[GE users] Using cycles from a 2nd SGE cluster

rhierlmeier richard.hierlmeier at sun.com
Fri Jan 8 13:26:10 GMT 2010

Hi craffi,

I mostly agree with you if both clusters are geographically separated. You can 
not solve problems caused by physical constraints with a peace of software. 
These problems will also occur for a single cluster with geographically 
separated compute node.

However for problems like different funding or fundamental different 
configuration of the clusters I do not see any reason why multi clustering 
should not work.


craffi wrote:
> I see this a lot in my consulting work - the "multi cluster" request 
> usually comes from top level management who've been reading far too much 
> about grids and clouds. They just think it would be cool to "unify" the 
> various HPC systems in the organization and blindly issue the order to 
> look into it.
> I'll give you the cynical industry answer ...
> Yes it's technically possible via these methods:
> (1) transfer queues
> (2) suicidal rampage down the globus/meta-scheduler route
> (3) Sun SDM
> ... but I've personally never seen this really ever be successful in a 
> commercial/industry production computing environment that is not 
> academic in nature or funded by defense/sovereign nation dollars.
> The only working systems I've seen have been at academic sites with 
> *tons* of sysadmin resources or toy/demo/playground setups purpose built 
> for demonstration purposes.
> So the technical answer in my option is "yes" but the practical answer 
> in real world environments is usually "no". It is 100x harder when the 
> two systems are geographically separated or have separate filesystem and 
> UID/GID namespaces as well. Just an utter nightmare and the level of 
> abstraction and wrapping needed to get anything done removes any 
> efficiencies gained.
> This is not the answer you want to hear but I'd recommend tackling the 
> political problems first to see if they can be addressed.
> In the real world the most practical solution I've seen is that the two 
> groups agree to keep operating separate systems but when the next 
> upgrade/refresh period rolls around they get together, do some serious 
> planning and then roll out a new single unified HPC system that everyone 
> is happy to share.
> In other projects the clusters have been relocated or rearchitected to 
> either share the same datacenter or at least the same identity server 
> and subnets so that future collaboration is easier.
>  From an IT or management perspective I also see a lot of cases where 
> central IT will build a big new cluster from scratch in order to tease 
> or lure the standalone cluster crowd onto their shared system. This can 
> be a multi-year task but the end result is that if you build a better 
> centralized resource and make it available you'll often be able to 
> consolidate and retire the smaller systems without anger or political 
> hassles.
> Just my $.02
> -Chris
> rhierlmeier wrote:
>> My sys admin has been trying to configure two independent, linux clusters with static SGE pools, such that when the first cluster batch queue fills, additional jobs will fall over to a low priority queue in the second cluster. Each cluster has its own master node, and it would be a political non-starter to change that. So far, my admin has not succeeded.
>> Is his configuration with static pools workable?
>> If so, we would welcome some guidance in configuring our SGE deployment to do this.
>> We are beginning to wonder whether this is undoable with static pools, and need to switch to a dynamic pool.
>> Input would be most welcome.  Thanks!  -Joe
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