Turduckens And HPC Deliciousness


It is now November, and Novembers rarely go by where I don’t stop and think of Turducken. For those who are unfamiliar, the Turducken is a beautiful culinary franken-bird where a turkey is stuffed with a duck that is stuffed with a chicken. To accomplish this feat, the chicken and duck must be de-boned, and the turkey must be partially de-boned. It looks something like this while you are doing it:

IMG_0904 The first year that my older brother convinced our family to take this beast on, we decided to go full bore and make three different kinds of stuffing between each bird, as you can see to the left. One you have finished de-boning (this is the excruciating part, you can just buy de-boned birds for more, but like I said, full-bore) and laying out the stuffing, you need to stitch your bird back together; this adds to the franken-bird effect:

IMG_0911Once stitched, you cook your masterpiece for a few hours longer than it’d take if it were just a turkey – I think it was 12 or so for us – and you will eventually have a turducken. How does this relate to HPC, you say? Well, correctly preparing a turducken has a lot in common with keeping your data center / cluster / computing resources running smoothly:

  • Everything needs to work together – when a turducken is baking, the duck bastes both the turkey and the chicken, because it is the juiciest (technical term) of the three birds. In a well-functioning HPC environment, the test and development portion of the cluster helps ensure that all software meets the needs of your specific site, resulting in a delicious, moist experience for the end user’s palates.


  • Everything is well-contained – nothing is worse than a 1 hour job taking 2 hours to execute because another job is using more resources than it is supposed to. The jobs need to be protected from each other, and at SC ’15 you can come by and discuss containers and cgroups with us, two new, additional resources we’re providing to make sure the jobs are protected from each other. A turducken isn’t a magical franken-bird of deliciousness if the chicken and duck and poking out the ends of the turkey, and your users will have a bad taste in their mouths if other jobs aren’t well-contained and mess with theirs.


  • The final result is beautiful – one vertical slice of that turducken tastes so good it makes you want to forget that it took like 15 hours to prepare this thing and might even allow your older brother to talk you into making it again the next time the family is all there for Thanksgiving two years later before you vow that you’ll definitely buy de-boned birds if you ever do it a third time. Strictly hypothetically speaking, of course. When your site is running smoothly your users are allowed to do their research and advance all kinds of science; it allows you to stop and think about all of the problems that are being solved and will be solved due to the modern miracle that is high performance computing.

Come stop by our booth #833 at SC ’15 and hopefully we can help make sure you and your users are having a delicious, never dry, HPC experience. Let Moab and Torque bake in between your user’s work and your hardware, and whatever you do, have a wonderful end of year, whatever your end of year traditions may be and no matter what your older brother tries to talk you into.