[Beowulf] Gentoo in the HPC environment

Prentice Bisbal prentice.bisbal at rutgers.edu
Mon Jun 30 08:27:42 PDT 2014

I second Gavin.

A lot of people have been mentioning LXC and Docker ans cures to this 
problem, and to paraphrase The Princess Bride, you keep using those 
words I don't think they mean what you think they mean. Docker and LXC 
are great for isolating running services: apache, DNS, etc. For the most 
part, we are stalking about user-space libraries and programs. I don't 
see how Docker and LXC could be used or provide any benefit in this 


On 06/30/2014 08:18 AM, Gavin W. Burris wrote:
> Hi, Jonathan.
> Or you can just build software in a dedicated, version-named directory
> with the --prefix option.  Many in HPC use the environment modules.
> Here is a good article about it:
> http://www.admin-magazine.com/HPC/Articles/Environment-Modules
> Cheers.
> On Sat 06/28/14 04:07PM +0200, Jonathan Aquilina wrote:
>> You guys are mentioning installing applications in a modular way, couldnt
>> that be achieved in a chroot environment or by using an LXC container?
>> Regards.
>>> On Wed 06/25/14 11:30AM -0400, Joe Landman wrote:
>>>> More often than not, commercial and closed source
>>>> applications are built and qualified (for support and guarantee of
>>>> functionality) against several very specific OS and library versions.
>>>> It is
>>>> rare, in my experience with this, that any of these are up-to-date
>>>> versions
>>>> of Red Hat or Red Hat derived distributions.
>>> In my experience, Red Hat is often the first, if not the only, supported
>>> OS for a commercial Linux application.  This is due to the
>>> aforementioned lifecycle support and predictable ABI/API.
>>>> one unsupported platform is as good as the other, with the caveat that
>>>> one
>>>> needs to pay attention to the ease of management as well as other
>>>> things.
>>> Walking the well trodden path provides ease of management.  I don't want
>>> to deploy a custom OS stack and have to throw my hands in the air when I
>>> hit a difficult bug that brings operations to a halt.  I like hardware
>>> support.  I like talking to the systems engineers.  I have support on
>>> both Red Hat and CentOS (SL too).  Deploying things like InfiniBand and
>>> pNFS is easy and commercially supported with RHEL.
>>>> This is why stateless machines, booting an instance with a particular OS
>>>> for
>>>> a particular job, is a *far* more reasonable and workable approach than
>>> Stateless is cool, but I choose my battles.  Supporting multiple OS
>>> platforms is not a reasonable use of my time.  If the other-OS
>>> application really is the end-all-be-all, then maybe, in a VM.  I do
>>> have to check out Docker.
>>>> Err ... no.  The center of mass of the market has moved on to the faster
>>> I'm saying that you shouldn't change the base OS and its APIs, but _do_
>>> install the latest languages and applications in a modular way.
>>> Win-win.  Programmers get to choose the latest tools, with a solid base
>>> for those software builds, plus hardware support.
>>> Cheers,
>>> --
>>> Gavin W. Burris
>>> Senior Project Leader for Research Computing
>>> The Wharton School
>>> University of Pennsylvania
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