The ALICE experiment at CERN uses a cluster consisting of virtual and bare-metal machines to build and test proposed changes to the ALICE Online-Offline (O2) software in addition to building and publishing regular software releases.
Nomad is a free and open-source job scheduler for containerised and non-containerised applications developed by Hashicorp. It is integrated into an ecosystem of related software, including Consul and Vault, providing a consistent interface to orchestration, monitoring and secret storage. At ALICE, it recently replaced Apache Mesos, Aurora and Marathon as the primary tool for managing our computing resources.
First, we will describe the architecture of the build cluster at the ALICE experiment. After giving an overview of the advantages that Nomad gives us in managing our computing workload, and our reasons for switching away from the Mesos software stack, we will present concrete examples of improvements in monitoring and automatic configuration of web services that we are already benefiting from. Finally, we will discuss where we see opportunities for future work in integrating the ALICE build infrastructure more deeply with Nomad, in order to take advantage of its larger feature set compared to Mesos.
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