Linux Symposium

Management of virtual large-scale high-performance computing systems

Geoffroy Vallee

Linux is widely used on high-performance computing (HPC) systems, from commodity clusters to Cray supercomputers (which run the Cray Linux Environment). These platforms primarily differ in their system configuration, some only use SSH to access compute nodes, whereas others employ full resource management systems (e.g., Torque and ALPS on Cray XT systems). Furthermore, latest improvements in system-level virtualization techniques, such as hardware support, virtual machine migration for system resilience purposes, and reduction of virtualization overheads, enables the usage of virtual machines on HPC platforms.

Currently, tools for the management of virtual machines in the context of HPC systems are still quite basic, and often tightly coupled to the target platform. In this document, we present a new system tool for the management of virtual machines in the context of large-scale HPC systems, including a run-time system and the support for all major virtualization solutions. The proposed solution is based on two key aspects. First, Virtual System Environments (VSE), introduced in a previous study, provide a flexible method to define the software environment that will be used within virtual machines. Secondly, we propose a new system run-time for the management and deployment of VSE on HPC systems, which supports a wide range of system configurations. For instance, this generic run-time can interact with resource managers such as Torque for the management of virtual machines. The proposed solution is flexible and may be used to manage both the virtual machines and the host operating systems. Finally, the proposed solution provides appropriate abstractions to enable use with a variety of virtualization solutions on different Linux HPC platforms, to include Xen, KVM and the HPC oriented Palacios.

Policies   |   Media Archives