Delivering on the Promise of OpenHPC

March 5, 2018

The appeal of High Performance Computing (HPC) is undeniable in many use cases like scientific research and real time financial market analysis. However, it can be a challenge to build an HPC stack from scratch. Large IT departments with expert staff can do it, but even they usually want to find easier, faster ways to bring HPC to life.

OpenHPC offers a solution.  A Linux* Foundation Collaborative Project, OpenHPC provides a community-developed system software stack for HPC. The Open HPC community includes representatives of software vendors and equipment manufacturers. Research institutions and supercomputing sites also participate.

By encouraging the use of components and best “community” practices, OpenHPC accelerates and enables discoveries and innovation. The project allows access to a reference collection of open-source software in a consistent environment, enabling developers to disregard older deployment barriers. Leading and emerging entrepreneurial tech companies have agreed to come together and define the essence of an open standard, which is “owned by all, and no one” so the industry can standardize.

The community enables designers, installers and managers to save time and effort in developing differentiated resources for users. The goal is to aggregate common elements needed to to deploy and manage HPC Linux clusters. This includes provisioning tools, resource management, I/O clients and development tools as well as scientific libraries.

Contributors to the OpenHPC Collaborative community have rewarded users with an integrated and validated system software structure. The cooperative program provides outstanding innovation and real insight to scientists, analysts, engineers and thought leaders. The payoff is a transformative change for global businesses and research institutions.

Dell EMC and Intel have enjoyed a long, fruitful history of working with standards-based communities. They are known for facilitating the work of 4,000 passionate open source engineers and advocates. Their goal is to build communities around emerging technologies through contribution and engagement. They contribute to and create open source projects while acting in the interest of building a community that drives awareness of tech trends.

For example, Dell EMC contributed their Operating System 10 (OS10) Open Edition software to the OpenSwitch project. The open network operating system is offered free of charge to customers and runs a fully-open, unmodified Linux kernel and Debian distribution. Components can be easily substituted and revalidated, allowing the opportunity for differentiation, special spin and unique qualities.

Dell EMC is committed to enabling more organizations in industry, research, government and education to use HPC solutions for more innovations and discoveries than any other HPC systems vendor in the world. This passion for innovation has helped make Dell EMC an industry leader in HPC clusters, storage, networking and software. With Intel, they have built a nexus of communication and collaboration in the industry, exemplified by the Dell EMC HPC and AI Innovation Lab.

The Dell EMC HPC and AI Innovation Lab encompasses a 13,000-square-foot data center devoted to HPC and AI. It houses thousands of servers, a TOP500 cluster, sophisticated storage and network systems. But the lab is more than world-class infrastructure. Bringing together HPC operational excellence and expertise, it is staffed by a dedicated group of computer scientists, engineers and Ph.D. subject matter experts who actively partner and collaborate with customers and other members of the HPC community. The team gets early access to new technologies, integrates and tunes high-performance compute clusters, benchmarks applications, develops best practices, and publishes its findings in blogs and white papers.

The Dell EMC HPC and AI team, together with Intel, continues to be active in OpenHPC. Dell EMC contributes by leveraging strong groups of independent developers and encouraging broad-based collaboration. Dell EMC hardware drives OpenHPC adoption through its support for major editions of Linux, which powers OpenHPC.

A founding principle of OpenHPC was that it was intended to be a meritocracy. Much like Linux, we all want it to be a vibrant community. For its part, Intel is taking an active role in contributing components and component enhancements, including the creation of adapters with common and consistent data access interfaces (DAIs) to help, for example, resource managers/schedulers interface more easily with provisioning components. For the vision of HPC to be successful, it needs to be a community effort, and OpenHPC has to become the gathering point for that interaction.

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