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From: zimoun <>
To: Ricardo Wurmus <>,
Subject: Re: fastest way to run a GWL workflow on AWS
Date: Thu, 16 Jul 2020 02:08:40 +0200	[thread overview]
Message-ID: <> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <>

Dear Ricardo,

Nice ideas!  I am a bit ignorant in this area so my questions are surely
totally naive, not to say dumb. :-)

On Mon, 06 Jul 2020 at 11:52, Ricardo Wurmus <> wrote:

> * create an EFS file system.  Why EFS?  Unlike EBS (block storage) and
>   S3, one EFS can be accessed simultaneously by different virtual
>   machines (EC2 instances).

Who creates the EFS file system?  And you are referring to [1], right?


> * sync the closure of the complete workflow (all steps) to EFS.  (How?
>   We could either mount EFS locally or use an EC2 instance as a simple
>   “cloud” file server.) This differs from how other workflow languages
>   handle things.  Other workflow systems have one or more Docker
>   image(s) per step (sometimes one Docker image per application), which
>   means that there is some duplication and setup time as Docker images
>   are downloaded from a registry (where they have previously been
>   uploaded).  Since Guix knows the closure of all programs in the
>   workflow we can simply upload all of it.

I think one of the points about using one Docker image per step to ease
the composition, well to be able to recompose another workflow with some
of the steps and other steps requiring other tools with other versions.

In Guix parlance, workflow1 uses tool1 for step1 and tool2 for step2
both from commit C1.  If workflow2 uses tool1 from commit C1 for step1'
and tool3 from commit C2 for step2', then it is easy if each tool (step)
are containered and not in only one big image.

But it is an issue for the Guix side, not the GWL side. :-)  For
example, is it possible to compose 2 profiles owning one package at the
very same version but grafted differently?

> * create as many EC2 instances as requested (respecting optional
>   grouping information to keep any set of processes on the same node)
>   and mount the EFS over NFS.  The OS on the EC2 instances doesn’t
>   matter.

By “The OS on the EC2 instances doesn’t matter.“, do you mean that it is
possible to run Guix System or Guix as package package on the top of say

> * run the processes on the EC2 instances (parallelizing as far as
>   possible) and have them write to a unique directory on the shared
>   EFS.  The rest of the EFS is used as a read-only store to access all
>   the Guix-built tools.
> The EFS either stays active or its contents are archived to S3 upon
> completion to reduce storage costs.
> The last two steps are obviously a little vague; we’d need to add a few
> knobs to allow users to easily tweak resource allocation beyond what the
> GWL currently offers (e.g. grouping, mapping resources to EC2 machine
> sizes.)  To implement the last step we would need to keep track of step
> execution.  We can already do this, but the complication here is to
> effect execution on the remote nodes.


> I also want to add optional reporting for each step.  There could be a
> service that listens to events and each step would trigger events to
> indicate start and stop of each step.  This could trivially be
> visualized, so that users can keep track of the state of the workflow
> and its processes, e.g. with a pretty web interface.

By “service”, do you mean as Guix services?

> For the deployment to AWS (and eventual tear-down) we can use Guile AWS.
> None of this depends on “guix deploy”, which I think would be a poor fit
> as these virtual machines are meant to be disposable.
> Another thing I’d like to point out is that this doesn’t lead users down
> the AWS rabbit hole.  We don’t use specialized AWS services like their
> cluster/grid service, nor do we use Docker, nor ECS, etc.  We use the
> simplest resource types: plain EC2 and boring NFS storage.  This looks
> like one of the simplest remote execution models, which could just as
> well be used with other remote compute providers (or even a custom
> server farm).
> One of the open issues is to figure out how to sync the /gnu/store items
> to EFS efficiently.  I don’t really want to shell out to rsync, nor do I
> want to use “guix copy”, which would require a remote installation of
> Guix.  Perhaps rsync would be the easiest route for a rough first
> draft.  It would also be nice if we could deduplicate our slice of the
> store to cut down on unnecessary traffic to AWS.

Naively, why does the “guix pack -f docker” or “guix docker-image”
approach fail?

All the best,

  reply	other threads:[~2020-07-16  0:08 UTC|newest]

Thread overview: 3+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
2020-07-06  9:52 Ricardo Wurmus
2020-07-16  0:08 ` zimoun [this message]
2020-07-16 15:17   ` Ricardo Wurmus

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