Data Centre

Clic Linux for clustered environments

Groupe France

SGI logo hardware close-up

A group of French developers working under the Open Source GPL have released a Linux Operating System, called Clic, which has been specifically developed for clustered environments. The product is aimed at harnessing the power of multiple low-cost PCs and turning them into high-end computing power. And you can try it for free thanks to the open source initiative.

The group of collaborators includes Mandrake Software, the French Linux distributor, and Bull, with sponsorship in part by the Reseau National des Technologies Logicielles in France which appears to be Government backed.

The researchers on this project set out with the goal of developing super-computer power from a low cost base and the natural and most obvious place for them to start was with the ever present PC. They all knew the possibilities of tying together low cost machines to create a super-computing power and had seen it done before. Previously, though, the kind of software used to manage an environment like this was commercial. In this case it isn't.

They aimed to achieve the development of an HPC Linux distribution for 32 bit and 64 bit processors that would meet the needs for, "deployment, administration and programming of clusters within the framework of exploitation for intensive calculation".

They've succeeded too and this software, which you can download here, is ready for fast deployment. It comes with autoconfiguration features, a mathematical library and a 3D engine called netjuggler. There are some restrictions with this first iteration, such as needing fast ethernet connections, but ultimately it's ready to use.

Clearly, nobody is expecting that this particular Linux development is going to weave a magic wand and get Linux into more enterprises, because it isn't and it doesn't need to. Linux is doing that job for itself very nicely. This project enables people to tackle a problem they previously couldn't have tackled and, because it's open source, they can do it for free.


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