Ohio Supercomputer Center Upgrades HPC Access Portal

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The Ohio Supercomputer Center has updated its innovative web-based portal for accessing high performance computing services. As part of this effort, OSC recently announced the release of Open OnDemand 1.3, the first version using its new RPM Package Manager, or Red Hat Package Manager, a common standard for distributing Linux software.

Our continuing development of Open OnDemand is aimed at making the package easier to use and more powerful at the same time,” said David Hudak, interim executive director of OSC. “Open OnDemand 1.3’s RPM Package Manager simplifies the installation and updating of OnDemand versions and enables OSC to do more releases more frequently.”

Open OnDemand is an open-source version of OSC OnDemand, the center’s online, single-point-of-entry application for HPC services. Open OnDemand is a project funded by the National Science Foundation to develop a widely shareable web portal that provides HPC centers with advanced web and graphical interface capabilities.

Because clients don’t need to build anything from source, the 1.3 installation process is faster,” said Eric Franz, web and interface application lead engineer at OSC. “And the center is able to provide access to the latest versions of OnDemand that are used internally here.”

Other highlights of Open OnDemand 1.3 include:

  • Configuration changes no longer require app rebuilds
    Xfce support of interactive desktops
  • Cluster configuration verification script
  • Ignoring apps if they have a period in the directory name
  • Enabling multiple dashboard announcements with embedded HTML
  • Opening “help” links in a new window
  • Make “Interactive Sessions” link top-level item
  • Better debugging of Interactive Apps by logging shell commands
  • A display list of nodes on which a job is running
  • Many bug fixes

To date, the OnDemand software has been installed at about a dozen academic HPC centers and two companies,” said Alan Chalker, OSC’s director of strategic programs. “OSC’s installation has had 1,500 users in the past several years with over 100,000 app launches serving scientists and engineers in 28 distinct fields of science.”

At OSC, the median time from initial HPC log-in to first HPC job submission in 2017 for clients using OnDemand was 10 times faster than clients using traditional HPC access methods.

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