Create Mixed HPC/Big Data Clusters Today Says Bright Computing

By John Russell

February 3, 2016

The latest version of convergence – blending traditional HPC and big data computing into a ‘single’ environment – dominates much of the conversation in the HPC today, including within HPCwire. Elegant unified solutions, certainly at the very high end, are still in the making. That said, Bright Computing is in the thick of efforts to transform clusters and clouds into ‘unified’ platforms comprised of hybrid resources that support both traditional HPC and big data today.

In mid January Bright Computing released version 7.2 of its cluster and cloud management software suite. Last week Bright was awarded a 1.5 million Euros grant from the European Commission Horizon 2020 program Grant around integrating HPC-big data-OpenStack functionalities into its product suite. Sometime in Q1 2016 the company expects to announce more OEM partners, said company founder and CEO Matthijs van Leeuwen. If timing is everything, then the timing seems right for Bright Computing.

The infrastructure complexity being created by efforts to combine HPC and big data infrastructures represents a huge challenge to the HPC community and a rapidly expanding opportunity for Bright Computing. Well established in HPC and growing quickly in the enterprise, the Bright Computing platform is a resource allocation and management platform. To the extent the company’s products – Bright Cluster Manager for HPC, Bright Cluster Manager for Big Data, and Bright Open Stack – deliver as promised, the platform is an important tool for creating single use (HPC or big data) and mixed use (HPC and big data) clusters and (private) clouds, along with the ability to burst to public clouds as needed.

Bright Computing founder and CEO Matthijs van Leeuwen compared the current situation to the early days of Boewulf clusters.

Matthijs van Leeuwen
Matthijs van Leeuwen

“Researchers began putting clusters together themselves, ignoring traditional supercomputer vendors, and there was no commercial management software available. I think we are going to see the same situation now as we go into a new era where everyone wants to combine HPC and big data technologies. Those who are still doing a lot of this stuff in-house, with their own scripts, sys admin, and dev-ops are going to find it is too cumbersome, time-consuming, and risky. They will want to have that automated.”

Consider just a couple of the difficulties in merging the two environments. A Hadoop cluster typically has a bunch of storage on every compute node. HPC clusters may have diskless nodes with no storage whatsoever. Hadoop uses Hadoop Distributed File System; HPC systems tend to rely on GPFS (now Spectrum Scale), Lustre, or NFS – although van Leeuwen is quick to add, “it is possible with Bright software to easily set up a common files system, Lustre in particular, that will work both with the HPC and big data for Hadoop and Spark.”

The point is that combining HPC and big data in a single environment isn’t a trivial task, and that cobbled together hybrid resources are immensely challenging to manage. There are many hardware, software, and administration issues to deal with (for example, see HPCwire article, Toward a Converged Exascale-Big Data Software Stack). Moreover mixed-use environment performance typically doesn’t match pure-play HPC.

There is also a more general trend for consolidation inside the datacenter, according to van Leeuwen, “It’s a move away from datacenters with dedicated HPC clusters, dedicated Hadoop clusters, and other types of dedicated clusters or server farms. More and more HPC will move to the public cloud, but I don’t think it is going to be a dramatic shift. It’s been gradual over the years and I don’t see anything coming that would cause a dramatic shift.”

The Bright Computing platform performs provisioning, monitoring, and management down to bare metal. Job schedulers, Slurm for example, are integrated on top of Bright. Start with servers, the physical infrastructure, all running Linux. “We install Bright across that with agents running inside each [server]. I call this the foundation [layer],” said van Leeuwen.

Bright Computaing image 2As shown in the diagram (left), it’s possible to create and manage multiple different clusters (HPC or Hadoop) defined by Bright and implemented through the foundation layer over the physical infrastructure.

From its start Bright has focused on HPC, the natural result of van Leeuwen’s background. His Ph.D. in Stochastic Subsurface Modeling (Imperial College, UK) required HPC resources including running simulations on Cray and Fujitsu supercomputers as well as commodity HPC clusters. In recent years the company has also aggressively incorporated capabilities for handling ‘big data’ oriented infrastructure (Hadoop and Spark) and embraced OpenStack for private clouds.

“Many people don’t realize that OpenStack does not install on bare metal. You need to do a lot of preparation before you can start installing OpenStack. The Bright foundation provides all of that that. Neither does Hadoop install directly on bare metal,” said van Leeuwen. It’s true that Hadoop suppliers such as Hortonworks and Cloudera have begin introducing bare metal deployment mechanisms, he agreed, “but they only work if you have a dedicated Hadoop cluster.”

Positioned as a complete cluster resource allocation/management solution – provisioning, monitoring, security, and updating – Bright works with most job schedulers. “We actually install and configure them and take care of failover of the workload management. That’s a real critical element. We sample all the metrics from the workload management and when a customer grows and shrinks its cluster, we make sure that the workload manager knows so the sys admin will tell Bright I’m adding 10 nodes and bright will automatically in the background reallocate work,” said van Leeuwen.

Users can choose between graphical or command line UIs. van Leeuwen emphasized ease-of-use as a differentiator. The company issues product updates twice yearly, and now tried to closely track OpenStack releases to incorporate its latest features. Here are a few version 7.2 highlights:

  • Bright Cluster Manager includes enhanced support for running containers on nodes using Docker. Administrators and other users can easily set up a web workload orchestration system or to run other containerized workloads with Kubernetes. Administrators can configure the system, add new users, monitor the system, and easily update it. Other updates include improved integration with Puppet to simplify fine-grained control over individual nodes, ZFS support to provide a robust alternative to BtrFS for software image revision control, and support for Intel Omni-Path.
  • Bright Cluster Manager for Big Data has enhanced support for Apache Spark, as well as the latest releases from Apache, Cloudera, and Hortonworks. It now also offers built in integration for such components as Apache Accumulo, Apache Kafka, Apache Pig, and Apache Storm. New tools like Apache Drill, Apache Flink, Apache Zeppelin, and the Tachyon open source memory-centric distributed storage system are now also supported.
  • Bright OpenStack has been updated to OpenStack Liberty, which offers users finer-grained management controls, performance enhancements for large deployments, and more powerful tools for managing new technologies such as containers in production environments. Deployment has been simplified by grouping OpenStack nodes into logical units using configuring overlays, streamlining the cluster manager graphic user interface (CMGUI) OpenStack deployment wizard, and adding a new basic CMGUI wizard.

“The [new] Docker and Kubernetes integration is one of those features that basically leads a whole new track on our roadmap. For some features it’s a one-off; you do it and it is done. Some features are basically keeping up with updates from third party packages etc. Then there’s new functionality that really opens a new track on the road map and container integration is definitely one of those with recurring improvements,” said van Leeuwen.

He noted that container (‘lightweight’) and virtual machine (‘heavyweight’ but more power) advocates continue jockeying for sway. It’s not an either or proposition, van Leeuwen insists. Within HPC world dominated by a knowledgeable user-focused community, containers are often sufficient. Enterprise requirements are often quite varied and require more sys admin coordination.

Bright Computing 3“[In a big company] there’s going to be a department that quickly needs a web server or five servers for SAP and containers are going to be no use to them; they are going to need virtual machines. Or somebody that quickly needs to set up an Oracle database; again containers are going to be no use, they are going to need virtual machines. Containers are more important from a user perspective, from the application perspective, but virtual machines are more important from the systems administrator’s perspective. I think in HPC the users more often need a container than a virtual machine.”

OpenStack, van Leeuwen noted, is adept at managing virtual machines, “It can stand one up, move it around, shut it down, but OpenStack doesn’t really have much control over what’s going on inside the virtual machine. It looks at them as a black box. All these virtual machines run an operating system, mostly Linux, some may run Windows or something else.”

Bright solves this challenge by deploying its agents inside VM’s operating systems, gaining full control of the environment inside the virtual machine. With the agents in place, it’s possible to then put yet another Bright foundation layer on top. This ability to layer is important on mixed-use environments, he said: “We can start building the same things, HPC on top, big data on top, other, and even again open stack, in theory you continue building on top.”

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

Talk to Me: Nvidia Claims NLP Inference, Training Records

August 15, 2019

Nvidia says it’s achieved significant advances in conversation natural language processing (NLP) training and inference, enabling more complex, immediate-response interchanges between customers and chatbots. And the co Read more…

By Doug Black

Trump Administration and NIST Issue AI Standards Development Plan

August 14, 2019

Efforts to develop AI are gathering steam fast. On Monday, the White House issued a federal plan to help develop technical standards for AI following up on a mandate contained in the Administration’s AI Executive Order Read more…

By John Russell

Scientists to Tap Exascale Computing to Unlock the Mystery of our Accelerating Universe

August 14, 2019

The universe and everything in it roared to life with the Big Bang approximately 13.8 billion years ago. It has continued expanding ever since. While we have a good understanding of the early universe, its fate billions Read more…

By Rob Johnson

AWS Solution Channel

Efficiency and Cost-Optimization for HPC Workloads – AWS Batch and Amazon EC2 Spot Instances

High Performance Computing on AWS leverages the power of cloud computing and the extreme scale it offers to achieve optimal HPC price/performance. With AWS you can right size your services to meet exactly the capacity requirements you need without having to overprovision or compromise capacity. Read more…

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Bring the combined power of HPC and AI to your business transformation

FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) acceleration cards are not new, as they’ve been commercially available since 1984. Typically, the emphasis around FPGAs has centered on the fact that they’re programmable accelerators, and that they can truly offer workload specific hardware acceleration solutions without requiring custom silicon. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Cloudy with a Chance of Mainframes

[Connect with HPC users and learn new skills in the IBM Spectrum LSF User Community.]

Rapid rates of change sometimes result in unexpected bedfellows. Read more…

Argonne Supercomputer Accelerates Cancer Prediction Research

August 13, 2019

In the fight against cancer, early prediction, which drastically improves prognoses, is critical. Now, new research by a team from Northwestern University – and accelerated by supercomputing resources at Argonne Nation Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Scientists to Tap Exascale Computing to Unlock the Mystery of our Accelerating Universe

August 14, 2019

The universe and everything in it roared to life with the Big Bang approximately 13.8 billion years ago. It has continued expanding ever since. While we have a Read more…

By Rob Johnson

AI is the Next Exascale – Rick Stevens on What that Means and Why It’s Important

August 13, 2019

Twelve years ago the Department of Energy (DOE) was just beginning to explore what an exascale computing program might look like and what it might accomplish. Today, DOE is repeating that process for AI, once again starting with science community town halls to gather input and stimulate conversation. The town hall program... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader and John Russell

Cray Wins NNSA-Livermore ‘El Capitan’ Exascale Contract

August 13, 2019

Cray has won the bid to build the first exascale supercomputer for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and Lawrence Livermore National Laborator Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AMD Launches Epyc Rome, First 7nm CPU

August 8, 2019

From a gala event at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco yesterday (Aug. 7), AMD launched its second-generation Epyc Rome x86 chips, based on its 7nm proce Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Lenovo Drives Single-Socket Servers with AMD Epyc Rome CPUs

August 7, 2019

No summer doldrums here. As part of the AMD Epyc Rome launch event in San Francisco today, Lenovo announced two new single-socket servers, the ThinkSystem SR635 Read more…

By Doug Black

Building Diversity and Broader Engagement in the HPC Community

August 7, 2019

Increasing diversity and inclusion in HPC is a community-building effort. Representation of both issues and individuals matters - the more people see HPC in a w Read more…

By AJ Lauer

Xilinx vs. Intel: FPGA Market Leaders Launch Server Accelerator Cards

August 6, 2019

The two FPGA market leaders, Intel and Xilinx, both announced new accelerator cards this week designed to handle specialized, compute-intensive workloads and un Read more…

By Doug Black

Upcoming NSF Cyberinfrastructure Projects to Support ‘Long-Tail’ Users, AI and Big Data

August 5, 2019

The National Science Foundation is well positioned to support national priorities, as new NSF-funded HPC systems to come online in the upcoming year promise to Read more…

By Ken Chiacchia, Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center/XSEDE

High Performance (Potato) Chips

May 5, 2006

In this article, we focus on how Procter & Gamble is using high performance computing to create some common, everyday supermarket products. Tom Lange, a 27-year veteran of the company, tells us how P&G models products, processes and production systems for the betterment of consumer package goods. Read more…

By Michael Feldman

Supercomputer-Powered AI Tackles a Key Fusion Energy Challenge

August 7, 2019

Fusion energy is the Holy Grail of the energy world: low-radioactivity, low-waste, zero-carbon, high-output nuclear power that can run on hydrogen or lithium. T Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Cray, AMD to Extend DOE’s Exascale Frontier

May 7, 2019

Cray and AMD are coming back to Oak Ridge National Laboratory to partner on the world’s largest and most expensive supercomputer. The Department of Energy’s Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Graphene Surprises Again, This Time for Quantum Computing

May 8, 2019

Graphene is fascinating stuff with promise for use in a seeming endless number of applications. This month researchers from the University of Vienna and Institu Read more…

By John Russell

AMD Verifies Its Largest 7nm Chip Design in Ten Hours

June 5, 2019

AMD announced last week that its engineers had successfully executed the first physical verification of its largest 7nm chip design – in just ten hours. The AMD Radeon Instinct Vega20 – which boasts 13.2 billion transistors – was tested using a TSMC-certified Calibre nmDRC software platform from Mentor. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

TSMC and Samsung Moving to 5nm; Whither Moore’s Law?

June 12, 2019

With reports that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TMSC) and Samsung are moving quickly to 5nm manufacturing, it’s a good time to again ponder whither goes the venerable Moore’s law. Shrinking feature size has of course been the primary hallmark of achieving Moore’s law... Read more…

By John Russell

Deep Learning Competitors Stalk Nvidia

May 14, 2019

There is no shortage of processing architectures emerging to accelerate deep learning workloads, with two more options emerging this week to challenge GPU leader Nvidia. First, Intel researchers claimed a new deep learning record for image classification on the ResNet-50 convolutional neural network. Separately, Israeli AI chip startup Hailo.ai... Read more…

By George Leopold

Nvidia Embraces Arm, Declares Intent to Accelerate All CPU Architectures

June 17, 2019

As the Top500 list was being announced at ISC in Frankfurt today with an upgraded petascale Arm supercomputer in the top third of the list, Nvidia announced its Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

ISC 2019 Virtual Booth Video Tour

CRAY
CRAY
DDN
DDN
DELL EMC
DELL EMC
GOOGLE
GOOGLE
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
PANASAS
PANASAS
VERNE GLOBAL
VERNE GLOBAL

Cray Wins NNSA-Livermore ‘El Capitan’ Exascale Contract

August 13, 2019

Cray has won the bid to build the first exascale supercomputer for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and Lawrence Livermore National Laborator Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Top500 Purely Petaflops; US Maintains Performance Lead

June 17, 2019

With the kick-off of the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) in Frankfurt this morning, the 53rd Top500 list made its debut, and this one's for petafl Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Hardware That Powered the Black Hole Image

June 24, 2019

Two months ago, the first-ever image of a black hole took the internet by storm. A team of scientists took years to produce and verify the striking image – an Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Cray – and the Cray Brand – to Be Positioned at Tip of HPE’s HPC Spear

May 22, 2019

More so than with most acquisitions of this kind, HPE’s purchase of Cray for $1.3 billion, announced last week, seems to have elements of that overused, often Read more…

By Doug Black and Tiffany Trader

AMD Launches Epyc Rome, First 7nm CPU

August 8, 2019

From a gala event at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco yesterday (Aug. 7), AMD launched its second-generation Epyc Rome x86 chips, based on its 7nm proce Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Chinese Company Sugon Placed on US ‘Entity List’ After Strong Showing at International Supercomputing Conference

June 26, 2019

After more than a decade of advancing its supercomputing prowess, operating the world’s most powerful supercomputer from June 2013 to June 2018, China is keep Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

In Wake of Nvidia-Mellanox: Xilinx to Acquire Solarflare

April 25, 2019

With echoes of Nvidia’s recent acquisition of Mellanox, FPGA maker Xilinx has announced a definitive agreement to acquire Solarflare Communications, provider Read more…

By Doug Black

Qualcomm Invests in RISC-V Startup SiFive

June 7, 2019

Investors are zeroing in on the open standard RISC-V instruction set architecture and the processor intellectual property being developed by a batch of high-flying chip startups. Last fall, Esperanto Technologies announced a $58 million funding round. Read more…

By George Leopold

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This