Software stack changes and upgrades

September 27, 2016
Carter, Conte, Hammer, Hansen, Peregrine1, Radon, Rice, Scholar, Snyder

During the Home Filesystem Maintenance - All Clusters maintenance on September 27th, several upgrades and changes will be made to the software stack on the clusters. Changes will include updates to the default version of the Intel compiler and associated software stack as well to the default MPI libraries. Some older versions of other software will also be removed. These changes are being made in order to bring clusters in line with the software environment that is being planned for the new Halstead cluster.

These upgrades will provide the best performance for the new and existing clusters and will provide a consistent Intel version stack across all of our clusters. The new software stack is currently available on the clusters for testing and upgrade. ITaP research computing staff recommends testing out the new compilers and upgrading prior to September 27th.

WHAT WILL BE THE IMPACT TO INTEL COMPILERS?

We will be upgrading the default Intel version from 13.1.1.163 to 16.0.1.150. The current default has been around for several years, and many researchers are already switching to the latest versions of Intel compilers. The 13.1.1.163 version will remain available on the current clusters for a period of time to give researchers time to finish up projects and upgrade to the latest. Any software dependent on the default version of Intel 13.1.1.163 will also have it's default upgraded.

WHAT WILL BE THE IMPACT TO MPI LIBRARIES?

We will be upgrading the default version of OpenMPI from 1.6.3 to 1.8.1. This new versions offers stability and performance enhancements and some new features. Version 1.8.1 has been available for some time and many researchers have already moved to 1.8.1.

We will be upgrading the default version of IMPI from 4.1.1.036 to 5.1.2.150. This new versions offers stability and performance enhancements and some new features. Version 5.1.2.150 has been available for some time and many researchers have already moved to 5.1.2.150.

Any software dependent on one of these default MPI versions will also have it's default upgraded appropriately.

It is recommended that you upgrade to these new libraries, however, if you need to continue using the old default versions you may do so by switching your "module load" to the specific version. The Intel 13 stack will remain available for those who require it. These new compilers offer bug fixes and enhanced performance and stability. Users are encouraged to send in any experiences with these new compilers to help us evaluate the direction of new compilers on RCAC systems.

WHAT OTHER SOFTWARE WILL BE IMPACTED?

There will be several changes to other miscellaneous software. Older versions of some software will be removed in favor of newer versions. Default versions of a few software will be updated to the latest version. In most cases, these older versions are being infrequently used so most should not be impacted by these changes.

If any software you are using will be impacted by these changes you will see a notice message being printed to your session or in your job output files when loading an affected module. This notice will provide recommendations on the latest version.

HOW DO I KNOW IF MY WORKFLOW WILL BE IMPACTED?

Whenever a module that will be impacted is loaded a notice is printed to your screen or job output log. Please take a look at your job output over the next couple of weeks and make note of any changes being advertised. You may continue using these modules as-is until September 27th to allow time to make any changes necessary. Users are encouraged to make any changes necessary beforehand to avoid disruption when changes are made.

WHAT IF AN IMPACTED MODULE IS REQUIRED BY MY RESEARCH?

We understand some users may not be able to change compilers or MPI libraries in the middle of a research project. Modules involved in a default version update will continue to be available, however, you will need to update your job scripts to request the specific version of the module. If you are already loading specific versions no changes are necessary.

If a version of software you depend on is being completely removed and you are unable to upgrade, please contact us at rcac-help@purdue.edu. We will help you transition to a newer version if possible, or provide you with a copy of the old software version.

WHY ARE YOU CHANGING THE SOFTWARE STACK?

ITaP aims to provide a software stack that allows for optimal use (performance and stability) of the clusters. This necessitates periodic updates to the stack as compilers, libraries, and software are improved over time. By removing older modules from the main stack we help ensure the selection is simple and easy for users to find the best compilers and libraries to use. If no modules were removed the selection would become difficult to navigate as well become difficult for ITaP staff to manage. Any major changes will be coordinated with scheduled maintenance periods to minimize impact.

If you have any questions or concerns with the upcoming changes please contact rcac-help@purdue.edu

Originally posted: August 31, 2016  1:03pm