[Bioclusters] Re: Login & home directory strategies for PVM?

Michael Will mwill at penguincomputing.com
Thu Feb 24 14:05:48 EST 2005

Michael Gutteridge <mgutteri <at> fhcrc.org> writes:
> I'm getting ready to roll out another cluster that will be running a 
> PVM based application.  I've run into what I think is a bit of an issue 
> with regards to the PVM daemon startup, NFS mounted home directories, 
> and scalability with large node-sets.
> We've got 62 nodes that will each host 6-10 pvmd's.  The problem I'm 
> foreseeing is that when the PVM is started, that'll initiate a login to 
> each of those 62 nodes, a login process which will mount the user's 
> home directory from an NFS server.  So that could mean quite a few 
> mounts (62 * 10+ unique users), which I suspect would have a 
> detrimental effect on the NFS server.  Either way, I feel this is an 
> approach that won't scale.
> For this application, each of the slave pvmd's doesn't need access to 
> anything, really, as all of the necessary data is passed to the slave 
> via a PVM message.  Doesn't even really need to run as any particular 
> user, just needs to be able to spawn a slave PVM process that can 
> connect to the master.
> I don't believe this problem to be specific to PVM, but could be an 
> issue with any parallel machine using large node sets.  I'm curious as 
> to strategies anyone else has used to mitigate the problem I've 
> described, especially for circumstances such as this, where the slave 
> nodes are merely compute donors.

Just statically mount /home rather than doing automounting of individual homes,
and you are fine.  Also you could run the pvmd's as a user that does not require
or have an nfs-mounted home but uses local scratch instead.

Lastly, you can port to mpich on a bproc system like Scyld, and get rid of
pvmd's altogether.


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