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September 3, 2010

Oracle Placing GridEngine on New Track

Nicole Hemsoth

Sun’s Grid Engine was considered by many to be a critical element for cluster and workstation management and distributed resource scheduling with a version carrying the Sun Industry Standards Source License—one that is now obsolete with this one exception. As many are aware, Oracle bought Sun, but the new parent doesn’t seem interested in the HPC market, at least not to the extent that Sun was. This has some in the open source HPC community worried about new licensing models that are becoming realities, including a 90-day free trial followed by a richer supported version.

When Oracle bought Sun, few were sure what kind of impact this would have on the wealth of projects that were either pending or de facto standards for the HPC community. Since the acquisition, Oracle has been going through the ranks of Sun projects (including the open source ones like OpenSolaris) in rank and file order–and next on the list is Sun GridEngine. While GridEngine does not take any of Oracle’s products to task, the company may see wider application for it in the cloud space, which might mean more aggressive marketing—which of course might mean no more open source.

Douglas Eadline stated that there are two ways the situation could go given Oracle’s perceived lack of interest in open source HPC aims yet observation that it might be missing out on revenue. “Oracle can continue to support the open source HPC community and enjoy the benefits that it imparts to the commercial version” which means that there will be a vibrant community of users who help improve a product. “remember many of those free as in beer users are also your beta testers, focus groups and consultants that would normally cost you more money. Many of them are, after all, the rocket scientists everyone talks about.”

Conversely, Eadline suggests that this project could fork off, stating “this option is very real and the recent Open Grid Scheduler project may kick into high gear in the near future should Oracle drop the ball as it were.” However, he suggests, the only thing that might prevent such a fork is if Oracle carries on Sun’s tradition of supporting the open source community that has kept the Engine running so well for so long.  

Full story at Linux Magazine