IBM has released its first certified package of open-source software for supercomputers based on Linux. The IBM HPC Open Software Stack is designed to make clusters (servers linked together to form a single super-fast system) more productive and easier to manage.
Supercomputing, or high-performance computing (HPC), is experiencing rapid growth as companies of all sizes begin to exploit the technology. Increasingly, different processor types are being added to form "hybrid" clusters that exploit the strengths of the different processors to gain maximum efficiency or power. Many IT staffs lack sufficient experience programming cluster-style installations. The IBM HPC Open Software Stack--integrated and tested by IBM--is meant to ease deployment of supercomputing clusters. Users can also mix the open-source code with other IBM software for a quicker, pre-integrated build-up.
The IBM HPC Open Source Software Stack can help develop and execute applications as well as manage and monitor a system. Included in the new open stack is IBM's Extreme Cluster Administration Toolkit (xCAT). This toolkit, originally developed for large x86-based clusters, has been enhanced for Power-based clusters and is used to manage the world's most powerful computer--a hybrid cluster built for the National Nuclear Security Administration's roadrunner project at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico (http://www.top500.org/).
The stack is planned to be initially available for systems built on IBM Power6 processors. IBM plans to support IBM Power 575 supercomputing servers and IBM x86 platforms including IBM System x 3450 servers, IBM BladeCenter servers, and IBM System x iDataPlex servers. The IBM HPC Open Software Stack complements IBM's existing fee-based offerings for HPC software.
"IBM's HPC Open Source Stack results from long experience with keeping large-scale computing systems running like clockwork," said Dave Turek, VP of Deep Computing for IBM. "As more and more computing tasks migrate to supercomputer style clusters, there is a need for software that can effectively utilize and manage the large number of processors found in these systems."
The IBM HPC Stack is available through a software repository hosted by the University of Illinois' National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), home to some of the largest cluster systems in the world. The repository is available at: ftp://linuxpatch.ncsa.uiuc.edu/.
"Managing thousands of processor cores and multiple types of processors is a challenge we see every day, and it will only grow in the future," said Rob Pennington, NCSA's deputy director. "The IBM HPC Stack and other items in the repository help open-source supercomputer users and systems managers keep pace with the rapid advances in cluster computing. They are in constant need of improved software components since the hardware advances so quickly."
Selected highlights of IBM's HPC Open Software Stack, V1, which is supported on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.2, include: Advance Toolchain for POWER Systems 1.1; IBM HPC Open Source Software Stack install scripts; Simple Linux Utility for Resource Management (SLURM) version 1.3.1 and Extreme Cluster Administration Toolkit (xCAT) version 2.0.
IBM is the supercomputing industry leader with 232 systems on the current TOP500 list representing a wide variety of platforms and technology. More information on IBM supercomputers is available at: http://www-03.ibm.com/systems/deepcomputing/.