ARCHER News

Tuesday 13th March 2018

Reminder : Change to Planned RDF Downtime for UPS Battery Replacement

The RDF has built-in UPS systems (uninterruptible power supply) to help prevent data loss and corruption in case of a power outage. The batteries in these UPS systems are now approaching the end of their life and have to be replaced. The replacement work needs to be carried out with the RDF offline to reduce any risk of data loss during the process and is required to be completed before the actual battery end of life date.

We had planned to replace the RDF UPS batteries in the week of 5 March. However due to the severe weather the external contractors due to carry out the replacement work have had to postpone their visit to us. We have rebooked the work for the week starting 19 March 2018.

This means that this week, starting 12 March, the /eprsc, /nerc and /general file systems, RDF, DAC, DTNs, GridPP and access to JASMIN will now be available for use.

The week of 19 March the /eprsc, /nerc and /general file systems, RDF, DAC, DTNs, GridPP and access to JASMIN will all be unavailable. We hope that the work can be completed in less than 5 days and will let you know if the RDF is returned to service early.

We will update our status page (https://www.archer.ac.uk/status ) and remind you of the work planned for the week of 19 March nearer the time. We apologise for the inconvenience caused and please contact the ARCHER Helpdesk if you have any questions or concerns.

Webinar : Meltdown for Dummies: The road to hell is paved with good intentions

Wednesday 28 March 2018 15:00

David Henty, EPCC

The history of IT security seems littered with tales of apocalyptic vulnerabilities that would end the world - does your Heart Bleed at the mention of the Y2K bug? However, the recent scares over Meltdown were based on a really big problem:

ANY user could read ANY memory on almost ANY system, bypassing ALL security measures.

In this webinar I will try and explain the origin of Meltdown from a dummy's point of view (i.e. my own). I will use an everyday analogy of accessing documents from a lawyer's office to illustrate the origins of the vulnerability and how it can be exploited. I will also present results of recent tests exploring how much the anti-Meltdown patches affect HPC system performance.

Meltdown is an extremely interesting example as, to understand it, you need to understand a wide range of issues covering both CPU hardware and system software design. Even if you're not that concerned with IT security, I hope that this presentation will help explain how modern multi-user computers actually work.

Most importantly, I hope to show that the design decisions that led to Meltdown all seem perfectly sensible in themselves. However, as Saint Bernard of Clairvaux wrote in the early 12th century, "the road to hell is paved with good intentions".

Details and joining link

Upcoming Training Opportunities

Registration open now

  • Efficient Parallel IO on ARCHER Cambridge 20 - 21 March 2018
  • Threaded Programming Southampton 20 - 22 March 2018
  • Message-Passing programming with MPI Southampton 11 - 13 April 2018
  • ARCHER Champions Manchester 25th April 2018
  • Advanced MPI Exeter 26 - 27 April 2018
  • Advanced OpenMP Cambridge 17 - 19 July 2018
  • Full details and registration at http://www.archer.ac.uk/training/index.php