Talk:Using the IRIDIA Cluster

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I believe that, under normal circumnstances, only people affiliated to IRIDIA should have accounts on the cluster. Of course, special agreements to open external accounts can be made, but this is more a political decision of the "bosses" :)
 
I believe that, under normal circumnstances, only people affiliated to IRIDIA should have accounts on the cluster. Of course, special agreements to open external accounts can be made, but this is more a political decision of the "bosses" :)
There was a plan to "harden" the security of IRIDIA network putting every machine inside an internal network with no direct connection from the outside. I still support that view, the less "access points" we leave open from the outside wordl, the better, therefore I think that if I collaborate with somebody external to IRIDIA, I should be responsible for the usage of IRIDIA resources, and I should launch the experiments on the cluster with my account. If the sources are provided by the external, or if the results will be analyzed by the external, nobody cares.
+
There was a plan to "harden" the security of IRIDIA network putting every machine inside an internal network with no direct connection from the outside. I still support that view, the less "access points" we leave open from the outside world, the better, therefore I think that if I collaborate with somebody external to IRIDIA, I should be responsible for the usage of IRIDIA resources, and I should launch the experiments on the cluster with my account. If the sources are provided by the external, or if the results will be analyzed by the external, nobody cares.

Revision as of 07:54, 25 April 2006

Discussion on who is supposed to use the cluster, and abuse

  • Outcome of admin meeting of Thursday 20th April 2006
Who can use the cluster
Only people directly associated with IRIDIA (students, post docs, etc.) can use the cluster. Researchers who left should arrange with their contact/collaborator/supervisor here, to use his/her login in case they need to use the cluster.
The cluster-policy
Max explained the cluster policy and a mem limit might be introduced.


  • Elio's thoughts :
Dear all,

please, take my thoughts in a constructive way.

I read on the IRIDIA Wiki page the following statement, which I take as 
the official position of the Lab:

"Only people directly associated with IRIDIA (students, post docs, etc.) 
can use the cluster. Researchers who left should arrange with their 
contact/collaborator/supervisor here, to use his/her login in case they 
need to use the cluster"

Taken from:
http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/wiki/index.php/Administration_weekly_meetings#Thursday_20th_April_2006

With respect to the above statement I would like to add some comments. 
In my opinion, there are at least two reasons which may suggest to 
undertake a different direction to free the cluster from over usage. I 
believe that, the idea of revealing to "trusted" people the 
login/password of IRIDIA members is not the most efficient one because:

1) The recent history teaches us that even trusted people can cause 
problems. We experienced such a case in a not recent past when an IRIDIA 
member  created some trouble to Halva which was maintening the cluster 
at that time. I don't want to stigmatize the case. I DO believe that 
that action was more the result of an unexperienced person rather then 
the result of a real intetion to cause demages. However, it teaches us 
that even trusted people can cause problems. This is obviously always 
the case, but if each one as its own login/password it is easier to spot 
the responsibles, I guess, and sorry if I am wrong on this.

2) If using someone else login/password becomes the official practice 
for the IRIDIA cluster, as I read in the above statement, then even the 
trusted people can recursively apply the same practice and in a while we 
might have more jobs runnig then what we have at the moment. Do we have 
tools to prevent this from happening?

Thanks a lot for your attention.
Cheers,
Elio
Alex :
I agree with what Elio says. A login must be personal, and associated to one person only. If you want to prevent somebody from accessing the cluster, just disable the account. If we trust that person then it is fine, and we can let her access the cluster.
In general of course, there should be a kind of period during which an account is still usable. At least to retrieve files, to launche the five last replications that you always delayed and so on. Accounts should be simply deleted if that period is over and the owner of the account is no more doing something with IRIDIA. If someone is collaborating with a member of IRIDIA I think it is ok to let him have an account.
If we disagree with way people use the cluster, then either :
we find ways to define an efficient policy of cluster usage.
or we point out the problems and discuss them. It is anyway a matter of fairness.
I think that the cluster of IRIDIA is very good and unless everybody wants to make simulations at the same time, it is enough for all of us. Users should design carefully their source code to make it fast. Users should also avoid using the cluster for debugging purpose. You should not submit a set of simulations just to see if your code works. That you can do on your own computer and this way you respect the common resources.
As it is a common resource, we should also understand that it may not be immediately accessible. So when you forecast running a simulation you should know in advance that you may have to wait 1 day to have your jobs running.

Halva's comments

I do believe that everyone should have its own login. Logins are no restricted resources, thus we can have as much as want of them. If you fear that users might misuse the cluster (as the example Elio was referring to), there are ways to tighten the kernel security and the resource usage. If anybody wants to look into the matter, and if she/he HAS time to do it, she/he is welcome! :)

I think also that the current policy is pretty fair. A job gets a lower priority if the user is already running other jobs on the cluster. Thus people with few jobs have higher chances to see their jobs be promptly run. Additionaly, the current policy limits the job duration, forcing the user to think twice before submitting anything.

Is it not enough? One might think to hack the queueing system scheduler to give even lower priority to those how have used the cluster the most in the last period. Or we might consider to buy a professional queueing system, which might give finer control on its mechanism.

Is it still not enough? Then go on polyphemus.ulb.ac.be, issue qacct -o to see who has heavily used the cluster (qacct -o -d 30 to see the statistics of the last 30 days) and punish her/him :)

Max's comments

I believe that, under normal circumnstances, only people affiliated to IRIDIA should have accounts on the cluster. Of course, special agreements to open external accounts can be made, but this is more a political decision of the "bosses" :) There was a plan to "harden" the security of IRIDIA network putting every machine inside an internal network with no direct connection from the outside. I still support that view, the less "access points" we leave open from the outside world, the better, therefore I think that if I collaborate with somebody external to IRIDIA, I should be responsible for the usage of IRIDIA resources, and I should launch the experiments on the cluster with my account. If the sources are provided by the external, or if the results will be analyzed by the external, nobody cares.

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