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Red Hat makes HPC play with Platform Computing

Red Hat has announced an agreement with Platform Computing to offer small and medium-sized businesses access to tools and infrastructure for deploying HPC clusters.

This week Red Hat announced an agreement with Platform Computing Inc., a purveyor of high-performance computing (HPC) infrastructure software, to jointly offer a new product called Red Hat HPC.

For more on HPC and Linux:
Expert tip: Linux clusters vs. grids

High-performance Linux news

The HPC platform will integrate Platform's Open Cluster Stack (OCS) with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), executives said at SC07, the supercomputing conference in Reno, Nev., on Tuesday. According to Platform Computing's Web site, OCS is a pre-integrated, vendor-certified software stack that delivers scaled-out application clusters.

The joint offering will provide enterprises and small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) with a range of tools for deploying and managing an HPC cluster based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, said Paul Cormier, executive vice president of worldwide engineering at Red Hat.

Linux is definitely the OS of choice for HPC.
Charles King,
analystPund-IT Inc.

The integrated HPC software stack will feature Red Hat's global 24/7 support services and incorporate the operating system, device drivers, cluster installer, resource and application monitor and job scheduler for every node in the cluster, Cormier said.

Red Hat HPC will also include Platform Computing's Lava-based job scheduler to schedule user workloads. Lava is a visual, object-oriented, interpreter-based programming language. Red Hat HPC has completed certification on a range of hardware platforms and will be available at the end of 2007. Pricing was not immediately available from Red Hat.

Linux HPC rising
Red Hat's continued expansion into HPC with new partnerships signals that companies are increasingly utilizing the technology to gain a competitive edge, said Charles King, a principal analyst at Hayward, Calif.-based research firm Pund-IT Inc..

Over the past couple of years, he said, A major trend in HPC and supercomputing "has been a move from monolithic custom systems like your classic big box surrounded by guys in white lab coats to clusters that have been for the most part Linux-based x86 boxes. The cool thing about clusters of x86 systems is that these same systems a half-decade ago were out of reach financially for a business of any size, and now they can be very reasonable alternatives."

As a case in point, a majority of the top 500 supercomputers in existence today are Linux based. "Linux is definitely the OS of choice for HPC," King said.

The rise of Linux as the de facto HPC operating system also mirrors its burgeoning strength on commodity x86 servers over the past two decades. As IT managers graduated from their older servers, they could retain that hardware and install a free version of Linux for network-edge operations and file-serving tasks. "I've seen some really amazing HPC clusters today that were built with older systems," King said. "We are certainly seeing a continuum here for Linux."

Microsoft's similar HPC play
In related news, Microsoft revealed this week its Windows HPC Server 2008, the successor to Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003. HPC Server 2008 will compete directly with Red Hat's HPC cluster offering. In July, reported that Microsoft Windows had emerged as viable alternative to Linux for HPC clusters, lowering the bar for entry, according to some analysts and major vendors.

HPC Server runs on the individual servers in a cluster and comes with higher-level software that coordinates all members of a cluster. In a statement, Microsoft said it achieved a 30% improvement on supercomputing benchmark Linpack with its production cluster on 2,048 processor cores.

Email Jack Loftus with your comments and suggestions. You can also check out our blog, the Enterprise Linux Log, for more information on Linux and open source software

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