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!

PRACEdays Strengthens European HPC Community Ties

May 25, 2017

More than 250 attendees and participants came together for PRACEdays17 in Barcelona last week, part of the European HPC Summit Week 2017, held May 15-19 at t 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 cryptocurr Read more…

By Doug Black

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

Nvidia CEO Predicts AI ‘Cambrian Explosion’

May 25, 2017

The processing power and cloud access to developer tools used to train machine-learning models are making artificial intelligence ubiquitous across computing pl Read more…

By George Leopold

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Exploring the Three Models of Remote Visualization

The explosion of data and advancement of digital technologies are dramatically changing the way many companies do business. With the help of high performance computing (HPC) solutions and data analytics platforms, manufacturers are developing products faster, healthcare providers are improving patient care, and energy companies are improving planning, exploration, and production. Read more…

PGAS Use will Rise on New H/W Trends, Says Reinders

May 25, 2017

If you have not already tried using PGAS, it is time to consider adding PGAS to the programming techniques you know. Partitioned Global Array Space, commonly kn Read more…

By James Reinders

Exascale Escapes 2018 Budget Axe; Rest of Science Suffers

May 23, 2017

President Trump's proposed $4.1 trillion FY 2018 budget is good for U.S. exascale computing development, but grim for the rest of science and technology spend Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Hedge Funds (with Supercomputing help) Rank First Among Investors

May 22, 2017

In case you didn’t know, The Quants Run Wall Street Now, or so says a headline in today’s Wall Street Journal. Quant-run hedge funds now control the largest Read more…

By John Russell

IBM, D-Wave Report Quantum Computing Advances

May 18, 2017

IBM said this week it has built and tested a pair of quantum computing processors, including a prototype of a commercial version. That progress follows an an Read more…

By George Leopold

PRACEdays Strengthens European HPC Community Ties

May 25, 2017

More than 250 attendees and participants came together for PRACEdays17 in Barcelona last week, part of the European HPC Summit Week 2017, held May 15-19 at t Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

PGAS Use will Rise on New H/W Trends, Says Reinders

May 25, 2017

If you have not already tried using PGAS, it is time to consider adding PGAS to the programming techniques you know. Partitioned Global Array Space, commonly kn Read more…

By James Reinders

Exascale Escapes 2018 Budget Axe; Rest of Science Suffers

May 23, 2017

President Trump's proposed $4.1 trillion FY 2018 budget is good for U.S. exascale computing development, but grim for the rest of science and technology spend Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Cray Offers Supercomputing as a Service, Targets Biotechs First

May 16, 2017

Leading supercomputer vendor Cray and datacenter/cloud provider the Markley Group today announced plans to jointly deliver supercomputing as a service. The init Read more…

By John Russell

HPE’s Memory-centric The Machine Coming into View, Opens ARMs to 3rd-party Developers

May 16, 2017

Announced three years ago, HPE’s The Machine is said to be the largest R&D program in the venerable company’s history, one that could be progressing tow Read more…

By Doug Black

What’s Up with Hyperion as It Transitions From IDC?

May 15, 2017

If you’re wondering what’s happening with Hyperion Research – formerly the IDC HPC group – apparently you are not alone, says Steve Conway, now senior V Read more…

By John Russell

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

HPE Launches Servers, Services, and Collaboration at GTC

May 10, 2017

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) today launched a new liquid cooled GPU-driven Apollo platform based on SGI ICE architecture, a new collaboration with NVIDIA, a 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

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

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

Nvidia Responds to Google TPU Benchmarking

April 10, 2017

Last week, Google reported that its custom ASIC Tensor Processing Unit (TPU) was 15-30x faster for inferencing workloads than Nvidia's K80 GPU (see our coverage Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

CPU-based Visualization Positions for Exascale Supercomputing

March 16, 2017

Since our first formal product releases of OSPRay and OpenSWR libraries in 2016, CPU-based Software Defined Visualization (SDVis) has achieved wide-spread adopt Read more…

By Jim Jeffers, Principal Engineer and Engineering Leader, Intel

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

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 ne Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

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 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 w Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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 Read more…

By Steve Campbell

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 Eng Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

US Supercomputing Leaders Tackle the China Question

March 15, 2017

As China continues to prove its supercomputing mettle via the Top500 list and the forward march of its ambitious plans to stand up an exascale machine by 2020, 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 networ Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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 Read more…

By John Russell

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 advance Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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