Monday Apr 13, 2009

Community, Cosmos and Caviar

Last week I was with community friends in the largest country in the world.  It has the largest forest reserve and its lakes contain 25% of the world's unfrozen fresh water.  Thinking China... well I was in the Russian Federation. I visited 2 prestegious universities:  Moscow State University, Russia's largest and St. Petersburg State University, Russia's oldest and founded by Peter the Great.  It is very rewarding to see adoption of ones technology being put to good use via educational training and academic research.  While commercial innovation of technology is part of every high technology company only a select few lead with open sourced technology.

I was honored to participate in the dedication of an HPC Cluster at St. Petersburg State University.  This system will be part of the world effort where there are no barriers.  Only united scientists throughout the world working together to solve the mysteries of the universe.  The physicists at St. Petersburg State University are participants at the Large Haydron Collider at CERN.  As an engineer I'm amazed how scientists take and use technology for analyzing the mountains of data generated by their experiments.  Experiments that are trying to solve how we all originated from the big bang.  After suffering through 2 years of undergraduate physics, as do all engineers, I'm glad to leave the mysteries of the universe to the physicists.  However, I'm a very interested observer...

Just as important are all the developers who create, use and share technology for the physicists as well as the corporations that need it to run their business.  St. Petersburg hosted a Tech Days 2009 mashup event for the community.  The community showed up in force to talk open sourced software.  Jeet Kaul kicked of the Day 1 keynote and spoke about technology, sharing, innovation and the value the community brings to itself.  Jeet also kicked off the JavaFX coding challenge to the community.  Developers... if you are interested get involved and click here.

On Day 2 my keynote focused on the link between technology adoption and commercial innovation in the open source community.  Independent of the open source community that you choose is the need for continued innovation.  Innovation that can be applied to solving the problems of commercial business and entities.  The benefit to the community is that early adopters get to nurture, proliferate and improve technology with no barriers to entry or exit.  Getting involved costs you only your time to join the experience.  Developers worldwide may be interested in the OpenSolaris Applications of Steel challenge for Community One West on June 1st, 2009.  Get connected.  From university academics and their research to the competitive advantage of commercial cloud solutions using opensourced technology-- the benefits are too compelling to ignore.

Blog is available also at: http://bobporras.wordpress.com/

Monday Mar 02, 2009

Another Tool for the Cloud gets better

Almost everyone in the IT infrastructure business is feverishly working on cloud solutions today.   This includes the incumbent providers as well as the infrastructure providers to the incumbents.  An excellent blog can be found here which outlines the trends that have accelerated over the past 5 years with respect to what has morphed into the cloud.

One tool that is platform agnostic across Linux, Windows, OpenSolaris, etc. is Sun's open sourced Grid Engine.  There is no need to look for a better policy based workload manager which includes dynamic provisioning of application workloads.  We are just about to release update 2 to the 6.2 release.  More platform support (see below) and of course more and better features such as improved resource management of parallel jobs.  Grid Engine is used fairly regularly in HPC stacks throughout the world.  In fact Grid Engine is in use at some of the largest compute installations in the world.  Keeping 60,000 processor cores busy is a formidable task.  A hard requirement that only makes the product that much better.  I can't wait to see how solutions will be able to combine other tools from the toolbox and create technology for clouds, HPC engines and who knows what the limits will be.  We have come a long way since the Turing Machine from the 1930s.

In addition to being excited about the advancement of technology it is also very rewarding for your technology to contribute toward the benefit of solving some very difficult problems.

Grid Engine supports the following platforms:

  • OpenSolaris
  • Solaris 10, 9 and 8 Operating Systems (SPARC Platform Edition)
  • Solaris 10 and 9 Operating Systems (x86 Platform Edition)
  • Solaris 10 Operating System (x64 Platform Edition)
  • Apple Mac OS X 10.5
  • Apple Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger), PPC platform
  • Apple Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger), x86 platform
  • Hewlett Packard HP-UX 11.00 or higher, 32 bit
  • Hewlett Packard HP-UX 11.00 or higher, 64 bit (including HP-UX on IA64)
  • IBM AIX 5.1, 5.3
  • Linux x86, kernel 2.4, 2.6, glibc >= 2.3.2
  • Linux x64, kernel 2.4, 2.6, glibc >= 2.3.2
  • Linux IA64, kernel 2.4, 2.6, glibc >= 2.3.2
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003
  • Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 1 or later
  • Windows 2000 Server with Service Pack 3 or later
  • Windows 2000 Professional with Service Pack 3 or later
  • Windows Vista
  • Windows 2008 Server


Monday Aug 04, 2008

Sun Grid Engine 6.2 - what opensource can do for you

If you are having problems managing your large HPC compute infrastructure or provisioning your cloud of computes a certain tool may be just what you may need.  Policy-based workload management and the dynamic provisioning of application workloads are two large problems facing industry and research institutions. 

Today Sun Grid Engine 6.2 raises the bar for scalability, performance and ease of management.  New features include:

  • Multi-clustering with Service Domain Manager - delivers built in elasticity of hosts

  • Advance Reservation - request and reserve grid resources in advance

  • Scalability - up to 63,000 core CPU's today and even higher tomorrow

  • Supports massivelly parallel jobs - across thousands of CPU cores

Sun Grid Engine is in use today for many production environments managing critical research, crash simulations and clouds of computing.  Sun Grid Engine is an opensource distribution that runs on solaris, linux and windows. 

Community members help drive and influence the features, content adn direction of the product.  Join today and become a community member.

What is really exciting is the new Service Domain Manager capability of Sun Grid Engine 6.2, click here to see a demo of managing elastic resources.  Totally applicable to your cloud including network.com and other cloud resources.  Dynamic, on the fly and transparent to your workload.  Check it out! 

Monday Jun 23, 2008

High Performance Computing in Dresden and Prague

Last week Dresden Germany hosted the ISC '08 (International Supercomputing Conference) as well as Sun's HPC Conference. It was a busy week for many of us in Dresden.  Plenty of presentations, discussions and information exchange among the HPC community.  Fritz Ferstl and myself had fruitful discussion with Dr. Matsuoka-san of TITech (Tokyo Institute of Technology) regarding Sun Grid Engine's policy for throughput AND priority. I also had the opportunity to have dinner with another group of customers at a dinner hosted by Andy Bechtolsheim. Love talking to customers and listening.  Having discussions with other industry vendors around trends, directions and new announcements certainly makes some topics lively.  I personally find the automotive industry crash simulations for safety fascinating. These simulations are an example of applied HPC for an industry.  More Sun HPC Software was announced last week in Dresden which included:

I then headed to Prague for a few days and visited Sun's development site.  A beautiful city with a lot of history and culture.  I understand now why Albert Einstein lived there and had the opportunity to eat at one of his favorite places.  Prague is one of the centers of Eastern European growth as evidenced by the presence of many U.S. based technology companies.  The busy commuter trains, congested technology parks and many construction sites are all you need to witness.  Here's to Macura, Michal, Martin, Victor, Marcin, Zsigmond, Jana, Lubomir, Alena and Michael.

Dresden and Prague are certainly cities of opportunity.

Thursday Feb 14, 2008

Sun Grid Engine on the Autobahn

 
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Sunday Sep 16, 2007

The Financial industry IS High Tech

The financial industry has become quite high technology. The old days of banking are long gone.  Does anyone remember the 3-6-3 rule of banking?  Pay your depositors 3% interest, charge 6% for loans and be on the golf course by 3 pm.  The financial industry is a hungry consumer of high technology in order to manage their business.

Number crunching of massive amounts of data is a requirement in the financial industry today.  Complex formulas and modeling on large scale computing engines are no longer foreign to people managing capital.  Complex equations and modeling are not unique to the scientific community.  High performance technical computing (HPC) is being used for financial management. 

A financial institution will crunch lots of numbers to determine their opening position when trading begins each day.  When the market closes trading for the day, those massive computes begin again and crunch numbers throughout the night looking for the advantage via trend, averages, models, derivatives, etc.  The financial industry has leveraged technology to the point that this industry is effectively competing and hiring technology college graduates.

Simple financial management has been replace by everything from sub-prime mortgages, day trading, hedge funds, disaster bonds to mortality bonds.  Mortality bonds are a perfect example of how the industry constantly looks for creative ways to provide a return on an investment.  The finance industry has taken a page from every insurance company actuary.  Disaster bonds are hedging against having to payout for natural disasters.

High Performance Technical computing has become a competitive weapon for the financial industry.

About

The blog of Bob Porras - Vice President, Data, Availability, Scalability & HPC for Sun Microsystems, Inc.

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