Altair CTO Interview: PBS Professional Gets a Major Upgrade

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Altair® PBS Professional® is the industry-leading workload manager that’s been an HPC workhorse for decades, enabling efficient job scheduling, management, monitoring, and reporting with reliable scaling from small clusters to the world’s biggest data centers.

The latest release of PBS Professional delivers major upgrades including cloud bursting, forecasting and simulation capabilities, support for hierarchical scheduling, and enterprise-level budget management along with security, performance, administrative, and usability updates.

Altair CTO Sam Mahalingam shared details about some of the new features in a Q&A session.

This is the most significant PBS Professional upgrade in decades. What brought it about?
We’re always looking to add value for our customers and keep improving our software. We went big this time with new capabilities like hierarchical scheduling and cloud bursting, a workload simulator, allocation for budgeting, and several smaller but significant updates.

What does this mean for HPC in the cloud?
It means that PBS Professional users don’t need to use separate software for cloud bursting since they can burst to public clouds right from on-premises installed PBS Professional via a GUI, CLI and API. The new cloud bursting feature is based on policies and driven by workloads, and it gives HPC admins lots of control using quotas, limits, and access control lists. At peak times when resources are maxed out, jobs can burst automatically. Altair supports all the major public clouds including AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, and Oracle.

Why hierarchical scheduling?
Altair customers in semiconductor design and EDA deal with large volumes of small, high-throughput jobs. With the hierarchical scheduler, the base PBS scheduler is offloaded so you get better throughput, better license utilization and better resource utilization. And sites with multiple types of workloads can handle them all with just one workload manager. Making hierarchical scheduling available through PBS Professional further expands the types of workloads we support. It is a huge step forward in our continued work to make PBS Professional the “go-to” for every HPC or HTC job.

What can you do with workload simulation?
The new simulator lets you see what your workload will look like in the future. You can do dry runs before changing policies or ordering jobs and test the results before they happen, which can save time and expense when you run your workloads for real.

How about the new budgeting and allocation features?
HPC admins can define standard service units, like CPU hours, and distribute credits among users and groups. This can be implemented across the entire organization and for multiple HPC clusters, with full reporting and customization for budgets and quotas.

How does PBS Professional 2020 compare to open-source solutions?
Open source can be a good option when you just need the basics, and we offer an open-source version of PBS Professional. The latest release of PBS Professional provides major updates in terms of commercial-grade technology and support for the kind of resource management complexities that have a big impact on cost, such as departmental budgeting, allocation and cost-conscious cloud integration. PBS Professional goes far beyond the basics and is the top choice for organizations that need advanced workload management, reporting, and all our new features like simulation and cloud bursting. Expert configuration and support from Altair is a big time-saver over open source.

Learn more about PBS Professional or request a demo from Altair.