GPFS User Group #3 report

Minutes from GPFS User

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Group Meeting 3 – Thursday 15th September 2011
Hosted by University of Warwick

The meeting was opened by Claire Robson (OCF) who gave an overview of the day and then reviewed the GPFS UG aims. This was followed by individuals introducing themselves to the group (name, organisation and experience of using GPFS). This demonstrated the range of experience levels within the group.
The first speaker of the day was Crispin Keable (CK), HPC Solutions Architect at IBM who presented the latest developments in GPFS 3.5 due to be released at the end of Q1 2012. Crispin’s presentation included:
• GPFS Active File Management System
• GPFS Extended Attributes
• GPFS Software RAID
• GPFS-SNC: An enterprise file system for Shared Nothing Clusters

Questions and answers:
Q. What impact the updates would have on IBM Disks?
A. (CK) If the scheme is used, a RAID controller is no longer required. This allows the user to remove hardware. To preserve against a server failure, dual path with SAS and server.
Q. How will HDFS be licensed? Will this be different to GPFS licensing?
A. (CK) Not known if this would be separate to GPFS.
Q. How many features of 3.5 can be used in an existing file system e.g. on GPFS 3.3?
A. (CK) This would be difficult to implement if users couldn’t upgrade. The majority of the features are unlikely to be able to be integrated.
CK did comment that back up features in 3.5 are better than pervious. A lot of integration work has been done to improve this. CK recommended checking the release dates in relation to organisation procurement timelines.
Q. Is there a beta version or any early releases coming out or anything that group members could look at until 3.5 is released?
A. (CK) This is being worked on in the IBM labs.

There was then time for small group discussion before lunch.

Following lunch, Orlando Richards, Systems Manager at the University of Edinburgh shared the Edinburgh Compute and Data Facility’s experiences of integrating and using GPFS. Overall, the new system that they are using is much better than what was available previously and users are happier about the speed of response. The next stage will be starting to plan for a new cluster in spring 20112 to launch in 2013.
Questions and Answers:
Q. (CK) Has the University got metrics for an archive e.g. quality of service, encryption etc.
A. (OR) Yes, but there are many different definitions. The University has 2 working groups that this is still to be defined.
Q. What do you charge?
A. (OR) Per TB per year for the last financial year this was £290 per TB per yr. Back-up is charged on top of this.
Q. (CK) Is a GPFS site license becoming available?
A. Jim Roche (IBM) to follow up on this. CK mentioned he would send an email on this.
Q. (MI) What performance do you see?
A. On the benchmarks carried out 2.5/4 GB per second on half a stack.

The next presentation came from Ian Wilkes who discussed the relationship between Tivoli Storage Manger (TSM) and GPFS.

Questions and answers:
Q. (Mark Roberts) Is there a HSM Client Support for GPFS 3.4?
A. (IW/Chris Exton OCF) 3.4 for mmbackup – possibly client version 6.2 possibly. IW said that he would find out for MR.

Georgina Ellis and Andrew Dean (OCF) then led a discussion on the future of the user group in terms of forming a committee to ensure the sustainability of the group. It was agreed by the group that OCF will continue to support the coordination of the group as well as host the website. Claire Robson was nominated as group secretary and this was agreed by the group. Jez Tucker volunteered (via John Leedham attending in his place) to be group Chairperson. Further committee members to be added at the next meeting which was proposed for 6 months time in Daresbury (end of March) with an informal meeting to be arranged for the end of November at MEW in Liverpool for those attending.

The day was completed with group questions and discussions with many members sharing their experiences when answering group questions.

The group thanked Matt Ismail for hosting the group and to OCF for coordinating and the meeting concluded at 4pm.