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HPC3: Expected Container Behaviour

The last blog post introduced the HPC Container Conformance (HPC3) project - a project to provide guidance on how to build and annotate container images for HPC use cases.

For HPW we'll need to cover two main parts (IMHO) first:

  1. Entrypoint/Cmd relationship: How do interactive users and batch systems expect a container to behave. We need to make sure that a container works with docker run, singularity run and podman run out of the box (engine configuration already done)
  2. Annotation Baseline: Which annotations do we need and want, some are mandatory and some are optional.

This blob post is going to set a baseline in Terms of Expected Container Behavior to make sure that we can switch HPC3 conformant images of the same application and - ideally - have the job ran in the same way.

The HPC Container Conformance Project

A lot of HPC sites have an unwritten understanding of how to use them:

  1. You need a user to log in. Either on the submithost or when a job launches on the compute nodes,
  2. Once logged in, your environment is setup with default apps, specific application are available using module load from a central software share,
  3. you might be even able to install new software in your home directory.

A central software-share with curated sets of scientific applications and libraries is/was a powerful concept. But with containers this falls a part to some degree... 😦

Buildkit Dockerfile Frontend Caching

Ok, where was I? In the last blog post (BuildKit Dockerfile Frontend) scratching the surface by introcuding here-docs in Dockerfiles. The original inspiration for the post - series, as it turned out - was my to cut the cristiangreco/docker-pdflatex image down by a GB or so.
I went from this:

RUN sh / && rm /

to this:

RUN <<eot bash
  apt-get update
  apt-cache depends texlive-full \
  | grep "Depends:" \
  | grep -v "doc$" \
  | egrep -v "texlive-(games|music)" \
  | egrep -v "texlive-lang-(arabic|cjk|chinese|cyrillic|czechslovak|european|french|german|greek|italian|japanese|korean|other|polish|portuguese|spanish)$" \
  | cut -d ' ' -f 4 \
  | xargs apt-get install --no-install-recommends -y
  apt-get autoremove

BuildKit Dockerfile Frontend

I am a big fan of pandoc to generate documents instead of using a binary format like MS Word. Feels more natural to have a source and compile it into a delivarable.

Dockerfile Improvement

Installing LaTex and all the dependencies for pandoc is a hassle and the natural way of dealing with that is (of course) to create a container. I found the container cristiangreco/docker-pdflatex on the interweb.

But the image was rather big (4.4GB) and I thought:

Let's see if we can shave of a GB or so and while we are at it make the Dockerfile more readable

Blog Relaunched!

In one of my older post from 2019 I wrote:

I won't say "Long time, no post" - but...

After a long(-ish) neglect of the blog I am happy to relaunch the blog now! I am intending to write blog post regulary and blog about container-in-HPC, monitoring, GOLANG and what else comes into mind. I migrated everything from Jekyll to mkdocs-material and had to touch every blog post. What a journey I want through the last ten years. The first blog post is from 2012...

Let's see what the next 10 years are going to be! 🥳