[Beowulf] Bright Cluster Manager

Jörg Saßmannshausen sassy-work at sassy.formativ.net
Wed May 2 13:48:10 PDT 2018

Dear all,

at least something I can contribute here: at the new work place the small 
cluster I am looking after is using Bright Cluster Manager to manage the 20 
nodes and the 10 or so GPU nodes.

I was not around when it all got installed so I cannot comment on how quickly 
it can be done or how easily. 

I used to do larger installations with up to 112 compute nodes which have 
different physical hardware. So I needed at least 2 images. I done all of that 
with a bit of scripting and not with a GUI. I did not use LDAP and 
authentication was done locally. It all provided a robust system. Maybe not as 
easy to manage as a system which got a GUI which does it all for you but on 
the flip side I knew exactly what the scripts were doing and what I need to do 
if there was a problem. 

By enlarge I agree with what John  Hearns said for example. To be frank: I 
still consider the Bright Cluster Manager tool to be good for people who do 
not know about HPC (I stick to that for this argument), don't know much about 
Linux etc. So in my personal opinion it is good for those who's day-to-day job 
is not HPC but something different. People who are coming from a GUI world (I 
don't mean that nasty here). For situations where it does not reckon to have a 
dedicated support. So for this it is fantastic: it works, there is a good 
support if things go wrong. 
We are using SLURM and the only issue I had when I first started at the new 
place a year ago that during a routine update SLRUM got re-installed and all 
the configurations were gone. This could be as it was not installed properly in 
the first place, it could be a bug, we don't know as the support did not manage 
to reproduce this. 
I am having some other minor issues with the authentication (we are 
authenticating against external AD) but again that could be the way it was 
installed at the time. I don't know who done that. 

Having said all of that: I am personally more a hands-on person so I know what 
the system is doing. This usually gets obscured by a GUI which does things in 
the background you may or may not want it to do. I had some problems at the 
old work place with ROCKS which lead me to removing it and install Debian on 
the clusters. They were working rock solid, even on hardware which had issues 
with the ROCKS installation. 

So, for me the answer to the question is: it depends: If you got a capable HPC 
admin who is well networked and you got a larger, specialized cluster, you 
might be better off to use the money and buy some additional compute nodes. 
For a installation where you do not have a dedicated admin, and you might have 
a smaller, homogeneous installation, you might be better off with a cluster 
management tool light the one Bright is offering. 
If money is an issue, you need to carefully balance the two: a good HPC admin 
does more than installing software, they do user support as well for example 
and make sure users can work. If you are lucky, you get one who actually 
understands what the users are doing. 

I think that is basically what everybody here says in different words: your 
mileage will vary.

My to shillings from a rather cold London! :-)


Am Dienstag, 1. Mai 2018, 16:57:40 BST schrieb Robert Taylor:
> Hi Beowulfers.
> Does anyone have any experience with Bright Cluster Manager?
> My boss has been looking into it, so I wanted to tap into the collective
> HPC consciousness and see
> what people think about it.
> It appears to do node management, monitoring, and provisioning, so we would
> still need a job scheduler like lsf, slurm,etc, as well. Is that correct?
> If you have experience with Bright, let me know. Feel free to contact me
> off list or on.

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