CERN expands its cloud with OpenStack

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The European centre for particle physics research continues to strengthen its calculation infrastructure on OpenStack, preparing to add some 100,000 calculation cores along with bare metal services.

CERN is rapidly expanding its dedicated calculation capacity at the Large Hadron Collider under production. The European Organisation for Nuclear Research currently has 190,000 cores in production and plans to add nearly 100,000 in the next half year, according to Spyros Trigazis. CERN will then have 90% of its calculating power based on OpenStack.

OpenStack and containers

Spyros Trigazis works on the CERN calculation infrastructure, which has been running OpenStack for three and a half years. The team also provides containerisation services with OpenStack Magnum to process container management orchestration engines. OpenStack Magnum went into production more recently, in the last quarter of 2016, providing support for Docker Swarm, Kubernetes and Mesos technology as well as CERN-specific storage pilots.

Bare metal coming soon

CERN plans to develop services linked to the calculation infrastructure, including bare metal with Ironic. The server programming interface and drivers have already been deployed and the first node will be available this month.

Bare metal technology is defined as a cloud on bare equipment: a Public cloud in which customers rent material resources from a remote service provider. A bare metal cloud avoids the issue of virtual machines competing for resources as it comprises dedicated servers. It is recommended for high transaction volume work which does not tolerate long wait times. 

Another service being rolled out is Mistral, which aims to simplify work flow operations when creating users and cleaning up resources. In fact, the technology has already been rolled out but the workflow prototypes are currently undergoing evaluation. The Manilla file sharing service will also be used for sharing configurations and certificates.

full presentation by Spyros Trigazis at the CentOS Dojo conference is available on the RDO blog. CERN keeps the information on its OpenStack infrastructure in production up to date on the blog


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