SLIM Demonstration at Cyberport

On Feb 27, 2004, our technical staff in HKU CSIS, David, demonstrated the SLIM (Single Linux Image Management) system for the Information Technology Services Department (ITSD), The Government of HKSAR. The demonstration session, which aimed at promoting the use of open-source software, was held at the Cyberport and attracted a dozen of attendees from the ITSD.

SLIM is a network service that manages large-scale Linux deployments in LAN, cluster, and grid environments. It minimizes system administration overheads (e.g., OS/software installation, configuration, and upgrade, user data management, etc.) by supporting an efficient platform for constructing and disseminating execution environments (consisting of OS, application software, and user data). Various optimization techniques such as I/O caching have been adopted, which strive for a right balance between manageability and performance. The SLIM system has been developed and deployed in the HKU CSIS since 2002, and is currently managing 600+ Linux workstations for undergraduate teaching, and grid/cluster computing research purposes.

SLIM is particularly useful for dynamic and efficient construction of grid points. As a matter of fact, grid systems feature collaborations among multiple institutions whose user requirements (and hence OS/software requirements) might differ or change from time to time. SLIM facilitates customization of execution environments and thus reduces the management hassles associated with large-scale grid systems.