Research Activities

Research Activities will be carried out by the project partners with the aim to evaluate application container technology, e.g. Docker, to provide a flexible and performance optimised environment on which to execute portable, user-customized applications. This environment, named container-as-a-service, would bring two important advantages over a classical HPC platform: firstly, the possibility to simultaneously support different applications with divergent dependencies of GNU/Linux distributions and runtime environments on the same hardware resources with no significant decrease in performance; and secondly, the capability to fully capture and package all dependencies of an application so that it can be migrated to other machines or preserved to enable a reproducible environment in future. Moreover, the use of container virtualization over the normal usage of HPC codes would enable:

  • keeping a history and description of installations and stack configurations,
  • sharing previous work and configuration with other similar environments,
  • application isolation,
  • freezing of running containers to allow on-demand rescheduling.

The outputs of the research activities will:

  • Enable easy portability of end-user applications to different HPC centres
  • Demonstrate reproducibility of results on different host HPC systems
  • Identify security issues that may arise when using containers
  • Evaluate the portability and performance of containerized applications between clusters and proprietary systems