20 October 2010

CHEP: or, how I learned to stop worrying and love the rain.

So, day three of CHEP was a half day, so not so much to report as Wahid did yesterday.

The plenaries were not directly interesting from a storage perspective, but I should ebtion them for other qualities.
First, Kate Keahey told us all why clouds (and public clouds, federated clouds - "sky computing") were awesome. I guess I'm just a cynic, as I still don't see how they're significantly better than Condor pools (plus flocking, plus VM universe). Also, the data flow problem is decidedly unsolved for analysis-class jobs in this context.

Secondly, Lucas Taylor impressed on us how important it was to talk to the media (and, more importantly by far, the public). Apparently, the most significant source of hits on CERN webpages is Twitter! Considering also that the LHC is only 1/3 as popular as Barack Obama on YouTube, it does seem that the right approach can really bring in public interest, and this can only be a good thing.

Finally, Peter Malzcher told us about the FAIR project, which is to be the next big accelerator at GSI. Honestly, it looks awesome, but the 6MW cooling solution for the cluster looks terrifying.

Since I was presenting today, I only have notes from the session I was scheduled for.

The first two talks, both on virtualisation, confirmed that io can be an issue for many-VM hosts. The solution of the day appears to be iSCSI.
Then some dangerous radical told everyone to throw their shoes in the machinery that MLC flash isn't all it's cracked up to be in SSDs.
More upsets followed when Yves Kemp showed that pNFS/NFS4.1 is much better than dCap in almost all possible cases. It is, however, possible that dCap's problem is simply too much readahead.
Finally, Dirk Duellmann gave us an update from CERN storage. Essentially, they're pretty stable at the front-end, growing storage at 15PB/y. Additionally, they're trialling EOS for disk pool filesystems. EOS, as Jeff Templon got Dirk to admit under cross-examination, is basically Hadoop over xrootd protocol, with a better namespace.
Despite agreeing at Amsterdam that reinventing the wheel in private projects was Bad... (CERN could have chosen to patch Hadoop, or even Ceph, instead).


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