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Major New Linux Public Interactive and Batch Services (LXPLUS and LXBATCH)

Pietro Paolo Martucci , IT/PDP

From December 9th, the family of public computing clusters in the computer centre will be expanded to include Linux services. There will be a new interactive cluster, LXPLUS, and also a new public batch cluster running Linux, LXBATCH. From December 9th, therefore, the following public services will be available.

Interactive Clusters
Service Configuration
LXPLUS 15 dual CPU PCs (with 550MHz Intel PIII processors)
RSPLUS 15 dual CPU IBM 43P-240 workstations
HPPLUS 5 dual CPU HP J2240 workstations
DXPLUS 5 dual CPU DEC PWS500 workstations
Batch Clusters
Service Configuration Capacity
LXBATCH 20 dual CPU PCs (with 550MHz Intel PIII processors) 5000 CERN Units
RSBATCH 15 IBM 43P-140 workstations (with one 332MHz PowerPC processors)
18 IBM 43P-850 workstations (with one 166MHz PowerPC processors)
2040 CERN Units

The table shows clearly that these new services are a major addition to the public service family. The relatively low price of PCs has allowed us to significantly increase the available batch capacity and COCOTIME has agreed to increase the Linux based batch capacity to at least 10,000 CERN Units next year if there is a demand for this service. So, it may take a bit of effort to convert your programs to Linux but the rewards in terms of improved turnround and capacity should make the effort worthwhile!

The AIX based public interactive and batch services will be in the last year of their normal lifetime during 2000. The maturity of PC and Linux systems is such that we expect LXPLUS and LXBATCH to take over. But remember they are PCs, so please use your "Desktop PC" (in local mode) for Netscape, mail and other interactive applications.

Linux has become a major operating system at CERN. Why?

Linux is a freely distributed multi-tasking multi-user Operating System that behaves like the UNIX operating system in terms of kernel behaviour and peripheral support. Linux has all the features of UNIX, plus several recent extensions that add new versatility to Linux. All source code for Linux and its utilities is freely distributed. Linux was designed specifically for the PC (Intel CPU) platform and takes advantage of its architecture to give you performance similar to high-end UNIX workstations. A number of ports of Linux to other hardware platform have also appeared, and they work much like the PC version. It has all the features you would expect in a modern fully-fledged UNIX, including:

Most of the software running under Linux is either free or cheap. Although it is not officially supported, there are enough people in the world to take care of it, with a fast response time, and solve problems.

Here, at CERN, Linux is now well supported and all the major software including CERNLIB, AFS, LSF, GNU and the public domain software from ASIS is available. In the past access to Linux was restricted to experiments with dedicated servers. With the introduction of the LXPLUS and LXBATCH services, all users have access to a Linux platform. In particular, we hope that the significant batch capacity will make these services attractive for physics applications. The new services will be available from December 9th; until then users who are willing to test the new services can login into LXTEST.

For matters related to this article please contact the author.

Last Updated on Thu Dec 16 13:32:53 GMT+03:30 1999.
Copyright © CERN 1999 -- European Laboratory for Particle Physics