Brussels / 3 & 4 February 2018


Combining CVMFS, Nix, Lmod, and EasyBuild at Compute Canada

One of the challenges in HPC is to deliver a consistent software stack that balances the needs of the system administrators with the needs of the users. This means running recent software on enterprise Linux distributions that ship older software. Traditionally this is accomplished using environment modules, that change environment variables such as $PATH to point to the software that is needed. At Compute Canada we have taken this further by distributing a complete user-level software stack, including all needed libraries including the GNU C library, but excluding any privileged components. I will describe our setup, which combines Nix for the bottom layer of base components, EasyBuild for the top layer of more scientifically inclined components, Lmod to implement environment modules, and the CernVM File System (CVMFS) to distribute it to Canadian supercomputers. Expected prior knowledge: knowing how to use the command line and environment variables.


Bart Oldeman