ScaleMP's vSMP Foundation uses a form of virtualization to aggregate a cluster of networked industry-standard x86 servers into a larger virtual Linux computing environment, or, as the company calls it, "concatenate physical resources."
The clustering is done using one of the third-party Linux cluster provisioning utilities that ScaleMP supports. vSMP Foundation currently supports aggregation of up to 128 servers into a single virtual SMP system with up to 64TB of shared memory and up to 1,024 processors (8,192 cores). It has over 200 deployments at companies, universities, supercomputer centers and other organizations.
According to the company, vSMP Foundation offer a more cost-effective alternative to a traditional SMP machine, which is more expensive relative to performance, or to traditional Linux clusters. For the latter, each node runs its own instance of the OS, and each needs IT resources, including distributed storage, change management, asset management, and security.
According to ScaleMP, "Computer simulation software, such as MathWorks MATLAB, FLUENT, ANSYS, ABAQUS, and others require significant compute power, and traditionally run on a cluster of several computers. SMBs often use these simulation software to reduce costs associated with bringing new products to market."
Dan Olds, principal analyst at the Gabriel Consulting Group, said, "ScaleMP's vSMP Foundation is good for computationally intensive applications which require a high-performance-computing (HPC) environment, like design, testing, financial analyses, radiology, and analytics like business intelligence (BI). Every customer has business analytic questions, but calculating answers takes more power than a standard commodity x86 system has. ScaleMP lets a company apply serious analytic capabilities buying non-dedicated hardware that can be assigned as needed, instead of a single large, dedicated box. You're creating one large SMP machine as large or larger than what you can buy on the market -- you generally can't get an x86 with more than 16 or 32 sockets."
The benefits, according to Day: "vSMP Foundation lets companies put more systems into the cluster as needed, to get more memory, which in turn lets them load more data in."
Version 3.5 of vSMP Foundation "delivers improved performance on 4-socket systems -- up to 5 times from the previous release of vSMP Foundation,” said Shai Fultheim, founder, president and CEO.
Also, version 3.5 supports 4-socket systems of "all tier-one vendors, including Dell R910, HP DL580 G7 and IBM x3850 X5," according to the company.
Additionally, vSMP Foundation 3.5 now integrates with Bright Computing's Bright Cluster Manager for Linux-based clusters, as a tool for on-demand virtual SMP provisioning. vSMP Foundation software provides the virtualized environment, but also requires provisioning infrastructure. The provisioning software lets a company that has a pool of x86 boxes "create an SMP, add nodes, and run," said Fultheim.
ScaleMP supports two other provisioning tools: IBM's xCat Extreme Cloud Administration Toolkit and the Adaptive Computing Moab Adaptive Computing Suite provisioning suites. "Customers that prefer to use Bright cluster Manager now can use it to provision vSMP Foundation," said Fultheim.
Foundation vSMP 3.5 now also has faster cluster performance, according to ScaleMP, thanks to an MPI Offload Engine (MOE), which runs distributed applications with accelerated performance. Historically, according to ScaleMP, "SMP systems tend to be slower than clusters for distributed Message Passing Interface (MPI) workloads. "While previous versions of vSMP Foundation offered comparable performance to clusters, vSMP Foundation 3.5 provides MPI offloading for certain operations, increasing application's overall CPU utilization," according to the company.
vSMP Foundation starts at $1,750 per node. The on-demand licenses are "floating," and can be used on any available system, and can be used to create one large virtual machine, or multiple virtual machines. vSMP Foundation supports Linux as the virtual machine OS, specifically: Linux OS, kernel level 2.6.11 or later; Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4/5 (RHEL4-5) and clones; and Novell SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 10/11 (SLES10-11).
vSMP Foundation v3.5 will be available as of Nov. 15. Existing vSMP Foundation users with a support and maintenance contract can download the update free.