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The UoM CIR Ecosystem

Simon Hood

Research Infrastructure Coordinator, IT Services


  • Computationally-Intensive Research

RI Team:

  • Pen Richardson, George Leaver



The UoM CIR Ecosystem

  • Compute resources,
    • batch,
    • interactive and
    • emerging technology;
  • research data storage — aka Isilon — (TMR4BH);
  • virtual machines for researchers.

The Goal:

  • A complete environment for CIR.


Ecosystem Diagram

Breaking news: Hydra!


Computational Resources

Computational Resources

  • Condor
  • CSF
  • Kadmon
  • Hydra
  • iCSF



Isilon Storage

IT Services Research Data Storage (RDS) Service


What is Isilon?

  • Network (attached) storage — cf. MS Windows shared areas/drives
  • Resilient (replicated) and snapshots (cf. backups).
  • Both:
    • MS Windows-style shares (CIFS);
    • Unix/Linux-style exports (NFS).
  • UoM committed to procuring 500 TB more per year (100 TB for FLS).
How/where is it accessible?
  • Desktops, laptops, laboratories. . .
  • Computational clusters — common folders/dirs: CSF, Kadmon, Hydra. . .


How much does Isilon cost?

  • FLS have 100 TB per year to allocate FATPOU;
  • more can be purchased. . .

RDS charges (over and above FATPOU):

Cost ModelReplicatedUnreplicated
Uni Research Use300150
Commercial Use (FEC)24001200

Charges for 1 TB per annum (all snapped)


How do I get an Isilon Share?

Either email

or visit


Mounting CIFS shares on MS Windows

  1. Locate the Map Network Drive option:
    • XP: Right-click on My Computer and select Map network drive.
    • Win 7: Start --> Computer --> Click "Map network drive"
  2. In the Drive list select the required drive letter (e.g., R:).
  3. In the Folder box enter the path according to your faculty and mount point. For example
  4. Username: one of
  5. Password: central/ITServices.


Mounting CIFS shares on Linux

If it is a one-off:
  mount -t cifs -o \
      user,noauto,username=mxyzpqr7, \
      //$/snapped/replicated/myshare \
If it is a many-off, use /etc/fstab:
  //$/snapped/replicated/myshare \
      /mnt/myshare/ \
      cifs \
      user,noauto,username=mxyzpqr7, \
      0 0
then simply
  mount /mnt/myshare


Mounting CIFS shares on OS-X

Maverick (10.9), also 10.6
  • Use finder:
10.7 and 10.8 (Lion and Mountain Lion)



Recover your own files from snapshots

  • Top of share/export: .snapshot
  • Hidden — not even ls -a (enter path manually)


simonh@doolittle:/mnt/pdrive$ ls -a
.         Desktop         file3.yes          My Videos       
..        desktop.ini  public_html     
.emacs.d  untitled-1.aux  untitled-1.log     untitled-1.tex

simonh@doolittle:/mnt/pdrive$ cd .snapshot
simonh@doolittle:/mnt/pdrive/.snapshot$ ls
.    .
.    .
kilburn_24hr_2014-01-20_13-30-00  kilburn_24hr_2014-01-20_06-30-00   
kilburn_24hr_2014-01-20_14-30-00  kilburn_24hr_2014-01-20_07-30-00   
.    .
.    .


Desktop Backups

This is very simple — no sophisticated script required

  1. Get an Isilon CIFS share;
  2. configure your desktop to ensure it is always mapped/mounted;
  3. set up a cron job to perform an rsync each day;
  4. snapshots automatically provide file retrieval for 28 days.

But better to simply use your Isilon share for your files???




The INteractive Computational LINux Environment

Sometimes you need to do interactive computation:

  • short development runs;
  • GUI-based work.
  • INCLINE is a compute engine without queues. . .
    • . . .simply SSH-in and use. . .



RVM Service

  • Research Virtual Machine Service
  • Resilient, supported infrastructure for researchers
    • esp. Web servers
  • Free at the point of use
  • In pilot
  • Eliminate "under-desk servers"?


RVM Service Use Cases

What is the RVM Service suitable for?

  • Public facing Web sites with moderate traffic;
  • shared development environments;
  • Web front ends to DBs, HPC. . .
. . .NOT. . .?
  • Compute-intensive work;
  • memory or IO-intensive work.


Getting a VM

How do I get an RVMS VM?

  • Ask the FLS CIR people (Nick, Simon, Ziaul), or
  • email


  • Service is in pilot phase. . .


The Ecosystem: A Complete Solution?

The Goal

  • Reduce desktop requirements to thin clients (plus email, office, surfing. . .).
  • All CIR requirements addressed and integrated:
    • all infrastructure run by IT staff (not postgrads/docs);
    • hardware shared — fewer wasted CPU cycles, access to "bigger" hardware than otherwise. . . (cf. CSF model).





An Existing Ecosystem Usecase

  • Weather and pollution forecasts at the University of Manchester!
  • Daily:
    • download input datasets from NOAA (USA);
    • computational runs on Redqueen;
    • post-processing on Redqueen, results on RVMS Web server.
  • Poster available.



More. . .

These slides:
RI Team Web site:
Ecosystem poster