StackIQ Widens Net

By Steve Campbell

August 31, 2011

Continuing adventures in San Diego led me to StackIQ to meet with President and Co-founder Tim McIntire. Many of you will know StackIQ by their original name Clustercorp and the highly successful HPC cluster management suite Rocks.

Rocks was first developed at UCSD, circa 2000, and over a ten-year period, there are over ten thousand Rocks clusters worldwide. Many in traditional HPC environments but also growing installed base in the enterprises such as Aerospace, Automotive, Oil and Gas.  The one thing in common is managing large cluster installations in environments generating and processing vast amounts of data.

It is clearly an exciting time for StackIQ; a new name, new funding in place, new location and two of the original Rocks co-founders Greg Bruno and Mason Katz recently joining the team full time. More importantly, however, is the growing list of new customers for Rocks in their traditional HPC community and growing commercial enterprise installed base.

StackIQ is seeing growing acceptance in the new market segments of big data and naturally cloud computing. Recent alliances with Amazon for a port of Rocks to EC2 together with a recently announced OEM relationship with Amazon. In addition, their HPC expertise and heritage is well suited to Big Data solutions such as Apache Hadoop, Cassandra and others.  Rocks enables Hadoop clusters to be deployed in fraction of the time compared to conventional methods, StackIQ put a lot of emphasis on the ease of use and ease of deployment.

HPCc: You recently changed the company name from Clustercorp to StackIQ.  What’s behind the name change?

McIntire: Many people associated our previous name exclusively with High Performance Computing  (HPC). We wanted to change our name to better reflect what we do, which is to apply a decade of cluster computing expertize and experience to full-stack enterprise automation.
 
HPCc: I heard you also closed a round of financing.  Was this a private round or VC round and what can you tell me about it?

McIntire: It was a VC round, Series A. We secured the funding we needed to take the company to the next level by bringing in the resources to address the cloud and big data markets. We are very excited to be working with both Avalon Ventures and Anthem Venture Partners.
 
HPCc: How do you plan to spend the dollars raised?

McIntire: Some of it is focused on accelerating product development in the cloud and big data market segments while maintaining our leadership position in HPC. Some is earmarked to help us get our message out. We’ve been quite fortunate in building a strong community in the HPC space, but we need to let people outside of HPC know how much easier things are when you use Rocks+ to deploy and manage their servers.
 
HPCc: When I look at your website it is very clear that you have three distinct yet related segments, Clouds, Clusters and Big Data?  Starting with Clouds what is the plan?

McIntire: I’m glad you asked. Rocks is a horizontal platform for building out scalable solutions, but one of the things that made Rocks so successful in the cluster space was its ability to nail down a vertical solution (HPC) into a single, integrated stack. Open Source Rocks provided the first turnkey downloadable cluster ISO that allowed anybody — even researchers with little to no system administration experience — to build and manage a supercomputer.  

We are approaching the Cloud and Big Data verticals with the same strategy. You’ll notice that there is a complete downloadable stack for each of the segments on our website, so aspiring cloud and big data administrators can leverage the same simple turnkey solution we offer for HPC community. In addition, it’s free to use for clusters of up to 16 nodes.
 
HPCc: What about HPC clusters?

McIntire: Our roots are in HPC, and we’re proud of our position as the market leader in the HPC cluster management space. We are actively developing our HPC product line, and remain committed to delivering the best-of-breed cluster management solution for open source and commercial users.
 
There is a growing discussion of Big Data. What is your vision and why is this important to StackIQ and why is it such a hot topic in the world of data management?

The need to extract value from ever-growing volumes of both structured, and unstructured data is very real, and represents a tremendous business opportunity.

Apache Hadoop is a powerful, accessible open source tool that many are turning to, and at the heart of every Hadoop solution lies a high-performance cluster. Our HPC heritage puts us in the perfect position to bring best-of-breed technology to the foundation of Big Data solutions such as Apache Hadoop, Cassandra, and others. By laying the foundation of a rock-solid, predictable, reliable cluster at the base of each big data installation, Rocks+ leaves our customers free to focus on the business problem they’re trying to solve. Using conventional methods, building a working Hadoop solution can take weeks or months. Using our products, customers can bring up their Hadoop cluster in minutes.

HPCc: What’s the intersection of Big Data with Cloud Computing?

McIntire: The most interesting intersection I’ve seen is Amazon’s Elastic Map Reduce (EMR). Here, you have a market leading public cloud provider with customers who are generating a tremendous amount of data in the cloud. Rather than making customers deal with the difficult problem of downloading their data to a Hadoop cluster for analysis, Amazon brought compute to the data. They now have a very strong position in the big data space.

HPCc: Speaking of Amazon, are you also working to solve management problems in public cloud?

McIntire: Yes, one of our first cloud projects was a deep port of Rocks to support Amazon EC2. In June, we announced that Amazon has OEM’d Rocks+ (in much the same way they’ve done with Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Microsoft Windows) and now offers Rocks+ as an instance type. Thanks to Amazon, administrators can use the exact same management tools in public clouds that they use in their own data center. This can be a tremendous advantage. For example, you could leverage EC2 for development and testing purposes, running our Hadoop Roll there, tweak it to suit your needs, or you might even develop your own Roll. Then, should you decide to move your project in-house for large-scale deployment, you could simply download your Roll as an ISO and do complete bare metal provisioning of an in-house private cloud. You’d even have the same automated check-box installation Rocks users have become accustomed to.  

HPCc: You have been very successful with Rocks in the traditional HPC market. Are you changing direction and going after the commercial enterprise and if so why?

McIntire: The customers for our Cloud and Big Data solutions are primarily enterprises, but we’ve already seen great penetration in the enterprise HPC space. Therefore, while we are indeed marketing to the enterprise, we don’t see it as a change of direction. It’s just the next step along the path we were already on — bringing the power of Rocks to everyone who needs it.

HPCc: Can you do both markets? Do you have resources people and funds for both?

McIntire: Yes, one of the neat things about Rocks is its modularity.  Much of the work we do is applicable to all three verticals, which gives us a multiplying effect on the development side. By combining our architecture, leveraging the funding we talked about earlier, and some incredible work done by our partner network, we have everything we need to get the job done.
 
HPCc: Who is your primary competition and why should potential prospect choose you?

McIntire: There is no other product that can spin up Clouds, HPC Clusters, and Hadoop Clusters with the ease and efficiency of Rocks+. However, we do run in to different companies in certain spaces. Fortunately for us, most of them are in the early days of discovering all the ins and outs of deploying and managing large groups of connected servers at scale.

What we’ve seen is that people can be fairly successful in building small-scale clusters using less powerful tools, but once they grow beyond the test and proof-of-concept stage, the processes they’d been using fall short. We recommend people start with the end in mind, and use a proven cloud and cluster power tool right from the start. We make that easy by offering it free for clusters up to 16 nodes.
 
HPCc: What is you product roadmap, what’s next?

McIntire: I don’t like talking too far into the future when it comes to product features, however, there are some key items that are under development now.

We have a project underway that will significantly improve the Rocks user interface. We are also broadening the Big Data product line to include Cassandra, and plan to add other Big Data services to that package in the future as well.

In the Cloud space, work is well underway on an OpenStack product, and we are adding new capabilities to our Amazon EC2 offering. We’re also pushing ahead on the open source Rocks project, and plan to contribute RHEL and CentOS 6 support soon.
 
What’s your go to market approach?

We have a three-pronged Go-to-market approach:

-Hardware partners resell our software stacks to their customers to go along with their servers. Our current partners include Dell and HP, who have both given us tremendous support considering our company size.  Amazon, while not a traditional hardware partner, also fits into this channel go-to-market strategy.

-We also have a strong ISV partner network — we realize that our customers have a wide breadth of needs — our strategy here has always been to be supportive, yet agnostic at the applications layer.  For instance in HPC, we have Rocks Rolls for

Adaptive Computing’s Moab, Univa Grid Engine, and Altair PBS Pro.  You’ll notice we are executing the same strategy in the Big Data space, as we’ve already rolled out support for Apache Hadoop, MapR, and Cloudera.  In the coming months, you’ll see this list continue to grow.

-Lastly, StackIQ works directly with a number of customers who have pre-existing hardware and/or heterogeneous data centers.  Direct customers are usually more on the hyper-scale end of the size spectrum.  

What are the big trends you are seeing and how do they impact your vision?

We see a continuation of the trend towards more data and more compute — clusters are now mission critical to enterprise.  StackIQ is in the unique position of participating in a leading edge market segment with a mature, robust software solution.

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!

Researchers Scale COSMO Climate Code to 4888 GPUs on Piz Daint

October 17, 2017

Effective global climate simulation, sorely needed to anticipate and cope with global warming, has long been computationally challenging. Two of the major obstacles are the needed resolution and prolonged time to compute Read more…

By John Russell

Student Cluster Competition Coverage New Home

October 16, 2017

Hello computer sports fans! This is the first of many (many!) articles covering the world-wide phenomenon of Student Cluster Competitions. Finally, the Student Cluster Competition coverage has come to its natural home: H Read more…

By Dan Olds

UCSD Web-based Tool Tracking CA Wildfires Generates 1.5M Views

October 16, 2017

Tracking the wildfires raging in northern CA is an unpleasant but necessary part of guiding efforts to fight the fires and safely evacuate affected residents. One such tool – Firemap – is a web-based tool developed b Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Transforming Genomic Analytics with HPC-Accelerated Insights

Advancements in the field of genomics are revolutionizing our understanding of human biology, rapidly accelerating the discovery and treatment of genetic diseases, and dramatically improving human health. Read more…

Exascale Imperative: New Movie from HPE Makes a Compelling Case

October 13, 2017

Why is pursuing exascale computing so important? In a new video – Hewlett Packard Enterprise: Eighteen Zeros – four HPE executives, a prominent national lab HPC researcher, and HPCwire managing editor Tiffany Trader Read more…

By John Russell

Student Cluster Competition Coverage New Home

October 16, 2017

Hello computer sports fans! This is the first of many (many!) articles covering the world-wide phenomenon of Student Cluster Competitions. Finally, the Student Read more…

By Dan Olds

Intel Delivers 17-Qubit Quantum Chip to European Research Partner

October 10, 2017

On Tuesday, Intel delivered a 17-qubit superconducting test chip to research partner QuTech, the quantum research institute of Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in the Netherlands. The announcement marks a major milestone in the 10-year, $50-million collaborative relationship with TU Delft and TNO, the Dutch Organization for Applied Research, to accelerate advancements in quantum computing. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Fujitsu Tapped to Build 37-Petaflops ABCI System for AIST

October 10, 2017

Fujitsu announced today it will build the long-planned AI Bridging Cloud Infrastructure (ABCI) which is set to become the fastest supercomputer system in Japan Read more…

By John Russell

HPC Chips – A Veritable Smorgasbord?

October 10, 2017

For the first time since AMD's ill-fated launch of Bulldozer the answer to the question, 'Which CPU will be in my next HPC system?' doesn't have to be 'Whichever variety of Intel Xeon E5 they are selling when we procure'. Read more…

By Dairsie Latimer

Delays, Smoke, Records & Markets – A Candid Conversation with Cray CEO Peter Ungaro

October 5, 2017

Earlier this month, Tom Tabor, publisher of HPCwire and I had a very personal conversation with Cray CEO Peter Ungaro. Cray has been on something of a Cinderell Read more…

By Tiffany Trader & Tom Tabor

Intel Debuts Programmable Acceleration Card

October 5, 2017

With a view toward supporting complex, data-intensive applications, such as AI inference, video streaming analytics, database acceleration and genomics, Intel i Read more…

By Doug Black

OLCF’s 200 Petaflops Summit Machine Still Slated for 2018 Start-up

October 3, 2017

The Department of Energy’s planned 200 petaflops Summit computer, which is currently being installed at Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility, is on track t Read more…

By John Russell

US Exascale Program – Some Additional Clarity

September 28, 2017

The last time we left the Department of Energy’s exascale computing program in July, things were looking very positive. Both the U.S. House and Senate had pas Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

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

Reinders: “AVX-512 May Be a Hidden Gem” in Intel Xeon Scalable Processors

June 29, 2017

Imagine if we could use vector processing on something other than just floating point problems.  Today, GPUs and CPUs work tirelessly to accelerate algorithms Read more…

By James Reinders

NERSC Scales Scientific Deep Learning to 15 Petaflops

August 28, 2017

A collaborative effort between Intel, NERSC and Stanford has delivered the first 15-petaflops deep learning software running on HPC platforms and is, according Read more…

By Rob Farber

Oracle Layoffs Reportedly Hit SPARC and Solaris Hard

September 7, 2017

Oracle’s latest layoffs have many wondering if this is the end of the line for the SPARC processor and Solaris OS development. As reported by multiple sources Read more…

By John Russell

US Coalesces Plans for First Exascale Supercomputer: Aurora in 2021

September 27, 2017

At the Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee (ASCAC) meeting, in Arlington, Va., yesterday (Sept. 26), it was revealed that the "Aurora" supercompute Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Google Releases Deeplearn.js to Further Democratize Machine Learning

August 17, 2017

Spreading the use of machine learning tools is one of the goals of Google’s PAIR (People + AI Research) initiative, which was introduced in early July. Last w Read more…

By John Russell

GlobalFoundries Puts Wind in AMD’s Sails with 12nm FinFET

September 24, 2017

From its annual tech conference last week (Sept. 20), where GlobalFoundries welcomed more than 600 semiconductor professionals (reaching the Santa Clara venue Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Graphcore Readies Launch of 16nm Colossus-IPU Chip

July 20, 2017

A second $30 million funding round for U.K. AI chip developer Graphcore sets up the company to go to market with its “intelligent processing unit” (IPU) in Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

Amazon Debuts New AMD-based GPU Instances for Graphics Acceleration

September 12, 2017

Last week Amazon Web Services (AWS) streaming service, AppStream 2.0, introduced a new GPU instance called Graphics Design intended to accelerate graphics. The Read more…

By John Russell

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

EU Funds 20 Million Euro ARM+FPGA Exascale Project

September 7, 2017

At the Barcelona Supercomputer Centre on Wednesday (Sept. 6), 16 partners gathered to launch the EuroEXA project, which invests €20 million over three-and-a-half years into exascale-focused research and development. Led by the Horizon 2020 program, EuroEXA picks up the banner of a triad of partner projects — ExaNeSt, EcoScale and ExaNoDe — building on their work... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Delays, Smoke, Records & Markets – A Candid Conversation with Cray CEO Peter Ungaro

October 5, 2017

Earlier this month, Tom Tabor, publisher of HPCwire and I had a very personal conversation with Cray CEO Peter Ungaro. Cray has been on something of a Cinderell Read more…

By Tiffany Trader & Tom Tabor

Cray Moves to Acquire the Seagate ClusterStor Line

July 28, 2017

This week Cray announced that it is picking up Seagate's ClusterStor HPC storage array business for an undisclosed sum. "In short we're effectively transitioning the bulk of the ClusterStor product line to Cray," said CEO Peter Ungaro. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel Launches Software Tools to Ease FPGA Programming

September 5, 2017

Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) have a reputation for being difficult to program, requiring expertise in specialty languages, like Verilog or VHDL. Easin Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IBM Advances Web-based Quantum Programming

September 5, 2017

IBM Research is pairing its Jupyter-based Data Science Experience notebook environment with its cloud-based quantum computer, IBM Q, in hopes of encouraging a new class of entrepreneurial user to solve intractable problems that even exceed the capabilities of the best AI systems. Read more…

By Alex Woodie

Intel, NERSC and University Partners Launch New Big Data Center

August 17, 2017

A collaboration between the Department of Energy’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), Intel and five Intel Parallel Computing Cente Read more…

By Linda Barney

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