ABOUT THE MARTINOS CENTER IT INFRASTRUCTURE
The Martinos Center IT support group consists of three full-time system staff
specializing in Linux administration with some individual expertise in Windows
and OSX administration and web and database programming. The Center has over
600 faculty, staff, postdocs and students. A large part of our user base come
from outside the official Martinos Center department. These groups include
Neurology, Amnesia, MIT BCS, Harvard Psychology and many others.
The largest part of our work is desktop support. At user's desks on site there are over 250 Linux workstation, 100 Windows desktops and 50 Macs that we maintain. We assists users with purchasing the correct equipment, installation of operating systems and specialized software, backup and troubleshooting. Also we assist users with complying with Partners IT policies such as laptop encryption.
The IT group maintains over 30 central Linux servers. These are located
either in a makeshift server room on the 1st floor of CNY149 and at MGH's
enterprise data center located in Needham. The major purpose of these
servers is for data storage but all other major services of any large IT
operation are also run such as web, mail, and databases. The one big exception
is core networking (e.g DNS) which is handled by Partners IT.
The center has two batch computing clusters at the moment. One is an
extremely old one that we hope to soon retire consisting of 120 dual Opteron
nodes along with a scattering of older dual 32-bit Xeon and P4 nodes. This is
located in the makeshift server room in CNY149. All nodes come from a San
Diego outfit called Verari (formerly RackSaver). The job queuing software used
There is now a new batch computing cluster located at the Needham facility
bought in April 2009 which consists of 128 quad Xeon 5472 nodes each with 32GB
of RAM. This cluster was put together by a company called VXTech from
Montreal. All nodes have Infiniband 20Gbs per second interconnects for fast
As was stated, the primary job of most of our servers is storage. The
oldest file servers are a mix of older external SCSI-to-IDE/SATA RAID
enclosures using internal 3ware RAID IDE cards and total over 50TB. Over the
last three years, storage servers installed included a fibre-channel NexSAN
32TB SATABeast and four Sun SunFire x4500's with over 36TB each. All storage
is made available to workstations and the clusters via NFS. Backup on these
servers is provided by a 180 slot AIT3 tape library with six AIT3 tape
drives. Backup software is home grown scripts based on tar, perl and MySQL.
A 1.8 Petabyte storage cluster was installed and went online in May 2010.
This will slowly replace the older central storage servers. This storage
cluster uses IBM DCS9900 storage arrays with 1200 SATA hard disks. The array
controllers connect via redundant Fibre-Channel fabric to nine IBM HS22 Blade
Servers running RedHat Enterprise Linux and the GPFS cluster file system. The
new compute cluster accesses the storage directly via GPFS client software
while the rest of the computers in the center use NFS. Backup is provided
using a IBM TS3500 Tape Library with 1760 Cartridge Slots and four LTO-4 tape
drives. Backup software is IBM's Tivoli Backup.
This storage and backup is provided to users at a fee of $306/TB/year.
In the software realm, the majority of programs in use are open source or home
grown, both for user's analysis and administration work. The major exception
is MATLAB for which the center has a floating license server with 120 licenses
and several added toolboxes. There are scattered groups with other specific
proprietary software installs such as SPSS and LabView.
(See also the Martinos Center Facilities page)