Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Nimbus And Cloud Computing Meet STAR Production Demands

Date:
April 15, 2009
Source:
Argonne National Laboratory
Summary:
The advantages of cloud computing were dramatically illustrated by researchers working on the STAR nuclear physics experiment. Nimbus is an open source cloud computing infrastructure that provides tools allowing users to deploy virtual machines on resources, similar to Amazon's EC2, as well as user-level tools such as the Nimbus Context Broker that combines several deployed virtual machines into "turnkey" virtual clusters.

A view of one of the first full-energy collisions between gold ions at Brookhaven National Laboratory's Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, as captured by the Solenoidal Tracker At RHIC (STAR) detector. The tracks indicate the paths taken by thousands of subatomic particles produced in the collisions as they pass through the STAR Time Projection Chamber, a large, 3-D digital camera.
Credit: Brookhaven National Laboratory

The advantages of cloud computing were dramatically illustrated last week by researchers working on the STAR nuclear physics experiment at Brookhaven National Laboratory's Relativistic Heavy-Ion Collider. New simulation results were needed for presentation at the Quark Matter physics conference; but all the computational resources were either committed to other tasks or did not support the environment needed for STAR computations.

Fortunately, working with technology developed by the Nimbus team at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, the STAR researchers were able to dynamically provision virtual clusters on commercial cloud computers and run the additional computations just in time.

Nimbus is an open source cloud computing infrastructure that provides tools allowing users to deploy virtual machines on resources, similar to Amazon's EC2, as well as user-level tools such as the Nimbus Context Broker that combines several deployed virtual machines into “turnkey” virtual clusters.

The Nimbus team at Argonne has been collaborating with STAR researchers at Brookhaven's Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider for a few years. Both research groups are supported by DOE's Office of Science.

“The benefits of virtualization were clear to us early on,” said Jerome Lauret, software and computing project leader for the STAR experiment. “We can configure the virtual machine image exactly to our needs and have a fully validated experimental software stack ready for use.” The image can then be overlaid on top of remote resources using infrastructure such as Nimbus.

With cloud computing, Lauret said, a 100-node STAR cluster can be online in minutes. In contrast, Grid resources available at sites not expressly dedicated to STAR can take months to configure.

The STAR scientists initially developed and deployed their virtual machines on a small Nimbus cloud configured at the University of Chicago. Then they used the Nimbus Context Broker to configure the customized cloud into Grid clusters which served as platform for remote job submission using existing Grid tools. However, these resources soon proved insufficient to support STAR production runs.

“A typical production run will require on the order of 100 nodes for a week or more,” said Lauret.

To meet these needs, the Argonne Nimbus team turned to Amazon EC2. A Nimbus gateway was developed to allow scientists to easily move between the small Nimbus cloud and Amazon EC2.

“In the early days, the gateway served as a protocol adapter as well,” said Kate Keahey, the lead of the Nimbus project. “But eventually we found it easier to simply adapt Nimbus to be protocol-interoperable with EC2 so that the scientists could move their virtual machines between the University of Chicago cloud and Amazon easily.”

Over the past year, the STAR experiment in collaboration with the Nimbus team successfully conducted a few noncritical runs and performance evaluations on EC2. The results were encouraging. When the last-minute production request came for new simulations, the STAR researchers had virtual machine images ready to go.

“It was a textbook case of EC2 usage,” said Keahey. “The overloaded STAR resources were elastically ‘extended' by additional virtual clusters deployed on EC2.” The run used more than 300 virtual nodes at a time, using the default EC2 instances at first and moving on to the high-CPU medium EC2 instances later to speed the calculations.

Using cloud resources to generate last-minute results for the Quark Matter conference demonstrates that the use of cloud resources for science has moved beyond “testing waters” and into real production. According to Keahey, virtualization and cloud computing provide an ideal platform for resource sharing.

“One day a provider could be running STAR images, and the next day it could be climate calculations in entirely different images, with little or no effort,” said Keahey. “With Nimbus, a virtual cluster can be online in minutes.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Argonne National Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Argonne National Laboratory. "Nimbus And Cloud Computing Meet STAR Production Demands." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090406083906.htm>.
Argonne National Laboratory. (2009, April 15). Nimbus And Cloud Computing Meet STAR Production Demands. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090406083906.htm
Argonne National Laboratory. "Nimbus And Cloud Computing Meet STAR Production Demands." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090406083906.htm (accessed August 27, 2014).

Share This




More Computers & Math News

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Hackerspace Provides Hackers Creative Haven

Hackerspace Provides Hackers Creative Haven

AP (Aug. 27, 2014) HeatSync Labs, a so-called hackerspace in Mesa, Arizona provides members and the public alike a space to allow their creative juices to flow and make their tech dreams into a reality. (Aug 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why A 12.9-Inch iPad Would Make Sense For Apple

Why A 12.9-Inch iPad Would Make Sense For Apple

Newsy (Aug. 27, 2014) There are two big knocks against the iPad — productivity limits and slumping sales. Here's how a bigger iPad could fix both of Apple's problems. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone App Tracks Your Heart Rate

Smartphone App Tracks Your Heart Rate

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) A new app that can track your heart rate 24/7 is available for download in your app store and its convenience could save your life. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nationwide Time Warner Internet Crash Results In More Bad PR

Nationwide Time Warner Internet Crash Results In More Bad PR

Newsy (Aug. 27, 2014) The nationwide Internet crash resulted in millions of customers' internet connection to go out for hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins