Overall Objectives
Scientific Foundations
Application Domains
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Section: Scientific Foundations

Management of Large Architectures

Participants : Derrick Kondo, Arnaud Legrand, Vania Marangozova-Martin, Olivier Richard, Corinne Touati.

Most distributed systems deployed nowadays are characterized by a high dynamism of their entities (participants can join and leave at will), a potential instability of the large scale networks (on which concurrent applications are running), and the increasing probability of failure. Therefore, as the size of the system increases, it becomes necessary that it adapts automatically to the changes of its components, requiring a self-organization of the system with respect to the arrival and departure of participants, data, or resources.

As a consequence, it becomes crucial to understand and model the behavior of large scale systems, to efficiently exploit these infrastructures. In particular it is essential to design dedicated algorithms and infrastructures handling a large amount of users and/or data.

MESCAL deals with this problem using several complementary tracks:

Fairness in large-scale distributed systems

Large-scale distributed platforms (Grid computing platforms, enterprise networks, peer-to-peer systems) result from the collaboration of many people. Thus, the scaling evolution we are facing is not only dealing with the amount of data and the number of computers but also with the number of users and the diversity of their behavior. In a high-performance computing framework, the rationale behind this joining of forces is that most users need a larger amount of resources than what they have on their own. Some only need these resources for a limited amount of time. On the opposite some others need as many resources as possible but do not have particular deadlines. Some may have mainly tightly-coupled applications while some others may have mostly embarrassingly parallel applications. The variety of user profiles makes resources sharing a challenge. However resources have to be fairly shared between users, otherwise users will leave the group and join another one. Large-scale systems therefore have a real need for fairness and this notion is missing from classical scheduling models.

Tools to operate clusters

The MESCAL project-team studies and develops a set of tools designed to help the installation and the use of a cluster of PCs. The first version had been developed for the icluster1 platform exploitation. The main tools are a scalable tool for cloning nodes (KA-Deploy ) and a parallel launcher based on the Taktuk project (now developed by the MOAIS project-team). Many interesting issues have been raised by the use of the first versions among which we can mention environment deployment, robustness and batch scheduler integration. A second generation of these tools is thus under development to meet these requirements.

The new KA-Deploy has been retained as the primary deployment tool for the experimental national grid GRID'5000.

Simple and scalable batch scheduler for clusters and grids

Most known batch schedulers (PBS, LSF, Condor, ...) are of old-fashioned conception, built monolithically, with the purpose of fulfilling most of the exploitation needs. This results in systems of high software complexity (150000 lines of code for OpenPBS), offering a growing number of functions that are, most of the time, not used. In such a context, it becomes hard to control both the robustness and the scalability of the whole system.

OAR is an attempt to address these issues. Firstly, OAR is written in a very high level language (Perl) and makes intensive use of high level tools (MySql and Taktuk ), thereby resulting in a concise code (around 5000 lines of code) easy to maintain and extend. This small code as well as the choice of widespread tools (MySql) are essential elements that ensure a strong robustness of the system. Secondly, OAR makes use of SQL requests to perform most of its job management tasks thereby getting advantage of the strong scalability of most database management tools. Such scalability is further improved in OAR by making use of Taktuk to manage nodes themselves.


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