HP adds Lustre to cluster offerings

Hewlett-Packard will become the first major supplier to offer a product based on the open-source Lustre file system.

Hewlett-Packard will become the first major supplier to offer a product based on the open-source Lustre file system.

The product, called the StorageWorks Scalable File System, will be the second product based on HP's Storage Grid networked storage architecture.

HP will be the first major supplier to integrate Lustre into a product, said Phil Schwan, chief executive officer of Cluster File Systems, the company which manages the Lustre software development project.

HP will unveil the turnkey product at the International Supercomputing Conference in Germany on 23 June.

"They're capitalising on being the first to market with an easy-to-use Lustre solution," Schwan said.

First developed in 2001, the Lustre file system is used by a growing number of supercomputers to let thousands of machines quickly share files. It is similar to proprietary software such as IBM's General Parallel File System and Silicon Graphics' CXFS.

"It's a good thing to have a scalable version of Lustre that is supported," said Scott Studham, manager of computer operations with the Pacific Northwest National Lab's Molecular Science Computing Facility, which has been beta-testing the Scalable File System since August 2003.

HP's Scalable File System will include software that simplifies the installation and management of Lustre, freeing up engineering time that would otherwise be spent learning the software, he said.

Because file system configuration can have a great effect on a supercomputing cluster's performance, assigning the right ratio of disc drives to file servers and clients using the Lustre file system is very important.

"Having someone such as HP come in and provide you with a solution means you'll get those ratios right," Studham said.

"It's an art to configure Lustre. In the state it's in now, you really need a lot of expertise to set it up," said Robin Goldstone, group leader with the Production Linux Group at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which has been using the Lustre file system on its Multiprogrammatic Capability Cluster since 2002.

"If they're focusing their efforts on making it something in a box that's easier to set up and administer, then I think that's going to be good for Lustre," she said.

StorageWorks Scalable File System is generally available and will be followed by a third product called Scalable Tiered Storage, which will use "grid concepts" in order to simplify the management of multiple storage arrays.

Robert McMillan writes for IDG News Service

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