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Alternatives available for HPC shops lacking Lustre support

With Oracle showing a lot less love for open source storage software than Sun did, high performance computing (HPC) shops are nervous about the future of Lustre and HPC hardware vendors are taking steps to pick up the slack.


Last year the Illumos project sprung up as the governing body for OpenSolaris to help spur development of the source code used for ZFS. Now the Lustre community is rallying around the storage file system used in most large HPC implementations as Oracle shows no signs of supporting it.

Since late last year, Xyratex acquired ClusterStor for its Lustre expertise, start-up Whamcloud started aggressively hiring Lustre developers and partnering with hardware vendors on support deals, and Cray, DataDirect Networks (DDN), Lawrence Livermore and Oak Ridge National labs launched to develop future releases of Lustre.

DDN last week launched a promotional offer to provide Lustre customers a third year of support for free if they purchase a two-year DDN file system support contract. The support comes through DDN’s alliance with Whamcloud.

“There is a general uneasiness in the industry, and people are looking for somebody to step up,” DDN marketing VP Jeff Denworth said. “There’s been a gross defection of talent from Oracle around the Lustre file system.”

DataDirect Networks customer Stephen Simms, manager of the Data Capacitor project at Indiana University, said it will take initiatives like those undertaken by DDN, Whamcloud, and OpenSFS to save Lustre.


“Without people to develop Lustre, then Lustre is going to die,” he said. “National laboratories have a strong investment in Lustre, and they will do their best to keep it alive, but without the pool of talent that exists in for-profit companies, where are you going to be? You’re going to be an organization that desperately needs a file system with only a handful of developers.”


Simms said Lustre is a crucial piece of IU’s Data Capacitor, a high speed, high bandwidth storage system that serves IU campuses and other scientific research sites on the TeraGrid network. The IU team modified Lustre file system code to provide the automatic mapping of user IDs (UIDs) across TeraGrid sites.


“We wouldn’t be able to develop this system for mapping UID space if the file system were closed,” he said. “The fact that it’s open has been a big deal for us. It’s important to have the expertise someplace. It’s a concern that there are so few Lustre developers, and they’ve left Oracle and where have they gone? Some have gone to Xyratex and some to WhamCloud, and who knows where others have gone? It’s important to keep momentum.”



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