Sunday Sep 28, 2008

Sun xVM Ops Center at TACC

In a previous blog, I talked about xVM Ops Center's early deployment at Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) in Austin, Texas. When we first started at TACC, late last year, we deployed xVM Ops Center 1.0 Early Access (EA) version. Recently, we upgraded to Ops Center 1.1.1 at TACC.

Ops Center monitors the 3936 four-socket blades of the TACC supercomputer known as Ranger. Physically, the compute blades occupy 82 racks that are spread across 6 aisles. Dongju Choi at TACC wrote a set of scripts that extract sensor data every 15 minutes from Ops Center and then plots it against a 2D matrix that represents the physical layout of Ranger. Thanks DJ !

Attached are some sample charts that show system fan speed (per blade) and system temperature (averaged per rack). Pretty neat !

Sunday Jun 22, 2008

xVM Ops Center on Linux

The recently shipped Sun xVM Ops Center 1.1 enables to run management tiers (Satellite and Proxy) on Linux, in addition to Solaris that came with xVM Ops Center 1.0. At the recently concluded International Supercomputing conference (IS08) in Dresden, Germany, Sun announced Sun xVM Ops Center 1.1 along with the availability of a number of hardware and software for the HPC market, including

  • the 72 port DDR Infiniband Sun Data Center Switch 3x24,
  • the 4 socket Sun Blade X6450 Intel Blade capable of delivering 7.37 Tflops peak performance in a fully populated 6048 chassis,
  • an integrated Sun HPC Software Linux Edition 1.0,
  • an integrated toolkit for developers Sun HPC Cluster Tools 8.0 containing the latest Open MPI 1.3, and
  • Sun's scalable visualization software, Sun Visualization Software 1.1.

All of the above were displayed at the ISC08 Sun booth last week and received lots of interest from customers and partners.

 Here is a screenshot from our demo with xVM Ops Center 1.1 installed on CentOS 5

And another screenshot with xVM Ops Center provisioning Sun Grid Engine 6.1 

See here and here for detailed instructions on provisioning CentOS 5 and Sun Grid Engine 6.1, respectively.

Saturday Mar 08, 2008

TACC - Sun xVM Ops Center Early Adopter

In February 2008, we announced General Availability of Sun xVM Ops Center, a highly scalable data center management tool that will allow customers to greatly automate time consuming, routine system administration tasks, such as firmware updates, bare-metal operating-system provisioning, patching and updating - making it easier to manage thousands of IT assets. Scaling Ops Center outside our limited-scale lab environment was vitally important to it's success and to ensure it holds up to massive scale that Ops Center will be deployed to and used in real world HPC environments. For this, we were fortunate to have, as one of xVM Ops Center's early adopters, today's fastest supercomputer in the world at Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) in UT Austin.

The 504 TeraFlop Ranger supercomputer at TACC is Sun's Constellation system architecture at its finest moment, consisting of 82 compute racks, 12 management racks and 2 switches, neatly laid out in rows (see figure to the left), in a data center approximately half the size of a basketball court !!

Each compute rack consists of 48 Sun 4-socket blades, each socket populated by a quad core 2.0 GHz AMD Barcelona processor. Management racks consists of Thumpers (X4500) and X4600M2's. Two switches are Sun's 3456-port Magnum and system interconnect is Infiniband using Mellanox's Infiniband cards.

Ops Center is installed on two of the X4600M2's in one of the management racks. Each X4600M2 is a 4-socket, dual core AMD, 16GB Memory and 2 x 70GB disks. Both Ops Center installations have satellite and proxy collocated on their respective X4600M2 box. Both instances of Ops Center are currently configured to manage 15 racks (720 blades and corresponding chassis). Short-term plan is to implement the entire Ranger (all compute nodes in 82 racks and management nodes) across four X4600M2's. The rationale is to get Ops Center in use at TACC for some time, while work on scaling to a single or two X4600M2.

TACC became an early adopter in October 2007. xVM Ops Center beta engineering builds were used at TACC to discover and inventory Constellation chassis and Blade service processors, collect basic system telemetry, perform lights-out management tasks such as power and indicator light cycling and provision latest firmware to Thumpers and Sun Blades. These test drives on Ranger with early Ops Center bits helped validate the product's scalability as we found and fixed issues in chassis-blade association during power cycling, Mbean normalization, job weights, server grouping and locking & synchronization.

We are currently a little more than one-third of the way there (= ~ 30 out of 82 racks; ~ 1440 out of 3936 blades). There is still work to be done. With the recent release of Sun xVM Ops Center 1.0, our team is gearing up to scale the remaining two-thirds, to become the first HPC cluster management product to scale today's highest Supercomputing peak !!

 Stay tuned for more updates as we continue this fascinating journey.

Tuesday Mar 04, 2008

Come, Participate in Ops Center Extensibility Projects

Have you checked out recently. We have recently added a couple candidate projects aimed at extending the functional reach of Sun xVM Ops Center and enable interoperability with other popular solutions, particularly in the HPC space.

Let me briefly introduce these two integration projects. 

  • Integration of Sun Grid Engine (SGE) and Sun xVM Ops Center. SGE is based on the open source Grid Engine project that provides policy-based workload management and dynamic provisioning of application workloads. Grid Engine open source software is used at thousands of HPC sites worldwide.
  • Integration of Rocks and Sun xVM Ops Center. Rocks is an open source Linux cluster distribution that enables end users to easily build computational clusters, grid endpoints and visualization tiled-display walls. Rocks' popularity in the HPC community is evidenced by several Rocks deployments around the world.
More information on these projects and how to get involved is available by clicking on the 3rd category in the left pane titled "Integration Projects" here. Look forward to working with you on these projects

Monday Feb 25, 2008

Blades management with Sun xVM Ops Center

Recently we put together a cool demo of Sun xVM Ops Center's Sun Blade 6000 management capabilities for a large HPC financial customer. The demo showcased Ops Center's full suite of lifecycle management capabilities with X6250 blades including discovery, lights-out management such as power and locator lights cycling, firmware upgrade and provisioning of Solaris 10 Update 4 operating system.

Other really cool aspects in the demo are features not available in Sun's previous Systems Management product. Most notably among them are:

  • Firmware upgrade thru the "Compliance" feature of Sun xVM Ops Center. This "compliance report" feature in firmware provisioning brings a high degree of automation in the not-so-glamorous but critical step of server lifecycle management in data centers, i.e., firmware provisioning.
  • OS provisioning by leveraging Jumpstart thru JET (Jumpstart Enterprise Toolkit). Enabling serial port for remote console during OS provisioning and grabbing MAC addresses off managed nodes to facilitate OS provisioning are other features in the demo that the customer was interested in.

If you are at Immersion Week , you should check this demo out at the two BOF sessions on Monday and Thursday evenings. If you can't make it to immersion week, no sweat. We are working on getting a richer version of this blades management demo to a Sun Solution Center near you.

Hope you like it.


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