Apr 1, 2000
Sun Microsystems' AutoClient and management of computer farms at BaBar
- University of California at Berkeley / Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
- Stanford Linear Accelerator Center
Modern HEP experiments require immense amounts of computing power. In the
BaBar experiment at SLAC, most of it is provided by Solaris SPARC systems.
AutoClient, a product of Sun Microsystems, was designed to make setting up
and managing large numbers of Solaris systems more straightforward.
AutoClient machines keep all filesystems, except swap, on a server and
employ CacheFS to cache them onto a local disk, which makes them Field
Replaceable Units with performance of stand-alone systems. We began
exploring the technology in Summer 1998, and currently operate online,
reconstruction, analysis and console AutoClient farms with the total
number of nodes exceeding 400. Although the technology has been available
since 1995, it has not been widely used, and the available documentation
does not adequately cover many important details of AutoClient
installation and management. This paper discusses various aspects of our
experience with AutoClient, including tips and tricks, performance and
maintainability, scalability and server requirements, existing problems
and possible future enhancements.
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