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Red Hat Takes on HPC Market, Microsoft

Linux vendor Red Hat is ramping up its High Performance Computing (HPC) efforts with a new integrated offering that will be competitively positioned against Microsoft's Windows HPC Server 2008.

HPC and Linux are hardly strangers. Linux plays a key role in the majority of all HPC deployments. With the new Red Hat HPC offering, the company is eager to provide a bundle that makes it easier for users, even Red Hat users, to deploy and manage an HPC environment.

"Over 60 percent of HPC servers shipped are shipped with Linux," Gerry Riveros, Red Hat product marketing manager, told "However, a common complaint about using Linux and open source for HPC computing is that it is a do-it-yourself affair."

The customer has to source all the components in order to build an HPC software stack from multiple vendors or projects, and then do all the integration, testing, and tuning work themselves. The company saw an opportunity to create value for customers by putting together an integrated, open source HPC software stack for HPC customers wanting to deploy Linux, he said.

Red Hat HPC Solution is an integrated combination of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 for the operating system and Platform Computing's Open Cluster Stack 5 for the cluster middleware including job scheduler, cluster installer, resource and application monitor as well as high-speed interconnects.

The Red Hat HPC Solution is not Red Hat's first release for the HPC space. But it is considered an easier system to manage.

Red Hat offers an older product called Red Hat Enterprise Linux for HPC Compute Nodes. It's carried by IBM, HP, Dell, and others and is just the operating system only. Customers using Red Hat Enterprise Linux for HPC Compute Nodes still had to source a job scheduler, cluster installer, resource and application monitors from other vendors or projects. From there, users had to integrate the HPC software stack.

Riveros argued that the Red Hat HPC Solution will not compete against existing Red Hat Enterprise Linux HPC initiatives from IBM and or HP, just offer other options.

"Some people just want to source an operating system for their HPC cluster and Red Hat Enterprise Linux for HPC Computes Nodes is perfect for them," Riveros said.

"The customer may want to source the other components from other vendors and put the stack together themselves. Some examples of customers doing this are the large government labs and university researchers. So, this offering gives the customers a choice."

With the Red Hat HPC Solution, Red Hat is stepping outside its own technology developments by including components from Platform Computing.

Next page: Plenty of competition