Feeds

China's Nebulae supercomputer - zero to second in 3 months

The perils of big-system assembly

3 Big data security analytics techniques

HPC Blog Those of you interested in what it really takes to bring up a massive system don't want to miss the "Lessons Learned Deploying the World's First GPU-Based Petaflop System" session.

In it, NVIDIA's senior hardware architect, Dale Southard, discusses his experience with China's Nebulae supercomputer - which, in addition to being the #2 system on the TOP500, was also probably the quickest big build of all time, at around three months total.

Southard, who describes himself as a professional debugger, has quite a track record with big systems. Before NVIDIA, he was at Lawrence Livermore, where he participated in a number of large builds (and probably has the scars to prove it). While the Nebulae super went from bare floor to petabyte processing in record time (about 90 days), it had its share of birthing pains.

In his session, Southard spent some time explaining the differences between small, medium and massive systems. According to him, the 'interesting times' begin in earnest when you move from thousand-node systems to something bigger.

The thousand-node system isn't trivial; it requires considerable - often custom - tooling for management and configuration tasks. But the bigger systems are a whole new world of complexity, mainly due to the fact that things that only rarely (if ever) go wrong on smaller systems malfunction frequently when you amass such a huge array of gear.

Southard related a story about a capacitor that blew up like a mini hand grenade, damaging other components as bits of it wormed their way into nooks and crannies. That's not something you see every day.

He also shared a laundry list of things to check out proactively before you begin big-system assembly. For example: make sure that all the systems have a common BIOS level and that they have the correct processors running at the right speed. When you're talking about such a large number of systems, even stringent quality control can let one or two inconsistent builds slip through. Catching these problems early will save countless hours of troubleshooting down the road.

The videos of the sessions aren't up yet, but I'm told that they should be posted by the end of the week. I'll put in links as soon as I get them... ®

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Bored with trading oil and gold? Why not flog some CLOUD servers?
Chicago Mercantile Exchange plans cloud spot exchange
Just what could be inside Dropbox's new 'Home For Life'?
Biz apps, messaging, photos, email, more storage – sorry, did you think there would be cake?
IT bods: How long does it take YOU to train up on new tech?
I'll leave my arrays to do the hard work, if you don't mind
Amazon reveals its Google-killing 'R3' server instances
A mega-memory instance that never forgets
Cisco reps flog Whiptail's Invicta arrays against EMC and Pure
Storage reseller report reveals who's selling what
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.