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!

Weekly Twitter Roundup (Feb. 23, 2017)

February 23, 2017

Here at HPCwire, we aim to keep the HPC community apprised of the most relevant and interesting news items that get tweeted throughout the week. Read more…

By Thomas Ayres

HPE Server Shows Low Latency on STAC-N1 Test

February 22, 2017

The performance of trade and match servers can be a critical differentiator for financial trading houses. Read more…

By John Russell

HPC Financial Update (Feb. 2017)

February 22, 2017

In this recurring feature, we’ll provide you with financial highlights from companies in the HPC industry. Check back in regularly for an updated list with the most pertinent fiscal information. Read more…

By Thomas Ayres

Rethinking HPC Platforms for ‘Second Gen’ Applications

February 22, 2017

Just what constitutes HPC and how best to support it is a keen topic currently. Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

O&G Companies Create Value with High Performance Remote Visualization

Today’s oil and gas (O&G) companies are striving to process datasets that have become not only tremendously large, but extremely complex. And the larger that data becomes, the harder it is to move and analyze it – particularly with a workforce that could be distributed between drilling sites, offshore rigs, and remote offices. Read more…

HPC Technique Propels Deep Learning at Scale

February 21, 2017

Researchers from Baidu’s Silicon Valley AI Lab (SVAIL) have adapted a well-known HPC communication technique to boost the speed and scale of their neural network training and now they are sharing their implementation with the larger deep learning community. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IDC: Will the Real Exascale Race Please Stand Up?

February 21, 2017

So the exascale race is on. And lots of organizations are in the pack. Government announcements from the US, China, India, Japan, and the EU indicate that they are working hard to make it happen – some sooner, some later. Read more…

By Bob Sorensen, IDC

ExxonMobil, NCSA, Cray Scale Reservoir Simulation to 700,000+ Processors

February 17, 2017

In a scaling breakthrough for oil and gas discovery, ExxonMobil geoscientists report they have harnessed the power of 717,000 processors – the equivalent of 22,000 32-processor computers – to run complex oil and gas reservoir simulation models. Read more…

By Doug Black

TSUBAME3.0 Points to Future HPE Pascal-NVLink-OPA Server

February 17, 2017

Since our initial coverage of the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer yesterday, more details have come to light on this innovative project. Of particular interest is a new board design for NVLink-equipped Pascal P100 GPUs that will create another entrant to the space currently occupied by Nvidia's DGX-1 system, IBM's "Minsky" platform and the Supermicro SuperServer (1028GQ-TXR). Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPC Technique Propels Deep Learning at Scale

February 21, 2017

Researchers from Baidu’s Silicon Valley AI Lab (SVAIL) have adapted a well-known HPC communication technique to boost the speed and scale of their neural network training and now they are sharing their implementation with the larger deep learning community. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IDC: Will the Real Exascale Race Please Stand Up?

February 21, 2017

So the exascale race is on. And lots of organizations are in the pack. Government announcements from the US, China, India, Japan, and the EU indicate that they are working hard to make it happen – some sooner, some later. Read more…

By Bob Sorensen, IDC

TSUBAME3.0 Points to Future HPE Pascal-NVLink-OPA Server

February 17, 2017

Since our initial coverage of the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer yesterday, more details have come to light on this innovative project. Of particular interest is a new board design for NVLink-equipped Pascal P100 GPUs that will create another entrant to the space currently occupied by Nvidia's DGX-1 system, IBM's "Minsky" platform and the Supermicro SuperServer (1028GQ-TXR). Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Tokyo Tech’s TSUBAME3.0 Will Be First HPE-SGI Super

February 16, 2017

In a press event Friday afternoon local time in Japan, Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) announced its plans for the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer, which will be Japan’s “fastest AI supercomputer,” Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Drug Developers Use Google Cloud HPC in the Fight Against ALS

February 16, 2017

Within the haystack of a lethal disease such as ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis / Lou Gehrig’s Disease) there exists, somewhere, the needle that will pierce this therapy-resistant affliction. Read more…

By Doug Black

Azure Edges AWS in Linpack Benchmark Study

February 15, 2017

The “when will clouds be ready for HPC” question has ebbed and flowed for years. Read more…

By John Russell

Is Liquid Cooling Ready to Go Mainstream?

February 13, 2017

Lost in the frenzy of SC16 was a substantial rise in the number of vendors showing server oriented liquid cooling technologies. Three decades ago liquid cooling was pretty much the exclusive realm of the Cray-2 and IBM mainframe class products. That’s changing. We are now seeing an emergence of x86 class server products with exotic plumbing technology ranging from Direct-to-Chip to servers and storage completely immersed in a dielectric fluid. Read more…

By Steve Campbell

Cray Posts Best-Ever Quarter, Visibility Still Limited

February 10, 2017

On its Wednesday earnings call, Cray announced the largest revenue quarter in the company’s history and the second-highest revenue year. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

For IBM/OpenPOWER: Success in 2017 = (Volume) Sales

January 11, 2017

To a large degree IBM and the OpenPOWER Foundation have done what they said they would – assembling a substantial and growing ecosystem and bringing Power-based products to market, all in about three years. Read more…

By John Russell

US, China Vie for Supercomputing Supremacy

November 14, 2016

The 48th edition of the TOP500 list is fresh off the presses and while there is no new number one system, as previously teased by China, there are a number of notable entrants from the US and around the world and significant trends to report on. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Lighting up Aurora: Behind the Scenes at the Creation of the DOE’s Upcoming 200 Petaflops Supercomputer

December 1, 2016

In April 2015, U.S. Department of Energy Undersecretary Franklin Orr announced that Intel would be the prime contractor for Aurora: Read more…

By Jan Rowell

D-Wave SC16 Update: What’s Bo Ewald Saying These Days

November 18, 2016

Tucked in a back section of the SC16 exhibit hall, quantum computing pioneer D-Wave has been talking up its new 2000-qubit processor announced in September. Forget for a moment the criticism sometimes aimed at D-Wave. This small Canadian company has sold several machines including, for example, ones to Lockheed and NASA, and has worked with Google on mapping machine learning problems to quantum computing. In July Los Alamos National Laboratory took possession of a 1000-quibit D-Wave 2X system that LANL ordered a year ago around the time of SC15. Read more…

By John Russell

Enlisting Deep Learning in the War on Cancer

December 7, 2016

Sometime in Q2 2017 the first ‘results’ of the Joint Design of Advanced Computing Solutions for Cancer (JDACS4C) will become publicly available according to Rick Stevens. He leads one of three JDACS4C pilot projects pressing deep learning (DL) into service in the War on Cancer. Read more…

By John Russell

IBM Wants to be “Red Hat” of Deep Learning

January 26, 2017

IBM today announced the addition of TensorFlow and Chainer deep learning frameworks to its PowerAI suite of deep learning tools, which already includes popular offerings such as Caffe, Theano, and Torch. Read more…

By John Russell

HPC Startup Advances Auto-Parallelization’s Promise

January 23, 2017

The shift from single core to multicore hardware has made finding parallelism in codes more important than ever, but that hasn’t made the task of parallel programming any easier. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

CPU Benchmarking: Haswell Versus POWER8

June 2, 2015

With OpenPOWER activity ramping up and IBM’s prominent role in the upcoming DOE machines Summit and Sierra, it’s a good time to look at how the IBM POWER CPU stacks up against the x86 Xeon Haswell CPU from Intel. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

Nvidia Sees Bright Future for AI Supercomputing

November 23, 2016

Graphics chipmaker Nvidia made a strong showing at SC16 in Salt Lake City last week. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

BioTeam’s Berman Charts 2017 HPC Trends in Life Sciences

January 4, 2017

Twenty years ago high performance computing was nearly absent from life sciences. Today it’s used throughout life sciences and biomedical research. Genomics and the data deluge from modern lab instruments are the main drivers, but so is the longer-term desire to perform predictive simulation in support of Precision Medicine (PM). There’s even a specialized life sciences supercomputer, ‘Anton’ from D.E. Shaw Research, and the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center is standing up its second Anton 2 and actively soliciting project proposals. There’s a lot going on. Read more…

By John Russell

Tokyo Tech’s TSUBAME3.0 Will Be First HPE-SGI Super

February 16, 2017

In a press event Friday afternoon local time in Japan, Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) announced its plans for the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer, which will be Japan’s “fastest AI supercomputer,” Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IDG to Be Bought by Chinese Investors; IDC to Spin Out HPC Group

January 19, 2017

US-based publishing and investment firm International Data Group, Inc. (IDG) will be acquired by a pair of Chinese investors, China Oceanwide Holdings Group Co., Ltd. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Dell Knights Landing Machine Sets New STAC Records

November 2, 2016

The Securities Technology Analysis Center, commonly known as STAC, has released a new report characterizing the performance of the Knight Landing-based Dell PowerEdge C6320p server on the STAC-A2 benchmarking suite, widely used by the financial services industry to test and evaluate computing platforms. The Dell machine has set new records for both the baseline Greeks benchmark and the large Greeks benchmark. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

What Knights Landing Is Not

June 18, 2016

As we get ready to launch the newest member of the Intel Xeon Phi family, code named Knights Landing, it is natural that there be some questions and potentially some confusion. Read more…

By James Reinders, Intel

Is Liquid Cooling Ready to Go Mainstream?

February 13, 2017

Lost in the frenzy of SC16 was a substantial rise in the number of vendors showing server oriented liquid cooling technologies. Three decades ago liquid cooling was pretty much the exclusive realm of the Cray-2 and IBM mainframe class products. That’s changing. We are now seeing an emergence of x86 class server products with exotic plumbing technology ranging from Direct-to-Chip to servers and storage completely immersed in a dielectric fluid. Read more…

By Steve Campbell

KNUPATH Hermosa-based Commercial Boards Expected in Q1 2017

December 15, 2016

Last June tech start-up KnuEdge emerged from stealth mode to begin spreading the word about its new processor and fabric technology that’s been roughly a decade in the making. Read more…

By John Russell

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