[Beowulf] Mare Nostrum (not quite COTS)

Vincent Diepeveen diep at xs4all.nl
Wed Feb 16 04:13:34 PST 2005

That looks great,

Congratulations on the supercomputer!

Which myrinet cards are in Mare Nostrum?
What one way pingpong latency can it get from 1 end of the machine to the
other end of the machine?


At 11:31 16-2-2005 +0100, Eugen Leitl wrote:
>Power Architecture Community Newsletter, 15 Feb 2005: MareNostrum: A new
>concept in Linux supercomputing		
>	e-mail it!
>The name and the history
>Meet MareNostrum
>Distinguishing technologies
>View from the crow's nest
>About the author
>Rate this article
>Related content:
>Project MareNostrum site
>IBM eServer Cluster Servers
>dW newsletters
>Level: Introductory
>developerWorks Power Architecture editors
>15 Feb 2005
>    The MareNostrum supercomputer at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center,
>ranked number four in the world in speed in November 2004, is constructed of
>such totally off-the-shelf parts as IBM BladeCenter JS20 servers, 64-bit
>970FX PowerPC processors, TotalStorage DS4100 storage servers, and Linux 2.6.
>This is its story.
>IBM® has long been a supercomputing leader -- its heritage of innovation
>currently and spectacularly manifested in its most powerful supercomputer,
>Blue Gene®/L. The MareNostrum project is the latest bold experiment in
>supercomputing by IBM -- a small but powerful, rapidly deployed and built
>system that comes entirely from commercially available components. The Latin
>term mare nostrum means "our sea" (which to the Romans meant the
>Mediterranean, as familiar and available to the Italici as the air they
>breathed, but also the critical key to their success).
>MareNostrum is one of the world's most powerful supercomputers, ranked among
>the top five in the prestigious TOP500 (see Resources), yet it is constructed
>from products available for sale to any business, lives within a relatively
>small footprint, and was built on a tight schedule using blade servers, a
>Linux. operating environment, and other cost-efficient technologies.
>MareNostrum represents a new way of thinking about high-performance
>Blade servers, some of the most thin and dense machines that can be slid into
>chassis with the ability to share sources such as power and network switches,
>became the base components of this supercomputer design. Those familiar with
>the IBM BladeCenter. JS20 servers' shared-resources architecture will
>recognize how these servers cost-effectively minimize power consumption and
>heat output. Running the Linux operating system, the servers exploit the
>capabilities of the 2.6 kernel on 64-bit PowerPC® processors.
>MareNostrum also demonstrates something very unique in its project timeline:
>Part of its mission was to prove the speed at which IBM Linux clusters could
>be implemented and unleashed. According to the IBM MareNostrum e-Science
>Lead, Dr. Juan Jose Porta (Open Systems Design and Development, IBM
>Boeblingen Laboratory):
>    This is all about timely and focused execution. The speed at which this
>project was realized is important. Consider: from the initial concept in late
>December of 2003 to assembling the computer in Madrid took less than a year.
>Normally, this kind of supercomputer projects take years. 
>To make a remarkable saga short, MareNostrum is here and will soon be put
>into operation by the Barcelona Supercomputer Center (BSC), a public
>consortium created by the Spanish Government, the Catalonian Government, and
>the Technical University of Catalonia (UPC), the hosts of the MareNostrum
>supercomputer. The Barcelona Supercomputing Center is located on the
>Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) campus in Barcelona.
>Dr. Porta added, "The supercomputer is based upon commodity technology
>already developed and available. We were also playing with another piece of
>magic -- an open environment. This has been a collaborative community effort,
>where we closely worked with our partners."
>The name and the history
>Why "MareNostrum?" In the words of Dr. Porta:
>    MareNostrum means literally "our sea," which is also the Latin name for
>the Mediterranean Sea on which Barcelona is a port. It carries other apt
>connotations. "Our sea" refers to a sea of processors and professors who are
>flocking to the MareNostrum project with a deep commitment to breakthrough
>science. MareNostrum also refers to the fact that our supercomputer is on the
>shores of the Mediterranean which, in the days of old Rome, was the middle of
>the world. This was the center of the Roman Empire, now to become the center
>of European e-Science on the shores of the nice Mediterranean Sea! Thus, we
>are talking about an ocean of many professors and a major hub around which
>such facilitation will grow and thrive to empower a new generation of
>    Another significant aspect of the name is that, being Latin, it is more
>culturally inclusive. Not everyone is aware that Spain has actually four
>official languages, and we did not want to slight anyone. Latin was a safe
>choice. Spain now understandably becomes the proud home to the most powerful
>supercomputer in Europe. We see references to its having been assembled in
>Madrid, but also references to its permanent home as being in Barcelona. 
>MareNostrum is a result of the burgeoning partnership between IBM and the
>Spanish Government, which has also led to the creation of the Barcelona
>Supercomputing Center (BSC). BSC is a public consortium created by the
>Spanish Government, the Catalonian Government, and the Technical University
>of Catalonia (UPC), which will host the MareNostrum supercomputer.
>Housed in a majestic 1920s chapel on the university grounds, MareNostrum
>serves a dual purpose: To serve as a primary high-performance computing
>resource for the European e-science community and to demonstrate the many
>benefits of Linux on POWER. in scale.
>Meet MareNostrum
>With peak system performance of 40 teraflops for the final system
>configuration, and a number four spot on the TOP500 list, MareNostrum
>continues the IBM tradition of high-performance computing breakthroughs in
>the service of scientific advancement with a twist: MareNostrum is built
>entirely of commercially available components, including:
>    * 2,282 IBM eServer BladeCenter JS20 blade servers housed in 163
>    * BladeCenter chassis
>    * 4,564 64-bit IBM PowerPC 970FX processors
>    * 140 TB of IBM TotalStorage® DS4100 storage servers
>The thinking behind MareNostrum's construction represents a new way of
>looking at these and other compute-intensive areas. Today's typical
>high-performance computing installation runs a large, parallel RISC-based
>UNIX® system with performance instead of reliability being of utmost
>importance. MareNostrum, however, is a small-footprint Linux cluster made up
>entirely of off-the-shelf components. With the extreme density of IBM eServer
>BladeCenter JS20 servers, diskless nodes, and an open system environment,
>MareNostrum offers superior price/performance; greater reliability,
>availability, and serviceability; and significant cost efficiencies --
>factors that are endearing Linux-based cluster servers to more and more
>businesses all the time.
>Distinguishing technologies
>The next sections explain the hardware and software technologies that
>distinguish the high-performance computing strategy behind MareNostrum.
>Hardware: Servers
>There are 2,282 IBM eServer BladeCenter JS20 servers housed in 163
>BladeCenters chassis. Each server Blade has two PowerPC 970 processors
>running at 2.20GHz, providing superior performance for several varieties of
>Linux. The BladeCenter technology offers the highest commercially available
>computer density in the industry, which results in high performance with a
>small footprint. The BladeCenter technology allows for 84 dual processor
>servers in a single 42 U rack, giving more than 1.4 teraflops of compute
>power in a single rack.
>Hot-swappable JS20 servers also allow administrators to change servers
>without disrupting applications, maximizing availability. Its
>shared-resources architecture helps to minimize power consumption and heat
>output, as well.
>Hardware: Storage
>MareNostrum's storage subsystem consists of 20 storage server nodes with 7
>terabytes of capacity each or 140 terabytes of total capacity. Its backbone
>is the IBM TotalStorage DS4100 storage server which, like the BladeCenter
>JS20, uses redundant hot-swappable components for high availability. IBM
>TotalStorage DS4100 technology enables tremendous scalability and a wide
>range of RAID data protection options.
>Hardware: Switching
>Four switch frames with Myrinet, including 10 CLOS 256+256 switches and 2
>Spine 1280s and densely bundled Myrinet cabling enables faster parallel
>processing with less switching hardware. The redundant hot-swappable power
>supply ensures greater availability. The complete switch with 12 chassis
>provides for 2,560 uniform ports. This uniformity simplifies the programming
>model so researches can focus on their programs and not the system
>interconnect architecture.
>Software: The power of Linux on POWER
>The Linux 2.6 kernel offers an array of enterprise and performance features
>that exploit the Power Architecture.. The virtualization capabilities of
>Linux on POWER allow for more flexible partitioning, better balancing of
>workloads, and superior scalability should workloads increase. Dr. Porta
>explained, "It is the Linux 2.6 kernel which offers an array of enterprise
>and performance features that exploit the Power Architecture."
>Software: Diskless Image Management (DIM)
>DIM is a prototype utility for managing the Linux distribution for the
>compute nodes on the storage servers so that the compute node does not have
>to manage the root file system. All the files for operation are obtained
>through the cluster network. Because of this, blades can operate immediately
>without Linux installation. This is on-demand operation. The blades do have a
>disk drive but that is reserved for future application use such as
>checkpointing. DIM also supports the network boot environment in a highly
>distributed fashion.
>Software: IBM Linux on POWER clustering technologies
>The goal is to endow MareNostrum with the same benefits businesses in many
>industries derive from IBM Linux clusters, albeit on a larger scale. Benefits
>such as:
>    * Superior density and improved operating efficiency, including smaller
>    * space, power, and cooling requirements and related costs -- thanks to
>    * the BladeCenter JS20 architecture
>    * Record price/performance and system throughput for high-performance
>    * computing workloads thanks to innovative POWER semiconductor
>    * technology, specifically the eight-way superscalar design of the
>    * PowerPC 970FX processor which fully supports symmetric multi-processing
>    * (SMP)
>    * The leading IBM 64-bit POWER microprocessors are capable of addressing
>    * four billion times the amount of physical memory as traditional 32-bit
>    * processors without resorting to complex memory-extension techniques.
>    * Better systems management control thanks to embedded service processors
>    * and software image management
>    * Increased reliability, availability, and serviceability, as well as
>    * lower installation and maintenance costs -- provided by diskless
>    * compute nodes
>    * Improved functionality and performance thanks to the Linux 2.6 kernel
>    * Reduced switching hardware requirements and faster parallel processing
>    * provided by Myrinet switch cabling
>    * Improved storage subsystem costs and reliability thanks to TotalStorage
>    * DS4100 storage technology
>View from the crow's nest
>When the power of MareNostrum is unleashed later this year, it will be at the
>service of scientific, engineering, and medical researchers in the Spanish
>and international scientific communities. Its to-do list includes issues that
>are familiar in the supercomputing world, such as protein folding, in silico
>(computer generated) drug screening and enzymatic reactions. MareNostrum will
>be used to support basic and applied research in areas that include biology,
>chemistry, physics, and information-based medicine.
>As Dr. Porta summed up:
>    ...[T]he very thinking that drove MareNostrum's construction is a new way
>of looking at compute-intensive areas, particularly in the life sciences, as
>we prepare new work to resolve challenging problems in information based
>medicine -- including improvements in diagnostic and therapeutic treatments
>in hospitals. In the EU context, many of the projects will be conducted in
>collaboration with other leading European research institutions. We are
>building collaborative efforts across geographic borders and disciplines. And
>remember -- the name of the supercomputer is MareNostrum. Traditionally, it
>was the Mediterranean Sea which allowed commerce and communication to
>flourish in Europe and beyond. 
>    * Visit the Project MareNostrum site, demonstrating the value of Linux
>    * clustering for science, for business, for life itself.
>    * MareNostrum is now at home at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC)
>    * on the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) campus in Barcelona, a
>    * prestigious public institution focused on higher education, research,
>    * and technology transfer.
>    * The TOP500 Supercomputer Sites project was started in 1993 to provide a
>    * reliable basis for tracking and detecting trends in high-performance
>    * computing -- twice a year, the project releases a list of the 500 sites
>    * operating the most powerful computer systems.
>    * See this chart for the Linpack benchmark for MareNostrum and others.
>    * This news article examines MareNostrum, IBM's top-ranked,
>    * off-the-shelf, blade-based supercomputer.
>    * Connecting two or more IBM eServer Cluster Servers can create a single,
>    * unified computing resource that will dramatically improve availability,
>    * flexibility, and adaptability for essential services.
>    * The IBM BladeCenter JS20 is well- suited for commercial mainstream
>    * applications and 64-bit high performance computing (HPC) environments.
>    * The IBM Redbook, The IBM eServer BladeCenter JS20, takes an in-depth
>    * look at the two-way Blade eServer for applications requiring 64-bit
>    * computing.
>    * The Linux on IBM eServer product line is Linux-enabled to deliver
>    * maximum performance, reliability, manageability, and price/performance
>    * benefits.
>    * See this site for more on how IBM supercomputing solutions can help
>    * remove the barriers to deployment of clustered server systems.
>    * IBM TotalStorage DS400 series has been enhanced with the DS4000 Storage
>    * Manager V9.10, enhanced remote mirror option, DS4100 option for larger
>    * capacity configurations, and support for EXP100 serial ATA expansion
>    * units .
>    * Take a look at the Myrinet switches used in MareNostrum.
>About the author
>The developerWorks Power Architecture editors welcome your comments on this
>article. E-mail them at dwpower at us.ibm.com.
>Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a>
>ICBM: 48.07078, 11.61144            http://www.leitl.org
>8B29F6BE: 099D 78BA 2FD3 B014 B08A  7779 75B0 2443 8B29 F6BE
>http://moleculardevices.org         http://nanomachines.net
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