Intel Carves Mainstream Highway for Lustre

By Nicole Hemsoth

June 12, 2013

It’s been just a tick under a year since Intel’s acquisition of Whamcloud and its Lustre braintrust. While it was a rather quiet transition, the chipmaker made some noteworthy strides toward pushing Lustre further into the mainstream–without ignoring its roots in HPC.

The company kicked two announcements about Lustre into the arena with high hopes of appealing to the enterprise crowd. Both news items are meant to strike a chord with the big business crowd–a market that’s increasingly interested in (you guessed it) “big data” and Hadoop, as well as general usability for ever-mounting scalability troubles.

Brent Gorda, founder and former CEO of Whamcloud, who now manages all things Lustre for Intel, said that the file system has a dangerous reputation as being hard to handle, despite its recognized benefits. This bad rap, however, spins from a misconception that’s fed from the stream of news out of multi-petabyte installations where Lustre really can require some serious expertise, according to Gorda.

Still, businesses are looking to plug in Lustre, at least according to Intel, which tends to pay attention to customer demand. While they want Lustre benefits, their hangup is that they don’t want to make new hires to run the file system. Hence the rollout today of Intel Enterprise Edition for Lustre, which comes with a new management tool called Intel Manager for Lustre.

As Gorda explains, it’s all about opening access to Lustre for the “rest of the world.” He says that currently, it’s the big national labs that are hiring people to run it since they need the scalability and reliability it offers. What Intel decided, based on customer demand, is that they want to offer approachable tools for Lustre to anyone who can manage a Linux box. The key here, argues Gorda, is not just the benefits of the management interface– it’s the Lustre support that’s now backed by a tier-1 vendor (versus little old Whamcloud peddling its support that made the big shops shy).

As with any software project, this mainstreaming of Lustre will be a process of evolution. But at this point, the management tool simplifies interacting with Lustre so users can wick away the need to deal with command lining, finding configuration files all over the place and are freed from watching logs scroll by. The management tool does all of this, thus Intel argues, opening access to Lustre without making companies add more bodies to deal with it–making it far more attractive to some key areas that are scaling at HPC levels (oil and gas, financial services…the usual suspects).

In addition to the management tool to facilitate wider adoption of Lustre in new environments, the company made a Hadoop announcement set to sing to those frustrated with the native Hadoop file system (HDFS), at least for those who have tapped Intel’s distro. Gorda described how one talented Lustre and HDFS expert steamrolled Hadoop with a new Java class to fully swap in Lustre over HDFS. The impetus here was that many of the traditional HPC sites were talking to Intel about their Hadoop plans. Of course, the needs of a file system for Hadoop at the Web 2.0 scale wouldn’t necessitate such a swap-out since it runs on local disk for most. For the HPC’ers, however, the disks were probably lifted from the boxes a decade ago, so the challenge is convincing Hadoop to run off a global parallel file system–a trick he says they’ve pulled off nicely.

Further, Gorda said that in a conversation with an oil and gas company about the pending HDFS news, the business did the math and found that Hadoop’s triple-replication was going to cost them quite a bit more than Lustre.

When it comes to Hadoop, “Lustre is performing faster than local disk because we’re feeding you data at network bandwidths, which are generally faster. When it comes time for the sort/merge stage, you already have a global scratch space, which means you don’t have to do all the communication steps that are necessary with local disk,” Gorda explained.

During our chat yesterday, Gorda seemed genuinely enthusiastic about how Intel’s might has led to increasing adoption and interest in Lustre. He said that prior to coming Intel’s wing, they would talk to potential big name customers in financial services and other areas who were in need of a robust file system for large node-counts but were put off by the fact that Whamcloud had only a small team. With Intel’s namepower and funding–both through the Fast Forward program and the company’s own ambition to deliver Lustre to new markets based on demand–Gorda says Lustre will continue to meet the eventual needs of exascale and the current demands from enterprise users who have smacked into the scaling wall with their current file systems.

Outside of today’s news items around Lustre, Gorda said there are some cool things brewing for the coming months, particularly powered by Fast Forward program funds.

For instance, he pointed to work being done on so-called burst buffers and new innovations fed by solid state. . As one can imagine, a file system that’s looking toward such technologies might be laden with some interesting features that could dramatically speed data and focus on latency as the data moves ever closer to the compute.

He also talked about how his team is adding an object storage model to Lustre. As he noted, “POSIX is getting long in the tooth; it was not designed to go this far due to locking and semantic issues. We’re going down the path of building out–specifically for HPC–an object-based interface that is different than today’s cloud object  models. The goal is to offer a way to communicate directly to the application about where its data is self-consistent. So if the application is humming along, clicking in at checkpoints, you’ll know, for example, that your fifth checkpoint is consistent when all our tasks check in and move on to the next iteration. Intel’s Lustre team is refining this development currently.

As for the future of Lustre in environments outside of the traditional purview of HPC, Gorda remains confident that the power of Intel will be enough to add some new sway. The new developments to add to usability help boost Lustre’s profile and once word hits the mainstream Hadoop-obsessed press with news of a super-scalable HDFS replacement, it could mean big things for the file system’s future.

Related Articles

Intel to Manufacture Its Own Destiny?

Intel and Hadoop Help Power Pecan Street

Intel Seeks Exascale Program Lead

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!

RSC Reports 500Tflops, Hot Water Cooled System Deployed at JINR

April 18, 2018

RSC, developer of supercomputers and advanced HPC systems based in Russia, today reported deployment of “the world's first 100% ‘hot water’ liquid cooled supercomputer” at Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JI Read more…

By Staff

New Device Spots Quantum Particle ‘Fingerprint’

April 18, 2018

Majorana particles have been observed by university researchers employing a device consisting of layers of magnetic insulators on a superconducting material. The advance opens the door to controlling the elusive particle Read more…

By George Leopold

Cray Rolls Out AMD-Based CS500; More to Follow?

April 18, 2018

Cray was the latest OEM to bring AMD back into the fold with introduction today of a CS500 option based on AMD’s Epyc processor line. The move follows Cray’s introduction of an ARM-based system (XC-50) last November. Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Hybrid HPC is Speeding Time to Insight and Revolutionizing Medicine

High performance computing (HPC) is a key driver of success in many verticals today, and health and life science industries are extensively leveraging these capabilities. Read more…

Hennessy & Patterson: A New Golden Age for Computer Architecture

April 17, 2018

On Monday June 4, 2018, 2017 A.M. Turing Award Winners John L. Hennessy and David A. Patterson will deliver the Turing Lecture at the 45th International Symposium on Computer Architecture (ISCA) in Los Angeles. The Read more…

By Staff

Cray Rolls Out AMD-Based CS500; More to Follow?

April 18, 2018

Cray was the latest OEM to bring AMD back into the fold with introduction today of a CS500 option based on AMD’s Epyc processor line. The move follows Cray’ Read more…

By John Russell

IBM: Software Ecosystem for OpenPOWER is Ready for Prime Time

April 16, 2018

With key pieces of the IBM/OpenPOWER versus Intel/x86 gambit settling into place – e.g., the arrival of Power9 chips and Power9-based systems, hyperscaler sup Read more…

By John Russell

US Plans $1.8 Billion Spend on DOE Exascale Supercomputing

April 11, 2018

On Monday, the United States Department of Energy announced its intention to procure up to three exascale supercomputers at a cost of up to $1.8 billion with th Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Cloud-Readiness and Looking Beyond Application Scaling

April 11, 2018

There are two aspects to consider when determining if an application is suitable for running in the cloud. The first, which we will discuss here under the title Read more…

By Chris Downing

Transitioning from Big Data to Discovery: Data Management as a Keystone Analytics Strategy

April 9, 2018

The past 10-15 years has seen a stark rise in the density, size, and diversity of scientific data being generated in every scientific discipline in the world. Key among the sciences has been the explosion of laboratory technologies that generate large amounts of data in life-sciences and healthcare research. Large amounts of data are now being stored in very large storage name spaces, with little to no organization and a general unease about how to approach analyzing it. Read more…

By Ari Berman, BioTeam, Inc.

IBM Expands Quantum Computing Network

April 5, 2018

IBM is positioning itself as a first mover in establishing the era of commercial quantum computing. The company believes in order for quantum to work, taming qu Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

FY18 Budget & CORAL-2 – Exascale USA Continues to Move Ahead

April 2, 2018

It was not pretty. However, despite some twists and turns, the federal government’s Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) budget is complete and ended with some very positi Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

Nvidia Ups Hardware Game with 16-GPU DGX-2 Server and 18-Port NVSwitch

March 27, 2018

Nvidia unveiled a raft of new products from its annual technology conference in San Jose today, and despite not offering up a new chip architecture, there were still a few surprises in store for HPC hardware aficionados. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Inventor Claims to Have Solved Floating Point Error Problem

January 17, 2018

"The decades-old floating point error problem has been solved," proclaims a press release from inventor Alan Jorgensen. The computer scientist has filed for and Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Researchers Measure Impact of ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ Patches on HPC Workloads

January 17, 2018

Computer scientists from the Center for Computational Research, State University of New York (SUNY), University at Buffalo have examined the effect of Meltdown Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Russian Nuclear Engineers Caught Cryptomining on Lab Supercomputer

February 12, 2018

Nuclear scientists working at the All-Russian Research Institute of Experimental Physics (RFNC-VNIIEF) have been arrested for using lab supercomputing resources to mine crypto-currency, according to a report in Russia’s Interfax News Agency. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

How the Cloud Is Falling Short for HPC

March 15, 2018

The last couple of years have seen cloud computing gradually build some legitimacy within the HPC world, but still the HPC industry lies far behind enterprise I Read more…

By Chris Downing

Chip Flaws ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ Loom Large

January 4, 2018

The HPC and wider tech community have been abuzz this week over the discovery of critical design flaws that impact virtually all contemporary microprocessors. T Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

How Meltdown and Spectre Patches Will Affect HPC Workloads

January 10, 2018

There have been claims that the fixes for the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities, named the KPTI (aka KAISER) patches, are going to affect applicatio Read more…

By Rosemary Francis

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

Fast Forward: Five HPC Predictions for 2018

December 21, 2017

What’s on your list of high (and low) lights for 2017? Volta 100’s arrival on the heels of the P100? Appearance, albeit late in the year, of IBM’s Power9? Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

Deep Learning at 15 PFlops Enables Training for Extreme Weather Identification at Scale

March 19, 2018

Petaflop per second deep learning training performance on the NERSC (National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center) Cori supercomputer has given climate Read more…

By Rob Farber

Lenovo Unveils Warm Water Cooled ThinkSystem SD650 in Rampup to LRZ Install

February 22, 2018

This week Lenovo took the wraps off the ThinkSystem SD650 high-density server with third-generation direct water cooling technology developed in tandem with par Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AI Cloud Competition Heats Up: Google’s TPUs, Amazon Building AI Chip

February 12, 2018

Competition in the white hot AI (and public cloud) market pits Google against Amazon this week, with Google offering AI hardware on its cloud platform intended Read more…

By Doug Black

HPC and AI – Two Communities Same Future

January 25, 2018

According to Al Gara (Intel Fellow, Data Center Group), high performance computing and artificial intelligence will increasingly intertwine as we transition to Read more…

By Rob Farber

New Blueprint for Converging HPC, Big Data

January 18, 2018

After five annual workshops on Big Data and Extreme-Scale Computing (BDEC), a group of international HPC heavyweights including Jack Dongarra (University of Te Read more…

By John Russell

US Plans $1.8 Billion Spend on DOE Exascale Supercomputing

April 11, 2018

On Monday, the United States Department of Energy announced its intention to procure up to three exascale supercomputers at a cost of up to $1.8 billion with th Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Momentum Builds for US Exascale

January 9, 2018

2018 looks to be a great year for the U.S. exascale program. The last several months of 2017 revealed a number of important developments that help put the U.S. Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

Google Chases Quantum Supremacy with 72-Qubit Processor

March 7, 2018

Google pulled ahead of the pack this week in the race toward "quantum supremacy," with the introduction of a new 72-qubit quantum processor called Bristlecone. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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