HA Cluster at the Swiss University of Fribourg

About University of Fribourg

The University of Fribourg encompasses five faculties where people study, teach and research. These are Arts and Humanities, Science and Medicine, Management, Economics and Social Sciences, Law and Theology. As well as these there are numerous interdisciplinary institutes and centres of excellence. The approximately 10,000 students in the Bachelor, Masters and PhD programs receive first-class personal support from over 800 professors, lecturers and research assistants.

The Challenge

Due to its special requirements, the Department of Informatics of the University of Friborg Switzerland maintains its own servers, which are operated independently of the university’s central servers.

Among other things, Department of Informatics is using an HPC (high-performance computing) GPU cluster. This one can creates millions of small files that need to be processed quickly.

The storage server accessed by GPU cluster must provide HA – High-Availability to ensure that data access is provided even if an entire storage server fails.

Newly aquired hardware was initially used with the GlusterFS. However the GlusterFS was overloaded and during the evaluation phase it was crashing often with the error message “Transport Endpoint not connected”. Also it delivered poor performance.

For this reason it was nesseary to find an affordable highly available alternative solution that could be used on the existing hardware.
This new solution should not be complex to configure and maintain.

Diagramm euroNAS High-Availability Cluster

The solution

The Department of Informatics of the University of Friborg Switzerland has decided to install euroNAS HA cluster on both storage servers.

Since then, there have been no more data transmission failures and the system is stable and fast.

Birgit Ducarroz, Unix Systems Administrator of the Department of Informatics, was convinced by the the performance, good support and the simple configuration :

With euroNAS, I immediately understood the installation and configuration, which can often be confusing with other systems. For me, complex solutions must be understandable for users and that is the case with euroNAS. The support is great and the cluster has been working perfectly since then.