Launching SUSE Linux Enterprise High Performance Computing 15 – the Ennead of Advantages
Welcome the arrival of SUSE Linux Enterprise High Performance Computing 15! SUSE’s new product is launching today and will be generally available in mid-July.
SUSE has had a long and successful history of supporting High-Performance Computing, with 40% of the Top 100 HPC systems running on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) technology. SUSE is a platinum sponsor for OpenHPC and SUSE Linux is the foundation for the build and test environment for OpenHPC on ARM.
High Performance Computing has gone through many changes over the past few years. Businesses are increasingly adopting HPC technology to apply sophisticated analysis techniques to business data. At the same time, we see an increased use of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and high-performance data analytics approaches in traditional HPC environments. All of these changes drive increased customer demand for HPC solutions that are easier to deploy and support.
Therefore, I have compiled a list of the top nine things you should know about SLE HPC 15 (i.e., the “ennead of advantages”):
- Delivery and Support of Popular HPC Functionality
The product delivers the most popular HPC functionality for parallel computing environments, all supported by SUSE. The HPC module includes packages like slurm for HPC cluster and workload management, performance monitoring, high performance message passing, and scientific and mathematical libraries. The HPC module offers components to address several aspects in High Performance Computing.
– A workload manager (slurm)
– Cluster management software (mrsh, pdsh, conman)
– Performance monitoring of clusters (ganglia)
– An environment module system (Lmod)
– Multiple message passing interface implementations (OpenMPI v2, mvapich2, mpich)
– Scientific and mathematical computation libraries.
SUSE continues to deliver on our commitment to make HPC easier to implement by adding additional packages to the HPC module in SLE HPC 15. The intention is to simplify deployment and management of HPC environments by providing a number of fully supported HPC packages to our SUSE Linux customers. The module structure allows SUSE to deliver additions and enhancements to HPC packages more frequently than is possible via Service Packs.
- Competitive Pricing
SLE HPC 15 has reduced subscription costs with a simple, one price per cluster-node model, making it very competitive. HPC clusters generally consist of two types of systems: head nodes and compute nodes. Head nodes provide the management function for the cluster and typically run tasks such as workload schedulers, input/output management, hosting shared filesystems, login nodes and cluster authentication. Compute nodes provide the processing resources needed for the HPC workloads. SUSE has a single price strategy for HPC that uses the same product for both HPC head nodes and HPC compute nodes. We believe that a simple pricing model that applies to all HPC cluster systems is easier for everyone. HPC environments might have a thousand systems to provide the resources necessary for solving complex problems. But these clusters are more homogeneous than a random collection of a thousand systems because all of the compute nodes are running identical copies of the operating system and running sub-tasks of a larger workload. As a result, the support costs for HPC are lower than for general purpose systems. Operating System vendors traditionally charge less for subscriptions for HPC environments due to these lower support costs and because of the sheer number of systems involved. Note that because SLE HPC has unique prerequisites and restrictions, it cannot be directly purchased by a customer, and must be purchased through a SUSE business partner or through a SUSE direct salesperson.
- SUSE Package Hub for HPC
Not all packages desired by HPC customers are suitable for inclusion in the HPC module as a supported component of SLE HPC. Examples are packages that are not broadly used or that are in an early development stage. SUSE provides easy access to those packages via SUSE Package Hub. We currently provide several packages of interest to the HPC community through SUSE Package Hub including singularity, robinhood, and clustershell.
- SUSE support for Arm in High Performance Computing
Creating a new computing platform is a colossal effort. It requires a new hardware architecture, processor design, processor fabrication, system design, operating system enablement and finally, application enablement. Historically, introducing a new computing platform was only attempted by large companies with the resources to attempt all of those tasks. Even then, most new platforms fail to achieve wide-spread use. Arm used a different approach to introduce the 64-bit Arm server platform—leveraging many different partners to deliver parts of the solution. This allows each partner to focus on the area where they have the most expertise. With the recent announcement of the HPE Catalyst UK program, the evolution of the Arm server program reached an inflection point—customers can actually start using the 64-bit Arm platform at scale for high performance computing workloads. This program is the culmination of many years of effort by Arm, Cavium, HPE, SUSE, and thousands of other partners and contributors. The three supercomputer clusters delivered by the Catalyst UK program will use over 12,000 Cavium ThunderX2 Arm processors in HPE Apollo 70 systems running SUSE Linux Enterprise High Performance Computing and SUSE Enterprise Storage. These supercomputers are designed to enable new scientific discoveries and enhance the competitiveness of businesses by leveraging simulation and artificial intelligence on a large scale. SLE HPC is tailored for HPC workloads by including the HPC module packages that are fully supported on 64-bit Arm and X86-64 hardware. As a premier enterprise Linux distribution, SUSE contributes to the HPC open-source community through projects such as OpenHPC. In fact, SUSE Linux is the operating system used for the OpenHPC 64-bit Arm build and test infrastructure.
- Flexible Terms and Conditions
Revised terms and conditions reduce the restrictions on what qualifies as an HPC environment, defining additional types of workloads and reducing the clusters required to adopt HPC from 64 down to 4. The key attribute of an HPC cluster is that all the systems are focused on performing compute or I/O intensive sub-tasks to solve a computation task that is larger than any single system can solve. The SUSE Terms and Conditions define which workloads and configurations are considered “HPC”.
- Extended and Long-term Support
- Extended Service Pack Overlap Support (ESPOS)
HPC environments often have thousands of systems to provide the compute resources necessary for solving complex problems. One of the most challenging aspects of using HPC is managing the software stack running on the cluster. After the software stack, including the underlying operating system, is installed on all the cluster nodes, administrators are reluctant to update or change that stack. The support life of the operating system is important, particularly for systems that are subject to security compliance requirements. SUSE now provides new subscriptions for HPC that include a longer support life for each SUSE Linux Service Pack. This additional support life is called Extended Service Pack Overlap Support (ESPOS). Customers who purchase the SLE HPC subscription with ESPOS get an additional year of support, for a total of 18 months. This gives customers more time to upgrade and can allow a customer to skip an intervening Service Pack completely.
- Long Term Service Pack Support for HPC (LTSS for HPC)
Long Term Service Pack Support (LTSS) for HPC provides customers with telephone support and fixes for critical system and security issues for up to three years beyond the end of the normal Service Pack overlap. LTSS for HPC can be purchased in one-year increments. The new LTSS for HPC can only be used to extend the life of a SLE HPC subscription and customers must maintain the underlying SLE HPC subscription in addition to the LTSS.
- Extended Service Pack Overlap Support (ESPOS)
- Expanded Architectural Support
The product runs on two popular architectures for supercomputers – x86-64 and ARM aarch64 hardware platforms (Arm-based supercomputers are becoming more and more popular due to their lower cost). Most of the early 64-bit Arm systems were unsuitable for HPC workloads. That changed in late 2017 with the introduction of ARM-based systems intended for HPC environments by HPE and Cray. These systems, based on Arm chips such as the Cavium ThunderX2 and Qualcomm Centriq 2400, provide unique capabilities for HPC environments.
- Easy Adoption
SLE HPC enables easier adoption of HPC across various industry scenarios that are invoking new waves of high performance workloads, and who are building in-house HPC environments for AI/ML and advanced analytics applications. With the new SLE 15 Installer, there is now a single unified way to install one of the SLE products. The SLE HPC 15 option will set up the installation including the HPC module and lets the user choose between system roles customized for HPC which simplifies the installation of development, control and compute nodes.
- Key IHV/ISV Partnerships
SUSE has strengthened HPC partnerships with hardware vendors such as HPE, Cray, Intel and Lenovo and software vendors such as Microsoft Azure, Univa and Bright Computing. In some cases, SUSE provides SLE HPC to partners to that look to SUSE for support while they merge the OS into their HPC stacks. These alliances have been extremely productive and fruitful in the HPC arena, and we expect our partnerships to grow even stronger with SLE HPC 15.
SUSE Linux Enterprise High Performance Computing 15 provides a powerful platform for supporting advanced analytics workloads (such as AI and machine learning applications) and simulation and modeling workloads. By adopting an HPC environment, you can give AI solutions the computational power they need. We are confident that the changes we have made to our HPC offering enhance our ability to meet the needs of the evolving HPC community. We look forward to continuing to improve the value provided by SUSE to HPC customers and welcome your comments and feedback.
Check out the High-Performance Computing solutions from SUSE at https://www.suse.com/programs/high-performance-computing/ , as well as the brand new product page and new collateral at https://www.suse.com/products/server/hpc/ .
Thanks for reading my blog post!
Jeff Reser, SUSE HPC