[Beowulf] Gentoo in the HPC environment

Jonathan Aquilina jaquilina at eagleeyet.net
Sat Jun 28 06:38:22 PDT 2014

Correct me if I am wrong here, and apologies for the delay as this thread
and discussion has really taken off.

My arguments for gentoo is more along the lines of optimization of the
source code for ones hardware.

You mention CentOS and Red hat how optimized is the heart of the system
for the hard ware its running on? How secure are they as an os? Reason I
bring up these questions is that I feel that resource are wasted that
could be used for more important things.

Another thing that I like about gentoo is the hardened profiles as well as
the extra security features that one can setup at the kernel level as
well, but that is going off my point.

I for instance currently even though nothing is running on it have a vps
with 2gb of ram and with no websites or db on there yet just the servers
ram wise i use about 62mb. I look at the low memory foot print as an
advantage in the sense that the rest of the ram can be used for more
important things.

> Hi, Jonathan.
> I would make a strong argument against Gentoo.  I would recommend that
> you choose Red Hat or its binary-compatible derivatives, like CentOS.
> At the end of the day, you need to ask yourself what you are trying to
> accomplish.  In an HPC environment, that should be a customer-facing
> service that is reliable and well supported.  You do not want to be
> constantly patching, compiling or changing APIs out from underneath of
> research code.  Enterprise Linux provides a stable base for HPC
> application development with a very solid lifecycle.
> https://access.redhat.com/site/support/policy/updates/errata/
> Being part of a larger community, running the same builds, has its
> advantages.  You won't be the only person encountering a weird stability
> or performance bug.  You also get vendor hardware support, which is
> huge.
> I know the counter arguments here.  There is always going to be the
> coder that wants Ubuntu and this-month's release of $LANGUAGE, like on
> their vagrant box.  I have found the Software Collections to be a
> fantastic solution to this demand.  You get the stability of an
> enterprise OS, plus the latest language features for developers.  This,
> along with environment modules, is win-win.
> http://wiki.centos.org/AdditionalResources/Repositories/SCL
> Even if you are a one-man shop, ask yourself what you want to be doing.
> Do you want to be a systems programmer, or do you want to be a
> research application developer.  Your time is precious.  Choose wisely.
> Cheers.
> On Tue 06/24/14 08:43AM +0200, Jonathan Aquilina wrote:
>> Hey guys,
>> I am just curious as I have recently switched to Gentoo for every day
>> use
>> due to its customizability and how everything is compiled for a
>> particular
>> system.  Has anyone used Gentoo in an HPC application?
>> Regards,
>> Jonathan
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> --
> Gavin W. Burris
> Senior Project Leader for Research Computing
> The Wharton School
> University of Pennsylvania

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