Oct 10 – 14, 2016
San Francisco Marriott Marquis
America/Los_Angeles timezone

Using Shifter to Bring Containerized CVMFS to HPC

Oct 12, 2016, 12:30 PM
Sierra B (San Francisco Mariott Marquis)

Sierra B

San Francisco Mariott Marquis

Oral Track 6: Infrastructures Track 6: Infrastructures


Lisa Gerhardt (LBNL)


Bringing HEP computing to HPC can be difficult. Software stacks are often very complicated with numerous dependencies that are difficult to get installed on an HPC system. To address this issue, amongst others, NERSC has created Shifter, a framework that delivers Docker-like functionality to HPC. It works by extracting images from native formats (such as a Docker image) and converting them to a common format that is optimally tuned for the HPC environment. We have used Shifter to deliver the CVMFS software stack for ALICE, ATLAS, and CMS on the Edison and Cori supercomputers at NERSC. As well as enabling the distribution of TBs of software to HPC, this approach also offers performance advantages. We show that software startup times are significantly reduced (up a factor of 4 relative to the Lustre file system in the ATLAS case) as well as scaling with minimal variation to 1000s of nodes. We will discuss how this was accomplished as well as future outlook for Shifter and HEP at NERSC.

Primary Keyword (Mandatory) High performance computing
Secondary Keyword (Optional) Virtualization

Primary author


Douglas Jacobsen (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) Jeff Porter (Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (US)) Shane Canon (NATIONAL ENERGY RESEARCH SCIENTIFIC COMPUTING CENTER) Vakho Tsulaia (Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (US)) Wahid Bhimji (Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (US))

Presentation materials