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Red Hat Expands HPC Solution Availability

Open source software vendor Red Hat went global with its high-performance computing (HPC) product on Thursday. An announcement issued by the Raleigh, N.C.-based company claims that the Red Hat HPC Solution product is the "first" integrated Linux-based HPC platform.

The product includes Platform Computing's Open Cluster Stack 5, an integrated stack and open source toolkit, plus the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.2 operating system. It also includes cluster management tools and a jobs scheduler called Platform Lava.

Red Hat had initially announced a product integration effort with Reno, Nev.-based Platform Computing in November of 2007, but now Red Hat is offering its HPC solution through its sales channels worldwide, along with tech support.

Historically, HPC and supercomputing have been used for scientific research and engineering applications. Demand for HPC is expected to come from the financial markets or other industries involved with data modeling, computer-generated simulations and real-time algorithmic computations.

Such operations typically are capital and support intensive, but Red Hat markets its HPC platform toward the small-to-medium business (SMB) segment.

"With the Red Hat HPC Solution, organizations ranging from the enterprise to SMB will be able to adopt open source solutions that are fully supported, easy-to-use and cost-effective to implement," said Tripp Purvis, vice president of business development for Red Hat Platform Computing, in a prepared statement.

Red Hat's HPC announcement follows on the heels of Microsoft's Windows HPC Server rollout, announced in late September. Both Red Hat and Microsoft have teamed with major hardware manufacturers on HPC technology. Red Hat announced an alliance with Dell and Platform Computing to offer “a comprehensive cluster computing package.” Microsoft integrated its HPC solution with the new CX1 supercomputer from Cray Inc.

Price will be a factor in the race for HPC market share. Red Hat stated in its announcement that the Red Hat HPC Solution "starts at $249 per node." Microsoft’s HPC Server 2008 is listed at a one-time cost of $475 per node. However, Microsoft requires enterprise customers to purchase Enterprise Assurance for three years at a price estimated at 25 percent to 29 percent of the node cost.

Both solutions include all of the components for clustering and managing the HPC environment, but data portability may be a consideration. For instance, the Linux-based Red Hat HPC platform aligns it with legacy HPC coding. By contrast, Windows HPC Server 2008 integrates with the .NET Framework, with support for the new F# programming language.

About the Author

Herb Torrens is an award-winning freelance writer based in Southern California. He managed the MCSP program for a leading computer telephony integrator for more than five years and has worked with numerous solution providers including HP/Compaq, Nortel, and Microsoft in all forms of media.

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