Yellowstone enters testing phases

By Brian Bevirt
07/30/2012 - 12:00am

NCAR's newest supercomputer is now fully assembled and its testing phases have begun. The Bluefire supercomputer is scheduled for decommissioning.

Yellowstone supercomputer at NWSC, July 2012
Photo by Marijke Unger, CISL

For the next few weeks, the Yellowstone system will be put through its paces to ensure it is functioning and ready for production. Tens of thousands of processors, over a dozen miles of cable, countless switches, fans, and other components must all be checked out before the system is accepted and made available to the scientific community.

The NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center (NWSC) has been the site of a flurry of activity in July, with IBM and CISL making significant progress on the complex installation of the Yellowstone environment. As of July 30, most hardware installation issues have been resolved, IBM has run performance tests on the full 11-PB GLADE system, and IBM and CISL have installed most key software and configured the administrative and user environments.

At this time, we estimate that Yellowstone will be ready for the first users in early September, at which point the Accelerated Scientific Discovery (ASD) projects will begin. The rest of the user community will have access as soon as practical after the ASD projects have started.

Between now and the beginning of September, Yellowstone will be subjected to a battery of tests. The system is now entering the "functional testing" period during which IBM will begin to put Yellowstone through a series of tests designed to confirm that all components are functioning as an integrated system and delivering the expected performance.

Following functional testing and after resolving any remaining hardware issues, Yellowstone will enter the three-week Acceptance Testing Period, during which IBM and CISL will jointly conduct benchmarks and run the system with a simulated workload around the clock. When Yellowstone successfully passes the acceptance tests, CISL will take over the system from IBM, and we are allowing a few days for NCAR-specific configuration and customization.

CISL will extend Bluefire's lifetime at least through the end of October 2012. CISL intends to operate Bluefire through November, but in the event of a major system failure during the month, the system may not be returned to service. Bluefire users should plan their work accordingly.

We will keep you posted as we proceed, particularly about significant changes in this schedule. Please contact with any questions.