Open source is good for everybody

The open-source Linux operating system is the beating heart of your high performance environment. But that is just the beginning – you need a body of open source products to truly harness the power of HPC.

Run with us – we are free

Open source is the core around which HPC has been built.

Since the first Beowulf cluster was conceived, and high performance computing running on commodity hardware became a reality, the HPC industry has lived and breathed open source software.

With Linux at its core, today’s high performance environments rely on a community of open source developers, testers and adopters, not only for the underlying operating system but also for the tools used for system administration, service provision, scientific computing, file system management and storage environments.

We believe that open-source products benefit everybody.

Our tool suites, package repositories and web application components are delivered under open-source licenses. In this way, the community is empowered to adapt, improve and take part in shaping the capabilities and contents of a project. Ultimately, this benefits everybody.

Good software development practices require discipline to ensure reliability, robustness and the ultimate quality of a product. Developing open-source products allows a community of users and contributors to be created, meaning that those with the enthusiasm and skills can make a real difference to product capabilities. We make heavy use of open-source languages, frameworks and version control systems that allow us to put these principles into practice.

And, as users of open-source applications, frameworks and libraries, we regularly contribute to the open-source projects that we use. It’s our way of giving something back to the communities that have helped to construct the tools on which we rely, each and every day.

Taming the open source beast.

Once you begin to work with the multitude of open source applications available, one of the problems that immediately becomes apparent is that they all follow different packaging principles. Each project can have slightly different mechanisms in place which determine how they are compiled, where they are installed and how they are used.

Our view is that it is of vital importance to take these disparate pieces of software and deliver an easy-to-use, convention-focussed approach to HPC administrators and users, to ease their installation and operation. Getting users up and running without incurring the unecessary overheads of the compile/install/explain cycle increases efficiency and keeps your cluster doing what it does best – computing.

The collection of software packages available within our Alces Gridware repositories turns this into a reality. Software that previously may have taken many hours to compile and configure can be installed rapidly and users can be up and running their jobs within minutes.

We embrace the open-source ethos that has always been at the heart of HPC.

A world without open source would be very different. Vendor lock-in would be the rule rather than the exception and the many projects that we rely on today, involving skilled people from around the globe, would be unworkable.

A world with open source is a world where the door is open to all. With open source, we can grow communities and work together to innovate for a better, open, future.

Building strong foundations with open-source solutions

Solutions built around tried and tested open-source products.

Why reinvent the wheel when proven, community-backed, active open-source products are available? Our HPC solution is built using existing open-source solutions where it makes sense and augments their capabilities with our own solutions.

  • Ganglia – scalable cluster monitoring and reporting
  • Nagios – infrastructure monitoring and alerting
  • Pacemaker – high availability tool suite
  • Alces Prime – cluster dashboard
  • Grid Engine/Open Grid Scheduler – cluster scheduler
  • Torque/MAUI – cluster scheduler
  • Lustre – parallel filesystem

Make use of our HPC software knowledge and get going on day one.

Rather than worry about compiling and installing the software you need to get your work done, let us do the heavy lifting and preinstall the software packages you need.

Our open-source Alces Gridware software repository includes libraries, language environments, installation utilities and applications to support HPC workloads performed across many scientific fields:

  • Life sciences and biotechnology; e.g. SAMtools, BLAST, Velvet, Mosaik, SOAP
  • Computational fluid dynamics; e.g. OpenFOAM
  • Chemisty applications; e.g. NAMD, Gromacs, CHARMM
  • Recent versions of popular language environments; e.g. Perl, Python and Ruby
  • Scientific language environments; eg. R, BioPerl
  • Wrappers for GCC and commercial compilers including Intel, PGI, Pathscale
  • Numerical libraries; e.g. BLAS, FFTW, LAPACK, ATLAS
  • Message passing environments; e.g. MPICH/MPICH2, OpenMPI, MVAPICH, IntelMPI
  • System benchmark and verification tests; IMB, HPCC, HPL/Linpak, IOzone, memtester, STREAM, FAH, Intel Cluster Ready