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 Research team 'virtualizes' supercomputer

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Date posted: 22/01/2010

A collaboration between researchers at Northwestern University, Sandia National Labs and the University of New Mexico has resulted in the largest-scale study ever done on what many consider an important part of the future of computing -- the virtualization of parallel supercomputing systems.

As part of this collaboration, Peter A. Dinda, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Northwestern's McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, and his graduate student Jack Lange led the development of a virtual machine monitor called Palacios specifically for supercomputers. The system was tested Dec. 3 on Sandia's world-class Red Storm supercomputer. Sandia researchers, led by Kevin Pedretti, assisted in adapting and optimizing Palacios for the Red Storm environment and directed the testing effort.

Results show that the team successfully virtualized Red Storm using the Palacios virtual machine monitor and ran communication intensive, fine-grain parallel benchmarks of critical interest to Sandia with extremely high performance. Testing went up to 4,096 nodes, making this the largest-scale study by at least two orders of magnitude.

"Virtualizing a parallel supercomputer is particularly challenging because of the need to support extremely low latency, high-bandwidth communication among thousands of virtual machines," Dinda says. "Supercomputing users and the owners of supercomputers will not tolerate any performance compromises because the machines are so expensive to acquire and maintain, but, on the other hand, they also want access to the benefits of virtualization."

See the full Story via external site: www.physorg.com



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