Developing HPC Solutions with OpenSolaris

HPC developers love to live on the edge. An extra 2% performance can save millions when you routinely perform trillions of floating point operations per second (TFlops). Sound like big numbers? The Top500 list which ranks the world's fastest supercomputers by their number of TFlops saw the first TFlop system in 1997. Starting in 2005, a TFlop system wouldn't even get you on the Top500. The list has seen its share of Solaris based entries over the years, and with the work underway in OpenSolaris, I expect we will see a resurgence of Solaris over the coming 12 months. So if you are ready to live on the edge, here are a few pointers to get you started.

First, you might want to start with Carl Hensler's InfiniBand at Sun presentation. InfiniBand is fast becoming the defacto standard for HPC cluster interconnects and Sun is working hard to make sure we not only have great support for current products but that we are ready with Solaris support for the next generation IB HCAs based on Mellanox Hermon technology later this year. These next generation HCAs should increase the trend of IB being used not only for the cluster compute interconnect but also for the cluster storage interconnect. Here is a great white paper from Voltaire on IB based storage. Sun customers like the Tokyo Institute of Technology are using IB to connect more than a PetaByte of storage to their IB cluster. Speaking of storage, I was happy to see that Solaris finally made it onto the official Lustre roadmap. Sun is working closely with ClusterFS on this project and we expect the first Solaris beta code to be available in the summer timeframe.

We have even started to make it easy for you to download a complete HPC development environment with the recent Solaris Developer Release, but truely hard core HPC developers will want to go a bit farther. My recommendations, be sure to get the latest OpenMPI support by downloading the early access release of Sun HPC Clustertools 7 and also the latest Sun Studio 12 compilers. Then, you will really be ready to start your HPC development.

Yes, we did think about putting together a Solaris HPC developer release, but what fun would it be if we providing everything in just one download :).

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