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|SUBJECT ||Subject: [hangout] Los Alamos Linux cluster to keep watch on nukes
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From: "Inker, Evan"
Subject: [hangout] Los Alamos Linux cluster to keep watch on nukes
Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2003 18:50:11 +0100
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Los Alamos Linux cluster to keep watch on nukes
Tue Sep 16, 8:00 AM ET
Amy Kucharik, SearchEnterpriseLinux.com Assistant Site Editor
While the eagle gets the glory, the penguin is quietly standing guard over
America's nukes. The Linux (news - web sites) penguin, that is.
At Los Alamos National Laboratory, one of the world's largest Linux clusters
-- called Lightning -- will be standing guard over the United States'
Residing on Lightning, Los Alamos' Advanced Simulation and Computing
program, or ASCI, will run three-dimensional simulations of nuclear
detonations. Scientists "rely on experimental data analysis to understand
how [nuclear weapons] are aging," said Los Alamos spokesman Jim Danneskiold.
Los Alamos' cluster is a "2,816-processor system built out of 1,408 nodes,"
said Dean Hutchings, chief operating officer of Linux Networx Inc., a
Bluffdale, Utah-based cluster systems provider and the Lightning project
vendor. "Each node or server has two processors in it, connected together by
a high-speed interconnect in order to act as one big supercomputer."
Lightning is a huge system, "probably about one and a half times the size of
a tennis court," Hutchings said, noting that his company worked on a similar
large system at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Los Alamos' ASCI-Linux cluster will first be deployed at Linux Networx's
facility. There, the project team will build and integrate the system "so
that it's running as one complete unit," Hutchings said. "Then, we'll turn
around, tear it down and rebuild it at the customer's facility." Getting the
system up and working out all the bugs off-site "speeds up the deployment
process for [Los Alamos] with very little intrusiveness on their data
center," he said.
Like many other scientific organizations, the lab has been using Linux since
the mid-'90s, Danneskiold said. The proven price and performance of Linux
made it the top choice for the Lightning project.
Decision makers at Los Alamos realized that clustering with Linux is the way
to "get a better bang for buck in terms of computer resources," said Dana
Krelle, marketing vice president for Santa Clara, Calif.-based Mellanox
Technologies Inc. "You can use racks upon racks of industry-standard servers
versus very high-priced, non-industry-standard servers and in that way get
more computing capability for your money. That's what's driving clustering
Mellanox's InfiniBand server interconnect technology is being used in the
cluster because it had been developed using open standards and was available
from many vendors, Krelle said. Its openness gives it versatility, so it can
be built up as a server, storage or other interconnect capability in a data
center. Also, it provided better latency than Gigabit Ethernet, Krelle said.
Linux Networx will provide two of its software tools -- Clusterworx and ICE
Box -- to facilitate management of the cluster, according to Hutchings.
Clusterworx allows the systems administrator to manage the entire cluster
either locally or remotely. ICE Box is a power and heat management tool that
continually manages the heat of the cluster and also allows the
administrator, with the use of Clusterworx, to remotely manage the power of
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