Univa Rescues Grid Engine From Oracle

By Michael Feldman

January 18, 2011

Univa announced today it would be acquiring the Sun/Oracle Grid Engine engineering expertise from Oracle Corp. In doing so, the company will take over stewardship of the popular open source workload manager, which, in the space of two years, has passed through three companies: Sun Microsystems, Oracle, and now Univa. Its new owners plan to support existing deployments of Grid Engine as well as develop a commercial version with added capabilities.

Although Univa is not talking publicly about the terms of the agreement (if any) that enabled them to spirit away the Grid Engine team from Oracle, Tuesday’s press release did specify that the principal engineers from Grid Engine team, including Grid Engine founder and original project owner Fritz Ferstl would be joining Univa. To sweeten the deal, Ferstl has been named CTO and will head the company’s EMEA business.

By jettisoning the Grid Engine team, Oracle is continuing to shed its associations with high performance computing, and with open source software, in general. Although Grid Engine is a general-purpose workload manager, and has many applications outside of HPC (including within Oracle’s own Enterprise Manager suite), the company is apparently not inclined to be the steward of this technology. At the very least, it is unwilling to develop and maintain the open source software for the larger community — that despite this gushing endorsement of Grid Engine that Oracle posted in September 2010 on its website:

“Following the acquisition, Sun Grid Engine came to Oracle Enterprise Manager and we are absolutely delighted to welcome OGE to the Enterprise Manager family. The product is absolutely fantastic and a leader in its market space. We plan to aggressively support and market this product.”

Or not.

Oracle’s original plan was to “enterprise up” the Grid Engine in order to make it more suitable for the company’s business-centered customer base. But apparently if someone else is willing to do the heavy lifting with regard to maintaining the foundational software, so much the better.

In passing the torch to Univa, Oracle is almost certainly doing the HPC community a big favor. The concern with Oracle was its antipathy in pursuing an HPC path for the technology. This would eventually have forced Grid Engine to fork into one or more commercial versions and possibly even multiple open source versions. This could still happen, but given Univa’s large base of HPC customers, its own stake in the software, and its experience with open source development, this is much less likely to occur.

According to Univa CEO Gary Tyreman, their plan is to keep all the Grid Engine users happy by ensuring everyone has a path forward. This includes those who elect to stay with the open source version (mainly government research labs and academic types), commercial users who need Grid Engine support but are not ready to upgrade, and those customers looking for a commercially-supported product and ongoing evolution of the software.

It also includes Univa itself, who currently employs the workload manager in its UniCluster offering. In addition, the company will rely on Grid Engine in its UniCloud product to manage workloads across distributed resources. As of late, the company is shying away from the cloud terminology, and replacing it with a “datacenter optimization” mantra that dovetails nicely with how Univa intends to use Grid Engine across its product portfolio.

The responsibility for Grid Engine also brings with it some strange bedfellows. For example, Univa is now in the position of supporting competing offerings, such as a Grid Engine-equipped Rocks Cluster distribution. “We are redrawing the competitive dynamics, not just for the industry, but in particular for ourselves,” notes Tyreman. “Overnight some of my competitors become my best friends.”

The overarching goal, he says, is to unify the community “as it was.” Tyreman insists they are committed to working with the Open Grid Scheduler (OGS) project, which will be the repository for the open source version of the software. “There will always be an open source version of Grid Engine available,” he declares.

Tyreman realizes that the “free” version will be sufficient for a large portion of the HPC market. That include some of the biggest single-system deployments, such as the Ranger supercomputer at the Texas Advanced Computing Center and the TSUBAME machine at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. But in general, the industry is moving toward a two-tiered model with regard to open source. Just as Platform LSF and PBS Pro have their open source counterparts in Platform Lava and OpenPBS/Torque, respectively, Univa believes that there is plenty of demand for a commercial Grid Engine offering.

According to Tyreman, there are probably 4 million-plus CPUs spread out across more than 1,000 organizations running Grid Engine today. Univa only needs a fraction of that market to make a commercial product economically viable. Businesses with high-value applications such as electronic design automation (EDA), manufacturing design, and financial analytics would be among those most interested in a shrink-wrapped premium offering.

Like other commercial workload schedulers, Univa’s Grid Engine will be licensed on a per-core, per-term basis. In general, Tyreman expects licensing costs to be aligned with traditional Grid Engine-based products, and to be very competitive with rival management products.

The real balancing act for Univa will be to differentiate their own product, while keeping the open source base viable for the larger community upon which they depend. Although the value-add product that Univa plans to license will certainly be for technical computing customers looking for extra features and functionality, what exact shape that will take remains to be seen. With the advent of enterprise cloud computing, and Univa’s own interest in that space (although lately the company has been shying away from the cloud terminology), it’s likely that they will evolve their product to serve a broader set of customers than just HPC users. Workload scheduling is one thing in a 100-node HPC cluster, and quite another in a datacenter with thousands of servers running mission critical applications.

Grid Engine end users and companies are probably breathing a little easier now that the software is back in the hands of a genuine HPC vendor that understands the ecosystem. After its Oracle detour, the Grid Engine roadmap appears to be returning to the one established by its founders. Says Tyreman: “We are going to continue on a path that was already set 10 years ago.”

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

The EU Human Brain Project Reboots but Supercomputing Still Needed

June 26, 2017

The often contentious, EU-funded Human Brain Project whose initial aim was fixed firmly on full-brain simulation is now in the midst of a reboot targeting a more modest goal – development of informatics tools and data/ Read more…

By John Russell

DOE Launches Chicago Quantum Exchange

June 26, 2017

While many of us were preoccupied with ISC 2017 last week, the launch of the Chicago Quantum Exchange went largely unnoticed. So what is such a thing? It is a Department of Energy sponsored collaboration between the Univ Read more…

By John Russell

UMass Dartmouth Reports on HPC Day 2017 Activities

June 26, 2017

UMass Dartmouth's Center for Scientific Computing & Visualization Research (CSCVR) organized and hosted the third annual "HPC Day 2017" on May 25th. This annual event showcases on-going scientific research in Massach Read more…

By Gaurav Khanna

How ‘Knights Mill’ Gets Its Deep Learning Flops

June 22, 2017

Intel, the subject of much speculation regarding the delayed, rewritten or potentially canceled “Aurora” contract (the Argonne Lab part of the CORAL “pre-exascale” award), parsed out additional information ab Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Creating a Roadmap for HPC Innovation at ISC 2017

In an era where technological advancements are driving innovation to every sector, and powering major economic and scientific breakthroughs, high performance computing (HPC) is crucial to tackle the challenges of today and tomorrow. Read more…

Tsinghua Crowned Eight-Time Student Cluster Champions at ISC

June 22, 2017

Always a hard-fought competition, the Student Cluster Competition awards were announced Wednesday, June 21, at the ISC High Performance Conference 2017. Amid whoops and hollers from the crowd, Thomas Sterling presented t Read more…

By Kim McMahon

GPUs, Power9, Figure Prominently in IBM’s Bet on Weather Forecasting

June 22, 2017

IBM jumped into the weather forecasting business roughly a year and a half ago by purchasing The Weather Company. This week at ISC 2017, Big Blue rolled out plans to push deeper into climate science and develop more gran Read more…

By John Russell

Intersect 360 at ISC: HPC Industry at $44B by 2021

June 22, 2017

The care, feeding and sustained growth of the HPC industry increasingly is in the hands of the commercial market sector – in particular, it’s the hyperscale companies and their embrace of AI and deep learning – tha Read more…

By Doug Black

At ISC – Goh on Go: Humans Can’t Scale, the Data-Centric Learning Machine Can

June 22, 2017

I've seen the future this week at ISC, it’s on display in prototype or Powerpoint form, and it’s going to dumbfound you. The future is an AI neural network designed to emulate and compete with the human brain. In thi Read more…

By Doug Black

DOE Launches Chicago Quantum Exchange

June 26, 2017

While many of us were preoccupied with ISC 2017 last week, the launch of the Chicago Quantum Exchange went largely unnoticed. So what is such a thing? It is a D Read more…

By John Russell

How ‘Knights Mill’ Gets Its Deep Learning Flops

June 22, 2017

Intel, the subject of much speculation regarding the delayed, rewritten or potentially canceled “Aurora” contract (the Argonne Lab part of the CORAL “ Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Tsinghua Crowned Eight-Time Student Cluster Champions at ISC

June 22, 2017

Always a hard-fought competition, the Student Cluster Competition awards were announced Wednesday, June 21, at the ISC High Performance Conference 2017. Amid wh Read more…

By Kim McMahon

GPUs, Power9, Figure Prominently in IBM’s Bet on Weather Forecasting

June 22, 2017

IBM jumped into the weather forecasting business roughly a year and a half ago by purchasing The Weather Company. This week at ISC 2017, Big Blue rolled out pla Read more…

By John Russell

Intersect 360 at ISC: HPC Industry at $44B by 2021

June 22, 2017

The care, feeding and sustained growth of the HPC industry increasingly is in the hands of the commercial market sector – in particular, it’s the hyperscale Read more…

By Doug Black

At ISC – Goh on Go: Humans Can’t Scale, the Data-Centric Learning Machine Can

June 22, 2017

I've seen the future this week at ISC, it’s on display in prototype or Powerpoint form, and it’s going to dumbfound you. The future is an AI neural network Read more…

By Doug Black

Cray Brings AI and HPC Together on Flagship Supers

June 20, 2017

Cray took one more step toward the convergence of big data and high performance computing (HPC) today when it announced that it’s adding a full suite of big d Read more…

By Alex Woodie

AMD Charges Back into the Datacenter and HPC Workflows with EPYC Processor

June 20, 2017

AMD is charging back into the enterprise datacenter and select HPC workflows with its new EPYC 7000 processor line, code-named Naples, announced today at a “g Read more…

By John Russell

Quantum Bits: D-Wave and VW; Google Quantum Lab; IBM Expands Access

March 21, 2017

For a technology that’s usually characterized as far off and in a distant galaxy, quantum computing has been steadily picking up steam. Just how close real-wo Read more…

By John Russell

Trump Budget Targets NIH, DOE, and EPA; No Mention of NSF

March 16, 2017

President Trump’s proposed U.S. fiscal 2018 budget issued today sharply cuts science spending while bolstering military spending as he promised during the cam Read more…

By John Russell

HPC Compiler Company PathScale Seeks Life Raft

March 23, 2017

HPCwire has learned that HPC compiler company PathScale has fallen on difficult times and is asking the community for help or actively seeking a buyer for its a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Google Pulls Back the Covers on Its First Machine Learning Chip

April 6, 2017

This week Google released a report detailing the design and performance characteristics of the Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), its custom ASIC for the inference Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

CPU-based Visualization Positions for Exascale Supercomputing

March 16, 2017

In this contributed perspective piece, Intel’s Jim Jeffers makes the case that CPU-based visualization is now widely adopted and as such is no longer a contrarian view, but is rather an exascale requirement. Read more…

By Jim Jeffers, Principal Engineer and Engineering Leader, Intel

Nvidia Responds to Google TPU Benchmarking

April 10, 2017

Nvidia highlights strengths of its newest GPU silicon in response to Google's report on the performance and energy advantages of its custom tensor processor. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia’s Mammoth Volta GPU Aims High for AI, HPC

May 10, 2017

At Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference (GTC17) in San Jose, Calif., this morning, CEO Jensen Huang announced the company's much-anticipated Volta architecture a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Facebook Open Sources Caffe2; Nvidia, Intel Rush to Optimize

April 18, 2017

From its F8 developer conference in San Jose, Calif., today, Facebook announced Caffe2, a new open-source, cross-platform framework for deep learning. Caffe2 is the successor to Caffe, the deep learning framework developed by Berkeley AI Research and community contributors. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

MIT Mathematician Spins Up 220,000-Core Google Compute Cluster

April 21, 2017

On Thursday, Google announced that MIT math professor and computational number theorist Andrew V. Sutherland had set a record for the largest Google Compute Engine (GCE) job. Sutherland ran the massive mathematics workload on 220,000 GCE cores using preemptible virtual machine instances. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Google Debuts TPU v2 and will Add to Google Cloud

May 25, 2017

Not long after stirring attention in the deep learning/AI community by revealing the details of its Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), Google last week announced the Read more…

By John Russell

US Supercomputing Leaders Tackle the China Question

March 15, 2017

Joint DOE-NSA report responds to the increased global pressures impacting the competitiveness of U.S. supercomputing. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Russian Researchers Claim First Quantum-Safe Blockchain

May 25, 2017

The Russian Quantum Center today announced it has overcome the threat of quantum cryptography by creating the first quantum-safe blockchain, securing cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, along with classified government communications and other sensitive digital transfers. Read more…

By Doug Black

Groq This: New AI Chips to Give GPUs a Run for Deep Learning Money

April 24, 2017

CPUs and GPUs, move over. Thanks to recent revelations surrounding Google’s new Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), the computing world appears to be on the cusp of Read more…

By Alex Woodie

DOE Supercomputer Achieves Record 45-Qubit Quantum Simulation

April 13, 2017

In order to simulate larger and larger quantum systems and usher in an age of “quantum supremacy,” researchers are stretching the limits of today’s most advanced supercomputers. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Messina Update: The US Path to Exascale in 16 Slides

April 26, 2017

Paul Messina, director of the U.S. Exascale Computing Project, provided a wide-ranging review of ECP’s evolving plans last week at the HPC User Forum. Read more…

By John Russell

Six Exascale PathForward Vendors Selected; DoE Providing $258M

June 15, 2017

The much-anticipated PathForward awards for hardware R&D in support of the Exascale Computing Project were announced today with six vendors selected – AMD Read more…

By John Russell

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Share This