CzestMAN counts on clouds

Metropolitan Area Network in Częstochowa

CzestMAN MSK was founded in 1994 as a result of the agreement between the rectors of four universities in Czestochowa. The main objective of MSK CzestMAN is to meet the growing needs of scientific and educational environment of Czestochowa in terms of the access to modern information services, computing services, the Internet and participation in the studies and research carried out jointly with domestic and foreign units.

The Leading Unit in the construction, maintenance and development of the network and its provider is the Czestochowa University of Technology. The advisory body on the functioning and development of the network is MSK CzestMAN Users Council. Currently, it comprises of the representatives from the Czestochowa University of Technology, Jan Długosz Academy, Polonia Academy and the City of Czestochowa representatives. The users consist also of MSK CzestMAN institutions outside the realm of science and education.

MSK CzestMAN has currently got 7 major nodes and 10 supporting nodes, networked in the leased (4.5 km) and the own (13.5 km) conduit for fiber optic network. The networks use three sections in the radio licensed band with a total length of 24 km. The trans-mission layer is applied uniformly to the Ethernet protocol with the capacity of links ranging from 1 to 10 Gb/s.

As a link in PIONIER Polish Optical Network and a member of PIONIER Consortium, MSK CzestMAN is an integral part of a nationwide infrastructure of science, actively participating in the projects undertaken by the Consortium. Among the recent joint ventures of this type, one should include the initiatives to implement the new services  with nationwide coverage for the academic and scientific research community. The examples of these initiatives are PLATON and NewMAN projects.

MSK CzestMAN provides computing services,  allows for the development of local websites, web databases and library services. It provides a quick access to domestic and foreign high performance computing centers. It allows for a participation of research teams from different research centers in joint research projects, among others, in the areas such as computational clusters, grid technologies and parallel and distributed computing.

Developmental plans of MSK CzestMAN involve also the needs of the local government. Its needs for archiving the data from the city monitoring are included in the developmental research project entitled "National Data Warehouse" (in Polish: “Krajowy Magazyn Danych”), aimed at creating a nationwide, distributed data storage system. This system will provide in the following years the services mainly for the academic and scientific needs, but also used by the local government units or small and medium enterprises. The project carries out 8 MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) and KDM units (High Performance Computing Centers), including the Czestochowa University of Technology.

Currently, CzestMAN Metropolitan Area Network in Czestochowa is attached to LANs of largest universities of Czestochowa: Czestochowa University of Technology, Jan Dlugosz Academy, Polonia Academy, Linguistic College, Management College, City Hall LAN and LAN of several universities in Czestochowa. More units are planned to be included.

One of the main directions of research activities carried out jointly by the Institute of Theoretical and Applied Informatics of Czestochowa University of Technology and MSK CzestMAN is the parallel and distributed processing, as well as clusters and grid technologies. Amajor achievement in this field was to design and build from scratch a PC cluster in 2000-2004, which is an innovative software-hardware platform for testing and implementation of advanced computing applications. This cluster was called ACCORD (Academic Cluster of Czestochowa for Research and Development) and was characterized by a high degree of heterogeneity due to the use of both 32-bit and 64-bit architecture and AMD processors together with Intel processors, as well as various network technologies - FastEthernet , Gigabit Ethernet, Myrinet. Heterogeneity of the cluster allows for the study of the impact of architectural components on the computing performance of the system and the observations of dependence of algorithms performance on hardware platform.

ACCORD cluster was a team effort led by prof. Ph. D. Eng. Roman Wyrzykowski. It was expanded several times using the latest available hardware and software solutions. It is worth emphasizing that this was the second computing cluster in Poland, built only a few months later than the cluster at TASK Computing Centre in Gdansk. Unlike other solutions in TASK, the ACCORD cluster used the most efficient technology at that time – Myrinet network. In turn, the second generation of the cluster uses SMP nodes based on AMD's processors for the first time in our country. The design of the second and third generation ACCORD cluster was a proprietary solution, characterized by considerable originality. It uses a set of individually selected components which have been specially arranged in  ICT cabinets, including the ergonomic parameters, temperature and possible interference or technological limitations.

In the recent period, hardware installation has been also equipped with blade servers using the latest generation of multicore processors - IBM Cell and GPUs from NVIDIA. They are characterized by anon-traditional architecture and enable to achieve significant computation acceleration for a number of applications, in comparison with more conventional processor solutions from Intel and AMD. An example of a proprietary solution in the scope of the security of data transmission in the wide area networks has been an application for high-performance data encryption with a private key, using AES algorithm. The methods proposed and implemented to optimize the implementation of this algorithm in Cell processor allowed for the achievement of the encryption performance of over 12 Gb / s mode, Counter Mode (CTR). On the other hand, significant improvement in the key parameters, characterizing the resistance of the distributed data storage systems to failures allows for the implementation of the results obtained in the effective implementation of redundant code like "erasure codes" for both Cell processor and GPUs.

Along with other members of PIONIER Consortium, CzestMAN network participates actively in the implementation of PLATON and Newman projects. In particular, inU3 campus service, CzestMAN service team, along with the Poznan Supercomputing and Networking Center, coordinates the construction of the first Polish cloud computing for national scientific and academic environment. This service will be implemented basing on an innovative computational and service infrastructure of nationwide range, consisting of approximately 1,500 multi-core processors, complemented by graphics accelerators. The developed infrastructure will provide awide range of users from the academic and specialized research environment with the applications on demand, both working for MS Windows and Linux, bearing in mind the requirements and needs of specific professional groups in these environments.


Roman Wyrzykowski, CzestMAN