Feeds

Storage glitches fell Australian supercomputers

DDN and SGI find fix after faulty firmware fingered for Fornax fail

Security for virtualized datacentres

Supercomputers at two Australian research organisations have experienced substantial downtime after glitches hit their storage area networks.

West Australia’s iVEC experienced an outage, detailed here, that saw its Data Direct Networks (DDN) array and the 1152-core Fornax machine unavailable for around four days.

iVEC’s incident report for the outage says the machine was shut down on December 17th to allow the update of firmware in a “SGI DDN IS16000 storage unit.” The update produced symptoms including disks going missing from storage pools and loss of availability of some data. Instructions from the vendors concerned saw the arrays go through a lengthy “force verify process” followed by a RAID rebuild in some cases.

The rebuild started on December 18th and finished on the 20th, when it became possible to restart Fornax.

eResearch South Australia’s Tizard and Corvus supers, which offer 40 TFlops and 6 TFlops apiece, went down on December 27th and were coaxed back to life on January 3rd, a period covering three business days.

The organisation described the outage as follows on its (since updated) system maintenance page:

“During the holiday break our primary storage system locked up causing the Tizard and Corvus HPC systems to become unresponsive. At the moment there are a large number of orphaned jobs on the compute nodes of both HPC systems due to the outage.”

The culprit for the outage was not the Dell Compellent array that serves as shared NAS for the two supers, but a Dell server that sits at a critical juncture in the InfiniBand network linking the supers to their storage. Simon Brennan, a computer systems specialist at eResearch SA, told The Reg the server was overwhelmed by the quantity of data coursing through it, crashed and was restored once staff resumed from their Christmas break.

Brennan said the server at the heart of the issue was a beta, and will shortly be completely rebuilt. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.