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Developing Virtual Clusters for High Performance Computing Using OpenNebula

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Curricular Issues in Computer-oriented Programs

Tagged Division

Computing & Information Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.439.1 - 25.439.9



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Paper Authors


Jason St. John Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Jason St. John earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer & Information Technology (Network Engineering Technology concentration) from Purdue University, West Lafayette in December 2010. In January 2011, Jason accepted a position as a Graduate Research Assistant in the Department of Computer & Information Technology at Purdue University working under Dr. Thomas Hacker. Jason is currently pursuing a Master's Degree in high performance computing systems.

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Thomas J. Hacker Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Thomas J. Hacker is an Associate Professor of computer and information technology at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. His research interests include cyberinfrastructure systems, high-performance computing, and the reliability of large-scale supercomputing systems. He holds a Ph.D. in computer science and engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is a member of IEEE, the ACM, and ASEE.

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Developing Virtual Clusters for High Performance Computing using OpenNebulaHigh performance computing cluster kits such as Rocks and OSCAR were developed to simplifythe process of installing, configuring, and managing commodity-based clusters. The recentemergence of virtualization technologies and IaaS cloud computing systems, such asOpenNebula and NIMBUS, have now greatly simplified the process of creating, deploying, andmanaging dozens to hundreds of virtual machine images running on a collection of physicalservers. Cluster kits available today, however, have not been updated to include virtualization asan integral component of the cluster deployment process. The technology gap between existingcluster kits and virtualization technologies motivates the development of a new approach that canleverage the advantages of virtualization for high performance computing.We are using the KVM virtualization system with OpenNebula to create virtual highperformance computing systems for a graduate course in high performance computing systems.In this paper, we describe our experiences in investigating alternatives to the OSCAR and Rockscluster kits to develop a virtual high performance computing clustering environment built onKVM and OpenNebula. We describe a progressive set of assignments developed for the coursethat leads to a virtual cluster system designed and implemented by each student. We believe ourexperiences and results will be useful for other educators seeking to efficiently use limitedphysical hardware resources to develop an effective course in high performance computingsystems.

St. John, J., & Hacker, T. J. (2012, June), Developing Virtual Clusters for High Performance Computing Using OpenNebula Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21197

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