Feeds

Platform, Dell push open source cluster management

And now Red Hat is now in there, too

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Platform Computing, one of the pioneers in parallel supercomputer management, this week rolled out the next edition of its open source parallel cluster management tools, Open Cluster Stack 5.

The launch comes just a few weeks after commercial Linux distributor Red Hat stole a little thunder by announcing its own bundle of RHEL 5 and OCS 5 that it hopes will give it more than a toehold in the HPC space.

Dell and Platform have been partners for many years, and as HPC became a strategic area for Dell in 2005, the company hooked up with Platform to bundle its open source Rocks management tools, which are a derivative of technology that was created by the San Diego Supercomputing Center and owned and administered by the University of California at San Diego. With OCS 5, Platform switched the heart of the OCS stack to a new set of code created through the open source Kusu project, which started from scratch to make the management of Linux-based parallel clusters easier to manage. (Kusu itself supports Red Hat, SUSE, and Ubuntu Linuxes.)

Among other things, the OCS 5 stack (all of it open source) has a cluster workload management tool called Lava, which was created by Platform and which is on its proprietary LSF grid management tool; it also uses the Nagios system monitoring tool, the Cacti node and cluster monitoring tool, and the Ganglia workload monitor for the cluster and its nodes.

With the OCS software, Platform has had to pick its partners in an effort to make money. Dell, which doesn't have its own systems software development beyond its OpenManage tools for its PowerEdge servers, and Red Hat, which has a much lower market share in HPC than in the commercial Linux space at large, are natural partners for Platform when it comes to x64-based supercomputer clusters.

IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Silicon Graphics all have their own tools (some of them coming through partners, some through open source tools), and even though they are all partners with Platform, peddling an OCS-Red Hat-PowerEdge bundle gives all three a preconfigured, integrated cluster option with which to pitch to government supercomputing labs, academic institutions, and corporate buyers that is as easy to order and install as the so-called "bright cluster" preconfigured machines being sold by IBM, HP, SGI, and other super sellers.

The OCS 5 stack is available for free if you want to support yourself, and the odds are that plenty of academic supercomputer labs will do just that because they have plenty of grad students they can punish. Corporations would rather pay for software than people, and so would governments. And that is where a commercially supported version of the OCS 5 stack is important. Right now, there are only two ways to get that.

One is to buy the Red Hat HPC Solution, which was announced two weeks ago and which includes the RHEL 5/OCS 5 combo for $249 per server node. The other is to buy OCS Dell Edition, which is tweaked with some Dell-specific code and sold on preconfigured Dell clusters.

According to James Pang, vice president of product management at Platform, the Dell Edition of OCS includes integration with Dell's OpenManage tools, device drivers specific to all the current PowerEdge servers and their related storage arrays, and a Web console for managing the whole thing.

None of this extra sauce is part of the Kusu project and it is certainly not open source. It is, in fact, how Dell expects to get a little bit of leverage in supercomputing labs. Platform does not sell the product directly itself, ironically, and is relying on Dell to do all the selling except for a few whitebox server makers that Platform has partnerships with in Japan.

The list price for OCS support is $150 per server node per year for support on the Dell boxes, which can be Xeon or Opteron machines. A single-node in a Dell bright cluster includes a PowerEdge 1950 III or SC1435 server with two sockets using high-bin quad-core processors, 16 GB of memory, three years of hardware support, a three-year support contract for RHEL 5, and a three-year contract for OCS Dell Edition, all for $4,600. Dell is also a reseller of the LSF tools, if customers decide they want to get more sophisticated workload management for their clusters, and is able to sell an LSF and OCS bundle at a discounted price.

According to Pang, Dell and Platform have been able to install about 100 clusters per year since they established their partnership, and the OCS tools are on a "pretty good percentage" of the bright clusters that Dell sells. Pang says the two companies expect the OCS 5 release to help ramp up sales even further. Platform is also pursuing SUSE Linux customers, and will roll out support for OCS 5 on SLES 10 SP2 in the next few months.

For now, the majority of the OCS-PowerEdge clusters have gone into government and academic research facilities, but Dell and Platform are gaining some traction in industrial manufacturing, oil and gas exploration, and life sciences. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Docker's app containers are coming to Windows Server, says Microsoft
MS chases app deployment speeds already enjoyed by Linux devs
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
'Urika': Cray unveils new 1,500-core big data crunching monster
6TB of DRAM, 38TB of SSD flash and 120TB of disk storage
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
SDI wars: WTF is software defined infrastructure?
This time we play for ALL the marbles
Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First
But - dammit - It would be insane to say 'don't collect, because NSA'
Oracle hires former SAP exec for cloudy push
'We know Larry said cloud was gibberish, and insane, and idiotic, but...'
Symantec backs out of Backup Exec: Plans to can appliance in Jan
Will still provide support to existing customers
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.