Dell Puts Open-Source Clustering Tools On New Server - InformationWeek

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Software // Enterprise Applications

Dell Puts Open-Source Clustering Tools On New Server

Dell will install cluster-management software from Platform Computing on its new PowerEdge servers.

Dell has teamed up with cluster-management app-maker Platform Computing Inc. to create a small but powerful rack-mounted server complete with open-source cluster-management tools. Dell struck the partnership as a way to increase its market share in the high-performance computer cluster market where speed, size, and cost rule.

The hardware half of product is Dell's 1U (1.75-inch) PowerEdge SC1425 server, which start at $1,099 and run on either Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Standard or Web Edition and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3, 32-bit or 64-bit editions. The new server, which can be ordered individually or in clusters of eight to 256 nodes, features dual Intel Xeon EM64T processors, an 800-MHz front-side bus, up to 12 Gbytes of DDR-2 memory, and dual Gigabit Ethernet NICs for high-performance I/O capabilities.

Platform Computing's new open-source cluster-management software, called Rocks, is available with a support subscription of $150 per node. The company already has a line of proprietary distributed and grid-computing applications. Rocks is based upon the National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure version of Rocks originally developed at the San Diego Supercomputing Center.

"Rocks addresses the need to simplify the deployment of high-performance computing clusters as organizations move from large SMP boxes to standardized, clustered servers," says Gary Tyreman, Platform Computing's director of product management. "It's designed for the administrator who doesn't know how to build a cluster and who doesn't want to know."

Tyreman says he can't say if his company's packaging of open-source software will start a trend at Platform Computing. "We selected Rocks rather than try to invent what already exists," he says. Whether Platform does this again depends upon the company's needs and whether its greatest advantage is building, buying, or borrowing software. Says Tyreman, "Open source is a way of getting from ground zero to where we need to be, fast."

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