The Lustre of the Chameleon
Intel® and SUSE Continue Collaboration to Advance HPC Solutions
If you’ve ever heard anyone from SUSE talk about HPC, especially me, you probably already know that SUSE leads in share of the top 100 systems and is a significant player in the list as a whole. In fact, SUSE has the largest share of the list for any enterprise Linux offering by a wide margin. This is due to a number of factors, including our partner relationships, early technology enablement, and overall engineering excellence.
One of our key partnerships is that with Intel. SUSE works closely with Intel to enable the latest technologies in our products. This includes processor technology, OmniPath, and Xeon Phi for our enterprise Linux product. In addition to the hardware enablement, we also work together on providing stable packages that enable customers to rapidly bring up their HPC environments. In fact, Intel is a platinum level sponsor for SUSECon and will have a breakout session on HPC. I can think of few places better to get the complete story than in person at SUSECon this year.
OpenHPC & Intel HPC Orchestrator
This work around HPC packages starts in the openHPC community project. The goal of this effort is to provide the community with a single place to collaborate on solving the challenges of building and managing HPC clusters. Both SUSE and Intel are founding members of this rapidly growing effort that has gathered cooperation from many segments of the market.
This collaboration around simple management and implementation of HPC clusters is further enhanced with the commercially supported Intel HPC Orchestrator product. The Intel HPC Orchestrator simplifies the installation, ongoing maintenance, validation and support of HPC clusters. It offers integrated and supported Workload Managers as well as a supported OS option starting with SLES 12 SP1. Put this together with the modern hardware enablement, and you have almost everything you need to have a complete HPC cluster.
I say almost everything as there is one critical component left, high-performance storage. And when I say high-performance storage regarding HPC, Lustre is the specific technology that comes to mind. This highly performant and scalable storage technology is employed by more than 75% of the top 100 HPC systems making it the clear leader in this space.
One of the key aspects of Lustre that drives the high levels of adoption is that it is open source. This allows the technology to be advanced by those who are actively using it and to be enhanced by anyone with the knowledge and ability who desires to participate. This is the same story as Linux itself. However, Lustre needs more as HPC continues to move forward in the Enterprise.
As HPC continues to move into enterprise environments, it is important that Lustre support is available from several perspectives. The first is the commercial support that ensures there is someone to call for help when something goes wrong. This is where Intel comes in. Their announcement back in April was intended to let the world know that they are consolidating their support of Lustre to a single path, thus reducing confusion and duplication of efforts. The net result of the announcement is that Intel offers support agreements for the community Lustre release though numerous HPC partners.
Intel + SUSE = Making Lustre Better
The second aspect to support is ensuring it is supported with the enterprise Linux distributions of choice in the data center. This is where SUSE and the community come along. SUSE is actively working to ensure that our current and future releases of SUSE Enterprise Linux will be first class citizens in the Lustre community distribution, with customers being able to obtain commercial support through a number of Intel partners. What does this mean to you? It means that while Lustre server and client are already available to run on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server(SLES) 11, and the client is available for SLES 12, we are working together with Intel to support Lustre servers on SLES 12 in a future release. Stay tuned for a future update with more details about this exciting effort!
To that end, some important work is already under way. SUSE is working with Intel and the proper upstream communities to ensure that Lustre components are properly accepted into the mainline kernel tree where applicable. This meets the SUSE principle of being upstream first and supporting our full belief in the principles of open source. By helping to get critical patches accepted upstream, the entire community will benefit.
For SUSE customers and partners, the net result will be knowing that they can deploy and take full advantage of the latest hardware platforms for their Lustre environments with the leading Enterprise Linux Offering in the Top 500. Having Lustre support in a modern, enterprise kernel, will enable SUSE customers to benefit from development that relies on new features in the kernel first. This is just one of the many things SUSE is working on to ensure HPC is supportable for all customers, including those new enterprise users.