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Revision as of 20:36, 14 January 2019 by Hasch (Talk | contribs) (IMPORTANT DEADLINES)

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Frontenac serves as our main compute cluster and is operated through the SLURM scheduler. Until March 31, allocations from the 2018 Resource Allocation Competition of Compute Canada, are running on this cluster. Furthermore, the cluster is accessed by researchers with a "contributed" priority allocation, and on an "opportunistic" scheduling basis with low priority.

Since the cluster will not be among the allocatable system for the 2019 Compute Canada allocation round ("RAC2019"), the operation of Frontenac will be on a cost-recovery basis from April 1, 2019 onward. For details about the fee structure, please see our Frontenac Fee Wiki page for details. This is an important change that affects both compute access and the usage of storage.

From April 2019 we will cannot provide compute services and/or storage capacity on Frontenac free of charge.

If you are currently using Frontenac for computations, and are looking for another system that offers cycles free of charge, please consult the available resources at Compute Canada. Allocations of larger resources require an application, but "opportunistic" use (Rapid Access Service or RAS) is available also.

Migrating off the Frontenac cluster

Note: Any data on the Frontenac file system must be moved off the system by April 2019. Retention of data beyond that time requires an arrangement involving fees. Please consult our fees guide for details. The Arrangement has to be made before the deadline of April 1, 2019 to avoid data purges.

For technical information of how to upload/download data from our system, see [[|]]

Note that the responsibility of data migration lies with the user. We do not control access to the target systems and cannot do the data transfer for you. We will assist you with technical issues but you have to arrange for the disk space on the target system.

Why migrate ?

Unfortunately, the only way we can continue to supply the disk space is by charging a fee to cover maintenance and operating costs. We do so on a cost recovery basis, i.e. we charge as much as we must, and as little as we can.

What's Different ?

new SW (Linux) cluster new CAC (Frontenac) cluster
Operating system CentOS 6 CentOS 7
File system type ZFS GPFS
Scheduler Sun Grid Engine (SGE) SLURM
Software manager usepackage lmod
Backup management samfs Hierarchical Storage Management (HSM)

Migration Time Table

Month (2017) Who moves ?
December 2018 - March 2019
  • Monthly reminders about the need to migrate data
  • RAC access, general "opportunistic" access continues
  • Both access types are free
  • Storage is free
  • Users are asked to make arrangements for charged access
April 1, 2019
  • Access changes from free to charged
  • Charged accounts are active with priorities based on charge
  • Compute Canada free accounts (hpcXXXX) loose access
  • Data not covered by charged accounts are purged
  • Some exceptions apply :
    • grace period for residual data of RAC users, limited access
    • Queen's researchers & other Ontario research groups get additional time to move their data off system
July 1, 2019
  • All data not covered by charged accounts are purged.
  • This includes backups (tape).

We will transfer hardware from the "old" cluster (SW) to the new one (Frontenac) to accommodate the migrated users. This means that in the transition period, the old cluster will gradually become smaller while the new one grows. Dedicated hardware will be moved when its users migrate.


Date Migration Event
April 1, 2019
  • Access to Frontenac from free accounts ends
  • Limited access fro RAC users fro retrieval of new data
  • Limited access for Queen's / Ontario users for data retrieval
  • Data for closed hpcXXXX accounts are purged (non-Ontario, non-RAC)
July 1, 2017
  • All data associated with free accounts are purged
  • No access from free accounts

Migration Schedule

  • 1 - Initiation of migration process
    • Email notification of the user (mid-November).
    • Create account on new cluster.
    • Issue temporary credentials to the new cluster and request initial login to change password.
  • 2 - Rolling rsync of user data
    • Will be repeated until update requires less than 2 hrs
      • /home/hpcXXXX
      • /u1/work/hpcXXXX
      • /scratch/hpcXXXX if required
      • other directories if required
    • Users can access both new and old systems for 1 month.
      • Data on the old system that are newer than on the new one are rsync'ed.
  • 3 - Final migration
    • Final rsync.
    • Jobs on old cluster are terminated.
    • User access to old system closed.

Migration Q&A

  • Q: Who migrates ?
A: All of our users will migrate from the old SW cluster to the new "Frontenac" cluster
  • Q: Can I use my old "stuff" ?
A: Much of the old data and software will be usable on the new systems. However, the data will have to be copied over as the new systems use a separate file system, and cross access is not possible.
  • Q Do I have to re-compile ?
A: It is possible that you will have to re-compile some of the software you are using. We will assist you with this.
  • Q: Do I copy my files over myself ?
A: Initially, we transfer your data for you. This synchronization process will end on December 15. If you are still altering your data after this date, it is your responsibility to transfer the data manually.
  • Q: Is this optional ?
A: No. We move both user data and hardware according to a schedule.
  • Q: Can I decide when to move ?
A: We are open to "early adopters", but we cannot grant extensions on the old systems.
  • Q: Will this disrupt my research ?
A: The moving of hardware and users causes unavoidable scheduling bottlenecks, as substantial portions of the clusters have to be kept inactive to "drain". Also, in the intermediate period when one cluster is dismantled and the other is being built up, both are substantially smaller. Especially larger jobs will be hard or impossible to schedule in the period between November'17 and February'18.
  • Q: How are resources allocated on the new cluster ?
A: Pleased read through our help file "Resource Allocations on Frontenac"


If you have questions that you can't resolve by checking documentation, email to