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Terra: A Lenovo x86 HPC Cluster

Hardware Overview

System Name: Terra
Host Name: terra.tamu.edu
Operating System: Linux (CentOS 7)
Total Compute Cores/Nodes: 9,632 cores
320 nodes
Compute Nodes: 256 28-core compute nodes, each with 64GB RAM
48 28-core GPU nodes, each with one dual-GPU Tesla K80 accelerator and 128GB RAM
8 68-core KNL nodes with 96GB RAM
8 72-core KNL nodes with 96GB RAM
Interconnect: Intel Omni-Path Fabric 100 Series switches.
Peak Performance: 377 TFLOPs
Global Disk: 7PB (raw) via Lenovo's DSS-G260 appliance for general use
1PB (raw) via Lenovo's GSS24 purchased by and dedicated for GEOSAT
File System: General Parallel File System (GPFS)
Batch Facility: Slurm by SchedMD
Location: Teague Data Center
Production Date: February 2017

Terra is an Intel x86-64 Linux cluster with 320 compute nodes (9,632 total cores) and 3 login nodes. There are 256 compute nodes with 64 GB of memory, 48 compute nodes with 128 GB of memory and a K80 GPU card. These 304 compute nodes are a dual socket server with two Intel Xeon E5-2680 v4 2.40GHz 14-core processors, commonly known as Broadwell. There are also 16 Intel Knights Landing (KNL) nodes with 96 GB of memory with either 68 or 72 cores per node.

The interconnecting fabric is a two-level fat-tree based on Intel Omni-Path Architecture (OPA). High performance mass storage of 7.4 petabyte (raw) capacity is made available to all nodes by one Lenovo DSS-G260 storage appliance (added in Fall 2019) and one GSS24 storage appliance (from Fall 2017).

Get details on using this system, see the User Guide for Terra.

Compute Nodes

A description of the two types of compute nodes is below:

Table 1 Details of Compute Nodes
General 64GB
GPU 128 GB
KNL 96 GB (68 core)
KNL 96 GB (72 core)
V100 GPU 192 GB
Total Nodes 256 48 8 8 4
Processor Type Intel Xeon E5-2680 v4 (Broadwell), 2.40GHz, 14-core Intel Xeon Phi CPU 7250 (Knight's Landing), 1.40GHz, 68-core Intel Xeon Phi CPU 7290 (Knight's Landing), 1.50GHz, 72-core Intel Xeon Gold 5118 (Skylake), 12-core, 2.30 GHz
Sockets/Node 2 2 2 2
Cores/Node 28 68 72 24
Memory/Node 64 GB DDR4, 2400 MHz 128 GB DDR4, 2400 MHz 96 GB DDR4, 2400 MHz 192 GB, 2400 MHz
Accelerator(s) N/A 1 NVIDIA K80 Accelerator N/A 2 NVIDIA 32GB V100 GPUs
Interconnect Intel Omni-Path Architecture (OPA) Intel Omni-Path Architecture (OPA)
Local Disk Space 1TB 7.2K RPM SATA disk 220GB 300GB

Note, each K80 accelerator has two GPUs.

Usable Memory for Batch Jobs

While nodes on Terra have either 64GB or 128GB of RAM, some of this memory is used to maintain the software and operating system of the node. In most cases, excessive memory requests will be automatically rejected by SLURM.

The table below contains information regarding the approximate limits of Terra memory hardware and our suggestions on its use.

Memory Limits of Nodes
64GB Nodes 128GB Nodes 96GB KNL Nodes (68 core) 96GB KNL Nodes (72 core)
Node Count 256 48 8 8
Number of Cores 28 Cores (2 sockets x 14 core) 68 Cores 72 Cores
Memory Limit
Per Core
2048 MB
2 GB
4096 MB
4 GB
1300 MB
1.25 GB
1236 MB
1.20 GB
Memory Limit
Per Node
57344 MB
56 GB
114688 MB
112 GB
89000 MB
84 GB
89000 MB
84 GB

SLURM may queue your job for an excessive time (or indefinitely) if waiting for some particular nodes with sufficient memory to become free.


Login Nodes

The terra.tamu.edu hostname can be used to access the Terra cluster. This translates into one of the three login nodes, terra[1-3].tamu.edu. To access a specific login node use its corresponding host name (e.g., terra2.tamu.edu). All login nodes have 10 GbE connections to the TAMU campus network and direct access to all global parallel (GPFS-based) file systems. The table below provides more details about the hardware configuration of the login nodes.

Table 2: Details of Login Nodes
No Accelerator Two NVIDIA K80 Accelerator
HostNames terra1.tamu.edu
Processor Type Intel Xeon E5-2680 v4 2.40GHz 14-core
Memory 128 GB DDR4 2400 MHz
Total Nodes 2 1
Cores/Node 28
Interconnect Intel Omni-Path Architecture (OPA)
Local Disk Space per node: two 900GB 10K RPM SAS drives

Mass Storage

7PB (raw) via one Lenovo DSS-G260 appliance for general use and 1PB (raw) via Lenovo GSS24 appliance purchased by and dedicated for GEOSAT. All storage appliances use IBM Spectrum Scale (formerly GPFS).


Opa fabric.png


"terra" comes from the Latin word for "this planet" a.k.a. "Earth". One of the purposes of this cluster is to study images gathered from a "Earth Observation Satellite" (EOS). Given that we just retired a cluster named "Eos" (named after the Greek goddess of the dawn waiting to spread the light of knowledge each day), the name terra was chosen instead