Lenovo Intelligent Computing Orchestration (LiCO)Product Guide
Lenovo Intelligent Computing Orchestration (LiCO) is a software solution that simplifies the use of clustered computing resources for Artificial Intelligence (AI) model development and training.
This product guide provides essential presales information to understand LiCO and its key features, specifications and compatibility. This guide is intended for technical specialists, sales specialists, sales engineers, IT architects, and other IT professionals who want to learn more about LiCO and consider its use in HPC solutions.
Changes in the November 5 update:
- Updated for LiCO 5.4
Lenovo Intelligent Computing Orchestration (LiCO) is a software solution that simplifies the use of clustered computing resources for Artificial Intelligence (AI) model development and training. LiCO interfaces with an open source software orchestration stack, enabling the convergence of AI onto an HPC or Kubernetes-based cluster.
The unified platform simplifies interaction with the underlying compute resources, enabling customers to take advantage of popular open source cluster tools while reducing the effort and complexity of using it for AI.
Did You Know?
LiCO enables a single cluster to be used for multiple AI workloads simultaneously, with multiple users accessing the available cluster resources at the same time. Running more workloads can increase utilization of cluster resources, driving more value from the environment.
What's new in LiCO 5.4
Lenovo recently announced LiCO Version 5.4, improving the ease of use and capabilities of LiCO, including:
- Jupyter notebook access from the cluster
- “Favorites” tab for quick access to frequently used job submission templates
- Import/Export of custom job submission templates for ease of sharing between users
- Job submission template support for PyTorch and scikit-learn
- Additional version of LiCO to support AI workloads on a Kubernetes-based cluster
The following table lists the ordering information for LiCO.
|Description||LFO||Software CTO||Feature code|
|Lenovo HPC AI LiCO Software 90 Day Evaluation License||7S090004WW||7S09CTO2WW||B1YC|
|Lenovo HPC AI LiCO Software w/1 yr S&S||7S090001WW||7S09CTO1WW||B1Y9|
|Lenovo HPC AI LiCO Software w/3 yr S&S||7S090002WW||7S09CTO1WW||B1YA|
|Lenovo HPC AI LiCO Software w/5 yr S&S||7S090003WW||7S09CTO1WW||B1YB|
|Description||LFO||Software CTO||Feature code|
|Lenovo K8S AI LiCO Software Evaluation License (90 days)||7S090006WW||7S09CTO3WW||S21M|
|Lenovo K8S AI LiCO Software 4GPU w/1Yr S&S||7S090007WW||7S09CTO4WW||S21N|
|Lenovo K8S AI LiCO Software 4GPU w/3Yr S&S||7S090008WW||7S09CTO4WW||S21P|
|Lenovo K8S AI LiCO Software 4GPU w/5Yr S&S||7S090009WW||7S09CTO4WW||S21Q|
|Lenovo K8S AI LiCO Software 16GPU upgrade w/1Yr S&S||7S09000AWW||7S09CTO4WW||S21R|
|Lenovo K8S AI LiCO Software 16GPU upgrade w/3Yr S&S||7S09000BWW||7S09CTO4WW||S21S|
|Lenovo K8S AI LiCO Software 16GPU upgrade w/5Yr S&S||7S09000CWW||7S09CTO4WW||S21T|
|Lenovo K8S AI LiCO Software 64GPU upgrade w/1Yr S&S||7S09000DWW||7S09CTO4WW||S21U|
|Lenovo K8S AI LiCO Software 64GPU upgrade w/3Yr S&S||7S09000EWW||7S09CTO4WW||S21V|
|Lenovo K8S AI LiCO Software 64GPU upgrade w/5Yr S&S||7S09000FWW||7S09CTO4WW||S21W|
Features for LiCO users
Note: With the release of LiCO 5.4, there are two distinct versions of LiCO, LiCO HPC/AI and LiCO K8S/AI, to allow clients a choice for the underlying orchestration stack, particularly when converging AI workloads onto an existing cluster.The user functionality is common across both versions, with minor environmental differences associated with the underlying orchestration being used.
A summary of the differences for user access is as follows:
LiCO K8S/AI version:
- AI framework containers are docker-based and managed outside LiCO in the customer’s docker repository
- Custom job submission templates are defined with YAML
- Does not include HPC standard job submission templates
LiCO HPC/AI version:
- AI framework containers are Singularity-based and managed inside the LiCO interface
- Custom job submission templates are defined as SLURM batch scripts
- Includes HPC standard job submission templates
LiCO provides users the following benefits:
- A web-based portal to deploy, monitor and manage AI development and training jobs on a distributed cluster
- Container-based deployment of supported AI frameworks for easy software stack configuration
- Direct browser access to Jupyter notebook instances running on the cluster
- Standard and customized job templates to provide an intuitive starting point for less experienced users
- Lenovo Accelerated AI pre-defined training and inference templates for many common AI use cases
- TensorBoard visualization tools integrated into the interface (TensorFlow-based)
- Management of private space on shared storage through the GUI
- Monitoring of job progress and log access
Those designated as LiCO users have access to dashboards related specifically to AI development and training tasks. Users can submit jobs to the cluster, and monitor their results through the dashboards. The following menus are available to users:
- Home menu for users – provides an overview of the resources available in the cluster. Jobs and job status are also given, indicating the runtime for the current job, and the order of jobs deployed. Users may click on jobs to access the associated logs and job files. The figure below displays the home menu.
- Submit job menu – allows users to set up a job and submit it to the cluster. The user first picks a job template. After selecting the template, the user gives the job a name and inputs the relevant parameters, chooses the resources to be requested on the cluster and submits it.
Users can take advantage of Lenovo Accelerated AI templates, industry-standard AI templates, submit generic jobs via the Common Job template, as well as create their own templates requesting specified parameters.
The figure below displaysa job template for training with TensorFlow on a single node.
LiCO also provides TensorBoard monitoring when running certain TensorFlow workloads, as shown in the following figure.
- Jobs menu – displays a dashboard listing jobs and their statuses. In addition, you can select the job and see results and logs pertaining to the job in progress (or after completion.)
- AI Studio menu – provides users the ability to label data, optimize hyperparameters, as well as test and publish trained models from within an end-to-end workflow in LiCO. AI Studio supports Image Classification, Object Detection, and Instance Segmentation workflows.
- Dev Tools menu –enables users to create, run and view Jupyter notebook instances on the cluster from LiCO for model experimentation and development.
- Admin menu – allows users to access a number of capabilities not directly associated with deploying workloads to the cluster, including access to shared storage space on the cluster through a drag-and-drop interface and access to provision API and git interfaces for integration into a DevOps environment.
Lenovo Accelerated AI
Lenovo Accelerated AI provides a set of templates that aim to make AI training and inference simpler, more accessible, and faster to implement. The Accelerated AI templates differ from the other templates in LiCO in that they do not require the user to input a program; rather, they simply require a workspace (with associated directories) and a labelled dataset.
The following use cases are supported with Lenovo Accelerated AI templates:
- Image Classification
- Object Detection
- Instance Segmentation
- Medical Image Segmentation
- Memory Network
- Image GAN
The following figure displays the Lenovo Accelerated AI templates.
The following figure displays the list of template parameters for the Image Classification - Train template.
Each Lenovo Accelerated AI use-case is supported by both a training and inference template. The training templates provide parameter inputs such as batch size and learning rate. These parameter fields are pre-populated with default values, but are fully tunable by those with data science knowledge. The templates also provide visual analytics with TensorBoard; the TensorBoard graphs continually update in-flight as the job runs, and the final statistics are available after the job has completed.
The following figure displays the embedded TensorBoard interface for a job. TensorBoard provides visualizations for TensorFlow jobs running in LiCO, whether through Lenovo Accelerated AI templates or the standard TensorFlow AI templates.
LiCO also provides inference templates which allow users to predict with new data based on models that have been trained with Lenovo Accelerated AI templates. For the inference templates, users only need to provide a workspace, an input directory (the location of the data on which inference will be performed), an output directory, and the location of the trained model. The job will run, and upon completion, the output directory will contain the analyzed data. For visual templates such as Object Detection, images can be previewed directly from within LiCO’s Manage Files interface.
The following two figures display an input file to the Object Detection inference template, as well as the corresponding output.
LiCO allows the user to select frequently-used job submission templates as “favorites” to simplify user access. Selecting the star in a template box will add the template to the Favorites tab at the top of the Submit Job screen, which is the default view to the Submit Job tab. If no favorites have been selected, the Favorites tab will not appear. Users may add standard templates, Lenovo Accelerated AI templates, and custom-defined templates to this tab.
LiCO AI Studio provides an end-to-end workflow for Image Classification, Object Detection, and Instance Segmentation, with training based on Lenovo Accelerated AI pre-defined models. A user can import an unprocessed, unlabeled data set of images, label them, train multiple instances with a grid of parameter values, test the output models for validation, and publish to a git repository for use in an application environment. Additionally, users can initiate the steps in AI Studio from a REST API call to take advantage of LiCO as part of a DevOps toolchain.
LiCO includes the capability to create and deploy instances of Jupyter on the cluster. Users may create multiple instances, to customize for different software environments as well as for different compute resource requirements to better optimize cluster use.
Once a Jupyter instance is created, the user can deploy it to the cluster, and use the environment directly from their browser in a new tab. The user can leverage the Jupyter interface directly to upload, download and run code as they normally would, utilizing the shared storage space used for LiCO.
Additional features for LiCO HPC/AI Users
In addition to the user features above, the LiCO HPC/AI version provides additional user capabilities suited to an HPC-based cluster environment.
HPC Runtime Module Management
LiCO HPC/AI version allows the user to pre-define modules and environmental variables to load at the time of job execution through Job submission templates. These user-defined modules eliminate the step of needing to manually load required modules before job submission, further simplifying the process of running HPC workloads on the cluster. Through the Runtime interface, users can choose from the modules available on the system, define their loading order, and specify environmental variables for repeatable, reliable job deployment.
Container Image Management
LiCO HPC/AI version provides both users and administrators with the ability to upload and manage application environment images through Singularity containers. These images can support users with AI frameworks and HPC workloads, as well as others. Singularity containers may be built from Docker containers, imported from NVIDIA GPU Cloud (NGC), or other image repositories. Containers created by administrators are available to all users, and users can create container images for their individual use as well. Users looking to deploy a custom image can also create a custom template that will deploy the container and run workloads in that environment.
LiCO HPC/AI version provides more experienced cluster users console access to the user space in the LiCO management node, to execute Linux and SLURM commands directly. Expert mode enables users familiar with the underlying cluster orchestration choice in how they work, using either the command line, GUI or both in concert to facilitate their workflow.
Features for LiCO Administrators
Features for LiCO K8S/AI version Administrators
For administrators of a Kubernetes-based LiCO environment, LiCO provides the ability to monitor activity, create and manage users, monitor LiCO-initiated activity, generate job and operational reports, enable container access for LiCO users, and view the software license currently installed in LiCO. LiCO K8S/AI version does not provide resource monitoring for the administrator, resources can be monitored at the Kubernetes level with a tool such as Kubernetes Dashboard.The following menus are available to administrators in LiCO K8S/AI:
- Home menu for Administrators – provides an at-a-glance view of LiCO jobs running and operational messages.For monitoring and managing cluster resources, the administrator can use a tool such as Kubernetes dashboard.
- User Management menu – provides dashboards to create, import and export LiCO users, and includes administrative actions to edit, suspend, or delete
- Monitor menu – provides a view of LiCO jobs running, allocating to the Kubernetes cluster, and completed jobs.This menu also allows the administrator to query and filter operational logs.
- Reports menu – allows administrators the ability to generate reports on jobs, for a given time interval. Administrators may export these reports as a spreadsheet, in a PDF, or in HTML.
- Admin menu – Provides the administrator to map container images for use in job submission templates, and download operations and web logs for LiCO.
- Settings menu – allows the administrator to view the currently active license for LiCO, including the license key, license tier and expiration date of the license.
Features for LiCO HPC/AI version Administrators
For cluster administrators, LiCO provides a sophisticated monitoring solution, built on OpenHPC tooling. The following menus are available to administrators:
- Home menu for administrators – provides dashboards giving a global overview of the health of the cluster. Utilization is given for the CPUs, GPUs, memory, storage, and network. Node status is given, indicating which nodes are being used for I/O, compute, login, and management. Job status is also given, indicating runtime for the current job, and the order of jobs in the queue. The Home menu is shown in the following figure.
- User Management menu – provides dashboards to control user groups and users, determining permissions and access levels (based on LDAP) for the organization. Administrators can also control and provision billing groups for accurate accounting.
- Monitor menu – provides dashboards for interactive monitoring and reporting on cluster nodes, including a list of the nodes, or a physical look at the node topology. Administrators may also use the Monitor menu to drill down to the component level, examining statistics on cluster CPUs, GPUs, jobs, and operations. Administrators can access alerts that indicate when these statistics reach unwanted values (for instance, GPU temperature reaching critical levels.) These alerts are created using the Setting menu. The figures below display the component and alert dashboards.
- Reports menu – allows administrators the ability to generate reports on jobs, alerts, or actions for a given time interval. Administrators may export these reports as a spreadsheet, in a PDF, or in HTML.
- Admin menu – Provides the administrator with the capability to create Singularity images for use by all users, examine processes and assets, monitor VNC sessions, and download web logs.
- Settings menu – allows administrators to set up automated notifications and alerts, and view the software license active in LiCO including the number of licensed processing entitlements and the expiration date of the license. Administrators may enable the notifications to reach users and interested parties via email, SMS, and WeChat. Administrators may also enable notifications and alerts via uploaded scripts.
The Settings menu also allows administrators to create and modify queues. These queues allow administrators to subdivide hardware based on different types or needs. For example, one queue may contain systems that are exclusively machines with GPUs, while another queue may contain systems that only contain CPUs. This allows the user running the job to select the queue that is more applicable to their requirement. Within the Settings menu, administrators can also set the status of queues, bringing them up or down, draining them, or marking them inactive.
Features for LiCO Operators
For the purpose of monitoring clusters but not overseeing user access, LiCO provides the Operator designation. LiCO Operators have access to a subset of the dashboards provided to Administrators; namely, the dashboards contained in the Home, Monitor, and Reports menus:
- Home menu for operators – provides dashboards giving a global overview of the health of the cluster. Utilization is given for the CPUs, GPUs, memory, storage, and network. Node status is given, indicating which nodes are being used for I/O, compute, login, and management. Job status is also given, indicating runtime for the current job, and the order of jobs in the queue.
- Monitor menu – Dashboard that enables interactive monitoring and reporting on cluster nodes, including a list of the nodes, or a physical look at the node topology. Operators may also use the Monitor menu to drill down to the component level, examining statistics on cluster CPUs, GPUs, jobs, and operations. Operators can access alarms that indicate when these statistics reach unwanted values (for instance, GPU temperature reaching critical levels.) These alarms are created by Administrators using the Setting menu (for more information on the Setting menu, see the LiCO Administrator Features section.)
- Reports menu – allows operators the ability to generate reports on jobs, alerts, or actions for a given time interval. Operators may export these reports as a spreadsheet, in a PDF, or in HTML.
Subscription & support
LiCO HPC/AI is enabled through a per-CPU and per-GPU subscription and support entitlement model, which once entitled for the all the processors contained within the cluster, gives the customer access to LiCO package updates and Lenovo support for the length of the acquired term.
LiCO K8S/AI is enabled through tiered subscription and support entitlement licensing based on the number of GPU accelerators being accessed by workloads (tiers are up to 4 GPU in use, up to 16 GPU in use, and up to 64 GPU in use). Additional licensing beyond 64 GPUs can be provided by contacting your Lenovo sales representative.
Lenovo will provide interoperability support for all software tools defined as validated with LiCO, and development support (Level 3) for specific Lenovo-supported tools only. Open source and supported-vendor bugs/issues will be logged and tracked with their respective communities or companies if desired, with no guarantee from Lenovo for bug fixes. Full support details are provided at the support links below for each respective version of LiCO. Additional support options may be available; please contact your Lenovo sales representative for more information.
LiCO can be acquired as part of a Lenovo Scalable Infrastructure (LeSI) solution or for “roll your own” (RYO) solutions outside of the LeSI framework, and LiCO software package updates are provided directly through the Lenovo Electronic Delivery system. More information on LeSI is available in the LeSI product guide, available from https://lenovopress.com/lp0900.
Validated software components
LiCO’s software packages are dependent on a number of software components that need to be installed prior to LiCO in order to function properly. Each LiCO software release is validated against a defined configuration of software tools and Lenovo systems, to make deployment more straightforward and enable support. Other management tools, hardware systems and configurations outside the defined stack may be compatible with LiCO, though not formally supported; to determine compatibility with other solutions, please check with your Lenovo sales representative.
The following software components are validated by Lenovo as part of the overall LiCO software solution entitlement:
LiCO HPC/AI version support
- Lenovo Development Support (L1-L3)
- Graphical User Interface: LiCO
- System Management & Provisioning: xCAT/Confluent
- Lenovo LiCO HPC/AI Configuration Support (L1 only)
- Job Scheduling & Orchestration: SLURM; Torque/Maui (HPC only)
- System Monitoring: Nagios
- Application Monitoring: Ganglia
- Container Support (AI): Singularity
- AI Frameworks (AI): Caffe, Intel-Caffe, TensorFlow, MxNet, Neon, Chainer, Pytorch
The following software components are validated for compatibility with LiCO HPC/AI:
- Supported by their respective software provider
- Operating System: CentOS/RHEL 7.5, SUSE SLES 12 SP3
- File Systems: IBM Spectrum Scale, Lustre
- Job Scheduling & Orchestration: IBM Spectrum LSF v9
- Development Tools: GNU compilers, Intel Cluster Toolkit
LiCO K8S/AI version support
- Lenovo Development Support (L1-L3)
- Graphical User Interface: LiCO
- Lenovo LiCO K8S/AI Configuration Support (L1 only)
- AI Frameworks (AI): Caffe, Intel-Caffe, TensorFlow, MxNet, Neon, Chainer, Pytorch
Supported servers (LiCO HPC/AI version)
The following Lenovo servers are supported to run with LiCO HPC/AI. This server must run one of the supported operating systems as well as the validated software stack, as described in the Validated Software Components section.
- ThinkSystem SD530 – The Lenovo ThinkSystem SD530 is an ultra-dense and economical two-socket server in a 0.5U rack form factor. With up to four SD530 server nodes installed in the ThinkSystem D2 enclosure, and the ability to cable and manage up to four D2 enclosures as one asset, you have an ideal high-density 2U four-node (2U4N) platform for enterprise and cloud workloads. The SD530 also supports a number of high-end GPU options with the optional GPU tray installed, making it an ideal solution for AI Training workloads. For more information, see the product guide at https://lenovopress.com/lp1041-thinksystem-sd530-server-xeon-sp-gen-2.
- ThinkSystem SD650 – The Lenovo ThinkSystem SD650 direct water cooled server is an open, flexible and simple data center solution for users of technical computing, grid deployments, analytics workloads, and large-scale cloud and virtualization infrastructures. The direct water cooled solution is designed to operate by using warm water, up to 50°C (122°F). Chillers are not needed for most customers, meaning even greater savings and a lower total cost of ownership. The ThinkSystem SD650 is designed to optimize density and performance within typical data center infrastructure limits, being available in a 6U rack mount unit that fits in a standard 19-inch rack and houses up to 12 water-cooled servers in 6 trays. For more information, see the product guide at https://lenovopress.com/lp1042-thinksystem-sd650-server-xeon-sp-gen-2.
- ThinkSystem SR630 – Lenovo ThinkSystem SR630 is an ideal 2-socket 1U rack server for small businesses up to large enterprises that need industry-leading reliability, management, and security, as well as maximizing performance and flexibility for future growth. The SR630 server is designed to handle a wide range of workloads, such as databases, virtualization and cloud computing, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), infrastructure security, systems management, enterprise applications, collaboration/email, streaming media, web, and HPC. For more information, see the product guide at https://lenovopress.com/lp1049-thinksystem-sr630-server-xeon-sp-gen2.
- ThinkSystem SR650 – The Lenovo ThinkSystem SR650 is an ideal 2-socket 2U rack server for small businesses up to large enterprises that need industry-leading reliability, management, and security, as well as maximizing performance and flexibility for future growth. The SR650 server is designed to handle a wide range of workloads, such as databases, virtualization and cloud computing, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), enterprise applications, collaboration/email, and business analytics and big data. For more information, see the product guide at https://lenovopress.com/lp1050-thinksystem-sr650-server-xeon-sp-gen2.
- ThinkSystem SR670 – The Lenovo ThinkSystem SR670 is a purpose-built 2 socket 2U 4GPU node, designed for optimal performance for high-end computation required by both Artificial Intelligence and High Performance Computing workloads. Supporting the latest NVIDIA GPUs and Intel Xeon Scalable processors, the SR670 supports hybrid clusters for organizations that may want to consolidate infrastructure, improving performance and compute power, while maintaining optimal TCO. For more information, see the product guide at https://lenovopress.com/lp0923-thinksystem-sr670-server.
- ThinkSystem SR950 – The Lenovo ThinkSystem SR950 is Lenovo’s flagship server, suitable for mission-critical applications that need the most processing power possible in a single server. The powerful 4U ThinkSystem SR950 can expand from two to as many as eight Intel Xeon Scalable Family processors. The modular design of SR950 speeds upgrades and servicing with easy front or rear access to all major subsystems that ensures maximum performance and maximum server uptime. For more information, see the product guide at https://lenovopress.com/lp1054-thinksystem-sr950-server-xeon-sp-gen-2.
Additional Lenovo ThinkSystem and System x servers may be compatible with LiCO. Contact your Lenovo sales representative for more information.
LiCO Implementation services
Customers who do not have the cluster management software stack required to run with LiCO may engage Lenovo Professional Services to install LiCO and the necessary open-source software. Lenovo Professional Services can provide comprehensive installation and configuration of the software stack, including operation verification, as well as post-installation documentation for reference. Contact your Lenovo sales representative for more information.
Client PC requirements
A web browser is used to access LiCO's monitoring dashboards. To fully utilize LiCO’s monitoring and visualization capabilities, the client PC should meet the following specifications:
- Hardware: CPU of 2.0 GHz or above and 1 GB or more of RAM
- Display resolution: 1280 x 800 or higher
- Browser: Chrome or Firefox is recommended
Related product families
Product families related to this document are the following:
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