Grid administrators face a constant struggle between affordability and capacity. Oftentimes managing heterogeneous workloads with tools and workflows that are supported by outside vendors or other internal teams, their job is to wring as much performance and throughput from the environment as possible.
Storage administrators in HPC environments grapple daily with quotas approaching max, “hot spots”, and continual data migration projects. Most storage admins are still working in large, scale-out NFSv3 environments. New technologies to address these issues like Lustre, Gluster, GPFS, NFSv4, and pNFS are continually under evaluation, but uptake thus far has been slow at best.
Most HPC organizations have grown up in a very “collegial” atmosphere with open access to data to maximize engineering productivity. However, with the spread of viruses, malware, ransomeware, and nation-state sponsored hacking, data security professionals face the daunting task of securing data while preserving productivity. The added pressures of globalization and partnering with third party providers mean that not only must they secure the perimeter, but they must extend the border.
HPC Administrators are hearing questions from upper management about using the Cloud. Netflix uses it at scale, so why can’t we? Unfortunately, translating traditional HPC paradigms into Cloud environments is not so straightforward. Concerns about IP security, data transfer challenges and legacy system assumptions make Cloud deployments a multi-month, if not multi-year, proposition.
License Administrators must have constant availability and outstanding performance. They often have to balance the needs of supporting legacy licenses on outdated platforms as well as providing the latest license manager binaries to support new tools. High availability and maintenance, usually mutually exclusive, are requirements for successful license administrators. Software assets are usually very expensive and require extensive infrastructure to collect usage and report on it to make critical business decisions.