.1 that is based on Open MPI, the heterogeneity testing did not fair so well base on that rev. of the source base. Big thanks to George and Brian for the work that was put into getting the code to work and I am sure many more along the way for additional support. Fast forward to the current source base that I have built and install on some nodes in the lab, Solaris/SPARC and Solaris/x64, and I kicked off the heterogeneity testing again. I have to say that I am happy to say that the limited testing of MPI jobs that I kicked off all passed. So I was seeing MPI communication on the mixed architecture cluster in the lab. From a ClusterTools perspective this is not officially qualified but looks to be something we might see in a future release. So what's next? Back to the lab to test out some other configurations like Solaris/SPARC, Solaris,x64 and Linux/x64.

So why is this anything to worry about? Think about places that have several "clusters" sitting around that they have had for a while... each time they built a new cluster it was a different OS or a different architecture... now they take an start using the entirety of their resources with a version of Open MPI that they can kick off large scale MPI jobs on. Why waste idle CPU cycles when you can put them to use.

For what it's worth.

Wednesday Mar 12, 2008

get CT in a new way

Just a quick update on work, I have been working on getting ClusterTools ready for delivery through Indiana.

For what it's worth.

Wednesday Feb 27, 2008

choose the right platform

Watch it, worth you time... choose the right platform. Originally posted via Alec's blog.

For what it's worth.

Friday Feb 15, 2008

Which port?

So the work is done some by my little coding hands and some by JS, a huge thanks to JS for his work and leadership on this. The Open MPI C++ library is now agnostic from being tied to either Cstd or stlport4. Now in the userland apps one is free to use whatever they would like. There was some sticky code in the previous implementation that used a data structure that did not allow for being agnostic. For those tracking on Sun ClusterTools this will show up in CT8.

For what it's worth

Thursday Jan 10, 2008

Gobi7: End of the trail

Today I ship the Gobi7 back. I has been a great trial run but I don't think in it's current state it would be a long term option for me. Here is a link to my trial posts. Some bullet points I shared with the team that let me demo the unit:

  • the slow booting did not bother me like I had heard other complain about
  • the lack of the ability to change resolution settings locally or on an external monitor was a big one for me
  • the form factor is great, it could even go up to 15" and it would be better
  • next rev for the hardware/firmware needs to be able to present to the user the battery status, something like percent or estimated time remaining
  • external keyboard and mouse work great for addons, this even includes a bluetooth dongle for a bt keyboard
  • the power adapter is very kludgy to lug around

Thanks for the trial folks, it was a great time playing on the unit.

For what it's worth

Thursday Jan 03, 2008

Gave In: Twitter

@dlacher

For what it's worth.

Wednesday Dec 12, 2007

Working Daddy

So back at work now after the birth of our second child. What a great joy there is in life even at 4:30 in the morning while changing a diaper. I am also pleased to have the flexibility that Sun provides to work from home and in my case full time. I have been on the full time wfh track for about 6 years now.

So I know I have not been blogging a ton lately and that is not like me. I thought I would give you all and update as to what else I am up to. I am currently working on a small project to be found in a future release of CT that will support std as well as stlport4 in a c++ library. So that is going to be the big push for the next bit and then onto a few small defects that keep bugging me (some around CT install). After that is all up and out, well then who knows.

I came back from the quick paternity leave to find that a small reorg had taken place and the CT group was shuffled around a bit. I like the move and am excited to see what/if this move will do for the CT group.

For what it's worth.

Monday Nov 19, 2007

CT 7.1 is here

Sun HPC ClusterTools 7.1 has hit the street...

Sun HPC ClusterTools 7.1 is now available! Sun HPC ClusterTools 7.1 is an update release based on Open MPI 1.2.4. Included in Sun HPC ClusterTools 7.1 are Intel 32- and 64-bit support, improved parallel debugger support, PBS Pro validation, improved memory usage for communication, and other bug fixes by the Open MPI community since Open MPI 1.2 was first released.

For what it's worth.

Friday Nov 16, 2007

[spoof] Sun Heisenberg Compensator

First posted by rchrd, below is a great spoof video on "Sun's Heisenberg Compensator"... enjoy.

For what it's worth.

Friday Nov 09, 2007

Gobi7: Day 29: Highlight / Paste

So one of the features that I love and can't live without in X is the ability to highlight some text and then with the click of the center (third) mouse button paste it. That is all well and good until one only has two mouse buttons. On the Gobi I can \*not\* get it figured out if there is an extra key combo that will emulate the third mouse button or something. So I have resorted to using an external three button mouse so I don't lack the love to highlight/paste.

For what it's worth.

Friday Nov 02, 2007

Gobi7: Day 22: Desktop Manager Battle

22 days on th Gobi7 and still going. Not much new to report. The main issue that I have run into is around which window manager is running. I lost my session due to a scheduled power outage at the campus I am connected to and had to log into a new session. When I logged in I was not paying attention and JDS pulled up instead of what I generally use. I found that the antialiasing of fonts where driving me nuts on the 12" screen so logged back out and then back in with my FVWM session. Ah, back to my comfort zone windows manager. So I don't know if I was just seeing things or if I just needed to spend some time tweaking up the JDS settings. I found that way back in the day when I was beta testing SR@H (sun ray at home) that FVWM worked tons better than gnome, there were some screen refresh issues in the gnome code base back then that have since been resolved. FVWM is nice and lightweight, highly customizable and quick to configure as needed. I keep thinking that I should really out enlightenment but just have not found the time.

For what it's worth.

Friday Oct 26, 2007

Gobi7: Day 15

Not much to report on as far as changes. I have been using this for all my work access now for 13 days and counting. The WIFI setup and the wired are great, I am able to move through the config menus to load the settings needed based on location, love it with an external three button mouse (can't figure out the key combo for highlight/paste (middle mouse button)), used both card and non card sessions, battery life is fair but wish there was more of an indicator of life (heard this requires a hardware change that may be out on the next version), and wished it was a high resolution and more crisp display.

For what it's worth.

Thursday Oct 25, 2007

T2 in HPC

Just finished reading a post on using UltraSPARC T2 servers in the HPC space.

For what it's worth.

Tuesday Oct 23, 2007

Gobi7: Day 12

Quickly, I have been loving the extra mobility of the Gobi. Tonight I turned wifi security back on at home and was able to get the right config changes made for the wifi to connect with a password.

In SR related news but not specific to the Gobi7 90 day trial, someone dropped me a note the other day and had me utswitch over to a different box that was on the Sun corporate network... what did I see before my eyes but a login prompt for a couple of windows sessions running under win4solaris (I am guessing). I was able to login to an XP instance and poke around for a bit, after that I headed back into my $SHELL and cleansed myself. The technology totally rocks.

I mentioned to Craig that I am just geeked on thin clients and their use. I drew out a scenario for him that just excited me to think about. Say there is an area hospital that is planning an EMR roll out and now they are going to have to place either laptops in all the docs hands or lots more terminals (currently fat clients) around the place. Now what if they could hand out smart cards, install sun rays all around the hospital, in the rooms in the docs offices... you get the point and let the doc, nurses... move their session from place to place. No fat client nodes to backup all over the campus, no laptops with data walking all over the state, less power being consumed, lower total cost of ownership and increased security. Makes my heart skip a beat. Now if I could just find some folks in Southfield to talk to.

For what it's worth.

Friday Oct 19, 2007

Gobi7: Day 8

Minor update for today, the panning was getting to me so I switched back to a session that was 1024x786 which is the resolution of the Gobi7.

For what it's worth.

Thursday Oct 18, 2007

Gobi7: Day 7

All right one week in and doing well. Last night / todays test was to pull the card out of the SR2 and slide into the Gobi7. First, note that the side of the smart card with the chip on it needs to face down. The card is snug in there so that is nice to see so it won't just slip out an get lost. My session that I was using on the SR2 popped right up to the password screen and I was in. This did bring up my session that has a resolution set to 1600x1200 and the native resolution of the Gobi7 is 1024x768. I have full access to the 1600x1200 via panning which is all right for maintaining a single session and switching devices, I don't think I would use the higher res if I switched to it for my primary SR device.

Now since I covered this when I switched from the SR1g to the SR2 I thought I would recap the resolution settings that I have been using:

  • SR1g: 1920x1200
  • SR2: 1600x1200
  • Gobi7: 1024x768

As I noted in the switch from the 1g to the 2, I dropped 384000 pixels. So if one would move from a SR2 to the Gobi7 without the use of panning that is a drop of 1133568 pixels and if the change was from a SR1g it would be a drop of 1517568 pixels. Just food for thought.

The only item that I currently have left to figure out is how to get my center click (highlight/paste) when I don't have an external three button mouse connected.

For what it's worth.

Wednesday Oct 17, 2007

Gobi7: Day 6 (part three)

So this is the day of trial I guess. I just plugged in my Kensington bluetooth dongle to the Gobi7 and then flipped on my bt keyboard... and it works likes a dream. So right now I have the bt keyboard going along with the external mouse.

Update on the built in minibrowser. Word is that that is coming in some new firmware and should be out in beta soon. I was informed that when it is ready I would be able to get a copy and give it a whirl so that testing will be on hold until then.

Tomorrows testing is going to be with the smart card, tonight I am going to log out of my current non-card session.

For what it's worth.

Gobi7: Day 6 (part duex)

Oh success finally, I was able to connect to our east vpn server... I have no idea what I change, I did retype in all the values so I can only venture that I had some value fat fingered. Thanks also to the three guys on the inside that are letting me bounce my questions off.

For what it's worth.

Gobi7: Day 6

So today was a chance to try out an external monitor connected to the Gobi7. In plugging in th monitor while hot (ie up and running session) the external monitor is a mirror of the laptop screen. So I wondered what happened if connected on a cold boot and the same mirroring happens. I was thinking that this is what would happen other than changing up the X session that is running. So I would venture to guess this is the behavior and not be able to create xinerama.

I also took the first pass at switching back to the vpn east server... no joy. I need to find someone in house now that can tell me

  1. if I have the correct ip for the server
  2. what is different in the config of east and sfbay

For what it's worth.

Tuesday Oct 16, 2007

Gobi7: Day 5

Not much change today on the Gobi front. I have been cranking away on it today and have only tested out one of the items that I wanted to work on. Today was testing out an external mouse, the Sun three button laser mouse specifically. Just works, plug it in and keep on moving just like always. Also, I have two profiles for the two wireless networks that I frequent, so multi wireless network configs is done as well. Ttwo down and more to come. The list has grown a little so let me recap.

  • external display
  • external wired keyboard
  • external bluetooth keyboard (works on the SR2)
  • how to connect on a wireless network that requires web page authentication first
  • testing vpn east again to see if there is a config issue between east and sfaby or if it was just being nasty the first time I was trying
  • how to get third button (center click) when the external mouse is not connected... I use highlight and click more than I thought, work around is the copy/paste keys

It would be great if there was a method of getting battery level status even if from a cli so that would have an idea of how much time I have.

Thanks to Peter for checking in on my progress. I am digging the device so far... it could be a hard item to give up after the 90 days.

For what it's worth.

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