January 17, 2007

Sandia’s “OVIS” now available as open-source software

LIVERMORE, Calif. — The initial version of “OVIS” — a software tool developed by Sandia National Laboratories that provides intelligent, real-time monitoring of computational computer clusters — is now available for free download at

OVIS, say Sandia researchers, offers a statistical approach to the problem of computational platform monitoring and analysis, which can be inefficient and ineffective due to the traditional emphasis on manufacturer-specified, “absolute” thresholds. Instead, OVIS observes the overall statistical properties and environmental effects of a cluster, characterizing individual device behaviors and comparing them to a large number of statistically similar devices.

Thus, individual node values that appear to deviate from the norm (given the current applicable model, as established by real-time analysis) are flagged as aberrant. This technique, say Sandia’s OVIS developers, can accurately expose problems much earlier than the current practice of simply waiting for a pre-determined threshold -- necessarily set high to preclude too many false alarms — to be crossed.

OVIS not only addresses the issue of aberrant node detection but also allows the system builder to visualize the spatial distribution of a particular characteristic over the entire system.

Sandia is a National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) laboratory.

The baseline capabilities of OVIS currently available for download include:

Though not part of the current download distribution, OVIS also incorporates a novel Bayesian inference scheme to dynamically infer models for the normal behavior of a system and to determine bounds on the probability of values manifested in the system. (“Bayesian” analysis, according to the International Society for Bayesian Analysis, is a well-known approach to data analysis that casts statistical problems in the framework of decision making). This and other advanced features will be available in future releases.

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Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin company, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.

Sandia news media contact: Mike Janes,, (925) 294-2447