[Beowulf] Gentoo in the HPC environment

Kilian Cavalotti kilian.cavalotti.work at gmail.com
Thu Jun 26 09:27:25 PDT 2014

On Thu, Jun 26, 2014 at 7:36 AM, Prentice Bisbal
<prentice.bisbal at rutgers.edu> wrote:
> I disagree with needed separate images in a VM/Docker/etc. environment,
> maybe if your doing system-level research, but most HPC users work
> exclusively in the user-space,and just want to run their MATLAB/NAMD/LAMMPS,
> whatever job. In this case, just installing user-space applications and
> libraries in a different path from the distro-supplied versions is adequate.
> Modifying PATH and a few other environment variables that most users can
> handle is all you need modules, lmod, softenv and other utilities make that
> even easier for users.

+1 on this. If users start requesting kernel modifications or
low-level system tuning, it's likely the sign that a shared system is
not a good fit for their needs, and that they would probably benefit
from using and managing their own system.
To me, the main interest of a shared system is that users can just log
in, put together a submission script using the already installed and
configured software they need, and go off doing science. All the
hardware, low-level tuning and system administration is taken care of
for them so they don't need to waste time managing these things. And
they can make a better use of their time, focused on their

> If you're doing lower-level research involving kernel modules or kernel
> tuning, yes, you will need VMs or something. But this is usually 'research',
> not 'production' HPC.


> This is so true. If you are a roadblock to your users, they will find a way
> around you.

And make your life hell. They have plenty of ways. :)


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