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A global operating system for HPC clusters

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4 Author(s)
Betti, E. ; Syst. Programming Res. Group, Univ. of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy ; Cesati, M. ; Gioiosa, R. ; Piermaria, F.

Modern supercomputers consist of clusters of thousands of independent nodes interconnected through fast networks. These nodes run independent operating system kernels, thus synchronization among them is demanded for user mode programs. This means that temporal synchronization of the nodes is a daunting task. On the other hand, HPC cluster applications often require a rather strict temporal synchronization for activities like performance analysis, application debugging, or data checkpointing. Therefore, the performance of an HPC parallel application may be severely impaired by the lack of temporal synchronization among the activities of the nodes of the cluster; this poses a severe limit on the scalability of such architectures. In this paper we introduce CAOS, an extension of the Linux kernel that aims to address the temporal synchronization problems of modern HPC clusters. We describe the general ideas behind CAOS, and we discuss some details of a possible implementation. We also illustrate some experiments performed on a prototype implementation of CAOS including a centralized network time tick, which allows a master node to synchronize the activities of all other nodes in the cluster, and a specific task scheduler tailored for HPC applications. These experiments, performed on a modern HPC cluster, witness that this new component has no measurable impact on the efficiency of the nodes while reducing the OS noise and providing better performance prediction. An implementation of CAOS based on this component can achieve a significant gain in terms of synchronization, global control, and scalability of the cluster.

Published in:

Cluster Computing and Workshops, 2009. CLUSTER '09. IEEE International Conference on

Date of Conference:

Aug. 31 2009-Sept. 4 2009

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