Using Bright CM to Manage a Linux Cluster

COD_Cluster-Bright-1What goes into managing a Linux HPC (High Performance Computing) cluster?

There is an endless list of software, tools and configurations that are required or recommended for efficiently managing a shared HPC cluster environment.

A shared HPC cluster typically has many layers that deliver a usable environment that doesn’t have to  depend on the users coordinating closely or the system administrators being superheroes of late-night patching and just-in-time recovery.

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Figure 1 Typical Layers of a shared HPC cluster.

For each layer in the diagram above there are numerous open-source and paid software tools to choose from. The thing to note is that it’s not just a choice. System administrators have to work with the user requirements, compatibility tweaks and ease of implementation and use to come up with a perfect recipe (much like carrot cake). Once the choices have been made, users and system administrators have to train, learn and start utilizing these tools.

HPC @ PADT Inc.

At PADT Inc. we have several Linux based HPC clusters that are in high demand. Our Clusters are based on the Cube High Value Performance Computing (HVPC) systems and are designed to optimize the performance of numerical simulation software. We were facing several challenges that are common with building & maintaining HPC clusters. The challenges were mainly in the areas of security, imaging and deployment, resource management, monitoring and maintenance.

To solve these challenges there is an endless list of software tools and packages both open-source and commercial. Each one of these tools comes with its own steep learning curve and mounting time to test & implement.

Enter – Bright Computing

After testing several tools we came across the Bright Computing – Bright Cluster Manager (Bright CM). Bright CM eliminates the need for system administrators to manually install and configure the most common HPC cluster components. On top of that it provides the majority of the HPC software packages, tools and software libraries in their default software image.

A Bright CM cluster installation starts off with an extremely useful installation wizard that asks all of the right questions while giving the user full control to customize the installation. With a note pad, a couple of hours and a basic understanding of HPC clusters, you are ready to install your applications.

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Figure 2. Installation Wizard

An all knowing dashboard helps system admins master and monitor the cluster(s) or if you prefer the CLI CM shell provides full functionality through command line. From the dashboard system admins can manage multiple clusters down to the finest details.

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Figure 3. Cluster Management Interface.

An extensive cluster monitoring interface allows systems admins, users and key stakeholders to generate and view detailed reports about the different cluster components.

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Figure 4. Cluster Monitoring Interface.

Bright CM has proven to be a valuable tool in managing and optimizing our HPC environment. For further information and a demo of Bright Cluster Manager please contact sales@padtinc.com.