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General

Aug 23, 2021
Slurm 20
Aug 20, 2021
HPC Hardware Upgrades
Jun 11, 2021 Update
NodeJS 16.3.0
Jan 20, 2021
NodeJS on the Cluster
Jan 4, 2021
PHP 7.3 support ending

Modules

September 30, 2021 New Module
AlphaFold
September 27, 2021 Update
Mothur 1.46.1
Jan 6, 2021 New Module
AlignGraph2
Dec 30, 2020 Update
Parallel v20201222

PHP 7.3 Support Ending, PHP 8 Available

January 4, 2021

Tech is heavily guided by the larger tech companies around us. This can mean many things. The open source software we enjoy can often benefit a lot from the involvement of large tech companies. On the other hand, these companies can decide the fate of a whole software ecosystem. An important aspect of getting hired in tech is familiarity with the tech stacks.

Companies hire devs who know their tech stack, which means that as companies move on to newer, more modern stacks, the pool of candidates is going to start looking to those technologies to get hired. Facebook's HHVM has stopped supporting PHP, and in their newest website revamp, they abandoned PHP altogether and opted for ReactJS and GraphQL. Microsoft has recently announced they will not be supporting PHP on Windows. Slack recently converted their entire codebase to Facebook's Hack, which again, runs on the HHVM, which doesn't support PHP anymore.

This isn't to say that PHP is dead, or that the KAABiL will stop supporting it. We utilize it pretty heavily here, and it wouldn't make sense to abandon it when we still use it. Instead, we will be taking a more measured and secure approach to PHP. PHP 7.3 has reached end of active support, so we will jump to version 8 of PHP, and from here on out, we will be aggressive with PHP updates. Our PHP update policy will be as follows:

Major Versions (1.x.x)
  • Starting with PHP 8, the old version will be available until end of active support of the latest minor version
  • The new major version will be available as soon as possible after release
Minor Versions (x.1.x)
  • Minor versions will be updated as soon as possible, and the old minor version will be removed 2 weeks after
  • If the new update comes with breaking changes, there will be a longer grace period until the old version is removed.
Patches (x.x.1)
  • Patches are almost always non-breaking, so there will be no notice for patch installation.

If you need to use a legacy version of PHP, it is recommended to install it locally in your home directory and use it from there.

NodeJS on the Cluster

January 20, 2021

NodeJS powers the websites at the KAABiL, as well as many of our backend services that we use internally. Our immense resources allow us to run clusters of Node instances on deployment to increase the speed of these services by entire orders of magnitude. Because we get so much utility on our backend from Node, we have made it available on the cluster for those who would like to use Node as well.

Currently, only Node 14 is supported (14.15.4), but Node 16 releases on April 20th, and will be available sometime during the week of release. Odd-numbered Node versions do not come with LTS, and will not be available as modules per our security policy. Because Node major versions typically don't break anything, expect old Node versions to disappear about 2 weeks after they enter Maintenance LTS or after the newest version is installed on the cluster.

NodeJS 16.3.0

June 11, 2021

Node 16 is here and is available on our HPC! Check out this link to see what's new, and if you're curious about V8 9.0 features, this is another good resource. Do note that previous versions of Node are still available, but will have to be installed locally. New Node versions don't happen often, as we only do LTS releases. Per the Node Release Schedule, Node 18 will be released in April 2022.

We try not to break things at the HPC, but when breaking changes are introduced, we're as transparent as possible. Breaking changes for Node 16 all have to do with process.binding, so if you do low-level work in Node, upgrading could break your software.

HPC Hardware Upgrades

August 20, 2021

Our HPC now has a new Ethernet switch along with a set of new Cat8 cables, giving all of our nodes a 10 Gb/s internet connection. While this won't necessarily translate to a massive difference in performance, download speeds are now only limited by USU's internet speed (1 Gb/s). As always, thank you for being patient during the upgrade process.

Slurm 20

August 23, 2021

We've upgraded from Slurm 17 to Slurm 20 (specifically Slurm 20.11). Check out all the new changes in 20.11 here.

Release candidates for Slurm 21 are already starting to come out, so do expect a new major version soon. Any breaking changes will be documented and put into an announcement. To stay on top of these changes, here are the expected changes for Slurm 21.08. With release candidates already out, this document is not likely to change much and can more or less be treated as the final list of changes to Slurm for the next major release.