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Platform lands OCS cluster deal with HP

Dell, Red Hat already bundling

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Grid-computing specialist Platform Computing has notched another distributor for its software, with HP working with Platform to integrate a software bundle with HP's ProLiant rack servers, BladeSystem blade servers, and their respective System Insight Manager management tools.

The HP-Platform bundle is called Platform HPC for Insight Control Environment for Linux - Platform HPC for ICE-LX for short.

Version 1.0 of the stack, which you can read about here, includes the open-source implementation of Platform's flagship Load Sharing Facility (LSF) grid-management software known as Lava and based on a simpler and earlier set of LSF code.

This Lava code is at the heart of Platform's Open Cluster Stack, which was developed under the open-source Kusu project. OCS also includes the Nagios system-monitoring tool, Cacti node and cluster monitoring tool, Ganglia workload monitor for the cluster nodes, and other software that's needed to run a supercomputer cluster based on the Linux operating system and x64 iron.

In October 2008, commercial Linux distributor Red Hat announced its own RHEL 5-OCS combo called the Red Hat HPC Solution. A few weeks later, Platform and Dell hooked up to put the OCS 5 stack on PowerEdge servers and integrate it tightly with OpenManage software. (Dell and Platform have been peddling an earlier OCS stack, based on the open-source Rocks cluster-management tool, since the summer of 2006.)

The Platform HPC ICE-LX is certified to run on clusters assembled from HP's ProLiant and BladeCenter iron, and supports Red Hat's Enterprise Linux 5. It will also support Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 within the next 90 days, according to Tripp Purvis, vice president of business development at Platform.

The HP bundle of the OCS software costs $180 per server node with a one-year license, and $240 for a three-year license. Not that anyone will buy it as a standalone product. The whole point of the HP and Dell deals is that companies want to buy a turnkey cluster that comes prebuilt, ready to load applications upon.

Dell is charging $150 per server node for its riff on OCS combined with its server-management tools. Red Hat is charging $249 per server node for its HPC Solution for a one-year support contract, and that includes Linux support as well as OCS support.

It's no surprise that the Red Hat bundle turns out to be cheapest, but the integration with the server management tools is not the same, either. Choose carefully. ®

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