February 25, 2002

Turbolinux Supercomputing solution being deployed

Author: JT Smith

ESRF in France plans to increase processing speed more than 10-fold with EnFuzion from Turbolinux.

Scientists at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), Grenoble, France, need to increase the processing speed of their computers in order to keep up with the massive amounts of data produced by the ESRF experimental stations.

In the past, ESRF has had good experiences with Clustor, the predecessor of EnFuzion. Clustor was installed on "matrix", a 9-machine BeoWulf cluster consisting of 2-processor Linux machines. It was therefore a natural decision to move on to EnFuzion, the latest supercomputing solution from Turbolinux.

One 10-node license was bought for the Joint Structural Biology Group. Initially, it has been used for testing batch processing of protein crystallography data reduction. Already, more than a ten-fold increase in processing speed has been achieved by using multiple computer with multiple processors. "It is difficult to achieve more than this, because the disk access becomes the limiting factor due to huge amounts of processed data," says Olof Svensson, programmer at the Scientific Software Unit at ESRF. "We intend to include EnFuzion in a web server, which will act as a front-end for data processing," Dr. Svensson continues, "and EnFuzion will be controlled by the web server for dispatching jobs to other computers." The Joint Structural Biology Group has around 20 SGIs of the 02 and 0200 series; the majority of these being two-processors, but with some four-processors. The group also deploys a dedicated Linux cluster of six processors plus access to the Computing Services NICE cluster which contains the
above-mentioned "matrix" cluster as well as a 26-processor Linux cluster.

The second 10-node license was acquired for the Scientific Software Unit to help scientists with occasionally large amounts of data to process, but without an everyday need for a full cluster. "After we have installed it on one of our computers, our scientists will be able to access it according to their specific needs," Dr. Svensson states. The nodes used will be the 26 processors from the Linux cluster.

About ESRF

Operating a powerful source of light in the X-ray range, the ESRF is a large experimental facility for basic and applied research in physics, chemistry, materials and life sciences. The ESRF is a multinational research institute, presently associating 18 participating countries. According to the Convention signed in 1988 by the founding members, the ESRF is operating as a "non-profit" enterprise under French law. Management is supervised by the Council whose delegates are designated by the member parties. The research program of the ESRF is determined by Scientific Review Committees in ranking the experiment proposals submitted. While the use of the ESRF's experimental facilities is free of cost for scientists from the funding countries, their experimental results must be published in scientific journals. Non-refereed access, usually to perform confidential proprietary research, is possible for a charge. The ESRF staff is recruited mainly from the associated countries. A total of some 500 people are
employed. While the construction of the ESRF started in 1988, the inauguration and opening of the first 15 beamlines to scientific users took place in September 1994. Presently, at the ESRF 40 beamlines are operating 24 hours a day and 7 days a week in User Service Mode. For more information, visit the ESRF Web site at www.esrf.fr.

About Turbolinux, Inc.

Founded in 1992, Turbolinux develops Linux-based software solutions for Internet and enterprise computing infrastructure, including reliable, available and scalable operating systems for workstations and servers and software clustering solutions for computing traffic management and peer-to-peer distributed computing. Backed by more than $95 million in investments from some of the world's leading technology companies, including Compaq, Dell, Fujitsu, Hitachi, IBM, Intel, NEC, Novell, Oracle, SGI and Toshiba, Turbolinux is headquartered near San Francisco with offices around the world. For more information, visit the Turbolinux Web site at http://www.turbolinux.com.

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