Account migration on Hydra

The Hydra cluster is undergoing a major update following our long term goal to exclusively use VSC accounts for VUB researchers and CECI accounts for ULB researchers. This change means that NetID accounts will be disabled as a means of access to the Hydra cluster. This change will only affect how you access Hydra, all your data will be kept in place.

The decision to migrate NetIDs to VSC and CECI accounts was mainly taken to become aligned with the respective virtual organisations. All other universities belonging to VSC have HPC clusters using VSC accounts exclusively, and the situation is analogous on CECI’s side. Moreover, NetID accounts are intrinsically limited to passwords with 8 characters, which is a serious security concern in our HPC environment.

The migration will be gradual and we are now ready to announce the first steps towards this long term goal:

  1. All data in Hydra stored on the SISC central storage solution will be migrated to a new, more performant storage solution before the end of the year. All NetID home directories will be migrated to this new storage system.
  2. The NetID accounts of users from VUB will have migrated to their respective VSC accounts.

Migration timeline

  • From 3rd of December 2019 to 15th of December 2019
    • VUB users who don’t have a VSC account yet should create one. Please create your VSC account as soon as possible. Once created, an automatic migration of your NetID data to your VSC account will start.
  • On 16th of December 2019
    • A short maintenance is planned to move the home directories to the new Hydra storage. This only impacts NetID accounts, VSC accounts can continue to work on Hydra.
    • A reservation will be set to guarantee that all NetID jobs will be finished before the maintenance and that new jobs start only after the maintenance.
    • All NetID users will be logged out and won’t be able to log in for a few hours.
    • After the maintenance, VUB NetIDs will be disabled on Hydra. Users from VUB will only be able to log in with their VSC account.
    • The NetID accounts of ULB users will remain active. The migration to CECI accounts is planned for 2020.

VUB researchers

All VUB researchers have the possibility to obtain a VSC account and login to Hydra with it. Please follow the instructions in the VSC dedicated documentation page to create your VSC account. Notice that with a VSC account you also gain access to all the other VSC clusters.

The migration procedure from NetID to VSC accounts consists in:

  1. All your jobs already running will be kept running until completion. Jobs pending in the queue will be deleted.
  2. Your VUB NetID account will be deactivated on Hydra.
  3. The data from your NetID account will be transferred to your VSC account. Once completed, you will find the contents of your former NetID $HOME folder via a symbolic link at $VSC_DATA/<netid> and those of your former $WORKDIR at $VSC_SCRATCH/<netid>.
  4. A strict quota will be set on your former NetID data in $VSC_DATA/<netid> and $VSC_SCRATCH/<netid>. Those data will remain untouched for several months. You will have to relocate your useful data to the real $HOME directory of your VSC account (limited to 6 GB), the $VSC_DATA directory (limited to 50 GB) and/or $VSC_SCRATCH (limited to 100 GB). Do not worry if the quota limits of your VSC account are not sufficient for your needs, a solution will be provided for users who need more storage space than what is made available by default for VSC accounts.
  5. You will receive an email when the entire procedure is finished.

If your VSC account is created on December 3rd 2019 or later, the migration of your data from your NetID to your VSC account will be carried out automatically. VSC accounts will be available shortly after activation and they will be fully accessible during the migration period.

If you already have an active VSC account before December 3rd, you can either

  • send us an email (hpc@vub.ac.be) before December 16th: notify us that you are ready to migrate your data and we will proceed with your migration.
  • wait for December 16th: at this point the data will be migrated automatically if your VSC account is already activated.

ULB researchers

In this first phase, NetID accounts of ULB researchers will continue to work as usual. During the short maintenance on December 16th, your $HOME folder will be switched to the new storage location on Hydra. After that maintenance, your account will automatically switch to the new $HOME in the new storage, with all your data in it. Your $WORKDIR folder will stay unchanged.

During 2020, a similar migration procedure as the one described above for VUB researchers will be carried out for users from ULB. After that 2020 migration, we will only support CECI accounts in Hydra for ULB researchers. If you wish, you can already create a CECI account and gain access to the available CECI clusters.