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SuSE Linux To Distribute Sun's Grid Engine Software

Sun Microsystems' Grid Engine 5.3 software will be distributed by SuSE Linux in the new release of SuSE Linux 8.0 Professional Edition.

Sun is calling the agreement the "first Linux distribution of a key enabling Grid technology from a major systems vendor."

"This new distribution is further evidence of Sun's commitment to making its software available and optimized for the Linux operating system," Sun said. The company said it is "one of the largest providers of intellectual property to the Linux and open source communities, with the Grid Engine Project a key contribution."

Sun said its Grid Engine software powers more than 150,000 CPUs in more than 4,000 Grids worldwide. About a third of those CPUs are in Linux environments. By making Grid Engine 5.3 software available with SuSE Linux's 8.0 Professional Edition, SuSE Linux "can deliver the power of Grid computing to the growing community of Linux users," Sun said.

Sun released its Grid Engine software in September 2000, and followed with the launch of the Grid Engine Project (www.gridengine.sunsource.net) and the release of approximately 500,000 lines of Grid Engine source code under an open source license. The Grid Engine Project, an open source initiative managed by Collabnet and created with funding from Sun, advances the development and use of Grid computing technology across various platforms, including Solaris, Linux and others.

"Distributing Grid Engine software with SuSE Linux 8.0 will catalyze the adoption of Grid computing and significantly increases the exposure of Grid computing in the Linux and Unix communities," Wolfgang Gentzsch, Sun's director of Grid computing, said in a statement. "This distribution, in addition to Sun's own Grid Engine Project, builds on Sun's vision of a truly heterogeneous Grid computing environment in which enterprises can maximize resource utilization and gain competitive advantage today."

'Eight Months Before IBM Could Wake Up And Spell Grid'

Peter Jeffcock, group marketing manager for Sun's Client and Technical Market Products Group, said he hopes that the Linux announcement corrects two misperceptions about Sun's Grid Engine software: that it is proprietary, and that it only works on Sun machines.

The software has been ported to many operating systems, including Solaris, Linux, IRIX, Tru64, AIX, HP/ux, he said, and with more than 500,000 lines of code open sourced, "you can't get more non-proprietary than that."

"We announced Sun Grid Engine for Linux in January 2001," Jeffcock said. "That was eight months before IBM could wake up and spell Grid."

One way that Grid Engine can offer heterogeneous support is through its two architectural components of "master" and "agent," Jeffcock said. A master might be on one platform while agents could be on different platforms, thus making it easier to construct a heterogeneous Grid.

Grid Engine could support Windows, Jeffcock said, "but there hasn't been the demand for that."

One problem with Windows PCs is that they tend to crash more often, so work is more likely to be lost, he said. "If you have a two-day task, and it crashes after 1 3/4 days, you've lost all that work," he said. "If the meantime between crashes is greater than the task time, that's not productive utilization."

"Linux and Solaris are much better for that, and when you put them in a Grid, they deliver," Jeffcock said.