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September 18, 2012

The Number Three and its Relation to Grid Engine

Nicole Hemsoth

Three is an amazing number, being the first odd prime number, the number of days in a typical long weekend and the largest number still written with as many lines as the number represents in languages that use glyphs such as Mandarin. Perhaps what is not so well known is the relationship between the number 3 and Grid Engine.

What may be less well known is the fact that Univa Corporation provides the evolution of Grid Engine, the most widely deployed and distributed resource management software platform used by enterprises and research organizations across the globe.

Let’s consider the top 3 relationships of the number 3 and Grid Engine in this article.

3 Percent

In January 2011, Univa did three things after Oracle ended the development subsidy for Grid Engine. Univa invested in the people who designed, developed and supported the product; established Univa GmbH; and refactored the company around this group of core developers to bring Univa Grid Engine to market.

This provided the means by which most of the original development team could continue to evolve and advance Grid Engine, something they had done for over 10 years at Sun and then Oracle. By the end of 2010 Univa had spent 3 years converting LSF users, supporting Grid Engine users and developing add-on products. Univa knew firsthand the difficulty of providing proper support of Grid Engine to end-user organizations without the infrastructure and immediate capability to fix bugs and implement work-arounds. It was this complexity in the code that limited the contributions from the community and preordained that more than 97 percent of the Grid Engine code would have to been written by salaried developers at Sun and then Oracle.

That means that 3 percent of the contributed code in 10 years came from the community leaving the role of the community to one of support and configuration assistance.

3 Production Releases

Since this beginning, Univa has delivered more code to the community than any third party outside of Sun with the public release of Univa Grid Engine 8.0 in 2011. The company has fixed hundreds of issues and shipped 3 new Grid Engine major releases (8.0, 8.0.1 and 8.1) and more than 10 minor releases and updates, something that Sun and Oracle had not been done for more than 2 years.

In an article on HPC in the Cloud, Tiffany Trader noted, “Univa has sought to increase availability by improving the stability of the product, a core focus over the last year. They’ve added features that target very high-volume clusters with a large number of jobs, in particular small jobs. Plus they’ve made changes to improve the performance of the cluster overall, which is also good news for those using it in large environments.”

In recent evaluation at a large semiconductor company that has been using the open source product for close to 10 years, Univa engineers noted that the company could queue at most 300,000 jobs before problems with the cluster surfaced. With Univa Grid Engine the company exceeded this limit and after successfully loading more than 2.5 times the number of jobs they stopped the tests. Univa Grid Engine exceeded the scalability of open source Grid Engine versions by significant factors in real world, production customer environments.

Univa Grid Engine 8.1 – the latest release – brings several new features in the scheduler that adds performance or reduces the support burden of production clusters. A list of features is available on the website here.

3 Products

In an a recent article in the Financial Post titled “How the ‘Freemium Model’ Can Make – or Break – Your Tech Business” which discussed how companies can compete with “free”, Karen Ho noted that “Univa converts clients by building a product that has the features, capability, stability and performance that are not only better than the competition, but exceeding what its customers require.”

Univa is developing Grid Engine at an accelerating pace to meet the increasing demands of a rapidly growing customer base. By the end of 2012 Univa will have released more new functionality than Grid Engine users will have seen in a decade. Along with new features Univa will introduce Univa License Orchestrator a new product that significantly expands the value and lowers TCO of using Univa Grid Engine by optimizing the licenses that are run on the cluster.

The Company offers three products to Grid Engine users. Univa Grid Engine (includes the reporting product UniSight), Univa License Orchestrator and UniCloud.

Univa License Orchestrator prioritizes the sharing of limited and expensive application license features according to business objectives by incorporating availability into Univa Grid Engine scheduling decisions. Univa License Orchestrator enables maximum workload throughput for users, groups or projects with flexible sharing policies and simple configuration bringing administration efficiency.

The pressure to contain or reduce cost in one of the largest IT software budgets requires an integrated and flexible approach to managing and optimizing licenses. It is this challenge that Univa License Orchestrator is designed to help solve.

UniCloud is software that plugs Univa Grid Engine into any cloud management system or service, enabling public and private cloud resources to be utilized with existing HPC workflow

In addition, the Company is developing tighter integration of Big Data (such as Hadoop) workload into a Univa Grid Engine cluster. As enterprises begin to evaluate Hadoop as a potential technology to improve existing pipelines or workflows Univa is being asked to deepen the existing integration. This is driven by two factors. First the data resides within the cluster, typically in a shared filesystem like NFS. Second, by integrating Map/Reduce applications in the cluster enterprises can eliminate the need to build a new silo (Hadoop is a cluster itself) which can shave more than a hundred thousand dollars off capex and save multiples more in opex.

More information on Univa or its products can be found here

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